Penchants and Places: Essays and Criticism

Brad Leithauser, Author Alfred A. Knopf $25 (289p) ISBN 978-0-679-42998-2
Novelist/poet Leithauser begins this motley collection of reviews and essays with a report on computer chess, which inspired his novel Hence. Next he links two modern writers--H.G. Wells and Italo Calvino--whose works are infused with a passion for the mathematical. Another piece identifies parallels in the lives and breakthroughs of Danish physicist Niels Bohr, German quantum mechanics pioneer Werner Heisenberg and Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Leithauser suggestively surveys ghost stories as vehicles for notions of justice, subversive attitudes toward established religion, and guilt-laden homosexuality. He provides a road map to Thomas Pynchon's novel Vineland; celebrates Independent People, Icelandic laureate Halldor Laxness's epic novel; and incisively comments on works by Salman Rushdie, Lafcadio Hearn, Kobo Abe, Flannery O'Connor. His travelogues palpably evoke daily life in Iceland and Japan. Originally published in the ew Yrksr ard gls ehere the e poece srevialtLeithauser ss a nessaysst of pwie anterest and bunan n infsghts (Mebr)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1995
Release date: 02/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-32757-9
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