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

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6.3 X 1.2 X 9.2 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Joshua Sperling was born in New York City and grew up in California. His writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Guernica, Film Quarterly, Jump Cut and Bullett Magazine, among other publications. He received a PhD in Comparative Literature, Film and Media from Yale University and currently teaches at Oberlin College.


"This engaging intellectual biography traces Berger's creative evolution, analyzes highlights from his vast output ... and situates them within his empathetic Marxism."
--New Yorker

"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

"Across the 90 years of John Berger's life, he was by turns, and sometimes at the same time, an art critic and novelist, documentarian and screenwriter, farm laborer and historian, poet and polemicist ... Does this mass of apparent contradictions add up to anything? The trick for any would-be biographer of John Berger is to find the unity in variety. Joshua Sperling is up to the task."
--Robert Minto, Los Angeles Review of Books

"With sophistication and passion to match his subject, Sperling unfolds a chronological and thematic assessment of Berger ... [A Writer of Our Time] is a lively and astute contribution to the writing on Berger, as well as to scholarship on the last 50 years of the cultural left in general."
--Publishers Weekly

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

"Switches expertly from the political to the personal and back, mapping the highs and lows of an eventful--and sometimes turbulent--life."
--Sunday Guardian

Excellent ... Sperling writes crisply as a Berger fan without hagiography."
--Sydney Morning Herald

"Well-argued, interesting and informed."
--The Art Newspaper

"A first-order intellectual biography of John Berger ... Sperling explores the context of Berger's development with reference to the rapidly evolving social and political climate."
--Choice ("Editor's Picks")