Review Of "Assimilation/Generation/Resurrection: Contrapuntal Readings In The Poetry Of José Lezama Lima" By B. A. Heller

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Readers of Lezama's poetry, essays, and fiction are well aware that the late Cuban writer was continually exploring in his poems ideas he later developed more extensively in his essays and fiction, and that in his works poetic theory was virtually synonymous with poetic practice. His essays are characterized by an undeniable poetic discourse, and in his fiction--particularly in his masterpiece, Paradiso--one finds a profound reflection of his entire poetic system. Other recent studies on Lezama have sought to define the terms and parameters of this system by taking his essays and fiction as their point of departure. In this fascinating and clearly written book, Heller illuminates Lezama's poetic system through an analysis of the writer's major books of poetry, his poetics of individual creation, and his theory of culture. Heller is original in his use of the writer's contrapuntal theory of reading as a basis for analyzing his poems. Critically, what informs this study is a contrapuntal hermeneutics heavily influenced by such theoreticians as Mikhail Bakhtin and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty.


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