The writing career of John Berger–poet, storyteller, playwright, and essayist–has yielded some of the most original and compelling examinations of art and life of the past half century. In this essential volume, Geoff Dyer has brought together a rich selection of many of Berger’s seminal essays.
Berger’s insights make it impossible to look at a painting, watch a film, or eThe writing career of John Berger–poet, storyteller, playwright, and essayist–has yielded some of the most original and compelling examinations of art and life of the past half century. In this essential volume, Geoff Dyer has brought together a rich selection of many of Berger’s seminal essays.
Berger’s insights make it impossible to look at a painting, watch a film, or even visit a zoo in quite the same way again. The vast range of subjects he addresses, the lean beauty of his prose, and the keenness of his anger against injustice move us to view the world with a new lens of awareness. Whether he is discussing the singleminded intensity of Picasso’s Guernica, the parallel violence and alienation in the art of Francis Bacon and Walt Disney, or the enigmatic silence of his own mother, what binds these pieces throughout is the depth and fury of Berger’s passion, challenging us to participate, to protest, and above all, to see....more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 11th 2003 by Vintage (first published December 26th 2001)
For the Australian painter, see Geoffrey Dyer.
Geoff Dyer (born 5 June 1958) is an English writer. He is the author of four novels and seven books of non-fiction, which have won a number of literary awards and been translated into 24 languages. Kathryn Schulz, writing in New York, described him as "one of our greatest living critics, not of the arts but of life itself, and one of our most original writers".
Dyer was born and raised in Cheltenham, England, as the only child of a sheet metal worker father and a school dinner lady mother. He was educated at the local grammar school and won a scholarship to study English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is married to Rebecca Wilson, chief curator at Saatchi Art, Los Angeles. In March 2014, Dyer revealed that he had had a minor stroke earlier in the year, shortly after moving to live in Venice, Los Angeles.
Dyer is the author of four novels: The Colour of Memory, The Search, Paris Trance, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; three collections of essays, Anglo-English Attitudes, Working the Room and Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (a selection from the previous two essay collections published in the US); and six genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (on jazz), The Missing of the Somme (on the memorialization of the First World War), Out of Sheer Rage (about D H Lawrence), Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, The Ongoing Moment (on photography), and Zona (about Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker). He is the editor of John Berger: Selected Essays and co-editor, with Margaret Sartor, of What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney.
A selection of essays from Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room entitled Otherwise Known as the Human Condition was published in the US in April 2011 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.
One of his most recent books, Another Great Day at Sea (2014), chronicles Dyer’s experiences on the USS George H.W. Bush, where he was writer-in-residence for two weeks. It has been described by David Finkel, author of Thank You for Your Service, as "what we’ve all come to expect from Geoff Dyer—another great book. I loved everything about it. It’s brilliantly observed, beautifully written, incisive, funny, and filled with stirring truths about life and the value of service." Billy Collins, the former United States Poet Laureate and author of Aimless Love, said: "Geoff Dyer has managed to do again what he does best: insert himself into an exotic and demanding environment (sometimes, his own flat, but here, the violent wonders of an aircraft carrier) and file a report that mixes empathetic appreciation with dips into brilliant comic deflation. Welcome aboard the edifying and sometimes hilarious ship Dyer."
Dyer was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2005. In 2014 he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
In 2013 he served as the prestigious Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. He now teaches in the PhD program at the University of Southern California.
Awards and honours
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- Dyer, Geoff (1986). Ways of telling : the work of John Berger. London: Pluto Press.
- — (1989). The colour of memory. London: Jonathan Cape.
- — (1991). But beautiful : a book about jazz. London: Jonathan Cape.
- — (1993). The search. London: Hamish Hamilton.
- — (1994). The missing of the Somme. London: Hamish Hamilton.
- — (1997). Out of sheer rage : in the shadow of D.H. Lawrence. London: Little, Brown.
- U.S. edition: Out of sheer rage : wrestling with D.H. Lawrence. U.S. edition. New York: North Point Press. 1998.
- — (1998). Paris trance. London: Abacus.
- — (1999). Anglo-English attitudes : essays, reviews, misadventures 1984-99. London: Abacus.
- Sartor, Margaret; Dyer, Geoff, eds. (2000). What was true : the photographs and notebooks of William Gedney. New York: Center for Documentary Studies.
- Berger, John (2001). Dyer, Geoff, ed. Selected essays. London: Bloomsbury.
- Dyer, Geoff (2003). Yoga for people who can't be bothered to do it. London: Time Warner.
- — (2005). The ongoing moment. London: Little, Brown.
- — (2009). Jeff in Venice, death in Varanasi. Edinburgh: Canongate.
- — (2010). Working the room : essays and reviews, 1999-2010. Edinburgh: Canongate.
- — (2011). Otherwise known as the human condition : selected essays and reviews, 1989-2010. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press.
- — (2012). The colour of memory. Rev. and updated ed. Edinburgh: Canongate.
- — (2012). Zona. Edinburgh: Canongate. 
- — (2012). Zona : a book about a film about a journey to a room. U.S. edition. New York: Pantheon.
- — (2014). Another Great Day at Sea : life aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. Photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins. New York: Pantheon.
- 2016 White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, Canongate, (p.233)
- The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand. Austin: University of Texas, 2018. ISBN 978-1477310335. Text by Dyer, photographs by Garry Winogrand.
Essays and reporting
- Dyer, Geoff (n.d.). "Albert Camus". Open City. 9 (Bewitched): 23–38. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- — (1994). "Comics in a man's life". In Howe, Sean. Give our regards to the atomsmashers! : writers on comics. New York: Pantheon Books.
- — (Autumn 2002). "Hotel Oblivion". Granta. 79 (Celebrity).
- — (Winter 2002). "On the roof". Granta. 80 (The Group). Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- — (Autumn 2005). "White Sands". Granta. 91 (Wish You Were Here).
- Dyer, Geoff (8 October 2005). "The road less familiar". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- — (November 2012). "A brief period of rejoicing : never mind the European meltdown, here's the Olympics!". Letter from London. Harper's Magazine. 325 (1950): 42–51.
- — (3 April 2014). "Why can't I see you?". Diary. London Review of Books. 36 (7). Retrieved 2015-07-28.
- For a lengthy discussion of Dyer's books see James Wood's essay "From Venice to Varanasi - Geoff Dyer's Wandering Eye" The New Yorker, 20 April 2009.
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