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Prague Pictures (The Writer and the City) download epub

by John Banville


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Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City (Writer and the City.

FREE shipping on qualifying offers. The fourth book in Bloomsbury's Writer and the City series. From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience. Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City (Writer and the City.

Prague Pictures book. From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience, a panoramic view of a city that has seduced and bewitched visitors for centuries.

Prague Pictures - John Banville. Perspective: sudek’s city. It was winter the first time I saw Prague, the city blanketed with snow and glistening in the sunlight of an unseasonably bright late January. Perhaps it is the snow that intensifies the silence of the city in these, my earliest memories of it. Prague’s silence is more a presence than an absence. The sounds of the traffic, the voices in the streets, the tolling of bells and the chiming of innumerable public clocks, all resonate against the background hush as if against a high, clear pane of glass.

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Are you sure you want to remove Prague Pictures (The Writer and the City) from your list? Prague Pictures (The Writer and the City). Published September 1, 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

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The fourth book in Bloomsbury's Writer and the City series.

From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience, a panoramic view of a city that has seduced and.

Banville has not written a guidebook but rather, in his own words, "a handful of recollections, variations on a. .

Banville has not written a guidebook but rather, in his own words, "a handful of recollections, variations on a theme"-snapshots, if you like, of the city's past and present. The book begins with the author's first visit to Prague, during the cold war, but as we go deeper into the book, we also go deeper into the city's history

John Banville traces Prague's often tragic history and portrays the people who made it, the emperors and princes, geniuses and charlatans .

John Banville traces Prague's often tragic history and portrays the people who made it, the emperors and princes, geniuses and charlatans, heroes and scoundrels, and paints a portrait of the Prague of today, revelling in its newfound freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover.

Books by John Banville: The Untouchable. 10. Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City. The book of Evidence. Eclipse: a Novel.

Having already signed up John Banville, the organisers of the South Bank Centre's . A rather bored-looking Banville was there because of Prague Pictures, his contribution to Bloomsbury's The Writer and The City series. Why Prague? "Well, I was at a party and Liz Calder asked m.

Having already signed up John Banville, the organisers of the South Bank Centre's Wanderlust festival must have felt pretty smug when he won the Booker. Certainly, the Purcell Room was more than three-quarters full - not bad for a shopping afternoon. But you must love it?

Prague is the magic capital of Europe. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, 'devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art', who in the late 1500s summoned alchemists and magicians from all over the world to his castle on Hradcany hill, it has been a place of mystery and intrigue. Wars, revolutions, floods, the imposition of Soviet communism, or even the depredations of the tourist boom after the 'Velvet Revolution' of 1989, could not destroy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful, proud and melancholy city on the Vltava. John Banville traces Prague's often tragic history and portrays the people who made it, the emperors and princes, geniuses and charlatans, heroes and scoundrels, and paints a portrait of the Prague of today, revelling in its newfound freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover. He writes of his first visit to the city, in the depths of the Cold War, when he engaged in a spot of art smuggling, and of subsequent trips there, of the people he met, the friends he made, the places he came to know.

Comments: (7)

Whitescar
John Banville, in many of his novels, conjures up the alchemical and scientific wonders of early modern Europe: Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Dr Faustus. His prose always has daunted me from taking on his dense, serious fiction, but perhaps, after this wonderfully self-deprecating, nimbly observed, and precisely rendered collection of thoughts inspired by events and people in Prague, I will try his novels! As Banville prefaces this small but pleasingly compacted assemblage of ruminations, it is not a guidebook but (my words) a momento urbi, a reminder of this city.

He avoids post-Wall sightseeing (contrast Myla Goldberg's Time's Magpie), limits his Kafka citations wisely (compare nearly any other journalist!), and steers clear from tiresome dynastic recitals (unlike Peter Demetz' City of Black & Gold). Out of his travels there, starting in 1975, he instead opts to build slightly interrelated essays. The first, "Sudek's City," tells of the Professor and Marta, who show him and his companions prints by Josef Sudek, a photographer (two of which I presume grace this book's covers), who reveals tangibly yet tangentially the post-war era. Banville links the dislocation of the jet-lagged traveller in the hotel room with the wider struggle by a people to overcome alienation in their home city, yet such connections are left subtle, for us to tie together. The description in a page or so of the Professor, who himself threatens to become effaced after so many decades of having to blend in to such surroundings, is one of the most powerful depictions in print I have ever read of summing up another human in a few well-chosen words.

"Threshold," from which the name for Prague was derived, merges the background on the city with its monuments, even as Banville insists that they do not make Prague what it is, this essence too elusive. Fittingly, such fluidity blends into an account of Rudolf and the intellectual climate that lured some of Europe's most creative minds in the later 16th c. to study magic, astronomy, the occult, and the rational, or mixes thereof.

"The Prague Orgy", while never mentioning Philip Roth, starts with Banville's teenaged longing for a minor Czech actress, Eva Bartok, and his longing for such dark beauties, often with (sans makeup!) pale plum-hued shadows under their eyes. He segues into his friend Phil who boasts of "The Company," the Havel era, the "putative parents" of his hostess at a doomed dinner party, to conclude, paraphrasing another Philip (Larkin) that "nothing, like something, can happen anywhere. Banville again evokes psychological dislocation marvellously, keeping control of his shifting scenes while hiding from we his readers his manipulative strings. He's too good a writer to let his craft show so nakedly.

