In a particular sense, he embodies the ‘uncivilised writing’ called for by the Dark Mountain manifesto.The concept of civilisation is entangled to its roots with the experience of cities. He is a novelist, an art critic, an essayist, a storyteller, but when I picture him with the tools of his trade, it is holding a scythe. No recent writer in English has been more intimately acquainted with death.
Hernández Adrián Secrets— Hsiao-Hung Pai Once Through a Lens Memory— Heather Vrana Stars— Vikki Bell Conscience— Ram Rahman Performance— Doa Aly A Mirror— Rashmi Duraiswamy Undefeated Despair Trauma— Alicia Salomone Jest— Salima Hashmi Hate— Mustafa Dikeç Hope— Malathi de Alwis Spirit— Tania Tamari Nasir Propaganda— Rochelle Simmons Here is Where We Meet Notes— Amarjit Chandan Verbs— Ali Smith Play— N. Tenderness— Christina Linardaki Love— Julie Christie Courage— Yahia Yakhlef Solidarity— Ambalavaner Sivanandan Tennis— John Christie Afterword— Sally Potter About the editors and contributors "Berger's most tangible influences were that tiny band of intellectuals who combined fine-art criticism with a social conscience: John Ruskin; Oscar Wilde; Walter Benjamin.
Great writers all, and 82-year-old Berger is their equal.""Berger's republished works underscore that it is still very much possible, even long after the heyday of literary modernism has passed, to be formally adventurous and deeply readable, sharply critical of the status quo and unremittingly humane—all at the same time.""In Berger’s hands, then, art itself is a kind of criticism.
This international and cross-cultural collection includes short pieces by thirty of Berger’s friends, artistic collaborators, and others inspired by his work, including Julie Christie, Sally Potter, Ram Rahman, Ali Smith, Nick Thorpe, Hsiao-Hung Pai, and many others.
This will be an anthology to be treasured by any fan of Berger’s extensive and influential ouevre.
I learnt to tap a scythe, and I learnt a whole constellation of sense and value about life.
To understand the question posed by his decision to settle in the Haute Savoie, it is necessary to know something of Berger’s life before that relocation, his politics and his public profile.The writing which this project seeks and celebrates is ‘uncivilised’ not least in the sense that it comes from or goes beyond the city limits: the physical, psychological and political boundaries within which the illusion of humanity’s separation from and control over ‘nature’ can be sustained.Such writing enters into negotiation with the non-human world on terms which may seem outlandish; it is hospitable to possibilities which civilised philosophy would hardly entertain.To grasp the significance of John Berger’s work — in relation to literature and to the present situation of the world — both of these facts are essential.At the centre of his work stands the decision, taken at the height of his career, to settle in the mountains of the Haute Savoie, in a valley too steep for mechanical farming and therefore among the last enclaves of peasant life in western Europe. Last year, he agreed to donate his archive to the British Library, on the condition that its head of modern manuscripts should lend a hand with the harvest during his visit.We remain endowed and indebted to him.” “The book brings together a choir of artistic collaborators, fans, and friends, which is a fitting tribute to someone whose talents run the gamut of intellectual and artistic.He was one of those writers — one of those people — whose influence runs so deep that I hardly know who I would be, had his work not come into my life when it did. And each year, he pays a part of his rent by helping with the haymaking in the field above his house.It 'cannot be used to explain the mysterious,' only to make the mysterious 'easier to notice.' For all that he has written, his genius is evident not in what he says of art, but in his ability to amplify its many voices."“An outstanding celebration of the commitment, compassion, and fierceness of John’s generosity in his life and work.For decades, Berger has sought the heart of things and given strength.His work continues to unite genres and range across types of experience, opening up radical questions about the meaning of belonging and community.In keeping with this spirit, the contributions to A Jar of Wild Flowers challenge us to take the brave step outside ourselves to offer extended generosity and compassion.