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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction/art

Still Life with a Bridle

Zbigniew Herbert

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To purchase Still Life with a Bridle

Title: Still Life with a Bridle
Author: Zbigniew Herbert
Genre: Essays/Stories
Written: 1991
Length: 162 pages
Original in: Polish
Availability: Still Life with a Bridle - US
Still Life with a Bridle - UK
Still Life with a Bridle - Canada
Stilleben mit Kandare - Deutschland
  • Essays and Apocryphas
  • Translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter

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Our Assessment:

B+ : an interesting collection of historical essays and "apocryphas"

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 3/8/1993 W. L. Webb
The LA Times . 3/11/1991 Richard Eder
The New Republic . 15/11/1993 Stanislaw Baranczak
The New Yorker . 23/12/1991 Edward Hirsch
The NY Times Book Rev. B+ 19/1/1992 Matthew Stadler
TLS . 8/10/1993 Michael Parker

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.

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The complete review's Review:

       Known primarily as a poet, Herbert has also published several collections of prose. This volume of essays and apocryphas focusses on the Netherlands when it was at the height of its powers.
       Herbert's analysis of the "tulipmania" that gripped the nation, sending prices skyrocketing (our modern equivalent being the internet stock frenzy) is as good an overview and introduction of that event as any. Herbert's knowledge and appreciation of art, Holland, and the Dutch masters -- and his ability to write about it engagingly -- also serve him well in the other pieces, whether writing about "The Price of Art" or painters such as Gerard Terborch or Torrentius.
       The apocryphas are ten short prose pieces melding fact and fiction. More uneven -- or unsure of what they are meant to be -- they are nevertheless interesting pieces. Herbert's fecund mind and sound mastery of his subjects make the piece worthwhile.

       Focussed on art, and on a specific time of history (basically 17th century) and a specific culture (Dutch) the book might not be of interest to everyone. We recommend it for those who think they might be interested in Herbert's subject.

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Still Life with a Bridle: Zbigniew Herbert: Other books by Herbert under review:

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About the Author:

       Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) was born in Lwow. He earned degrees from the University of Krakow, the University of Warsaw, and the Nicholas Copernicus University of Torun. He began publishing his poetry in 1956, though he continued to have difficulties getting much of it published in his native Poland. One of the foremost modern European poets, he has been extensively translated.

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