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Paperback Not-Knowing : The Essays and Interviews Book

ISBN: 1593761732

ISBN13: 9781593761738

Not-Knowing : The Essays and Interviews

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Book Overview

The wildly varied essays in Not-Knowing combine to form a posthumous manifesto of one of America's masters of literary experiment. Here are Barthelme's thoughts on writing (his own and others); his observations on art, architecture, film, and city life; interviews, including two previously unpublished; and meditations on everything from Superman III to the art of rendering "Melancholy Baby" on jazz banjolele. This is a rich and eclectic selection...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

DB groupies will need to read the interviews

I bought the first edition, but it took ten years to dive in. The two opening essays, After Joyce, and then 20 years later, Not-Knowing, flash DB's searching and intense intelligence. They also reveal the shift in his understanding of fiction, from a very Beckettian take that each story or novel exists as an object in the world, to the later, more experienced sense that a fundamental aspect of the writer is the practice of exploring the world of sentences about characters, without knowing what will come next. The essays are mostly minor: advertising reviews from the early 1960s (more significant when one realizes that his wife at the time, Helen Moore Barthelme, was in advertising), thoughtful pamphlets about specific art shows in the 1980s, and the pieces that were once published in the New Yorker as Talk of the Town. The interviews at the end are extremely rewarding, esp the very long KPFA trialog, where DB shows his sparkling humor, as well as revealing at moments a glint from the steely anger that underlies his sharp discriminating sensibilities.

In need of Barthelme

The remaining chunks of the master's prose reconnoiterings are brought to light here. Essays, reviews, pieces written on assignment ... what amazes is how closely Barthelme's nonfiction resembles his classic short stories. If you already own "40 Stories" and "60 Stories" and still find yourself GASPING for more Barthelme air ... this is for you.
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