Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Not Afraid of the Unknown Masterpieces

I often wake thinking about books. When I woke today, I was thinking about anthologies. Frankly, I've paid them little attention. My aversion, at times, seems irrational but I think it stems from my university days: some professors assigned anthologies with excerpts--instead of the full body--of the target literature. Mind you, I've always known that they don't only contain mere excerpts of the classics. (Hence, the irrationality of it all.) They often present works of creative nonfiction, too.

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Unknown Masterpieces: Writers Rediscover Literature's Hidden Classics
Ed. Edwin Frank
NYRB Classics, 2003
ISBN: 1590170776

At any rate, I wasn't thinking of any one volume in particular this morning; I was thinking of the anthology as a category or subcategory of literature. Much to my surprise, dear reader, I found one today while surfing that I would very much like to pick up:

Here Toni Morrison celebrates a great Guinean storyteller whose novel of mystical adventure and surprising revelation transforms our image of Africa, while Susan Sontag raises the curtain on a distant summer when three of the greatest poets of the twentieth century exchanged love letters like no others. Here too John Updike analyzes the rare art of an English comic genius, Jonathan Lethem considers a hard-boiled and heartbreaking story of prison life, and Michael Cunningham uncovers the secrets of what may well be the finest short novel in modern American literature. Other contributors include such noted authors as Arthur C. Danto, Lydia Davis, Elizabeth Hardwick, Francine Prose, Luc Sante, Colm Tóibín, Eliot Weinberger, and James Wood.

It's not a new title--2003--but it's new to me.

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