Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints by Joan Acocella

Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints

From one of our most admired cultural critics ("A marvelous, canny writer"--Terry Castle, "London Review of Books"), thirty-one essays on some of the most influential artists of our time--writers, dancers, choreographers, sculptors--and two saints of all time, Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene. Among the people discussed: Italo Svevo, Stefan Zweig, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Yourcenar, Joseph Roth, Vaslav Nijinsky, Lincoln Kirstein, Jerome Robbi...

Details Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints

TitleTwenty-eight Artists and Two Saints
Release DateFeb 6th, 2007
GenreWriting, Essays, Nonfiction, Art, Biography, History

Reviews Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints

  • Matt
    One gets the sense, when reading an art critic like Robert Hughes, that the author most enjoyed writing pieces about artwork enjoyed the least. Indeed, the more disdainful the work, the more the critic gets to flex his/her acerbic wit. These pieces can be enjoyable to read at first, but eventually the relentless negativity begins to wear a bit. As such, its refreshing to read a book like Acocellas Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints a collection...
  • Leah W
    "Those who lament the dissolution of the American family-kids with no way to get to Girl Scouts, aging parents put into nursing homes-should remember what it was that kept the American family together: women's blood."Joan Acocella is a treasure. She's one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading, and she's one of those wonderful critics who can critique something instead of just criticizing it, who actually wants to like what she's wr...
  • Tiffany Conner
    There are few things more rewarding than reading a book written by an author who is more than just an author but is an author with a very refined, perceptible appreciation for written language. Acocella crafts most of her phrases in service of The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. I am a sucker for both of these publications. Acocella's specialty is writing about the world of dance and the elaborate experience of tortured genius. Like ...
  • Mary
    I especially liked the new angles on Louise Bourgeois, my introduction to Primo Levi and Joseph Roth, the bitsabout women supporters of men artists, and the pieceon writer's block. Coleridge, said to be one of the firstknown cases, had a friend tell him to just get over it."Oh, sure!" said Coleridge, but in more meaured words:"Go, bid a man paralytic in both arms to rub them brisklytogether and that will cure him. Alas! (he would reply)that I can...
  • Meredith
    Loved reading this collection of essays on artists - Acocella writes of authors, sculptures, and (primarily) those connected to the NY dance scene (oh yes, and those two saints: the Magdalene and Joan). I've never been to the ballet, but I would like to now... I've tracked down a copy of Yourcenar's "Memoirs of Hadrian" to read next (thank goodness Adam is at the U - it doesn't exist in the Saint Paul or Ramsey County library systems).
  • Tony
    While intelligence and talent may exist, they are useless, unimportant constructs of abject snobbery. Wonder and persistence are the driving qualities of success, generally achieved when the artist is awakened within a person. Acocella examines the artist's ability to endure despite impediments and torment of soul. In doing so, she provides a reasonably entertaining guide to the modern/contemporary artist.
  • Leigh
    Acocella is one of my favorite essayists in The New Yorker. These short articles on cultural figures are wonderful capsule portraits of fascinating artists.
  • Janie
    The perfect Christmas gift from my brother. An intimate look at larger-than-life artists, revealing their quirks, faults, and gifts to the world.
  • Chin-Sun Lee
    I read this ages ago and forgot I had until it came up in conversation recently. Dammit, can't find the book!--so many things lost in a move years ago--but a necessary read for anyone considering a life in the arts. I remember it gave me hope because I knew I wasn't brilliant, but I had tenacity. So much of art-making is about resilience, weathering disappointment, sticking around to get better. This book showed me that.
  • Abby Bushnell
    An interesting collection of biopics of writers dancers and choreographers, plus two saints. The essays are written in a way that makes you want to know more about the artist and to seek out their work. Although I didn't agree with the focus and angle of every essay, it is full of fascinating information about the artists and offers a dive into the work and lives of both well known and obscure artists.
  • Dee
    Cultural criticism/biography/anecdote/history
  • NYLSpublishing
    The thirty-one essays presented here are drawn from Joan Acocellas work over the last fifteen years, most though not all of them first appearing in The New Yorker. The twenty-eight artists include writers of all genres, as well as choreographers and dancers, and the two saints are Mary Magdalene and Joan of Arc. There is an additional essay - Blocked which deals with the dreaded phenomenon of writers block, along with its frequent companion, as ...
