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Monday, May 14, 2012

Silence: 50th Anniversary Edition (Wesleyan University Press), by John Cage

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John Cage the composer was almost inseparable from Cage the essayist. They were facets of the same persona. Prefacing the handsome 50th anniversary edition of Cage's seminal collection of writings, Silence, is an introductory essay by Bard College's Kyle Gann. Cage's writing can be hard going—it's often more modernist poetry than prose essay—but Gann invites readers to appreciate the composer's call to slip the bonds of logic, to stop making sense and transcend the artistic ego. Merrily thumbing his nose at ambition and desire in the arts, Cage's writings should be carefully considered in a world where the narcissism of self-expression threatens to occlude all else. 

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