A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger

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9781786637420: A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger
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The first intellectual biography of the life and work of John Berger
John Berger was one of the most influential thinkers and writers of postwar Europe. As a novelist, he won the Booker Prize in 1972, donating half his prize money to the Black Panthers; as a TV presenter he changed the way we looked at art in Ways of Seeing; as a storyteller and political activist he defended the rights and dignity of workers, migrants and the oppressed around the world. In 1953 he wrote: 'Far from dragging politics into art, art has dragged me into politics.' He remained a revolutionary up to his death in January, 2017.
In A Writer of Our Time, Joshua Sperling places Berger's life and works within the historical narrative of postwar Britain and beyond. The book also explores, through the work, the larger questions that vexed a generation: the purpose of art, the nature of creative freedom, the meaning of commitment. Drawing on extensive interviews, close readings and a wealth of archival sources only recently made available, the book brings the many different faces of John Berger together and shows him as one of the most vital, and brilliant, thinkers and storytellers of our time.

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Review:

'A welcome intervention that does justice to the legacy of Berger's thought and work which has been criminally underappreciated in Britain.'
- Morning Star

'The remarkable John Berger has gotten the thoughtful, sensitive study he deserves. Joshua Sperling is at ease in every aspect of this extraordinarily multifaceted writer's life: his art criticism, his fiction, his passionate political commitment, his immersion in the lives of Alpine villagers, and more. Lovers of Berger's work will find a rich array of background here, and those who don't yet know Berger will, I hope, be inspired to read him.'
- Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

'The author of G., A Seventh Man and Ways of Seeing was of course a lifelong controversialist and revolutionary. But, ultimately, he was a man 'defined less by what he was against than by what he loved.' Occasionally critical, always passionate, Joshua Sperling's study of John Berger is as observant, rigorous, profound and as surprisingly entertaining as its subject.'
- David Edgar, author of Written on the Heart

'Berger's talent for 'seeing all sides' of a thing, his incredible floating perspective, would have been worth less had he not used it to choose the right side.' --
- Sarah Nicole Prickett, Bookforum
This engaging intellectual biography traces Berger's creative evolution, analyzes highlights from his vast output ... and situates them within his empathetic Marxism. --The New Yorker

About the Author:

Joshua Sperling has written on film, art and culture for a range of publications including Brooklyn Rail, Guernica, Senses of Cinema, Film Quarterly, Jump Cut, Asymptote, Film Criticism, French Forum, and Bullett Magazine. He received a dual Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Film & Media Studies from Yale University; his dissertation on John Berger was awarded special distinction. He also holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Brooklyn College and is currently a visiting professor of Cinema Studies at Oberlin College.

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