A history of the imagination in our time
Guy Davenport has died. His essays and criticism stand on their own as works of art, reading them makes one a more perceptive and better reader (if not a better human being). His translations of Greek are exhilarating, and reconnect the modern with the ancient mind (as does his fiction set in the ancient world). Davenport's criticism repeatedly illuminated and connected authors in surprising ways, as in this essay where he detects the influence of a Wilkie Collins story on a story by Kafka. He elevated authors that conventional opinion underappreciated or misunderstood (Ruskin, O. Henry, Agassiz - so many). His own stylistically unique fiction was underappreciated and misunderstood by conventional opinion. I believe some of his short stories rank among the best of the last century, and I think, unless literature ceases to matter, Davenport will be one of the few recent authors influential and revered a century hence.