The value of a book, or a work of art, lies in its provocation.
On a rotating stand marked: “Perennial Favorites,” (at Pendragon Books in Oakland, California) the reviewer turns to the book Art [Objects] by Jeanette Winterson. (See: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Objects-Essays-Ecstasy-Effrontery/dp/0679768203)
The reviewer goes into a bookstore by ritual and listens with an intent-intuitive eye and surveys the many texts and one always hits him as important. He begins to analyze why. First, its cover, hard, with a semitransparent sheath and lettering, its smallness in his hands, the fact it is about art, a series of essays against the novels he’s been reading, find him welcoming the possibility. He is often hesitant knowing the implication of taking on the responsibility of reading it and attending to the truth about its message in the context of “the deep understanding of life that people ignore.” This is Tolstoy’s bent on the purpose of art.
Second, Winterson’s other texts, like Sexing the Cherry or Written on the Body come highly recommended.
Third, the reviewer feels it is time to try and finish another book, like that of the former Pulitzer prize-winning reviewer of architecture for The San Francisco Chronicle, Allen Temko, whose book No Way To Build A Ballpark was like Winterson’s, in that it had the semitransparent sheath and opinions of essays, which in the case of Temko were redundant and less and less interesting as the pages turned. Truth is a delicate thing. It borders on karma, attention, and knowledge. The reviewer begins the journey with only the probable intuition that it is time he met Ms. Winterson.
By definition, the title Art [Objects] implies the insertion of “Objects” by Winterson to clarify the subject of “Art.” Her “Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery” deal with forms of bliss and audacity, perhaps.
Without turning a page, the reviewer ponders.
Oddly, after the thank yous, Winterson introduces an argument: “If truth is that which lasts, then art…prove[s] truer than any…endeavour. …certain[ly]…pictures and poetry…are not marks in time but…through time…[are] living…[and] exuberantly, untired.” It seems she is interested in truth also. She defines art as truth given its lasting quality. That quality is a living exuberance. She is telling us that art is a positive thing.
Stopped by a painting, Winterson, tells of a canvas with “Renaissance beauty,” but that which also possessed a “modernity.” It was a picture of “a haunted woman in [a] blue robe pulling a huge moon face through a subterranean waterway.” Already, the reviewer imagines a “moon face” pulled by a woman and he cannot get beyond the image, how it might not have stopped him “in Amsterdam one snowy Christmas.” He conceded to the fact of individual tastes long ago or at least to the strength of arguments to convince him of the validity of art works. Having taken studio art courses, the reviewer remembers the eloquence of an idea about works of art. Often there were things he couldn’t possibly have picked out about a work that another elaborated. That was the value of experience in assessing a work of art. Still, he questions the symbol of a moon face. Perhaps in the manner of a Magritte painting, the moon face might have cathartic value. Perhaps in the context of “the quality of the draughtsmanship, the brushstrokes in thin oils,” this painting had artistic merit. Still, the reviewer questions the thousand words that might come from it. Were they worth repeating?
Winterson found consolation in a bookstore as the painting caused her heart to flood away. There, at least, she “knew” books despite their profound power over her. She admitted to not having an interest in the “visual arts.” There she knew nothing and got little from the realm. Then she “had fallen in love and…had no language.” She argues the position of one of the reviewer’s photography professors, who at the time said regarding his assertion, that all people could understand art, that this was not true. The professor said art was sophisticated and all individuals were not endowed an inherent understanding. The reviewer argued that he could describe what the artist was telling him or anyone because of the contents, which could be defined in terms of the English language, drawn from a number of “words” strung into sentences, paragraphs and stories. The world of art can be communicated, he said. In fact, the reviewer gave a talk on “The Definitive Analysis of Photography,” wherein he “read” photographs as if they were articles.
Winterson said the painting’s image represented a foreign country, wherein she could not communicate. She said, “Only a boor would ignore [its customs and language] and blame his defaulting on the place.” She said, “We deceive ourselves when we think [art is] familiar.” The reviewer wondered whether he is deceived or whether he has an insight into the meaning of art and thus his inherent understanding or at least communicative talents separate him.
