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How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken [Format Kindle]

Daniel Mendelsohn
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“An elegant collection of essays. . . . Mendelsohn reveals intellectual breadth in his ability to draw on his training as a classicist to look at contemporary culture. . . . These essays richly repay the time readers spend in their company.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Brilliant. . . . Masterful. . . . Wise, funny. . . . A wonderful collection.” (Time Out New York)

“Mendelsohn takes on contemporary culture with humor and incisive analysis.” (The New York Sun)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Whether he's on Broadway or at the movies, considering a new bestseller or revisiting a literary classic, Daniel Mendelsohn's judgments over the past fifteen years have provoked and dazzled with their deep erudition, disarming emotionality, and tart wit. Now How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken reveals all at once the enormous stature of Mendelsohn's achievement and demonstrates why he is considered one of our greatest critics. Writing with a lively intelligence and arresting originality, he brings his distinctive combination of scholarly rigor and conversational ease to bear across eras, cultures, and genres, from Roman games to video games.

His interpretations of our most talked-about films—from the work of Pedro Almodóvar to Brokeback Mountain, from United 93 and World Trade Center to 300, Marie Antoinette, and The Hours—have sparked debate and changed the way we watch movies. Just as stunning and influential are his dispatches on theater and literature, from The Producers to Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, from The Lovely Bones to the works of Harold Pinter. Together these thirty brilliant and engaging essays passionately articulate the themes that have made Daniel Mendelsohn a crucial voice in today's cultural conversation: the aesthetic and indeed political dangers of imposing contemporary attitudes on the great classics; the ruinous effect of sentimentality on the national consciousness in the post-9/11 world; the vital importance of the great literature of the past for a meaningful life in the present.

How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken makes it clear that no other contemporary thinker is as engaged with as many aspects of our culture and its influences as Mendelsohn is, and no one practices the vanishing art of popular criticism with more acuity, humor, and feeling.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 501 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 482 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0061456446
  • Editeur : HarperCollins e-books; Édition : 1 (6 octobre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B001DF4GWY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°228.016 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Finesse et culture 2 septembre 2013
Format:Format Kindle
Une très belle collection d'essais critiques, concernant tous types d'oeuvres d'art (pièces de théâtres, films, livres...), où le théâtre classique grec (domaine de spécialité universitaire de l'auteur) et l'homosexualité reviennent comme des leitmotivs. La culture et l'écriture précise de Daniel Mendelsohn sont mises au service d'une pensée subtile et, qualité précieuse entre toutes, d'une grande rigueur intellectuelle. Accessoirement, ce recueil peut constituer une mine d'idées pour de futures lectures. Recommandé.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  12 commentaires
31 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very stimulating and thought-provoking read 10 octobre 2008
Par Armchair Interviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Readers of the New York Review of Books will be familiar with the writings of Daniel Mendelsohn, who has written dozens of reviews of literature, movies and theatre. How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken pulls together many of those reviews, covering everything from movies like "Kill Bill" and "The 300" to Broadway plays such as "The Glass Menagerie" and "The Producers" to books like "The Hours," "Middlesex" and new academic books on history.

Why would anyone want to read a book of old reviews? Well, Mendelsohn is perhaps the best example of how this form can be used as a launching pad for examining large subjects like war and its culpabilities, sex and homosexuality, and human nature. That Mendelsohn does all of this by invoking a lens of the great classicists - Euripides, Homer, Sophocles - is a feat of a great and pointed intelligence.

These are not just reviews, though they are that too. Mendelsohn is a critic, and a stringent and demanding one. Swayed by the opinions of neither the public nor other critics, he deftly, and with great care, strikes at the heart of faults of many books, plays and movies. Despite this, these reviews are not rants, nor are they petty or arrogant. Their power comes from the combination of Mendelsohn's intelligence with his great love of writing, movies and theatre. It is only with the greatest respect that he points out the failings, of both the works of art themselves, and of our culture.

You might expect essays that invoke Sophicles and Homer to be difficult. Another great talent of Mendelsohn is his ability to write of these classic subjects in a very conversational manner - to, in fact, draw in readers who are not familiar with the classics the way he is, to serve as a bridge between the great ideas of history and the popular culture of today.

As I read his essays, I found myself simultaneously intrigued, entertained, and educated - and interested in going back to read, and see, some of these books and movies again.

Armchair Interviews says: An educational and fascinating read.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant! 15 septembre 2009
Par T. J. Monika - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
OK, so why put this on your "must read" list? To start, Mendelsohn is a brilliant critic who writes insightfully and without condescension to author, work or audience (reader, movie-goer, etc.). Even when he utterly demolishes his subject, he never descends to snark or gratuitous sniping. Many times, I got the sense of a man exasperated with how close these artists get to creating something of real meaning/value but keep missing the target.

