Friday, December 28, 2012

R.I.P. 2012

Among the authors we lost in 2012: Czech novelist Josef Skvorecky.  American science fiction writer Ray Bradbury.  Poet and painter Dorothea Tanning.  Novelist, playwright and public intellectual Gore Vidal. Polish poet and 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Wislawa Szymborska. Historical novelist Barry Unsworth.  Cultural writer Jacques Barzun.  Film critic Andrew Sarris.

Other writers not pictured: novelist Carlos Fuentes, Nora Ephron, ecologist Barry Commoner, Ernest Callenbach, Paul Fussell, art critic Robert Hughes (Shock of the New), Maurice Sendak, poet Adrienne Rich, poet Daryl Hine, science fiction writers Harry Harrison and K.D. Wentworth, novelist Harry Crews, poet Irene McKinney, psychologist Daniel Stern, music critic Charles Rosen, poet Jack Gilbert, childrens book author Jean Merrill, James Q. Wilson, novelist Rosa Guy, journalist Alexander Cockburn, Russell Means, art critic Hilton Kramer, British novelist James Riordan, spy novelist Dorothy Gilman, poet Reed Whittemore, Earl Shorris, historian Peter Connolly, childrens book author Jan Berenstain, William Hamilton, Steven Covey, Jeffrey Zaslow.  Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press.  May they rest in peace.  Their work lives on.

Among these are authors I've read to my great profit.  But I need to recognize a few books in particular that were important to me.  One of them is Robert Hughes Shock of the New, which along with his PBS series, opened my eyes and mind to modern art.  I heard him speak once as well, and he was riveting. 

Another book that opened my mind was Paul Fussell's Class.  Even given his generally droll treatment, the idea that America even had classes was heretical--and I blush to admit, new to me.

I began reading Ray Bradbury at a fairly young age--pretty directly after the science fiction of the Winston series meant for young readers.  It was later on that I came to appreciate this novel, and then its brilliant screen version by Truffaut.  It gains in importance over time.

No comments: