On Late Style (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
In his introduction to On Late Style, Michael Wood, a friend and colleague of Edward Said, explains its circumstances. Said died in 2003. Three of the chapters of this book had been lectures given in London in 1993. At that time Said knew that he had leukemia; from 1998 on, he completed no fewer than six other books but left On Late Style unfinished. Wood suggests that there may have been a psychological block about completing a book about lateness and death. Four of the seven essays represent Wood’s positioningand sometimes combiningof Said’s other writings on the subject, but Wood claims that he added no bridges.
To say that On Late Style, on which Said was working when he died, examines the late works of several authors and musicians, is a statement that must be almost immediately qualified. One of the important works studied by Said is Der Tod in Venedig (1912; Death in Venice, 1925), written when Thomas Mann was decades away from his own death. It does, however, deal with a dying man named Gustave Aschenbach. Furthermore, in discussing Benjamin Britten’s opera based on Mann’s book, Said notes that Venice, “by virtue of its history of glory and degradation . . . is a preeminently late setting”as if the concept of late style might refer not just to the “lateness” of author or hero but even setting. Late style for Said can be an elusive concept.
It is more profitable,...
(The entire section is 1876 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 15 (April 1, 2006): 13.
Library Journal 131, no. 4 (March 1, 2006): 90.
New Statesman 135 (May 29, 2006): 52-53.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (July 16, 2006): 19.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 5 (January 30, 2006): 50.
The Spectator 301 (May 27, 2006): 62.
The Times Literary Supplement, September 29, 2006, p. 30.
The Wilson Quarterly 30, no. 2 (Spring, 2006): 113-114.
(The entire section is 37 words.)