Read Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays & Profiles by Jeet Heer Free Online
Book Title: Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays & Profiles|
The author of the book: Jeet Heer
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.84 MB
City - Country: No data
Edition: Porcupine's Quill
Date of issue: December 1st 2014
ISBN 13: 9780889843783
Loaded: 2321 times
Reader ratings: 6.3
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Even as I read this book, I was wondering how Jeet Heer would review it: he has that kind of intellect, one that is enticing. The Sweet Lechery of his title, and his (admitted) recurrent focus on the erotics of thought are well chosen. The book can seduce.
I don't actually know what Heer would say, (ha! hear would say!); I do know he thought that a review in a Canadian paper that compared the book to a cocktail party was well played, and accepted the criticism that this cocktail party is kind of a sausage-fest (ha! cocktail party). True, Margaret Atwood makes an appearance, and a few other women, but the focus is on men.
I know this about Heer because I follow him on Twitter. Indeed, he's probably best known as an online writer, having pioneered the twitter essay, with numbered points. (And I found myself missing those here, at times.) He is a cultural journalist unhemmed by the confines of high and low culture--he discusses comics and Updike. Indeed, he seems to really enjoy cultural situations that cut across that boundary, as with Updike's own interest in comics. Heer is very smart, and he knows a lot.
The essays aren't always perfect, though, sometimes because they are so interesting: it would just be when Heer started to get wound up and making his points that he would then pull up and stop. I wanted more.
But there are also some infelicities, and some forced connections--as I say, Heer seems to know every body, have read everything and forgotten nothing, and so is able to interweave a lot of different stories. Sometimes at the beginnings of the essays I would be lost. Sometimes there would be lurches to another point.
But I learned a lot--about Canadian intellectual, in particular. I've read some Hugh Kenner, for example (though no Guy Davenport) but had no context into which to put him. Heer provided that. But he did more than just contextualizing various literary and artistic figures. He is not an academic; he is interested in engaging the culture which he discusses.
The biggest point I drew from these essays, the subject that most seemed to obsess him, was the importance of visual culture, of what we might tritely call drawing, but is so much more than that: cartoons of the comic book and the Sunday newspaper. And the way those images affect all sorts of artists, including writers, who own work then reflects some of that visuality. Updike is a case in point, but Heer makes the argument for other authors, too.
I do wish that there were more--or any!--images in the book, given how much is made of drawings and visual culture.
Which brings me to how I think Jeet Heer might look at this collection of essays. It's a cocktail party, sure, a collection of faces who mingle and interact. But first and foremost, it is a book.
Which is interesting, given that Heer's best known for his online work. There is still something about a book as a way to collect scattered written works--as an album of one's thoughts--that is substantial and worth publishing, even though a website could theoretically do the same work. Part of it is mercantile, no doubt, but part of it is aesthetic and credentialing: a book is substantial. It is an object that can be beautiful. In this case, I needed the interwebs to supplement the book--to find some of those images that I could--but I still enjoyed the essays as part of a book.
And I probably would even enjoy a book of his numbered twitter essays.
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Read information about the authorJeet Heer is a senior editor at the New Republic who has published in a wide array of journals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and VQR. He is the author of two books: In Love With Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (Coach House Books) and Sweet Lechery: Essays, Profiles and Reviews (Porcupine’s Quill). He has co-edited eight books and served as a contributing editor on another eight volumes. With Kent Worcester, Heer co-edited A Comics Studies Reader (University Press of Mississippi), which won the Peter C. Rollins Book Award given annually to the best book in American Studies or Cultural Studies. He’s been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.
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