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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
On Grief and Reason

On Grief and Reason


FSG Classics

Joseph Brodsky

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Trade Paperback

On Grief and Reason collects the essays that Joseph Brodsky wrote between his reception of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and his death in January 1996. The volume includes Brodsky's Nobel lecture; essays on the condition of exile, the nature of history, the art of reading, and the notion of the poet as an inveterate Don Giovanni; his “Immodest Proposal” for the future of poetry, written when he was serving as Poet Laureate of the United States; a consideration of the poetry of Robert Frost; his searching estimations of Hardy, Horace, and Rilke; an affecting memoir of Stephen Spender; and a moving meditation on the figure of Marcus Aureilus. The essays, composed in Brodsky’s distinctive, idiomatic English, are inventive and alive.

The Nobel laureate, himself branded a “pseudo-poet in velveteen trousers” by Soviet authorities and expelled from his home country in 1972, writes boldly of the poet’s place in society: “By failing to read or listen to poets, a society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation—of the politician, or the salesman, or the charlatan—in short, to its own. It forfeits . . . its own evolutionary potential . . .” This edition, reissued on the occasion of the late author’s eightieth birthday, prompts the reader to consider Brodsky’s words with renewed contemplation of the current state of literature and the society in which we read it.

Praise for On Grief and Reason

“Brodsky has the reputation of being one of the best essayists in the English language, and it doesn't take many pages of reading this new collection to realize why. Whether he's stepping back into his own history, as he does in ('If anybody profited from the war, it was us: its children. Apart from having survived it, we were richly provided with stuff to romanticize'), or giving a commencement address, as in In Praise of Boredom, a metaphysical litany of warning and assurance to a graduating class ('Everything that displays a pattern is pregnant with boredom'), Brodsky shows an extraordinary flair for language.” —Raul Nino, Booklist -

Reviews from Goodreads

Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992. His books include Less Than One, On Grief and Reason, Selected Poems, and many others.

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Copyright Nancy Crampton

Joseph Brodsky

Read about the author at Encyclopedia Britannica

Read about the author at Poetry Foundation

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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