Kenneth Gross with Rikki Ducornet, On Dolls
September 20, 2018, 7:00 PM
This charming and unusual literary collection contains essays and reflections that explore the seriousness of play and the mysteries of inanimate life—“the unknown spaces, dust, lost objects, and small animals that fill any house”—which have provoked many writers to take the side of these dead or nonhuman things, resulting in some of the most profound passages in literature.
Edited and with an introduction by Kenneth Gross, and a beautiful printing by Notting Hill Editions, On Dolls includes Charles Baudelaire’s “The Philosophy of Toys,” Walter Benjamin’s “Old Toys: The Toy Exhibition at the Märkisches Museum,” Elizabeth Bishop’s “Cirque d’Hiver,” Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” Franz Kafka’s “The Cares of a Family Man,” Heinrich von Kleist’s “On the Marionette Theatre,” Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Dolls: On the Wax Dolls of Lotte Pritzel,” Bruno Schulz’s “Tailors’ Dummies,” Dennis Silk’s “The Marionette Theatre,” and Marina Warner’s “On the Threshold: Sleeping Beauties.””
Kenneth Gross is the author of The Dream of the Moving Statue, Shakespeare’s Noise, and Shylock Is Shakespeare. His Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life was a co-winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. A former fellow of the Guggenheim, Bellagio, and Bogliasco Foundations, and the American Academy in Berlin, he teaches English at the University of Rochester.
The author of nine novels, three collections of short fiction, two books of essays and five books of poetry, Rikki Ducornet has received both a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award For Fiction. She has received the Bard College Arts and Letters award and, in 2008, an Academy Award in Literature. Her work is widely published abroad. Recent exhibitions of her paintings include the solo show Desirous at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2007, and the group shows: O Reverso Do Olhar in Coimbra, Portugal, 2008, El Umbral Secreto at the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile, 2009, Las Llavas del Deseo, Fundacion Camaleonart, National Library, Costa Rica, 2016, and La Chasse A l’Objet Du Désir, Galerie Espace, Quebec, 2014. She has illustrated books by Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Coover, Forrest Gander, Kate Bernheimer, Joanna Howard and Anne Waldman among others. Her collected papers including prints and drawings are in the permanent collection of the Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. Her art work is in the permanent collections of the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago Chile, The McMaster University Museum, Ontario, Canada, and The Biblioteque Nationale, Paris.