Andrew Motion was appointed Poet Laureate in 1999, but alongside his work as a poet he also had a significant career as a prize-winning biographer and an illuminating critic. Ways of Life celebrates this talent with a selection of his articles about painters and poets, as well as a number of striking personal pieces. The literary essays in Ways of Life look at a wide assortment of writers, from John Clare and Ivor Gurney, to marginal figures such as Leigh Hunt and Joseph Severn, and reassess the less well-known work of celebrated writers including John Donne, Christina Rossetti and Thomas Hardy. Ways of Life is an original, acute and emotionally-charged collection of writings, from a truly important and insightful writer.
The Quentin Blake Book
A fully illustrated overview of the life and work of the universally loved Quentin Blake, released ahead of the artist’s 90th birthday in December 2022.
Quentin Blake is an artist who has charmed and inspired generations of readers. Tracing Blake’s art and career from his very first drawings – published in Punch when he was 16 – through his collaborations with writers from Roald Dahl and John Yeoman to Russell Hoban and David Walliams, to his large-scale works for hospitals and public spaces and right up to his most recent passions and projects, acclaimed author Jenny Uglow here presents a fully illustrated overview of Quentin Blake’s extraordinary body of work, with accompanying commentary by the artist himself.
With unprecedented access to the artist’s entire archive, The Quentin Blake Book reveals the stories behind some of Blake’s most famous creations, while also providing readers with an intimate insight into the unceasing creativity of this remarkable artist.
Marlon Brando will never cease to fascinate us: for his triumphs as an actor (On the Waterfront, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris), as well as his disasters; for the power of the screen portrayals he gave, and for his turbulent, tumultuous personal life.
Seamlessly intertwining the man and the work, Kanfer takes us through Brando’s troubled childhood, to his arrival in New York in the 1940s, where he studied with the legendary Stella Adler, and at the age of twenty-three became the toast of Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire. Kanfer expertly examines each of Brando’s films – from The Men in 1950 to The Score in 2001 – making clear the evolution of Brando’s singular genius, while also shedding light on the cultural evolution of Hollywood itself. And he brings into focus Brando’s self-destructiveness, his lifelong dissembling, his deeply ambivalent feelings towards his chosen vocation, and the tragedies that shadowed his final years. This is a never-before-seen portrait of one of the most extraordinary talents of the twentieth century.
This is the book that thoughtful readers of Charles Bukowski have been waiting for. Based on extensive research, it places Bukowski’s poetry in it’s American cultural context, and explores the key poems and collections in his development. It traces magazines, literary contacts and influences from the mid-1940’s to The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992).
Want to know about Bukowski and the movies, the Beats, Hemingway, Céline and Walt Whitman? About how and why Bukowski formed his unique style and image? And about where he fits in to West Coast and post-War American verse? Scholarly but accessible, this is the essential book to have. Also contains drawings by David Hernandez, rare photographs of C.B., and a preface by Gerald Locklin. – The Editor
The period covered by this richly detailed collection, which brings the poet to the age of forty, T.S. Eliot was to set a new course for his life and work. Forsaking the Unitarianism of his American forebears, he was received into the Church of England and naturalised as a British citizen – a radical and public alteration of the intellectual and spiritual direction of his career.
The demands of Eliot’s professional life as writer and editor became more complex and exacting during these years. The celebrated but financially-pressed periodical he had been editing since 1922 – The Criterion – switched between being a quarterly and a monthly, before being rescued by the fledgling house of Faber & Gwyer. In addition to writing numerous essays and editorials, lectures, reviews, introductions and prefaces, his letters show Eliot involving himself wholeheartedly in the business of his new career as a publisher. His Ariel poems, Journey of the Magi (1927) and A Song for Simeon (1928) established a new manner and vision for the poet of The Waste Land and ‘The Hollow Men’. These are also the years in which Eliot published two sections of an exhilaratingly funny, savage, jazz-influenced play-in-verse – ‘Fragment of a Prologue’ and ‘Fragment of an Agon’ – which were subsequently brought together as Sweeney Agonistes. In addition, he struggled to translate the remarkable work Anabase, by St.-John Perse, which was to be a signal influence upon his own later poetry.
This correspondence with friends and mentors vividly documents all the stages of Eliot’s personal and artistic transformation during these crucial years, the continuing anxieties of his private life, and the forging of his public reputation.
In November 1960, Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a dog. His name was Maf. He had an instinct for the twentieth century. For politics. For psychoanalysis. For literature. For interior decoration. This is his story.
Maf the dog was with Marilyn for the last two years of her life. Not only a picaresque hero himself, he was also a scholar of the adventuring rogue in literature and art, witnessing the rise of America’s new liberalism, civil rights, the space race, the New York critics, and was Marilyn Monroe’s constant companion.
The story of Maf the dog is a hilarious and highly original peek into the life of a complex canine hero – he was very much a real historical figure, with his license and photographs sold at auction along with Marilyn’s other person affects. Through the eyes of Maf we’re provided with an insight into the life of Monroe herself, and a fascinating take on one of the most extraordinary periods of the twentieth century.
Volume Two covers the early years of his editorship of The Criterion (the periodical that Eliot launched with Lady Rothermere’s backing in 1922), publication of The Hollow Menand the course of Eliot’s thinking about poetry and poetics after The Waste Land. The correspondence charts Eliot’s intellectual journey towards conversion to the Anglican faith in 1927, as well as his transformation from banker to publisher, ending with his appointment as a director of the new publishing house of Faber & Gwyer, in late 1925, and the appearance of Poems 1909-1925, Eliot’s first publication with the house with which he would be associated for the rest of his life.
It was partly because of Eliot’s profoundly influential work as cultural commentator and editor that the correspondence is so prolific and so various, and Volume Two of the Letters fully demonstrates the emerging continuities between poet, essayist, editor and letter-writer.