That books are inspired by the personal life of authors it is known and that the reaction experienced by people when they read a book are different from person to person it is known as well. It's a cultural story, but...not only.
Sometimes when we re-read a book we feel that book "different" from the first time we read it, because in the while we grew up mentally, we experienced more life.
Writing is a process of an author who, maybe, is writing down certain things, topics, defining, creating some characters because he is in trouble, because he is searching in that moment some answers, because he needs to "throw up" what it is burning in his soul.
Tim Parks, in this stunning book Life and Work Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them by Yale University Book remarks powerfully this.
What is a classics after all if not a wonderfully well written book where the soul of the author is impregnated in every word and every page? What is a classics if not a book that it is immortal thanks to the intellectual honesty of the writer?
The knowledge of the life of the author will add a lot at the reading because will reveal to the reader a lot not just of that book but of the author himself and why there was the creation of a certain masterpiece or book.
I know very well Charles Dickens' biography because I love this author. He idealized family in his books, but when there was to cope with his own family Dickens wasn't always so great and he reduced the first daughter at a life of singletude although that lady remarked that it was great to be the daughter of Dickens.
The biography I loved the most intersected with the book of the author?
The one of James Joyce.
Shocked ad traumatized by The Dubliners that our english teacher pretended from us the first year of high school without any kind of knowledge of english, this author meant to me an intellectual block and per years just seeing the written name James Joyce meant panic.
I have been in great to buying a second hand edition of The Dubliners just some months ago thinking that I had to make peace with this author.
Joyce spent most of his time distant from Ireland writing only about Irish people, never affectionated to the people he would have met along his way in the foreign places he lived in. In this sense similar to his dad James Joyce remained someone who felt the compulsive desire of writing about irish. He married a lady not appropriate to him, he was a man with strong sexual appetite, and at the same time someone who thought that his writing couldn't be put in discussion. He would have been helped, strongly helped by Ezra Pound. Joyce became a name thanks to her.
Feodor Dostoevsky we will see will cope all his life with epilepsy and other addictions and he will remark in his writing his condition, while Haruki Murakami will confess that writing was to him a suprise like also his success and he is happy now to seeing how enthusiastic are his readers when he publishes a new book. Son of a Buddhist priest he writes about modern Japan; Philip Roth's characters will be taken in considerations and read under their pessimistic approaches to life like also the mood of most of his novels analyzed in detail.
Authors treated in this books are many, not just the ones I told you and Tim Parks with his fluid narrative style will keep you engaged in a reading that will mean to enter pretty closely in the private existences of writers for understanding their personal writing and at least their choices, why some characters were born in a certain way and why they decided to treat a particular thematic, maybe influenced by current events as well.
This book indispensable to my point of view will help you in the future to understand better some of the main masterpieces, classics or modern book of our literature and their authors thanks to a vision inter-connected with the time the writer was/is writing in, his character, illnesses, addictions, environment, family, behaviors, trips, friends.
Authors taken in consideration: Charles Dickens, Feodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Hardy, Anton Chekhov, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Gorges Simenon, Muriel Spark, Philip Roth, J.M. Coetzee, Julian Barnes, Colm Toibin, Geoff Dyer, Peter Stamm, Graham Swift, David Eggers, Haruki Murakami, Peter Matthiessen, Stieg Larsson, E.L. James.
I thank NetGalley and Yale University Press for this ebook.
Anna Maria Polidori