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Lectures and Writings, 50th Anniversary Edition
John Cage; Kyle Gann, fwd.

2011 • 312 pp. 7 1/8 x 8 1/2"
Music / Literary Criticism / Art

$25.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7365-0
$30.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7176-2

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7177-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Not for sale in the British Commonwealth

“As the unchallenged father figure of American experimental music, Mr. Cage wields an influence that extends far beyond sound alone. . . . Indeed, the entire American avant-garde would be unthinkable without Mr. Cage’s music, writings, and genially patriarchical personality.”—John Rockwell, The New York Times

Special edition of the book that revolutionized our understanding of how we make and experience art

Silence, John Cage’s first book and epic masterpiece, was published in October 1961. In these lectures, scores, and writings, Cage tries, as he says, to find a way of writing that comes from ideas, is not about them, but that produces them. Often these writings include mesostics and essays created by subjecting the work of other writers to chance procedures using the I Ching. Fifty years later comes a beautiful new edition with a foreword by eminent music critic Kyle Gann. A landmark book in American arts and culture, Silence has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold over half a million copies worldwide. Wesleyan University Press is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s publication with this special edition.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Of all Cage’s books, it is perhaps the first, Silence, which has had the broadest impact. Even now, artists of all sorts continue to respond to its Zen principles, its chance procedures, and its revolutionary ideas about sound, silence, form, and time.”—Dance Chronicle

“‘It’s the book I’ve reread most often in my life,’ writes the composer-critic Kyle Gann in his illuminating foreword to the 50th anniversary edition. … To reread Silence today is to see how complex, playful, but also deeply ironic Cage’s seemingly upbeat and casual aesthetic really was.”—Marjorie Perloff, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Cage’s 1959 ‘Lecture on Nothing’…remains a touchstone for artists thinking about how to empty their work of themselves. It has just reappeared in a 50th anniversary edition of Cage’s classic first book, Silence.” —Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

“Kyle Gann has written a breezy and often informative foreword that includes the principal events of Cage’s life, some reminiscences, some interesting critical remarks on selected essays, and—most helpful—a list of names and biographical sketches of characters that populate Cage’s entertaining anecdotes.”American Record Guide

“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.”David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

“‘I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.’ The line, probably John Cage’s most famous statement, appears three times over in his book Silence, which Wesleyan University Press has reissued in a smart fiftieth anniversary edition that also coincides with the centenary of the author’s birth. A self-devouring paradox, Cage’s modest avowal neatly draws attention to the impossibility of saying nothing, for once a frame of communication has been set up, be that frame a book or a musical score, a sheet of paper mounted in a gallery space or a performance scheduled in a concerthall (and Cage worked in all these media), emptiness will speak.”Paul Griffiths, Times Literary Supplement

From the Book:

Where we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating. The sound of a truck at fifty miles per hour. Static between the stations. Rain. We want to capture and control these sounds, to use them not as sound effects but as musical instruments. Every film studio has a library of “sound effects” recorded on film. With a film phonograph it is now possible to control the amplitude and frequency of any one of these sounds and to give it rhythms within or beyond the reach of the imagination. Given four film phonographs, we can compose and perform a quartet for explosive motor, wind, heartbeat, and landslide.
From “The Future of Music: Credo”

JOHN CAGE (1912–1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist. A pioneer of percussion, chance, and electronic music, Cage was one of the most influential American composers of the twentieth century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance in America, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4'33", the three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. KYLE GANN is one of the nation’s leading music critics. Since 1997 he has taught music theory, history, and composition at Bard College. He is the author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow, American Music in the 20th Century, Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice, No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage’s 4'33", and Robert Ashley.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:00:26 -0500