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Book review and technical detail HUMILIATION ~ Wayne Koestenbaum

Technical detail of HUMILIATION ~
author Wayne Koestenbaum
ISBN 96338
Category Psychology
Publisher Picador
Pages 184
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

A alternation of meditations on the abstraction of humiliation. Poet and bookish Koestenbaum (English/City Univ. of New York Graduate Center; Hotel Theory, 2007, etc) offers a amalgam book. Claimed adventures (humiliating in nature, naturally) sit alongside adroit assay of such cultural icons as Basquiat and the Marquis de Sade, and abstract hypotheses admix with observations about absoluteness television and amative Craigslist claimed ads. Structured as a alternation of capacity or “fugues,” anniversary consisting of a alternation of numbered paragraphs capricious in breadth from one book to several pages, the book is bookish in accent and agreeable but not necessarily in ambit or format. What Koestenbaum sacrifices in depth, he makes up for in clarity. For example, in two sentences he dispatches with the acumen amid abashment and humiliation; excavating the abounding acceptation of this acumen could calmly crave an absolute chapter. Admitting this abrupt analysis is adapted accustomed the breadth of the book, added distinctions—like that amid almost accessory humiliations, like actuality alone romantically, and above ones, like actuality raped or tortured—are alone accustomed in a array of hand-wringing way. Yet the book cannot be characterized as shallow. Koestenbaum consistently offers enlightening, well-written insights into the action of abreaction; the way accent can be base to the artist, the biographer or the illiterate; anomalous theory; and absoluteness television and voyeurism. The columnist avoids mistaking cacographic book for complexity, and admitting the book may be best ill-fitted for academics, accepted readers absorbed in the affair will not be absent or frustrated. Insightful and acquiescently chargeless of jargon, Abasement may not be the aftermost chat on the subject, but it’s an attainable introduction.

Wayne Koestenbaum considers the meaning of humiliation in this eloquent work of cultural critique and personal reflection.The lives of people both famous and obscure are filled with scarlet-letter moments when their dirty laundry sees daylight. In these moments we not only witness the reversibility of "success," of prominence, but also come to visceral terms with our own vulnerable selves. We can't stop watching the scene of shame, identifying with it and absorbing its nearness, and relishing our imagined immunity from its stain, even as we acknowledge the universal, embarrassing predicament of living in our own bodies. With an unusual, disarming blend of autobiography and cultural commentary, noted poet and critic Wayne Koestenbaum takes us through a spectrum of mortifying circumstances―in history, literature, art, current events, music, film, and his own life. His generous disclosures and brilliant observations go beyond prurience to create a poetics of abasement. Inventive, poignant, erudite, and playful, Humiliation plunges into one of the most disquieting of human experiences, with reflections at once emboldening and humane.

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