"Jeanette Winterson is one of Britain's brightest alternative literary lights. Her quirky, madly poetic prose has won her a loyal cult following and a lot of respect from the mainstream. H.J.Kirchhoff, The Globe and Mail
"Thrilling, persuasive, challenging and written with a skill and beauty entirely shorn of artifice.... Should be bought, read, re-read and read out loud as often as possible." Edmonton Journal
"Brilliant essays, the finest I=ve read in years, a wonderful, timely endorsement of what art is and what it isn't. In 10 separate ways, from 10 different angles, she takes clear, intelligent aim at the modern wish that art be less arty, and more entertaining; that art be easier for people to chew and quickly digest...Should be required reading." Ottawa Citizen
"It is invigorating to read these essays by a woman who believes in art, full stop." The Globe and Mail
"A delight...I find Winterson an invigorating critic, as well as an exhilarating literary soul mate...At a time when literary commentary is bogged down by dense, impenetrable post-modern and post-structuralist twaddle, Art Objects...offers itself as a breath of fresh thought and fresh expression." Kitchener-Waterloo Record
"Brilliant, challenging, funny, highly personal." Family Practice
"A witty, reasoned look at the power of, and our powerful need for, all forms of art." Ottawa Citizen
"A book of essays to set your intellect on fire." Bruce Powe, The Financial Post
"Potent.... Part soulful meditation and part fiery manifesto.... Ms. Winterson is a passionate writer.... Hers is a book born of a restless, uncompromising intelligence and a life of practicing what she preaches, of taking the kind of artistic risks she so fiercely espouses." The New York Times Book Review
"Winterson is in fine form in these essays about art, arguing, admonishing, infuriating, teasing...She fights solemnly, beguilingly, for ecstasy and silence and the revival of our ability to contemplate...She says much that is important about energy and passion. Her stalwart defence of the modern is a challenge to the barrenness and niggliness with which we live." The Observer (UK)
"There is no denying the beauty and precision of her writing, nor the clarity of her expression...On her heroines—Stein, Woolf, Eliot, books themselves—she is particularly strong and passionate. Through it all, a central theme occurs: that art, true art, is and will remain a vital force, without which life is scarcely worthy of the name." Time Out (UK)
These interlocking essays uncover art as an active force in the world – neither elitist or remote, present to those who want it, affecting even those who don’t.
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