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Frank Kermode (1919–2010)

Author of The Literary Guide to the Bible

68+ Works 4,364 Members 31 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Sir John Frank Kermode, November 29, 1919 - August 17, 2010 John Kermode was a British literary critic best known for his work The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction, published in 1967 (revised 2000), and for his extensive book-reviewing and editing. He was the Lord Northcliffe show more Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University. Kermode served during World War II with the Royal Navy. After the war, Kermode held positions at Manchester University, Bristol University, University College of London, and Cambridge University, all in England, and at Columbia University in New York City. He was Charles E. Norton Professor at Harvard University in 1977-78 and Henry Luce Professor at Yale University in 1994. Kermode wrote several books on literary figures, including D.H. Lawrence and Wallace Stevens. His works of criticism include An Appetite for Poetry and The Art of Telling. Kermode was also the editor of the cultural journal, Encounter and his memoir, Not Entitled, was published in 1995. Kermode serves on the editorial board of the London Review of Books and Common Knowledge and has acted as judge for the Booker Prize. He was knighted for his service to English literature and he was named a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. He died in Cambridge on August 17, 2010. (Bowker Author Biography) Frank Kermode has written & edited many works, among them "Forms of Attention" & a memoir, "Not Entitled" (FSG, 1995). He lives in Cambridge, England, & has frequently taught in the United States. (Publisher Provided) show less

Works by Frank Kermode

The Literary Guide to the Bible (1987) — Editor; Contributor — 726 copies
Shakespeare's Language (2000) 654 copies
The Age of Shakespeare (2004) 322 copies
The Oxford Book of Letters (1995) — Editor — 160 copies
Romantic Image (1957) 123 copies
The Poems of John Donne (Kermode ed.) (1777) — Editor — 87 copies
Not Entitled: A Memoir (1995) 74 copies
Concerning E M Forster (2009) 72 copies
Lawrence (1973) — Author; Editor — 62 copies
Four Centuries of Shakespearian Criticism (1965) — some editions — 43 copies
Wallace Stevens (1854) 40 copies
An Appetite for Poetry (1989) 39 copies
History and Value (1988) 37 copies
The Uses of Error (1990) 30 copies
Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne (1971) 30 copies
Modern Essays (1971) 20 copies
Essays on fiction 1971-82 (1983) 19 copies
The Metaphysical Poets (1969) 18 copies
Poetry, narrative, history (1990) 16 copies
Continuities (1968) 15 copies
John Donne (1961) 11 copies
Discussions of John Donne (1962) 9 copies

Associated Works

Middlemarch (1871) — Afterword, some editions — 17,703 copies
The Tempest (1610) — Editor, some editions — 13,742 copies
Brideshead Revisited (1945) — Introduction, some editions — 12,556 copies
Tom Jones (1749) — Afterword, some editions — 8,114 copies
The Winter's Tale (1623) — Editor, some editions — 4,756 copies
Aspects of the Novel (1927) — Introduction, some editions — 2,283 copies
Paradise Lost [Norton Critical Edition] (1667) — Contributor, some editions — 2,196 copies
He Knew He Was Right (1869) — Introduction, some editions — 984 copies
Wallace Stevens : Collected Poetry and Prose (1997) — Editor — 672 copies
Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot (1975) — Editor — 542 copies
Chomsky (1970) — Editor — 424 copies
Heidegger (1978) — Editor — 402 copies
The Romantic Agony (1930) — Foreword, some editions — 344 copies
Popper (1973) — Editor — 341 copies
Lévi-Strauss (1970) — Editor — 319 copies
Wittgenstein (1971) — Editor — 305 copies
Five Women (1911) — some editions — 253 copies
Marx (1975) — Designer — 202 copies
Saussure (1976) — Editor, some editions — 191 copies
Derrida (1987) — Editor — 183 copies
Russell (1972) — Editor — 180 copies
Freud (1971) — Editor — 175 copies
Harmonium (1923) — Editor, some editions — 171 copies
Jung (1973) — Editor — 167 copies
McLuhan, Hot & Cool (1967) — Contributor — 155 copies
Berlin (1995) — Editor — 153 copies
Marcuse (1970) — Editor — 153 copies
Einstein (1973) — Editor — 142 copies
Adorno (1984) — Editor — 120 copies
Schoenberg (1975) — Editor — 119 copies
Orwell (1971) — Editor — 116 copies
Camus (1970) — Editor, some editions — 115 copies
Foucault (1985) — Editor — 114 copies
Winnicott (1988) — Editor — 112 copies
McLuhan (1971) — Editor — 102 copies
Marcel Proust (1974) — Editor — 102 copies
Theory's Empire: An Anthology of Dissent (2005) — Contributor — 100 copies
Lukács (1970) — Designer — 97 copies
The Dylan Companion: A Collection of Essential Writing About Bob Dylan (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 96 copies
Lacan (1991) — Editor — 94 copies
Trotsky (1978) — Editor — 92 copies
Eliot (1975) — Editor — 89 copies
Beckett (1973) — Editor — 87 copies
Barthes (1821) — Editor — 85 copies
Joyce (1971) — Editor — 82 copies
Guevara (1970) — Editor — 80 copies
Sartre (1975) — Editor — 80 copies
Kafka (1974) — Editor — 78 copies
Yeats (1971) — Editor — 75 copies
Fanon (1970) — Editor, some editions — 74 copies
Gramsci (1977) — Editor — 74 copies
Reich (1971) — Editor — 67 copies
Lenin (1972) — Editor — 63 copies
Weber (1974) — Editor — 62 copies
Durkheim (1978) — Editor — 55 copies
Le Corbusier (1974) — Editor — 53 copies
Artaud (1976) — Series editor — 52 copies
Piaget (1979) — Editor — 51 copies
Engels (1977) — Editor — 51 copies
Laing (1973) — Editor — 50 copies
Gandhi (1972) — Editor — 50 copies
The Bible and the Narrative Tradition (1986) — Contributor — 50 copies
Parable and Story in Judaism and Christianity (1989) — Contributor — 36 copies
Evans-Pritchard (1980) — Editor — 36 copies
Klein (1979) — Editor — 35 copies
Life.After.Theory (2003) — Contributor — 34 copies
Mailer (1972) — Editor — 26 copies
Graham Greene: A Collection of Critical Essays (1973) — Contributor — 24 copies
Pound (1975) — Editor — 22 copies
Darwin (1982) — Editor — 16 copies
Pavlov (1979) — Editor — 13 copies
Arendt (1992) — Editor — 11 copies

