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lunedì, marzo 19, 2018

Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell

Beautiful, interesting, and attracting.
These ones are the words for describing Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell an enchanting book about modern novelists and their personal relationship with biography and auto-biography.

You can read this book "disconnected" so, if you are in love for certain authors, reading the portion of biographies involving them or you can use this book for creating a profound connection with all these seven authors interconnected together.

The authors taken in consideration: Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Ford Madox Ford, Edith Wathron, H.G.Wells, Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis.

Some anecdotes you will find in this book?

Well, in general during their auto-biographies these authors will try to write something in a different ways, altering episodes, reality. Conrad was famous for "painting in his books" facts and people realistically lived.

He avoided of telling in his autobiography of a tentative of suicide he experienced. Maybe he didn't want to return to think at such a depressing moment. Understandable.

We will discover that the fascination felt by Gertrude Stein for paintings, she was a beloved friend of Matisse, Picasso was later projected in words. She wrote their biographies, without neglecting her own one.

Henry James lived a strained life, surrounded by a lot of tragedies, sufferances and personal breakdowns for this reason. Maybe that was why he searched to analyze so scrupulously the life and its events and people. He is the writer of the self-revelation, he is the author of the immense stage that it is called life in all its tragicity sometimes.
His characters, never trivialized are seen in a psychological intense lens, and that cruelty sometimes the life can presents to people thanks to ambiguous people and situations.

Edith Warthon, another example wrote a wonderful autobiography of her early years, treated with great lucidity and passion. Many problems in Wharton's life, in her auto-biography she will portray a great Henry James, seen more like a man than not like a writer giving of him a private aspect unknown to the most.

This one is a very good book, where you will breath the sophisticated atmosphere where these wonderful writers lived in, appreciating their existence, their personal torments, their joys,  that later would have been put in words, or in most cases treated with distance or avoided. After all, everyone would want to re-write some part of his/her existence, giving a best expression and most of all by-passing the atrocity of sufferance.


Writing sometimes is a process chosen for healing from internal pains exactly like for a painter painting, a singer singing an actor acting. We mustn't never forget it.


Buy this book with the certainty not only of a great product but of a wonderful fluid book, where there are a lot of interesting facts and a full sophisticated immersion in the Modernism. The lives of these writers are lived with brightness, lightness and at the same time accuracy and yes, love.

Highly recommended if you love literature, if you want to discover something of your favorite authors, if you are curious to discover more about autobiographical dimension and process experienced and lived by these seven writers.

I find fascinating the cover where the life's lightness and heaviness, immortality and mortality are mixed together displayed by the beautiful day, seen by an open window but at the same time by  the hand put on the shutter and on the right the darkness that can be read as the most obscure dimension of the spirit.

I thank so much Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this wonderful book.

Anna Maria Polidori

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