In his introduction, Mendelsohn explains the criteria by which he judges -

(1) Meaningful coherence of form and content;
(2) Precise employment of detail to support (1);
(3) Vigor and clarity of expression; and
(4) Seriousness of purpose (p. xv)

Quite independent of Mendelsohn, I'm happy (and perhaps a bit smug) to say my own judgments have come around to these selfsame points, even regarding the "brain candy" I may read when the "big issues" get tiresome. I find it nearly impossible to read a book anymore (or watch a movie for that matter)where the author can't write, doesn't take her job seriously, or both - even when it's "just" book #347 in Space Bimbos of the Black Sun series.

Oh, but we live in a "dark age" of culture where far too often we eschew wrestling with real tragedy for sentimentalism; melodrama; and feel-good, Lifetime movie endings. This is a common theme in many of the essays found here, from the first essay on Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones through stagings of Tennessee Williams and Euripides, reviews of Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almodovar, to Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. (Regarding the latter, Mendelsohn compares Stone's film to Aeschylus' The Persians, and makes the point that, even writing of a glorious Hellenic triumph (Marathon & Salamis), the Greek playwright chose to portray the reactions of the Persians, asking his Athenian audience "to think radically, to imagine something outside of their own experience, to situate the feelings they were having just then...in a vaster frame" (p. 452), whereas Stone's "pretty much exclusive emphasis thus far on the `good'...in these entertainments is noteworthy, because it reminds you of the unwillingness to grapple with and acknowledge the larger issues...which has characterized much of the natural response to this pivotal trauma (9/11)." (p. 451))

Mendelsohn has inspired me to try opera - a genre for which I have little liking. I don't know why. I understand neither Italian nor French but it's not like I object to subtitles - I love Hong Kong martial arts flicks. And I dated a woman who adored opera and enthralled me with her enthusiastic descriptions of the medium. Whatever the case, the author's analysis of the Met's recent staging of Lucia di Lammermoor "forced" me to check out a DVD of Joan Sutherland's version from the library, and as I write this review, listen to a CD of Ion Marin's version with Cheryl Studer and Placido Domingo. Who knows where this could lead?

And, having read Mendelsohn's reviews of Troy and Alexander - the recent "epics" based on The Iliad and the life of Alexander the Great - I was again compelled. In this case to add them to my Netflix queue if only to see how badly they failed to capture their subjects. (Mendelsohn includes his review of 300 here as well but there are limits. The trailers were stomach churning enough.)

Lastly, I'm rereading Euripides' Medea in light of Mendelsohn's review of Deborah Warner's "vulgar, loud, and uncomprehending" (p. 418) Broadway staging of the play.

At the risk of spoiling your ability to enjoy guilty pleasures like Stephanie Meyer, I strongly recommend this book to one and all.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Thoughtful Reviews and Essays 24 août 2008
Par Franklin Banks - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Great book. The reviews and essays are thoughtful and learned without pretension and what's even better you don't get those gleeful, nasty quips that critics tend to like. His criticism, when it comes, is thoughtful and right on target. Well worth your time.
6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Informed and interesting opinions on culture 23 août 2008
Par I. Sondel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Mendelsohn is a culture critic for The New York Review of Books (and author of "The Lost: a Search for Six of Six Million" and "The Elusive Embrace") and in this volume collects thirty essays on film, books, and theatre that deals mostly with gay themes. If you prefer well considered analysis over acerbic quips and bitchy bon mots, you'll revel in portraits of Wilde, Williams, Coward, Capote, Almodovar and Dale Peck, as well as opinions on "Angels in America," "The Master," "Brokeback Mountain," "The Hours," "Middlesex," "The Invention of Love," "Troy" and "Alexander." Reading these pieces is the only prrof you'll need that Mendelsohn more than deserved his George Jean nathan Prize for Drama Criticism.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insightful critiques 1 janvier 2013
Par R. Klein - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
This book contains a collection of reviews by Daniel Mendelsohn. I think he has a way of penetrating to the heart of what is being said by a story, and how the telling affects the interpretation of what is intended - so that the art is not just the underlying piece, but how it's executed.

Mendelsohn is quite adept at seeing through the obvious, and analyzing the strengths, and more often, the shortcomings of works of art on the stage, on the screen, and on the printed page. I thought his criticisms were thought provoking and insightful. They give me tools to better judge much of what I see, not ONLY in terms of what the author is saying, but also affect of the quality of production and the skill and artfulness of a director, actor, and even the substantial impact the details of set design can have on the overall interpretation of a work of art - such as a play or movie.

The book can be seen as a set of case histories that form excellent studies into how the whole is so much the sum of its parts. What I think I found most interesting was how modern culture has crept into interpretations of old stories and caused them to lose their real underlying meaning and punch. This point is best expressed in the reviews of recent Broadway revivals of plays by Tennessee Williams.

If you have an interest in art - in any form - and would like to have a some additional light thrown on the quality of the art from a skillful eye, I'd recommend this set of essays. I think you can walk away with some very useful new tools and ways of looking at not only what the author/artist had in mind, but how those on the production end either helped, or in some cases, sabotaged the underlying art work. In the end, the resulting art is much more than just what the author imagined or intended, but the combined interpretation of all involved with its being brought to life.
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