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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 greatest books of the 20th century. Review Copy. Review Materials laid-in. Presents literary essays, vehement proof, if proof were ever needed, that the author is not only a fine novelist and short-story writer but also one of America's finest literary critics. Includes relentlessly 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 very 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, the facile shallowness of John Updike, and the failed promise of Truman Capote, among others. As a counterpoint, 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 true geniuses, who make most of today's writers look like decadents indeed. Ozick's great battle-cry in this ground-breaking collection is the need for passion, seriousness, 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. "Sympathy can be an offense against the truth" (Cynthia Ozick). Her mastery of the essay form is something that very few writers can command and most other writers can only envy. 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 first and still her best essay collection, this is a "must-have" for Cynthia Ozick collectors. This copy is prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Cynthia Ozick. This title has been out-of-print as a hardcover for almost twenty-five years even though it went into multiple subsequent printings and is now highly collectible. This is the only Review Copy available online and is in unusually fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. 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 living American writers. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER CYNTHIA OZICK TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0394530829. $150.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on March 24, 2017.