If the reader can understand Winterson’s response to a work of art, and perhaps a shared difficulty in describing just what it is that makes something beautiful, then Winterson’s argument for the language of art as “not our mother-tongue” forgets that we can describe what we see, perhaps standing side-by-side before a work of art, and freely associating a position that the other person can understand. Here is where the reviewer disagrees with Winterson. For the reviewer, the language of art was the language of the observer responding to the artist’s communication. It’s that old statement: If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it does it make a sound? According to Tolstoy, art is the deep understanding of life that people ignore. Perhaps Winterson was merely ignoring art and was enlightened through the attention she paid.
She said also that art was “Odd, and the common method of trying to fit it into the scheme of things…cannot succeed.” The reviewer wondered. For him, art was reality. It spoke of the important things, about the depth of the human condition, about balance and character, about subtleties of right and wrong. It proved that there were things one had to do to make a composition work. Art is a perfect metaphor for life, the reviewer realized. Life is a lesson, not a playground.
Winterson does an amazing thing by picking one or two paintings in a museum and spends the afternoon with them. The reviewer remembers reviewing entire shows with abbreviated results. Still, at times, he remembers needing only to say a few things and then that was it. There was always, it seemed, something the reviewer brought with him, an internal-having-experienced-the-external context, a projection that he used to describe the images in a museum or show.
The reviewer is delighted with Winterson’s pact with a painting. She said, “Supposing we…agreed to sit…and look at it, on our own…for one hour.” She asks standard questions, however, that are not necessarily her own and the reviewer wonders. Questions, like, “Is it a landscape…is it a nude” are obvious and unnecessary. The first question, however, about what the painting is about is the essence of an observation.
Winterson relates the work to herself, which the reviewer advocates. Still, she expects something more from the painting – that it “admire” her. After all, she said, “Admire me is the sub-text of so much of our looking; the demand put on art that it should reflect the reality of the viewer.” What the viewer admits in his view of art is that he brings something to the assessment. Perhaps, Winterson is correct in suggesting the observer leave his response at home. A good example of how this debate manifests itself is seen in the differences between a review by Michael Tortorello of the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (See: Hungry Mind Review) and a review of the same but by this reviewer (See: Ed’s Internet Book Review). Tortorello’s review relates the character and style of Wallace’s text without the noise of himself in the review. This reviewer however starts his review of Infinite Jest with an unsubstantiated assertion as to the character of the author as seen through his prose, which is a reviewing faux pas because the writer could purposely effect a personae. Tortorello reiterates the look and feel of Infinite Jest, while this reviewer dabbles in a number of “I remember the time…”
In a mere seven pages, Winterson has made this reviewer think about every line. Whether the reviewer agrees or not, she has taken him into the most delicate ache of philosophical contemplation and brought him to intellectual joy. He craves every line and loves holding her…this, her mind and they share the genre of Art [Objects].
Perhaps reviewer and book writer have come full circle when Winterson said in close paraphrase of Tolstoy: “If art, all art, is concerned with truth, then a society in denial will not find much use for it.”
Still, in the next line she said, “In the West, we avoid painful encounters with art by…familiarizing it.” Yet, how else do we feel art unless we relate it? How do we know of its lessons – it is the mirror to our souls – if we do not see it as a parable? We love Cezanne’s and Hockney’s work; we cannot help but love them. No one ruins the artist, as Winterson relates, no one makes it difficult for them.
The reviewer agrees with her when she said “true artists, major or minor,” are connected with the past and future. He does not agree with her: “The true artist studies the past,” except that perhaps she clarifies her “studies” as “interest…in the…process…the problem.” She is correct in saying: “Our job is to keep our receiving equipment in good working order.”
The reviewer senses without substantiation that Winterson sees herself, if not consciously then perhaps subconsciously as an artist. She pleads for our understanding and support. We hold her book in our hands and say we do, we have, “We love you.”
We are with Winterson at every line, floating on the air of the artist’s whirlwind, which is to say we are light with philosophical wandering, we step into the inner world of hopes and dreams.
As Winterson relates to “the plain confused” or to an “arrogance of the audience,” we know to what she refers. We have been there, we have ached to be set free from our ignorance, our inadequacy, we have traveled the museum hallways and wanted to run outside yelling: “Enough!” The ambiance is heavy. Few can take it. The artworks are like long, long books or windows into complex dioramas. Everyone knows his limits.
The reviewer both takes exception and agrees with the note that “The media ransacks the arts, in its little tunes and journalist’s jargon,” for example, and smiles because Winterson is more “the media” than most of us who read her.