  • Margot
    joan acocella is probably my 3rd favorite new yorker writer (having a ranking for new yorker writers is probably a serious sign you need a life),so i enjoyed this book as much as expected. A lot of the articles deal with lesser-known writers, so i came away with a ton of new titles to add to my reading list. Plus there are plenty of hilarious anecdotes. Bob Fosse pacing around his hotel room holding a cheap Mexican Jesus statue and screaming "why...
  • Christopher McQuain
    This book is, for the most part, a selective but somehow comprehensive-seeming survey of the lively arts in the 20th century as told through Acocella's incredibly knowledgeable, perceptive, erudite yet down-to-earth profiles (most originally published in The New Yorker) of those who made, re-made, and contributed to those arts. It will introduce you to artists (dancers, poets, novelists, critics) you haven't heard of and energize you into seeking...
  • Lauren G
    collected essays from a master cultural critic and writer. i know her from her dance articles for the new yorker among other publications. she is exceedingly knowledgeable in non-dance areas, hence the label 'cultural critic.' sharp, eagle-eyed, interested in the artistic process as much as the product, the essays i have read thus far have proved enlightening and superbly written. i expect the rest will follow.
  • Susan Zinner
    Best read in small doses, this book is a collection of New Yorker essays about both well-known and obscure artists and serves to reintroduce some important figures to American readers. For readers who enjoy Joseph Roth ("The Radetzky March"), Stefan Zweig ("Beware of Pity"), Hilary Mantel (more well-known now that "Wolf Hall" was recently on PBS), the great culinary writings of M.F.K. Fisher, Sybille Bedford and others, there are some real gems h...
  • Mason
    A fascinating collection of essays on the struggles endured by artists while creating works of varying genius. Acocella shines a light on several authors who have been abandoned by modern readers, bringing their literary triumphs and personal tribulations to the forefront once again."To make a career  you must have, with brilliance, a number of less glamorous virtues, for example, patience, resilience, and courage." (13) A fascinating collecti...
  • Carole
    joan acocella as dance critic for the new yorker is a mark morris fan- so i am an ardent reader of her work. from the initial essay, "blocked" - all about what one does when the juice doesn't run, to her essay on frank o'hara- i find her perspectives uniquely additive to the already known canyons of criticism. quite a stretch coming from my cynical anti-critic corner.
  • Brian
    REALLY learned a lot from this book - from writers (Frank O'Hara, Saul Bellow) to dancers (Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Martha Graham) to, yes, 2 saints (Mary Madgalene and Joan of Arc) - I just feel SMARTER having made it through this (I did "skim" a couple of the essays) - she's a really good writer, most of these were from the New Yorker.
  • Caitlyn
    The Frank O'Hara essay was one of the most exhilarating pieces of non-fiction I've ever read. Joan Acocella writes with amazing insight- sometimes of the literary kind, and sometimes, as my girlfriend said, of the "Jewish Grandmother" kind. Though she picks some great subjects- Mary Magdalene, Simone de Beauvoir- I'm pretty sure this woman could make anyone interesting.
  • Roseanne
    It was such a pleasure to settle down with this book at the end of each day and read about one of the artists (or saints). Acocella is a brilliant writer who makes any subject interesting. Including dance! I don't normally pay attention to it, but she brought dance and dancers to life for me. More, please!
  • Kyla
    Every time I was about to put this book down for good, I would read a few sentences of the next essay and was sucked back in. For a dance world neophyte such as myself, the essays on dance figures were by far the richest and most entertaining.
  • Alden
    Joan Acocella is an amazing writer, and this is a great book of literary essays drawn from her contributions to the New Yorker.Here is my interview with Joan Acocella for the February 2007 issue of BookPage.
  • Kevin
    This book is just exquisite and I'm only saving the last couple of essays as a treat. The pacing is great and the essays need to be read in order, so I'm glad I didn't do my usual of skipping around critical essays until it's done.
  • Jennie
    I came to this book to do research and ended up being mezmerized by Aconcella's intellect. She spins dazzling tales with incredibly precise prose. She happens to be writing about dance and the nature of creativity in this book, but I would read Aconcella if she were writing about dust.
  • Julia
    Great collection of essays on artists you'll know (Baryshnikov, Dorothy Parker) and some that you'll want to know (Joseph Roth, Italo Svevo, Sybille Bedford)--this book could spur a whole reading list for a year. She's especially good on dance.