Winterson’s own passionate vision of art is presented here, provocatively and personally, in pieces on Modernism, autobiography, style, painting, the future of fiction, in two essays on Virginia Woolf, and more intimately in pieces where she describes her relationship to her work and the books that she loves.
‘Courageous… Her writing is spirited and insouciant in its fusing of love of words and sensual desire’ Scotsman
‘Winterson is in fine form in these essays about art’ Observer
‘Flashes of sly wit have an epigrammatic power… On Joyce, Woolf, Conrad, Dickens and the development of English literature she is acute and always interesting…covetable, infuriating, stimulating’ Independent
As a student, would these essays be useful to me?
Yes. Better than that, they would be interesting. Dry as Dust I don’t do.
What’s the purpose behind them?
I was answering questions for myself, but more, I wanted to communicate the passionate excitement I have for art of all kinds. I really believe in the redemptive, persuasive, healing power of art. We all need it. Most of us don’t get close to it – either because we think art’s not for us, or because the media circus is off-putting. I wanted to cut though the doubts and the objections.
Isn’t it a bit arrogant to tell us what art is?
This book is about personal convictions – nothing arrogant about that, and it’s a tool kit. It offers a way of thinking about books, pictures, music, both of the past and of the present. Anyway, words like arrogant and elitist are used too often alongside art, and they are used to keep you away from what matters. What matters is a direct connection.
This book helps you log on Art Objects – not a load of antiques then?
No, it’s a verb not a noun. Art objects to the lie against life that it is pointless and mean. The message coloured through time is not lack but abundance, Not silence but many voices. Art, all art is the communication cord that cannot be snapped by indifference or disaster. Against the daily death it does not die.
Publication: May 2, 1996