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A Balthus Notebook (Ekphrasis)


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About the Author

Guy Davenport (1927-2005) was born in Anderson, South Carolina, and educated at Duke, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a MacArthur Fellow. The author of over thirty books of fiction, essay, poetry, and translations, he was also a visual artist who frequently illustrated his own work. A selection of work from the American original polymath can be found in The Guy Davenport Reader (2013).

Judith Thurman is a widely published literary critic, cultural journalist, and translator of poetry. She is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller (1982)-which won the 1983 National Book Award for nonfiction, and served as the basis for Sydney Pollack's movie Out of Africa-and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette (1999), the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography and the Salon Book Award for biography. She began contributing to The New Yorker in 1987 and became a staff writer in 2000. Her story on Yves Saint Laurent was chosen for "The Best American Essays of 2003."

Lucas Zwirner is Head of Content at David Zwirner. He is known for creating the ekphrasis series, dedicated to publishing short texts on visual culture by artists and writers, rarely available in English. He has also written on numerous contemporary artists and translated books from German and French.


"Davenport has compelling things to say about Balthus's idealism, symbolism and understanding of childhood...and makes surprising introductions (especially between textual and visual art) on almost every page."-- "Times Literary Supplement"

"Davenport -- essayist, scholar, fiction writer, translator -- was a force. He seems to have read everything and retained it all."--Michael Robbins "The Chicago Tribune"

"What [Davenport] does with knowledge and information is what any great artist does with his or her medium: communicate a feeling first and then a whole world of thoughts, a nexus of possible realities embedded in our own... There is magic in this kind of meaning making, the kind that treats everything as significant and so elevates it."--Lucas Zwirner "The Paris Review"

Davenport is one of "the great literary polymaths of the second half of the last century."--Michael Dirda "The Washington Post"

Davenport produced "works both deeply edifying and unclassifiable... Many who sought out his work considered him one of the greatest prose stylists of his generation."--Eric Allen Been "Harvard Magazine"

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