Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is Kenneth Gross reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Kenneth Gross, author of Shylock Is Shakespeare. and the recently released Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life.

His entry begins:
A lot of the reading has been rereading. Some of it for pleasure, some to think about a class I’m teaching on Shakespeare, and also a class on poetry and memory I’ll be teaching in the spring. I’ve been moving slowly through the long section in the second volume of In Search of Lost Time, where Proust describes how Marcel settles and unsettles himself within the life of the grand resort hotel at Balbec, in the company of his beloved grandmother. To get myself thinking about certain questions in Shakespeare, I recently went back to...[read on]
Among the early praise for Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life:
“After three readings, my enthusiasm must take the form of a warning, even of a prohibition: do not read Kenneth Gross’s energetic, expert, and exhaustive essay as if it were merely—merely!—an ecstatic encomium; on the other hand (the puppeteer’s constant cry), do not treat this learned and lyrical study as if it were no more than a reference book, though it has all the beneficent earmarks of that dread convenience. Read it as you always meant to read the Bible: by chapters, by pages, persistently by sentences, readily pausing to concur, to contend, to wonder.... You will find the author has done that much for you, thereby achieving—by a labor of years as well as of love—the Sacred Book of an entire human undertaking, one which has ensorcelled us for all the recorded ages of what the author calls uncanny life.”
—Richard Howard, author of Without Saying

“You have in your hands a uniquely beautiful book, a book of uncommon brilliance and lucidity. It is as wondrous as the theaters of marvels it describes; its leaps and mutabilities provide a thrilling adventure in imaginative thinking. ‘How are we devoured by the things we make?’ it asks. ‘And when might that devouring save us?’ My copy burns brightly on my favorite shelf, beside The Poetics of Space, Eccentric Spaces, and In Praise of Shadows... a treasure!”
—Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke and The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition

“A canny and alert examination of the mechanics of animistic and magical thinking.”
Literary Review
Learn more about Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life at the University of Chicago Press website.

Kenneth Gross is professor of English at the University of Rochester. His books include Shakespeare’s Noise and Shylock Is Shakespeare.

The Page 69 Test: Shylock Is Shakespeare.

My Book, The Movie: Shylock Is Shakespeare.

Writers Read: Kenneth Gross (July 2007).

Writers Read: Kenneth Gross.

--Marshal Zeringue