The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff: I Am the Most Interesting Book of All, Volume I & Lust for Glory, Volume II

The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff: I Am the Most Interesting Book of All, Volume I & Lust for Glory, Volume II

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940016273020
Publisher: Fonthill Press LLC
Publication date: 03/20/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

What good is lying or striking poses? If I do not die young, I hope to remain as a great artist, but if I die young, I want my journal to be published. If this book is not the exact, absolute, strict truth, it has no reason for being.

Painter, sculptor, proto-feminist and creator of one of the most extraordinary examples of belles-letters ever written, Marie Bashkirtseff (November 24, 1858–October, 31 1884) was born in Ukraine to a somewhat nomadic and eccentric family of petite noblesse. From an early age, Marie’s intelligence and the force of her personality held sway over her wandering, expatriate family. And wander they did, back and forth across the face of Europe and Russia. In 1873 she was 14 years old, living in a sun swept villa on the Mediterranean—along with her mother, aunt, brother, grandfather, family doctor, a train of servants, a monkey and dogs (always her beloved dogs)—when she began inscribing a record of the events of her seaside days: her infatuations, acute and precocious observations, passions, dreams, radiant artistic notions, loves—every topic that fell into the ken of her luminous vision.

Eleven years later when she died in Paris of consumption, she had already achieved growing fame as an artist—and she had written thousands of pages, weaving a vast, multifaceted portrait of her life and loves in the radiant Belle Époque world in which she lived.

TRANSLATOR: Katherine Kernberger received her B.A. from Scripps College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, for over 30 years. Drawing on her mother’s materials and returning to the original French, Dr. Kernberger has prepared a translation of the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff that does justice to the realities of Marie’s life and speaks directly to Marie's readers in the here and now, worldwide.

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The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff: I Am the Most Interesting Book of All, Volume I & Lust for Glory, Volume II 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
joelschiff More than 1 year ago
Marie Bashkirtseff was by her own admission “outside ordinary humanity.” And so she was, being one of the most extraordinary individuals of the 19th century. Born to a petite noblesse family in a small Ukrainian village in 1858, she began keeping a Journal of her daily life from the age of 14. By this time an entourage of family members (sans father from whom the mother had split years earlier) had embarked on a European odyssey. From an early age Marie was a very precocious child, pampered and nurtured by her doting mother and aunt. When quite young she drew up a plan of study that consisted of English, Italian, French, painting, piano lessons, and subsequently added German, Latin, and Greek, as well as learning to play the harp and mandolin. All the preceding she seemed to pick up effortlessly; in a word you could say that she was a genius. The family settled first in Nice, then in Paris where Marie attended the Académie Julian school of art, one of the few avenues open to women art students at the time. Within little more than two years of study, Marie was exhibiting her first work at the pre-eminent venue on Earth, the Paris Salon. Numerous other works were to follow. Her painting of Julian’s atelier is a landmark work of the era. Being “outside ordinary humanity” Marie could see that the world was heavily stacked against women and in her Journal this topic was never far from her thoughts. Even at the young age of 16 she was all too aware of the unjust nature of society: “A man is selfish, he wanders wherever he likes, and then he takes a whole woman and wants her to be satisfied with his scraps, to love his worn out carcass,  his bitter character, his tired face”. Indeed, many of the issues raised by Marie a century and a half ago regarding social inequality are still very relevant. Her life played out like a Greek tragedy, interrupted at its height by the scourge of tuberculosis which ultimately claimed her life at the age of 25. Nevertheless, her scrupulously documented and endlessly varied life has been translated in unexpurgated form for the first time in English with these two combined volumes. The many previous translations were all redacted in order not to throw a too unfavorable light on various family members. Now we have the true story transcribed from the original notebooks and it scintillates with delight. The translation is brimming with pithy aphorisms: “A wife before marriage is Pompeii before the eruption; a wife after marriage is Pompeii after the eruption.”   “True artists cannot be happy.” There is just so much piercing intelligence shining through the Journal’s pages, so many insights into human nature, and of course into her own singular nature, that you come away from it with a real sense of enlightenment. The e-book version is augmented with historical images of both Marie and the many places visited by the family. The latter have an ethereal quality that augment the tenor of the text. Fonthill Press and translator Katherine Kernberger are to be congratulated for bringing this monumental endeavor back into the public arena with a production of the highest order of which Marie herself would be proud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago