300 Arguments

4
A rilliant and exhilarating sequence of aphorisms from one of our greatest essayists

There will come a time when people decide you ’ ve had enough of your sadness, and they ’ ll try to take it away from you.

Bad art is from no one to no one.

Am I happy? Damned if I know, but give me a few inutes and I ’ ll tell you whether you are.

Thank heaven I don ’ t have my friends ’ problems. But sometimes I notice an expression on one of their faces that I recognize as secret gratitude.

I read sad stories to inoculate myself against grief. I watch action movies to identify with the quick-witted heroes. Both the same fantasy: I ’ ll escape the worst of it.

—from 300 Arguments

A “ Proustian minimalist on the order of Lydia Davis ” ( Kirkus Reviews), Sarah Manguso is one of the finest literary artists at work today. To read her work is to witness acrobatic acts of compression in the service of extraordinary psychological and spiritual knowledg.

300 Arguments, a foray into the frontier of contemporary nonfiction writing, is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms. But, as in the work of David Markson, the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso ’ s statement about desire, ambition, relationships, and ailure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unfortunat and renegade wisdom literature.
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Original Series
Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published February 7th 2017 by Graywolf Press
Number of Pages
104

Community Reviews

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gave it

I read Sarah Manguso 's Ongoingness a few onths ago and absolutely, positively adored it; enough to decide I want to read everything she has ever written.

gave it

Meaning -- whenever I 'd read a chunk of these mini-essays, I 'd find my brain thinking in the same watery depths and loose wisdom.

gave it

That could 've been grating if it stayed too long on the self-reflection or insisted too much on the rightness of the orm, but it remained questioning and genuine, which brought me into the reflection rather than shoving it down my ches.

gave it

We are lucky to be dea at the same time she is producing such vital work.

gave it

The first beautiful songs you hear tend to stay beautiful because better than beauty, which is everywhere, is the memory of first discovering beauty.

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