The essays and reflections in this collection explore the seriousness of play and the mysteries of inanimate life - 'the unkwn spaces, ises, dust, lost objects, and small animals that fill any house' - which have provoked many writers to take the side of these dead or n-human things, resulting in some of the most profound passages in literature. On Dolls includes contributions from: Heinrich Von Kleist 'On the Marionette Theatre', Charles Baudelaire 'The Philosophy of Toys', Sigmund Freud 'The Uncanny', Rainer Maria Rilke 'On the Dolls of Lotte Pritzel', Franz Kafka 'The Cares of a Family Man', Bru Schulz 'Tailors' Dummies', Walter Benjamin 'Old Toys: The Toy Exhibition at the Markisches Museum', Elizabeth Bishop 'Cirque d'Hiver', Dennis Silk 'The Marionette Theatre', Marina Warner 'On the Threshold: Sleeping Beauties.' Kenneth Gross is particularly illuminating about the passionate intensity or violent hunger for being that seems to be the particular characteristic of puppets; it is as though, as the fossilised form of human longing, the puppet longs in turn, vividly and vivaciously, for the life that can never be its own. Steven Conr on Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
Kenneth Gross is Professor of English at the University of Rochester. His books include The Dream of the Moving Statue (1992), Shakespeare's Noise (2001), Shylock is Shakespeare (2006), and most recently Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (2011).