On Grief and Reason: Essays

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Macmillan, Apr 10, 1997 - Literary Collections - 484 pages
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On Grief and Reason is the second volume of Joseph Brodsky's essays, and the first to be published since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987. In addition to his Nobel lecture, the volume includes essays on the condition of exile, the nature of history, the art of reading, and the idea of the poet as an inveterate Don Giovanni, as well as a homage to Marcus Aurelius and an appraisal of the case of the double agent Kim Philby (the last two were selected for inclusion in the annual Best American Essays volume). The title essay is a consideration of the poetry of Robert Frost, and the book also includes a fond appreciation of Thomas Hardy, a "Letter to Horace, " a close reading of Rilke's poem "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes, " and a memoir of Stephen Spender. Among the other essays are Mr. Brodsky's open letter to Czech President Vaclav Havel and his "immodest proposal" for the future of poetry, an address he delivered while serving as U.S. Poet Laureate. In his Nobel lecture, Mr. Brodsky declared that "verse really does, in Akhmatova's words, grow from rubbish; the roots of prose are no more honorable" - but his own prose's flowering in these essays gives us thought and language at their noblest.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In the best of these recent essays, Nobelist Brodsky achieves a unique synthesis of philosophical acumen and literary craftsmanship: considering the exigencies of exile together with those of poetry ... Read full review

On grief and reason: essays

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

It is unfortunate that Brodsky (former poet laureate of the United States) would release a literary work with so much potential and so much disappointment. True, this collection represents some of ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992.

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