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This sounds marvelous, Danielle! I've read only The Messiah of Stockholm of hers, loved it, and wanted to read more, but I had no idea where to start. Sounds like I should head in the direction of this essay.

Kate S.

I've got one of Ozick's essay collections and I've never dipped into it. I will now!

Dorothy W.

I love that you are doing this essay-reading, because you are reminding me of essays I read a long time ago and loved but have started to forget. This one really is great. I have an Ozick collection I've been meaning to read for forever (Quarrel and Quandary), and Art and Ardor sounds great too. I agree that essays are about "a free mind at play," but I'm not sure that "genuine" essays don't have educational or polemical use. I think it's possible to combine the two. But what I love about essays is really the mind at play part.


Isabella--She really is a wonderful find and this essay was marvelous. Essays seem to be the perfect place to start with new authors I'm finding and then I usually want to try some of their longer work (or more essays in any case!). Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to this online (I think Google Books has a sampling of it), but it should be easy to find in a library.
Kate--I think I might have one of her novels, (or maybe not--maybe I'm confusing her with someone else). I think I've always associated her books with very highbrow literature-and even if that's the case I'm interested in reading more.
Dorothy--This project is turning out to be a lot of fun. I'm always a little trepidatious when I start a new one, or try a new author, but they have all been little gems that I've enjoyed greatly. I was thinking DFW combined the educational (or maybe even the polemical) with a free mind at play, but I was interested to read what she had to say about essay writing. With each author I want to read more of their work (will check bookmooch for her). And if you ever have suggestions of a good essay to read, please let me know. I've just been flipping through my books, reading a bit and seeing what appeals and going from there.


The Boston State House dome is lovely, especially on a sunny day in the winter when everything else is grey (as it has been lately)...

Bride of the Book God

I really like Cynthia Ozick; The Puttermesser Papers and Levitations are both well worth reading, and this essay sounds fascinating.


I really must get hold of Ozick's essays. I stalled halfway through Heir to the Glimmering World, although it was good and I'm not quite sure what made me give it up (just not the right book at the right time, I think). But it was clear she's an excellent writer and I think her essays are definitely the place I should go next to read more of her.


Wonderful essay! I think I have Art and Ardor somewhere or maybe I just imagine I do because I see it frequently at the used bookstore and always think I should buy it. Hmm. Now I'm going to have to check and if I don't have it, I will definitely pick up a copy.

Buried In Print

You've just reminded me how much I enjoyed Heir to the Glimmering World though I do remember it being a rather dense read (in a good way, but I think I could easily have stalled, as litlove mentions above).

I find this quote from her interview interesting:
"Writers who are artists either write poetry or have written poetry, but I don't think poets can be fiction writers. The novels written by poets are often not true novels; they are long, long poems."

Perhaps she's right and these books are not "true novels" but, in any case, I've noticed that a lot of my favourite books have emerged from the pens of poets.


Marvelous essay! I want to read the whole thing!


Oh this does sound so good! I've not read anything by Ozick before and I need to remedy that!


CLM--I will have to look it up--do a little google image searching. Ozick was researching it for an article she was writing! We've been grey here, too, unfortunately.
Bride of the Book God--I think I am going to look for the Puttermesser Papers--I was looking it up and it sounds interesting. And I'd love to read more of her essays.
Litlove--Sometimes timing is everything, isn't it! Essays seem to be a really nice introduction to a new (new to me anyway) author's work--just a little taste to see if I like their style. And the nice thing about these collections is they have been chosen as being the best of the best, so I know I am reading something good. She does seem pretty formidable otherwise!
Setfanie--If you don't have the book, next time you are at the used bookstore, you must grab this book, find a chair and read this essay--it's pretty quick going, and I think you would really enjoy it.
Buried in Print--I thought that was an interesting quote too, and wondered about it. I just read a novel by Stevie Smith who is primarily a poet and think I might (in this particular case) possibly agree with her. Poets use such different language, but their novels can be really beautiful, too.
Jenclair--Do search it out, the rest is as good as those quotes!
Iliana--This was my introduction and I plan on seeing what else I can find by her, too.

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