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In these highly inventive essays, Joan Retallack, acclaimed poet and essayist, conveys her unique post-utopian vision as she explores the relationship between art and life in today's chaotic world. In the tradition of the essay as complex humanist exploration, she engages ideas from across history: Aristotle's definition of happiness, Epicurus's swerve into unpredictable possibility, Montaigne's essays as an instrument of self-invention, John Cage's redefinition of Silence. Within her unifying rubric of poethics, Retallack gives the reader plenty of surprises with a wonderful range of examples, situations, and texts through which she conducts her exploration. A computer glitch, a passage from Gertrude Stein's favorite detective novelist, the idea of the experimental feminine, a John Cage performance - all serve as occasions for inquiry and speculation on the way to her poethics of a 'complex realism.'

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520218413
ISBN-10: 0520218418
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Pages: 291
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 17-Feb-2004
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Joan Retallack

Joan Retallack is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities at Bard College. She is author of How to Do Things with Words (1998), Musicage: Cage Muses on Words Art Music (1996), Afterrimages (1995), and Errata 5uite (1993), among other books.

Books By Author Joan Retallack

Gertrude Stein by Joan Retallack

Gertrude Stein

Paperback, March 2008
Poetry and Pedagogy by Joan Retallack

Poetry and Pedagogy

Hardback, February 2006
Afterimages by Joan Retallack


Paperback, March 1995