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The Writer's Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers
     

The Writer's Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers

by Donald Friedman, John Updike (Essay By), William H. Gass (Essay By)
 
"The itch to make dark marks on paper is shared by many writers and artists," begins John Updike in his essay in The Writer's Brush, and this stunning collection will amaze lovers of the literary and fine arts alike. Author Donald Friedman has gathered 400 paintings, drawings, and scultpure--many from private collections, never before published--by

Overview

"The itch to make dark marks on paper is shared by many writers and artists," begins John Updike in his essay in The Writer's Brush, and this stunning collection will amaze lovers of the literary and fine arts alike. Author Donald Friedman has gathered 400 paintings, drawings, and scultpure--many from private collections, never before published--by more than 200 of the world's most famous writers, including 13 Nobel laureates.

The result is astounding. Whether viewing the beautiful landscapes that Hermann Hesse credited with saving his life, the manuscript sketches that Fyodor Dostoevsky made of his characters, or the can-can dancers secretly drawn by Joseph Conrad, readers of The Writer's Brush will gain new insights into the lives and minds of their favorite writers and the nature of the creative process itself.

Accompanying the artwork are fascinating biographies that provide little-known details of the writers' lives in the visual arts and offer the writers' own observations on their art and the relationships they saw between word and image. While written for a broad audience, The Writer's Brush is also an essential reference work, with alphabetical and chronological listings of its subjects and an extensive bibliography.

As Friedman notes in his introduction, for many of the writers anthologized here, a coin toss could have determined whether to spend the day standing in a smock or seated with a pen. The Writer's Brush brings together for the first time--in one unique, affordable volume--both worlds of these writers in the definitive work of the writer-artist.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
...In a grand feat of research and interpretation, novelist Friedman has gathered artworks ranging from notebook doodles to refined paintings by more than 200 diverse writers. Luscious reproductions are matched with pithy biographies...this bountiful volume concludes with a superb and defining essay by William Gass and reflections by John Updike, who has the last word on writers who make art: 'The impulse is one. (Starred Review).

Leah Hager Cohen
When we think of such heavyweights as Goethe, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, Yeats and Proust—all represented in these pages—we may think of them with reverence; certainly we view their works as being abidingly and immutably rooted in language, founded on words. Yet words, it seems, are not the thing. This is Friedman's essential conceit, and it is a subversive jewel of an idea, sparkling audaciously on every page of this well-designed book.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In this hefty volume, novelist Friedman takes a look at the artwork of more than 200 authors who found other avenues for expression in drawing, painting or sculpting. Aside from the familiar illustrations of Edward Gorey, Beatrix Potter and (to a lesser extent) Kurt Vonnegut, Friedman also unearths work from literary heavyweights past and present, including the Brontë sisters, Hermann Hesse, Rudyard Kipling, Colleen McCullough, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike and Jonathan Lethem. Each entry offers a short biography and passages from journals, letters or interviews illuminating the author's reasons for picking up pen or paint; according to Elizabeth Bishop, for instance, writers make a "frequent complaint that painting is more fun than writing." Examples of authors' art, one or two from each subject, are handsomely reproduced in vivid color alongside the text. Friedman also covers a long list of writers whose artworks couldn't be located or secured for publication, and essays by William H. Gass and Updike provide perspective. Sure to cover at least a few of any given lit fan's favorites, Friedman's volume provides hours of fascinating browsing and makes a perfect coffee-table book for the avid reader. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This surprising anthology pairs well-known authors with their (sometimes) unexpected forays into the world of the visual arts. Full-color reproductions illuminate the art of more than 200 writers-from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to Jonathan Letham-as expressed via paint, graphite, and ink with varying degrees of skill and resolve. The A-to-Z arrangement by writer creates some surprising couplings, e.g., Sylvia Plath's vibrant paintings are followed by Edgar Allan Poe's ethereal portrait drawings. Novelist Friedman states that the book is as much about the artist-writer as it is about the writer-artist, and that is its main weakness. While it is fascinating to see the drawings and paintings of, e.g., Victor Hugo, Nikolay Gogol, and Charles Bukowski, the art produced by writers like William Blake, Wyndham Lewis, and Marsden Hartley is already well known and fully documented elsewhere. William H. Gass and John Updike contribute two illuminating essays on the confluence of writing and painting. Included are short biographical entries and bibliographies for each author. Of greatest interest to general audiences; recommended for public libraries.
—Kraig Binkowski

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780922811762
Publisher:
Mid-List Press
Publication date:
09/11/2007
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
11.32(w) x 10.25(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

DONALD FRIEDMAN had a successful career as a lawyer before publishing his award-winning first novel, The Hand Before the Eye (Mid-List Press 2000). A lifetime's work, The Writer's Brush represents decades of research by Friedman and includes excerpts from his previously unpublished interviews with such notable writer-artists as Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, John Berger, Donald Justice, Lawrence Ferlingetti, and many others. Friedman currently lives in New York City.

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