From one who wrote a novel called "Kepler," the chapter "Great Dane, Little Dog" relates the long story of Tycho Brahe, his unfortunate death for the sake of royal etiquette, and his somewhat unwilling apprentice Johannes Kepler. Prague itself fades a bit even more than in the rest of the book, but Banville keeps the tale engaging. I found this segment of the volume readable, but since I do not share Banville's obvious love of this period, its comparative detachment from the city itself made it too tangential. On a related note, he incorporates references to a far more obsessive text, Angelo Maria Ripellino's "Magic Prague," nicely into his volume, so you feel you get the gist of that admittedly appealing but immensely detailed study without all of its laborious asides. Their common concentration on the hermetic, the mathematical, and the malcontent does show why Prague thrived as an asylum and a laboratory for so many ambitious quacks, mad scientists, and rogues.

"Snapshots" takes Banville out of Prague to Bratislava, but not for the sights. He conveys here being out of place as a modern intellectual at a conference where his ignorance (so he assumes, though we readers might disagree) his unmasked before the restless native audience. The tale of an old communist, Goldstucker, and the saga of the Golem and the Jewish ghetto is recounted to sum up the condition of the latter-day dreamers and thinkers in a more recent regime that reigned over the Castle.

Finally, in two brief codas, "The Deluge" tells of the 2002 summer floods, with a marvelously apt quote from Eliot's "Four Quartets," and "After-Images" leaves us with Banville's fading scenes from his Prague travels. A short bibliography adds to the value of this short but elegant and never predictable meditation.

Pg. 83 sums up his motif for this volume, except for its covers devoid of visual "pictures" that rather he brings out of his mind's eye into our receptive faculty: "These are the things we remember. It as if we were to focus our cameras on the great sights and the snaps when developed all came out with nothing in them save undistinguished but manically detailed foregrounds." The unreliable and capricious state of memory, then, is Banville's true souvenir that he shares with us from this city.
Micelhorav
This sumptuously-written book evokes Prague with so much soul and intimacy that it leaves all rival Prague portraits in the dust. Not only does the author feel everyday experiences more acutely than most of us, but he is able to maintain the depth of his poetic explorations from the beginning to the end. Having been there myself before and after the Velvet Revolution, and having also witnessed the cultural highs and lows he so perfectly describes, I almost feel like I know him. (I wish I did). This is so special a book that I almost want to tuck it into a private place on my bookshelf where no one can find it, and snobbishly, I suppose, lend it only to those I feel are perceptive enough to understand.
Cktiell
The author knows Prague very well and writes with great affection and deep knowledge of it's history.
The interested reader will find exhaustive information on Prague and it's culture. The author concentrates most on the high baroque, the achievements of emperor Rudof's court and the architectural renewal of the city.
Jan
Lovers of Banville's fiction will appreciate the same feel for language and beautiful writing which is this writer's hallmark. His knowledge of Prague spans more than 20 years of both pre- and post-communist rule, and very nicely gives the flavour of these two very different periods, without reverting to clichés about the Cold War, etc. Filled with wondeful personal anecdotes as well as more general interesting knowledge, the book may to some seem incoherent. However it not only makes you want to visit Prague, but gives much appreciated sections on Czhech art photography (I fell in love with the cover - especially the back), astronomy (perhaps not too surprising, given some of Banville's novels), and the strange behaviour of European royalty. Its wide span is to be applauded rather than seen as a shortcoming - it is after all not *meant* to be a traditional travel guide. I finished this book while on vacation (regrettably not in Prague), moved on to some currently popular crime novelist, and almost immediately threw that book away in disgust when comparing the prose to what Banville (true to form) serves up in this little gem.
Wymefw
GREAT product, will buy from this seller again!
Utchanat
Excellent background detailing Prague. This is not a photographic book, but you may use your imagination to develop pictures of historical events of Prague.
Sharpbrew
Part memoir, part love song to Prague, John Banville entertains and charms the reader with his personal travels, his bevy of Czech friends, his unpredictable and digressive, occasionally overwritten descriptions often spiced by an undercurrent of wryness. One is not quite sure if some of these chapters are fact or fiction but that does not detract from this interesting book. His tribute to Josef Sudek, the photographer, the "Poet of Prague," is beautifully descriptive of his photos of St. Vitus Cathedral as only Banville can; perhaps even drawing on the wonderful book about Sudek by Aperture called"A Photographer's Life."

Banville's word powers are remarkable; one woman has "a head of one of Modigliani's less dim-seeming models . . .[with] a pale hand...[with] the chill, slack feel of a small, exquisite, fine boned creature that had recently frozen to death." Regrettably, he stuffs in the middle a chapter about Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler which may fit in his other writings about astronomy but slows the book's focus and pace. Otherwise, an entertaining read in an superb binding by Bloomsbury.
This book gives so much insight into Czech history and culture, anybody interested in Prague or Czech Republic will gain much from reading this. It is beautifully written and captivating.

The book itself (hardcover version) is also very beautiful with small size (4.75 x 7.25in) and cover images by Josef Sudek.

I especially appreciate this book for introducing me to the photographs of Josef Sudek, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
Prague Pictures (The Writer and the City) download epub
Europe
Author: John Banville
ISBN: 0747564086
Category: Travel
Subcategory: Europe
Language: English
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (September 1, 2003)
Pages: 256 pages