Guy Davenport (1927-2005), an American writer of fiction, poetry, criticism, and essays, a translator, painter, intellectual, and teacher, brought a breadth and depth of knowledge to his pursuits that few other writers could approach, let alone appraise. In Andre Furlani, this twentieth-century American master has finally found an apt critical reader. In this first sustained critical study of Davenport, Furlani elucidates the depths of Davenport's fiction and its poetic precedents, brings a rare understanding to the author's reworking of twentieth-century literature and intellectual history, and offers unusual insight into his compositional technique.
Furlani explores key themes across the spectrum of Davenport's fiction: pastoral utopia; twentieth-century dystopia; sexual ethics; the mythologizing of childhood; the inseparability of the archaic and the modern; and a celebration of the union ofsophia, eros, and poesia. Whether Davenport's view of art and the cosmos should be called "postmodern" is a question that Furlani considers closely--offering, finally, a new aesthetic for this American original who, in these pages, at last receives the thorough and meticulous attention he has long merited.