Selected Prose, 1965-2003
Author: Richard Howard
Richard Howard has been writing stylish, deeply informed commentary on modern culture and literature for more than four decades. Here is a selection of his finest essays, including some never before published in book form, on a splendid range of subjects--from American poets like Emily Dickinson and Marianne Moore to French artists such as Rodin and Michel Delacroix. Also included are considerations of modern sculpture and of the photography of the human body. Howard's intense familiarity with modern poetry is seen to excellent effect in essays on the "poetry of forgetting," on the causes and effects of experimental poetry, and on the first books of poets whose work he helped introduce--among them, J. D. McClatchy, Frank Bidart, and Cynthia MacDonald. Of course, Howard brings to his consideration of French literature a rare wisdom drawn from his celebrated work as a translator of Stendhal and Gide, Barthes and Cocteau, Yourcenar and Gracq.
Hilton Kramer once wrote that Richard Howard "performs the essential critical service. He shows us the extent of the terrain. He points out its essential features. And he gives us a very vivid sense of its ethos as well as of its esthetics." Howard, now in his seventy-fifth year, continues his adroit, inventive commentary, which enriches us all.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In The News
“Howard, with a text, is like the boyfriend everyone wants: he sees you for who you really are, and still loves you. His sympathy, like his culture, is immense. At the same time, because of his Stradivarian attunement to language (no surprise in a distinguished poet and translator), he sees what is actually there, the words, and from them alone extracts the meaning. His own use of language is an added gift: high, mandarin, but with pauses and dashes and side thoughts--the movements of a happy mind.” —Joan Acocella, author of Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism
“[Howard brings] a vocabulary of praise far larger, less inhibited, and more illuminating than any we have had from a critic of contemporary poetry.” —Hilton Kramer, The New Republic