Suppose a Sentence

Brian Dillon (Author)
Pre-Order   Ships Feb 09, 2021

Description

Suppose a Sentence is a critical and personal reflection on the art of the sentence in literature, widely conceived. It is both an experiment in the attentive form of the essay - asking what happens, and where one might wander, when as readers and writers we pay minute attention to the language before us - and a polemic for certain kinds of experiment in prose. In a series of essays, each taking a single sentence as its starting point, the book explores style, voice and context. But it also uses its subjects - from George Eliot to Joan Didion, John Donne to Annie Dillard - to ask what the sentence is today and what it might become next.

Product Details

Price
$15.95  $14.67
Publisher
Fitzcarraldo Editions
Publish Date
February 09, 2021
Pages
150
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781913097011

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About the Author

Brian Dillon was born in Dublin in 1969. His books include Essayism, In the Dark Room, The Great Explosion (shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize), Objects in This Mirror: Essays, I Am Sitting in a Room, Sanctuary, and Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize). His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, frieze and Artforum. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches at the Royal College of Art, London.

Reviews

PRAISE FOR ESSAYISM: '[A] wonderful, subtle and deceptively fragmentary little book ... enjoyably roundabout and light-fingered ... To borrow from one of Barthes's titles, this is a lover's discourse, the love object being writing, not only in the essay but in all its forms. It is also a testament to the consolatory, even the healing, powers of art. And at the last, in its consciously diffident fashion - Dillon is a literary flaneur in the tradition of Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin - it is its own kind of self-made masterpiece.'
-- John Banville, Irish Times

'It's short, digressive, teasing, dilettantish, circular, and it reads like some delicate, wandering combination of Roland Barthes's Camera Lucida and E. M. Cioran's longer aphorisms. ... As [Dillon] examines his examples of essayism, and steadily reveals more of himself, so his own work joins those cherished selections, enacting in sentence after fine sentence the theory it modestly abjured.'
--James Wood, New Yorker

'It is somewhat unseemly for a critic to confess that their immediate reaction to a book is one of unremitting envy. But Brian Dillon's study of the essay is so careful and precise in its reading of a constellation of authors - Derrida and Barthes, Didion and Sontag, Browne and Burton, Woolf and Carlos Williams, Cioran and Perec - that my overall feeling was jealousy. ... A remarkable meditation on memory ... above all he claims to admire style, and he is exceptionally good at defining the styles he likes. ... His account of depression is reflected in thinking about the essay. Is it something composed of fragments and shards? Is it a coolly organised progression? Is it about confession? Is it about concealment? The book's excellence lies in the way these paradoxes are held suspended. ... The book, ultimately, is about how literature can make a difference. It is a beautiful and elegiac volume. I can give no greater compliment than to say that having read it, I re-read it.'
-- Stuart Kelly, New Statesman

'[W]ritten in lucid, exacting and unsentimental prose, Essayism is a vital book for people who turn to art - and especially writing - for consolation.'
-- Lauren Elkin, Guardian

'Brian Dillon could easily have written another book about the essay - its hallmarks, history, current role in literary turf wars, etc. What a relief, then, to find his Essayism navigating away, in its opening pages, from such a project, and turning instead toward this surprising, probing, edifying, itinerant, and eventually quite moving book, which serves as both an autobiographia literaria and a vital exemplar of how deeply literature and language can matter in a life.'
-- Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts