Edited by Kenneth Gross
“Kenneth Gross is particularly illuminating about the passionate intensity or violent hunger for being that seems to be the particular characteristic of puppets; it is as though, as the fossilised form of human longing, the puppet longs in turn, vividly and vivaciously, for the life that can never be its own.” —Steven Connor, Literary Review
“. . . [There is] a masterly 1810 essay on marionette theatre by Heinrich von Kleist—a great German writer little regarded in the English-speaking world—which in the space of half a dozen pages expresses as much about the nature of art, consciousness and human freedom as all of Goethe’s and Schiller’s philosophical musings taken together. Yes, it is that good. And it can be found, along with a number of other pieces on the same theme, in a handsome and delightful little volume from Notting Hill Editions, On Dolls.” —John Banville, The Guardian
Some of the greatest thinkers and writers of our age meditate on play and the mysteries of inanimate life.
This unusual literary collection contains writings from Baudelaire, Kleist, Rilke, Freud, Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Bruno Schulz, Elizabeth Bishop, Dennis Silk, and Marina Warner.
The essays and reflections explore the seriousness of play and the mysteries of inanimate life—‘the unknown, spaces, dust, lost objects, and small animals that fill any house’—which have provoked many writers to take the side of these dead or non-human things, resulting in some of the most profound passages in literature. The collection is introduced and edited by Kenneth Gross.
On Dolls includes contributions from: Heinrich Von Kleist ‘On the Marionette Theatre’, Charles Baudelaire ‘The Philosophy of Toys’, Sigmund Freud ‘The Uncanny’, Rainer Maria Rilke ‘On the Dolls of Lotte Pritzel’, Frank Kafka ‘The Cares of a Family Man’, Bruno Schulz ‘Tailor’s Dummies’, Walter Benjamin ‘Old Toys: The Toy Exhibition at the Markisches Museum’, Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Cirque d’Hiver’, Dennis Silk ‘The Marionette Theatre’, and Marina Warner ‘On the Threshold: Sleeping Beauties’.
Notting Hills Editions, 2018
4.8 x 7.5 inches
Literary Criticism, Essays