Winterson said, “To profess a love of painting and not have anything original is as peculiar as a booklover with nothing on her shelves.” This is too easy. She forgets the difference in cost between the genre. We understand her attempt at persuasion.
After 18 pages – the first essay – we have taken a journey and maybe longer than the hour standing before a painting. Winterson is the provocateur of our thoughts on the realm of art and there we have been touched by the art of writing.
Winterson’s second essay Writer, Reader, Words is introduced with an italicized statement: “The writer is an instrument of transformation.”
The writer is an instrument, not a violin. The reviewer does not mean to be smug. He seeks to feel the full effect of her command of the language and depth of her idea. The writer is an instrument – a tool to transform – “to change the nature, function, or condition of; convert.” The reviewer waits. He enjoys the beauty of Winterson’s thoughts – simple, simple beauty of words and ideas.
She reminds the reviewer with her: “How will the artist support herself if she has no private funds?” (page 34), which sounds so much like the statements in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. See page 4, in A Room…, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Winterson is less concerned with the differences in gender than Woolf and rightly so. Woolf inspired the reviewer to write in her pages a response to the statement: “Every penny I earn, they may have said, will be taken from me and disposed of according to my husband’s wisdom.” The reviewer wrote: “Leaving it up to a man, how pitiful, not developing a mind of one’s own, at least attempting some control of one’s life. At least, utter these truths and by virtue of their appointed sounds you might hear them trickle differently upon your ears, whatever you are, whatever those voices, they must be heard and attended to like life’s devices and the winding of the clock; as time is ticking so are your aspirations, like aborted hopes still and bloodied by neglect.” And because of her statement: “Women do not write books about men,” the reviewer pitied Woolf, who was preoccupied with the need to be taken care of.
Winterson, on the other hand, simply acknowledges the equality of great writers and readers as having a connection – a “love of language.” Winterson “can only offer what she has ever offered; an exceptional sensibility combined with an exceptional control over words.” Winterson knew the sacrifice of this work with words. “Writers [not defined as male or female],” she said, “are fighters, they have to be…” Winterson never mentions the need of a place to write. She is too smart for that. It is all about words. Even Woolf states plainly in the end, “that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women…”
Winterson said, “A true writer will create a separate reality and her atoms and her gases are words.”
“Testimony Against Gertrude Stein” is Winterson’s third essay. It interests the reviewer because Gertrude Stein wrote an autobiography, which according to Winterson tried to achieve “a different kind of reality.” Winterson equates biography with portrait and autobiography with self-portrait.
Although, Winterson is revealing the absurdity of the testimony weighed against Stein, the reviewer is drawn to her explanation of Stein’s work in that “Modernism fights against the fixity of form, not to invite an easy chaos but to rebuild new possibilities.” The reviewer wrote a failed autobiography because it proved no one wants to read about real life. Real life is filled with down time, with things mediocre. It plods on with space between major events, which are at times the silent culmination of transition. Winterson is concerned with protecting and advocating Stein’s method of autobiography, which is to “take a genre and smash it.”
She forgets that an autobiography is an account of a person’s life written by that person. How boring, the reviewer knows, but who else fathoms that person as well and wouldn’t the writing reveal the personality of the writer? Still, the reviewer is concerned with this issue of autobiography because, for him the act of describing reality as he recognized it, is a difficult process and certainly undeserving of smashing. The reviewer, frankly, wanted to apprehend the “stream of consciousness,” as an autobiographical element, as opposed to a mere accounting. The stream of consciousness is the still, small voice. It is to speak what is important.
No matter how Winterson gets there, she sets the reviewer at ease with “Against daily insignificance art recalls to us possible sublimity. It cannot do this if it is merely a reflection of actual life.” The reviewer thought he could touch his audience with real life. Apparently, “Our real lives are elsewhere. Art finds them.” Perhaps this is where the realist and romantic can agree or at least come to terms with the deep satisfaction they both get when, with sense of humor, the realist laughs into his mirror and the romantic succeeds with parable.
Winterson asked: “Instead of art aspiring toward lifelikeness what if life aspires towards art, towards a creative, controlled focus of freedom, outside the tyranny of matter?” She said, “We have to be careful not to live in a state of constant self-censorship, where whatever conflicts with our world-view is dismissed or diluted until it ceases to be a bother.” The realist is traveling the same avenue. He wants us to reevaluate the seeming innocence of the cast, to see the subtext, to see that it is not just a view but a message.
