Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226517117 Will Publish January 2018
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226517087 Will Publish January 2018
E-book $25.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226517254 Will Publish January 2018

Senses of Style

Poetry before Interpretation

Jeff Dolven

Senses of Style

Jeff Dolven

240 pages | 1 halftone, 1 line drawing | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226517117 Will Publish January 2018
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226517087 Will Publish January 2018
E-book $25.00 ISBN: 9780226517254 Will Publish January 2018
Style is everywhere, but it evades criticism—especially now, when an age of interpretation asks us to look right through it. And yet style does so much tacit work, telling time, telling us apart, telling us who we are. What place does it have among our moment’s favored categories of form, history, meaning? What do we miss if we fail to look at it, to talk about it?
            Senses of Style essays an answer, stylishly. An experiment in criticism, crossing four hundred years and written in four hundred brief, aphoristic remarks, it is a book of theory steeped in examples. It maps style’s significance by exploring the work and parallel lives of two men: Sir Thomas Wyatt, a poet and diplomat in the court of Henry VIII, and his admirer Frank O’Hara, the midcentury American poet, curator, and boulevardier. Starting with the question of why Wyatt’s work spoke so powerfully to O’Hara across the centuries, Jeff Dolven ultimately illuminates what we talk about when we talk about style, whether it’s in the sixteenth-century, the twentieth, or the twenty-first.
            Constructed not to fix but to follow its subject, to explain its movements, to explore and incite the appetites that make readers write and writers read, Senses of Style treats the interactions of lives and works, places and peers, theory and practice, past and present. It is a book that will invigorate poets, critics, and inquisitive readers alike.
 
Review Quotes
Los Angeles Review of Books
“The power of style, for Dolven, is to convert failure into charisma. . . . Against interpretation, Dolven gamely holds up style as its own form of judgment. . . . A hallmark of Dolven’s method—inventive if at times ungainly—is to pit the concept of style against one of its unlikely opposites, or ‘antitheses,’ to uncover its essence.”
Wayne Koestenbaum, CUNY Graduate Center
“Jeff Dolven’s new book—perfectly sculpted—is sure to become a classic.  With succinct, idiosyncratic eloquence, he brings together two poets who seem to have nothing in common, and yet whose styles and stances uncannily intersect.  Through this act of radical juxtaposition, Dolven reinvents the art of criticism.”
Roland Greene, Stanford University
“‘Reading for style’ sounds natural until we think about how much ‘style’ comprehends and how undigested our notions of it can be. Ambitious, conversational, and unconventional all at once, Senses of Style is the book on style for our time.”
Maureen McLane, New York University
“‘Explanation is the enemy of style,’ Jeff Dolven writes. Senses of Style gives the lie to that aperçu.  Dolven offers us both a dazzling writerly object and a model: a ramifying meditation on Wyatt and O’Hara under the sign of surprising likenings, the matter of style. Conversable, witty, erudite, pyrotechnic: Dolven paradoxes and aphorizes his way equally into the depths and the shallows. With this startling, masterly, mesmerizing book, Dolven sentences us toward a brilliantly friendly ongoingness.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Keep Informed

JOURNALs