D. J. ENRIGHT
Title: Fields of Vision: Essays on Literature, Language, and Television
Book Condition: Used - Like New
Jacket Condition: Very Good
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA February 1989
019212269X / 9780192122698
Seller ID: 113977
Basically a new copy, internally like new with no cover wear. Jacket shows rubbing and fading.
An Eighth Day View:
D.J. Enright, eminent poet and critic, also cited by The New York Times as "an admirable reviewer and anthologist," has here collected a broad range of cultural essays covering the subjects literature, language, and television. Though a native of England, Enright has traveled extensively and taught in such places as Egypt, Japan, Germany, and Singapore (where he lived for 10 years). His sensibility is certainly a multi-cultural one, as is evident in his references to The Phil Donohue Show, Don DeLillo's White Noise, and other signposts of the American cultural landscape.
Fields of Vision begins with a series of perceptive, analytic essays on the successes and failures of television, and the impact it has had on our lives. What distinguishes these from other such essays is the by now characteristic wit Enright brings to his writing. "The trouble with soap opera," he writes, "is that once it is on to a good thing, it can't get off it." And of talk shows ("chat shows") he predicts, "It is they who will finally kill off the so-called art of conversation." In "Copulation Explosion," on what he considers the over-abundance of sex on television, he offers, " Sex] can be explored, fully or otherwise, in the doing, not in the viewing."
The second section, on literature, focuses on works that do not lend themselves to screen adaptation, and to writers such as G nter Grass, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Czeslaw Milosz who depict worlds still inhabited by "wonder, and the fear and dread and splendour and freedom of wonder." Here, in reviews and essays, Enright explores the literary contribution of some of the major writers of our time, as well as their preoccupations, the nature of writing, and the future of literature.
Enright's essays on language center on language as a living thing, with notes on usage, etymologies, and misappropriations. In "Vulgar Tongues," for instance, he observes, with Jacques Barzun, that "the word 'literate' once denoted the ability to read and write, whereas nowadays reviewers praise authors for being literate as if it were an extraordinary state of affairs." Further, he cites Barzun's opinion that "this shift is the result of the prevalence of bad prose and (more cheeringly) of a new worry about the state of the language."
Broad-ranging, perceptive, and often entertaining, these essays are the work of one of our most trenchant literary critics. They will in turn delight and inform readers interested in linguistics, literature, and media studies, as well as those who simply read books and watch television.