“Keeping an Eye Open” comes to Iranian bookstores

January 30, 2022 - 18:19

TEHRAN – “Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art” by English writer Julian Barnes has been published in Persian by Cheshmeh.

Originally published in 2011, the book has been translated by Abtin Radmanesh.

Barnes wrote in a note about the book, “Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation.”

“Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting… But it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.”

This is the exact dynamic that informs his new book. In his 1989 novel “A History of the World” in 10½ Chapters, Barnes had a chapter on Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa”, and since then he has written about many great masters of art during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Delacroix, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cezanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Lucian Freud and Howard Hodgkin. 

The seventeen essays gathered here help trace the arc from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism; they are adroit, insightful and, above all, a true pleasure to read.

Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize for “Flaubert’s Parrot” (1984), “England, England” (1998), and “Arthur & George” (2005), and won the prize for “The Sense of an Ending” (2011). 

He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym of Dan Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School and Merton College, Oxford, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Subsequently, he worked as a literary editor and film critic. 

He now writes full-time. His brother, Jonathan Barnes, is a philosopher specializing in ancient philosophy.

He lived in London with his wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh, until her death on 20 October 2008.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian edition of “Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art” by Julian Barnes.


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