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.
Vincent van Gogh: A Life in Letters
An illustrated selection of Van Gogh’s letters, forming an extraordinary window into the life and creative thinking of one of the world’s most iconic artists.
Vincent van Gogh’s letters have long been prized as some of the most valuable documents in the world of art. Not only do they throw light on Van Gogh’s own complex and intriguing character, they enlighten the whole creative process as seen through his eyes.
Here we can observe Van Gogh’s thoughts and opinions at first hand, as well as his close ties with his brother Theo, his sometimes troubled relationships with friends and fellow artists, his personal doubts and fears, and above all his overriding passion for his art. This is not only an immense treasure trove of biographical and art-historical information, it provides a lasting pleasure as a personal written testimony to a life consecrated to art.
Vincent van Gogh: A Life in Letters belongs on the shelves of every reader in search of self-revelatory documents of one of the greatest creative minds.
Volume One of the Letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot in 1988, covered the period from Eliot’s childhood in St Louis, Missouri, to the end of 1922, by which time he had settled in England, married and published The Waste Land.
Since 1988, Valerie Eliot has continued to gather materials from collections, libraries and private sources in Britain and America, towards the preparation of subsequent volumes of the Letters edition. Among new letters to have come to light, a good many date from the years 1898-1922, which has necessitated a revised edition of Volume One, taking account of approximately two hundred newly discovered items of correspondence.
The new letters fill crucial gaps in the record, notably enlarging our understanding of the genesis and publication of The Waste Land. Valuable, too, are letters from the earlier and less documented part of Eliot’s life, which have been supplemented by additional correspondence from family members in America.
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.
The children’s novel “Black Beauty” was written by Anna Sewell in her fifties and she sold it outright for GBP20. She did not live to know of its success. This work chronicles her extraordinary life from the tragic accident that left her lame at the age of 14 to the writing of her novel from her death bed.
This is a son’s search for his father. A familiar theme, but one that, across the generations, can occasionally unearth something rather powerful. In The Distance Between Us that son is Renato Cisneros, a talented writer and a well-known journalist, and that father is the former Army General Luis Federico ‘El Gaucho’ Cisneros, one of the most important figures in the recent history of Peru.
Renato Cisneros digs into his own family history to understand and demystify the figure of ‘El Gaucho’: the controversial Secretary during the regime of Francisco Morales Bermúdez and, shortly after, the country’s Minister of War. In this book, the intimate perspective and the passage of time reveal the unknown truths about a man, a family and an entire country.
“A wonderful, fascinating account of two stars of the post-war literary generation, and their mutual influence.” –Good Book Guide
Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin were close from the moment they met as undergraduates at Oxford. They were, however, very different personalities. Kingsley was charming, sociable, and completely amoral whilst Larkin was awkward and insecure. Their relationship with one another is fascinating in part because it provided the inspiration behind their work. In fact, parts of Lucky Jim were based on Larkin’s life, a fact the poet begrudged for the rest of his life. An extraordinary study of one of the most controversial literary friendships of the twentieth century.