As the reviewer watched the movie The Crucible, for example, he remembered with awkwardness that an inattention to love (truth) was to lie. It is the great tragedy of our times, of all times. In every facet of our lives, we have failed when we haven’t gone with what our hearts told us. Love is complicated. In The Crucible it turned out to be the gentleness of Daniel Day Lewis and his wife. What of the passion between Lewis and Ryder? The reviewer knows he misunderstands the evil of Ryder, but in terms of letting ourselves respond to…[art, the reviewer was] clearing a space where new stories [could] root…” He was edgy when he left the theater.
The reviewer appreciates Winterson. “It may be that to understand ourselves as fictions,” she said, “is to understand ourselves as fully as we can.”
In Winterson’s fourth essay, “A Gift Of Wings,” Winterson turns to the debate of women and their harnesses. What fools they are, the reviewer writes. Who knows of life and oneself, Winterson should know by her advice, that no one harnesses another in the sense that they cannot rise up and employ themselves, to practice always that sacrifice that knows life is down and dirty, and almost no one is ever pleased with blows to their complacency. For truth hurts. It is wise. The reviewer knows also that about that which we complain is about which we are guilty.
No one “pretends that God, Nature or the genepool designed [women] lame,” as Winterson suggested. Perhaps, as this reviewer has been known to consider, he cannot understand why a woman would want to have a child. There is nothing more that he would question of a woman’s right. He acknowledges that that need is valid and if he were in part responsible for such a birth, he would follow through and play the role of father. Perhaps there is a social pressure instilled by a “world run by men” that their inherent desires are made manifest, if not consciously than unconsciously. Just as easily, in a society of gentlemen, which should be the case, and should be fought for, women’s rights are equal to that of men’s. Still, do not be deceived, for there have always been women just as there have always been men. Why, the reviewer asks, do women complain at this late date? Learn what men already know that life is as simple as a series of decisions toward a point. There is no one to blame but oneself, for in the end it is only a question of direction and action with constant reminders along the way (as to how far one has gone). Comparisons are always wrong. Why would a woman compare herself to a man? The journey, as someone once said, is no one’s but the person walking. They can slow down if need be and let the world pass. We are not here for any purpose than what we, as individuals, know.
Woolf was not valid when she mentioned “a measure of economic independence, some privacy, some security, freedom to travel alone, freedom from domestic interruption, and a proper education, would release and redirect a woman’s creativity.” On all these counts, a man is just as wishful. No one can guarantee, even the least of these: The “freedom to travel alone.” It was a friend who said a friend of a friend, a male, traveled into Thailand with his camera and was later found dead. When ambitions clash, the stronger usually wins.
We do applaud those women, Winterson, who like men like them “have been setting themselves apart for centuries.” There is joy, even as the reviewer may criticize Winterson because he recognizes the eloquence and the truth of blame.
The reviewer is glad Winterson returns to the words of Woolf, for here is the argument, and the reviewer concurs that Woolf was a “great writer.” Like Woolf and Stein, according to Winterson, however, they may have “perfectly understood the problem;” they were no geniuses of a kind Woolf refers to Shakespeare as “androgynous.” They do not possess, with these arguments as example, “the androgynous mind [that] is resonant and porous; that it transmits emotion without impediment; that it is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided…the fully developed mind,” Woolf said, “[is] that it does not think especially or separately of sex.” “Why don’t they practice what they preach?” the reviewer questions of Winterson and Woolf when they get to ranting?
Winterson knows “lesser writers,” who with “watery impressionism” cannot “draw the world out, [by] breaking the air with colour and the beat of life.” Or with “the under footman,” Winterson is admitting to a hierarchy of “better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” These are dispositions associated with humans.
Winterson assumes that art is gender-biased, that it is burdened by the vehicle, that Picasso is a household name and Woolf is merely a “screen queen.” For the reviewer, Woolf has always been the greater icon because she has helped hone his writing and Picasso told him, not in so many words, what he shouldn’t make, for fear of copying.
