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Ozick, Cynthia. ART & ARDOR: ESSAYS. New York City, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 306 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's breakthrough debut collection of essays. One of the finest literary collections of the 20th century. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Cynthia Ozick's "Art & Ardor: Essays". Her first and most influential collection of essays. Includes brilliant and quarrelsome essays on such subjects as homosexuality, feminism, the demise of the transcendental in contemporary literature, and the mediocrity of much African-American literature. Ozick's essays on these controversial subjects are politically (and refreshingly) incorrect. She is devastating on E. M. Forster's self-serving pronouncements on homosexuality, the parasitic relationship between Virginia and Leonard Woolf, what she regards as the facile shallowness of John Updike, and what she regrets as the failed promise of Truman Capote, among other subjects. Contrapuntally, she is admiring (to the point of hero-worship) about her literary mentors and idols: Henry James, Harold Bloom, Bruno Schulz, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, among a few other geniuses, who make most of today's writers look like sorry decadents indeed. Ozick's great battle-cry in this ground-breaking collection is the need for passion, seriousness, and ardor. Her nemeses, in whatever writer, artist, or cultural moment, are complacency, stupidity, and self-indulgence. An Ozick essay is always cause for celebration. She writes piercingly and critically, but always with an unself-conscious and unindulgent sympathy for her subject, against her better judgment and even while she is tearing him or her to shreds. She is writing in three literary traditions simultaneously, all of them at the most profound level imaginable: The ancient Jewish, the modern European, and the Jamesian American. Hence, the dazzling allusiveness, poignant beauty, and sheer intensity of her work. Her prose style - imbricated, brachiate, and filigreed, to borrow three of her own favorite words - is a paradox: The rush of metaphors arrives at and realizes a work of luminous beauty. An absolute "must-have" title for Cynthia Ozick collectors. This copy is very prominently, neatly, and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Cynthia Ozick. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is a great book. This is one of few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws, are subsequent printings, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A rare signed copy thus. Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. Finalist for the National Book Award in 1997 for "The Puttermesser Papers". Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001 for "Quarrel & Quandary". Recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. One of the greatest American writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER CYNTHIA OZICK TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0394530829. $100.00

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