The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman

( 2 )

Overview

Midnight on St. James Court, at the heart of which is a foun­tain sculpture of Venus rising from the sea. Kathryn Callaghan has finished the first draft of her novel about Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, a survivor of the French Revolution who was hated for her ­sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette. Kathryn remains haunted by Élisabeth's experiences, for the women possess similar gifts and burdens in life. And before the next midnight rolls around, Kathryn will have confronted danger as frightening as what ...

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The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman

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Overview

Midnight on St. James Court, at the heart of which is a foun­tain sculpture of Venus rising from the sea. Kathryn Callaghan has finished the first draft of her novel about Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, a survivor of the French Revolution who was hated for her ­sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette. Kathryn remains haunted by Élisabeth's experiences, for the women possess similar gifts and burdens in life. And before the next midnight rolls around, Kathryn will have confronted danger as frightening as what Élisabeth faced. Each woman will be called and tested; each will, like Venus, rise ­triumphantly above the expectations of her world.

In this, her compelling and intimate ninth book, Sena Jeter Naslund presents an eye-opening alternate vision of The Artist: not an angry young man but a woman of age and hard-won experience who has created a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist on THE FOUNTAIN OF ST JAMES COURT
“[A] lively and pointed variation on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man…this is an incisive and keenly pleasurable novel about women artists overcoming adversity to create “joyful work” that celebrates life’s beauty and wonder.”
Booklist on THE FOUNTAIN OF ST JAMES COURT
“[A] lively and pointed variation on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man…this is an incisive and keenly pleasurable novel about women artists overcoming adversity to create “joyful work” that celebrates life’s beauty and wonder.”
Alabama Writer's Forum News and Reviews on FOUNTAIN/PORTRAIT
Sena Jeter Naslund’s eloquent language, her mastery of technique have the power to transport readers from the inner turmoil of a successful contemporary writer to the harsh realities of life among the splendor of eighteenth-century French society. The lyrical, poetic rendering of her prose is magical.
Seattle Times on FOUNTAIN/PORTRAIT
“[U]nexpectedly addictive. Naslund once again creates memorable characters, surprising scenarios and astute notions on living life with intention.”
Library Journal
From Ahab's Wife to Abundance, the best-selling, multi-award-winning Naslund is known for creating persuasive female characters. In this novel-within-a-novel, she offers two: French painter Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun, who barely survived the revolution, and Kathryn Callaghan, who has written a fictional account of Vigée-LeBrun. Kathryn, who is standing meditatively by the fountain of Venus Rising from the Sea as the novel opens, has spent too much time in the past and must reckon with her life in contemporary America. With a 100,000-copy first printing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062278388
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 820,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sena Jeter Naslund

Sena Jeter Naslund is the author of six novels and two short story collections. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she is a winner of the Harper Lee Award, a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer-in-Residence at the University of Louisville, and the program director of the Spalding University brief-residency MFA in Writing.

Biography

Sena Jeter Naslund grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where she attended public schools and received a B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College. She has also lived in Louisiana, West Virginia, and California. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. In addition to two other novels and two collections of short stories, her short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review and many others.

For 12 years she directed the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville, where she teaches and holds the title Distinguished Teaching Professor. Concurrently, she is a member of the M.F.A. in Writing faculty of Vermont College. She is cofounder and editor of the literary magazine The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-lis Press, housed at Spaulding University, and has taught at the University of Montana and Indiana University. She is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

Good To Know

Naslund is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council.

She has taught literature since 1972, directing the creative writing program at University of Louisville, where she was awarded its first-ever Distinguished Teaching Professor honor.

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    1. Hometown:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A., Birmingham-Southern College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa Writers' Workshop

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    'The Fountain of St. James Court; or Portrait of the Artist as a

    'The Fountain of St. James Court; or Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman' is a beautiful story of the intertwining lives of a contemporary writer - Kathryn Callaghan - and the historic painter - Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun. Kathryn has written a novel about the artist and her life during the French Revolution. Kathryn becomes so wrapped up in Elisabeth's life and the time period of eighteenth-century Europe that she's finding it hard to come back to her own life in modern day America.

    This novel is essentially a story-within-a-story, telling the tales of two separate yet connected main characters. Kathryn Callaghan is a modern writer who has decided to write a novel about the life of Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun. As Kathryn delves further into Elisabeth's life and the time period in which she lived, she finds herself connected to the painter in ways she never expected. Aside from Kathryn's modern day story, we also get to read about Elisabeth's life - her own story - of how she lived, painted, and her achievements. The two women are actually quite similar despite the fact that they are separated by centuries. Both Kathryn and Elisabeth are driven artists who fight to live the life they dreamed of by practicing their crafts of writing and painting. Both women go through difficult and trying times alongside their joy and achievements, which makes them incredibly realistic and accessible to the reader. The use of a novel-within-a-novel device was an interesting choice by the author and I wondered if it would work out well or turn out to be confusing to the reader. The author manages to write both women's stories with incredible detail and description so they are easily identified from one another without confusion - and yet the reader is able to see how much the two are alike. The writing was very well done with a natural flow and an engaging narrative that drew me in from the first pages. Highly recommended for fans of both contemporary and historical fiction!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

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