While admitting to the power of art, Winterson assumes that we allow the battering of the media. She forgets that she is the media and in her homeopathic ways, we are reminded of the healing capacity of art. Discretion, even of the philosophical voice-overs must be maintained; while the heart tells of subtle disagreements with assertions, we “have a chance…to discover the true meaning of authority…[which is not] being critical or judgmental… [it is] without haughtiness or cruelty… [To] learn to feel secure within [one]self…and change [from] being an authority to being authentic.” (See: Ralfee Finn’s Cancer astrology for the week of January 3-9, 1997 in The East Bay Express (a San Francisco Area, USA) weekly. Finn advises a week later that to become spiritual leaders we must focus on manifesting our vision by being true to ourselves and recognizing how far we’ve come.)
Winterson’s passage from Woolf’s Orlando (page 67) reveals that Woolf knew the motivations of most men. They were often truthful and valiant or they grew angry that they could be blamed for thinking anything less than to have and to hold, to love and to cherish…when they called on a woman.
Winterson said of D. H. Lawrence that he “could never resist” complaining, or like a woman, who resent[s] the treatment of her sex and plead[s] for its rights.” He was a “working man…who for some reason is conscious of a disability.” There were exceptions, as Winterson showed through a passage by Woolf that, “The genius of Jane Austen and Emily Bronte [for example] is never more convincing than in their power to ignore such claims…” The reviewer concludes that one must not complain to be a great writer but to speak in metaphor, to rise above the petty squabble of one’s place against hope. Winterson said: “Control over…material means control over more than ideas and passions…”
In Winterson’s fifth essay, “A Veil Of Words,” she seeks an answer to the question: “What is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing?” In language, for example, is one’s communication getting through as intended? “Communication,” Winterson said, “depends on more than words.”
“For [the] poet,” Winterson said, “a word carries…an abundance of meanings.” A poet uses words to “accommodate him…inevitably their innovations become the stock of language.” She relates to the need of a poet to avoid the development and practice of a “wholly private language,” which is what Milton and James Joyce erected.
Brilliantly, Winterson explores Woolf’s motivations for stating of Joyce’s Ulysses that “‘a great work of art should not be boring'”. Winterson thought Woolf said this because of “the schoolboy scrum of codes and jokes and back-handers, at once self-advertising and self-obscuring.”
Fascinating is Winterson’s advocacy of Woolf’s book The Waves because in so doing, she exemplifies the need for one not to “play a piece of music at twice the speed of the score…[but] to get used to the writer’s rhythm, to move with a writer’s own beat… A real book needs real time.”
Here, Winterson addresses us with regard to the pace of reading: “Reviewers, who can never waste more than an hour with a book, are the most to blame. Journalism encourages haste; haste in the writer, haste in the reader, and haste is the enemy of art.”
In perhaps her most important line, Winterson reveals a secret for writers: “Exactness allows intimacy.” If this isn’t enough to shut our mouths even for a moment and wait for the perfect words on a date, for example, then I don’t know what will. She calls it a harmony of form. The reviewer calls it a clarification of the moment, the great drawing in and synthesis, the edification, the verisimilitude, the sigh of good taste and discipline made manifest.
Above all, the reviewer must state that Winterson’s collection of essays is as she speaks of Woolf’s The Waves: “It never tires and it never fades.”
In Winterson’s seventh essay, “Imagination And Reality,” she returns to the issue of art being “much more than the daily life of you and me…the original role of the artist [is] visionary. Perhaps, as the reviewer has concentrated for so long on the difficulty of the mere capture of daily life, he forgets that as Winterson stated earlier: “Art must resist autobiography if it hopes to cross boundaries…” Further clarification reveals that she believes that the writer “must not fall into the trap of believing that…passion, of itself, is art.”
“All art,” Winterson said, “including literature, is much more that its subject matter.”
Still, the reviewer is not lost. “Art is visionary…” Winterson said. “It sees beyond the view from the window… The artist…consider[s] reality multiple and complex.”
Winterson finalizes her condemnation of something the reviewer might have written when she said: “Art is not documentary,” no matter his argument that what he wrote sought to reveal the depth and complexity of real life. Perhaps, to save himself, the reviewer is again consoled by the possibility of his work opening readers to the “dimensions of the spirit and of the self that normally lie smothered under the weight of living.”