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Common Knowledge

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Reviews

In these essays, Kermode displays his deep knowledge and erudition - to the point sometimes of 'showing off'. The literary jargon on display in the chapter on poets made those essays almost unintelligible. What is it about poetry that seems to bring out the mumbo-jumbo? (I would say the same about painting. See Michel Butor.) Still, I read through the pieces quickly and in the main enjoyed them.
½
 
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heggiep | Mar 20, 2023 |
An impressive work on the relations between time, Apocalypse, fiction. Reading this after Ricoeur's Temps et Récit trilogy made me understand that work much better too: Ricoeur has clearly drawn heavily from Kermode's insights.
 
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Boreque | 3 other reviews | Feb 7, 2022 |
This year I have been reading several books by writers from the Romantic Period and some books about this period too, and I thought Romantic image would be a nice edition to that. However, I was very disappointed with this books and even irritated.

First of all, it is not the first time I have heard the suggestion that the Romantic period is not finished, although I think my tutors who brought this idea up got it from this book by Kermode. Frank Kermode was really a big name at that time.

Generally, the Romantic period refers to the writings of the period of the late Eighteenth century till the end of the first quarter of the Nineteenth century, with writers such as Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron and Wordsworth, etc. In Romantic image Kermode suggests that the Romantic period is not finished and that for example Yeats belongs to this epoch.

What I don't like about Romantic image is that it barely pays attention to they traditional poets of what is convetionally considered to be the romantic period, while focussing on outliers and obscure writers. There seems to be a lot of names-dropping and high-brow elitism in this book.
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1 vote
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edwinbcn | 1 other review | Jan 3, 2022 |
his is a monography on the poet Wallace Stevens by the reknowned scholar Frank Kermode. It is a bit tricky to buy a critical work on a poet with whose work I am unfamiliar, and may likely not be interested in. However, this is a short work of almost essay-like length of just 126 pages.

Kermode makes some poignent observations about the role and nature of reality as seen by Wallace Stevens that struck me and stuck with me.

reality is what you see finely and imagine fully from where you are and as what you are. 'The Gods of China are always Chinese' is one of the fundamental ideas of Wallace Stevens (p.11). "I am what is around me" (p.35).

At least in his poetry, Stevens creates a divide between reality and the world of the imagination, effectively cutting himself off from life. To most people life is an affair of people and not of places. Instead, he says, life is an affair of places, and elsewhere Life is not people and scene but thought and feeling.

This culminates in the horrific observation that reality is in fact unbearable to us, that we cannot truly face it, and that we can only live with it through the overlay of our imagination. In The Snow Man "winter" is a metaphor for a "pure abstracted reality, a bare icy outline purged clean of all the accretions brought by the human mind to make it possible for us to conceive of reality and live our lives." In winter, things are seen as they are. (p. 31).

In the same context, Stevens wrote: "No doubt there is nothing more morbid in itself, more inimical to nature, than to see things as they are.... The real, in its pure state, stops the heart instantaneously .... O, Socrates, the universe cannot for one instant endure to be only what it is ... " (p. 32) from Stevens' introduction to Valéry's Dance and the Soul.

The imagination is described as a power to transform the environment and ensure comfort and survival. " Poets, with this power, once made gods and myths, but these are irrelevant to modern reality. Now the same power must be our defense against the poverty of fact" (p. 36) (Italics are mine).

This bleak view that pits the harsh world of Darwinian biology against culture as a soft blanket to delude ourselves by shying away from harsh reality is incredibly convincing to me.

I did not much care for the poetry of Wallace Stevens, but believe Kermode provides an excellent introduction to Stevens' overall output, mainly poetry, and dedicates one chapter to his prose works. To me, reading the critical sections underlying Stevens ideas was what made reading this book so valuable to me.
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½
 
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edwinbcn | Dec 26, 2021 |

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