The Literature of Collecting & Other Essays.

WENDORF, Richard.

Published by The Boston Athenaeum and Oak Knoll Press,, (Boston and New Castle, DE):, 2008
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Title: The Literature of Collecting & Other Essays.

Publisher: The Boston Athenaeum and Oak Knoll Press,, (Boston and New Castle, DE):

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: black cloth in dust jacket.

Edition: First Edition..


octavo, 366 pp. In this new collection of essays, many published here for the first time, the author of the warmly reviewed Scholar-Librarian leads a series of further explorations into the world of books, libraries and the visual arts. In his extended title essay, Richard Wendorf provides a groundbreaking investigation of the relationship between the theoretical texts devoted to collecting and the rich fictional texts that also take collecting as their focus: not just John Fowles's The Collector, but also Susan Sontag's The Volcano Lover, Evan Connell's The Connoisseur, Tibor Fischer's The Collector Collector, Bruce Chatwin's Utz, and Ian McEwan's early short story "Solid Geometry." Wendorf shows how the critical arguments posed by Benjamin, Baudrillard, Muensterberger and others play out in these modern literary textsand how, in turn, these fictional works complicate the ways in which we think about what it means to be a collector. Wendorf devotes two chapters to library history: a bicentennial essay on the Boston Athenæum and an investigation of the origins of America's membership libraries in England and its colonies in the eighteenth century. Returning to the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, the focus of much of his scholarly work, Wendorf includes four essays, two of which provide fresh assessments of Reynolds's career, while the other two document his relationships within the blue-stocking world of Elizabeth Montagu, Hester Thrale Piozzi and his sister Frances Reynolds. And in a tour de force near the end of this volume ("Deconstructing Athena - and Me"), Wendorf writes about what it is like to serve not just as the scholarly interpreter of portraiture but as the photographic subject of it as well. Very fine. Bookseller Inventory # 18370

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