The reviewer is pummeled by Winterson’s reference to “People who claim to like pictures and books [by responding only] to those pictures and books in which they can clearly find themselves. This is ego masquerading as taste.” Remembering, for example, a page in the Express, (January 17, 1997, p. 43) the reviewer responded vehemently to a picture called by the paper as representing a “Benchmark” photographic exhibition. Coincidentally, the gallery hosting the work of Alan Blaustein was about a block away from his apartment. He collected his portfolio immediately, stormed down to the gallery with one shoelace broken, quickly surveyed the work, asked how he could “get in here,” and when he was told the earliest was 1999, he huffed that he was better, presented his card and left. The reviewer drafted the following and sent it to the Express:
As if his works were a ship, I could sink him with my own. That you would “benchmark” a series of plain images with merits only of hand coloring, filed negative-carrier manipulation, and places in France, for example, relates to a bleeding heart for exotica depicted in snap shots. It is as if you couldn’t tell the difference between mere documentary and art, which bleeds with metaphor and varying levels of meaning. I am sorry to say my colleague has done nothing graceful with the medium, except to go someplace we wish we could afford and plant his tripod (perhaps he held the camera) and point and shoot. Thoughtless depiction, you, of the “Benchmark” image, for, there were little momentos that transcended place because they were carefully arranged within their frames. It is these little voices of Alan Blaustein’s on view at the Christen Heller Gallery that will take you along a cathartic tour of yourself. As you stand there in love with the prudent compositions, the balance and harmony of form in some of the little frames, you will understand an aesthetic consciousness that seems to govern France. Thus, the transcendence as you will note, is that you take your eyes off the images, in the case of some of the little ones, and you are thinking now of beauty-truth (ah, the paradox), not as with the larger ones, where you question the noise of his coloring or filed negative carrier results, which aren’t bad employments in and of themselves. It is just that they have to add not detract from the total effervescent journey. There is power in the place (France), in the place (Oakland) – in context – that conjures yearning for the eloquence of the idea of the artist’s eye that transmits the beauty, as he sees it, which is a discretionary beauty.
The reviewer thought he was “recognizing the worth of a thing…[rather than merely] recognizing its worth to [him].” He thought he knew from portfolio reviews as a student and the constant comparisons with other “lesser” images that he was bringing wisdom to his stomping to the gallery and stomping back. Still, as the reviewer questions his motivations and sanity, he feels the condemnation apt. He would do it again and argue the validity of his points.
Winterson said, “The act of writing…is an evolution… The unrolling of the secret scroll, the thing suspected but not realized until present.” Perhaps the reviewer realizes as he sits in a room filled with light that “The writer has to have ready the accumulation of what [he] is… The working together of writer and word is a process more confident and more obvious the more the writer learns to trust what it is [he] does…
“To live for art…is to live a life of questioning,” Winterson said. Whereas the reviewer, caught as a waiter and disappointed with what life offers, decides to make “choices that allow [him] to go on working at maximum output and with utmost concentration.” Uncertain as to what that may mean, he waits for Winterson to continue. Luckily, Winterson said she was born to a certain lack of conveniences and she is attracted to a simple fire that she sets ablaze when cold.
The reviewer sits in an apartment – not grand, but similar to places he originated in, and which is within his means. The gas heater there is adequate to fill the room with what has been 30-degree weather. He too goes to movies, not the Opera, and the local shops. He will follow the advice of Winterson, who advises through a quote by Woolf from A Room Of One’s Own that: “If we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think…if we face the fact…that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and…that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.”
The reviewer, like Trollope, accordingly can be blamed for the previous insertion (about his works as a ship) since they too prove an “accumulation of detail for its own sake.” But, he does love words, this reviewer, and he seeks an exactness in his statements. He just cannot tell stories.
Winterson said of new writers that they come not with miracles. The reviewer would hope that he possesses “a high degree of technical ability and a distinctive note which has nothing to do with subject matter.” On the issue of discipline, with the insertion as example, he knows when he should not, but he does anyway.
Winterson said of T. S. Eliot that he admired “a sensibility that could absorb awkward ‘unpoetic’ material and render it through fresh images into emotional experience. To do that demands a concentration away from Self, an impersonality that allows other realities to find a voice that is more than reported speech… The space that art creates is space outside of a relentless self, a meditation that gives both release and energy.”
Winterson has written in Art [Objects] a provocation that stands before us as a mirror, for those of us who write, who wannabe, she tells a story of “Style; sensibility and technique distinctively brought together, [to] free the writer from the weight of [his] own personality, [which] gives to her an incandescence of personality, so that…[he] can express…more than, other than, what [he] is.” – Mario Savioni, all rights reserved, less content provided by Jeanette Winterson. First created by Mario Savioni, April 15, 2002.