Kalliope Muse speaks to me

Emigrée from GR

Desperate Romantics

Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives Of The Pre Raphaelites - Franny Moyle This book is about what the subtitle says: the private lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Group and their champion.So, we get to know their social and family origins, how they knew each other, how they got together, how they searched for the “stunners” (were these women or the embodiment of their fantasies?), and how they swapped them amongst themselves.The book is border line between social history and a gossip magazine, with may be more of the latter than the former. There is very little analysis of their work, but it remains Ruskinian in its honesty. It does not pretend to be what it isn’t and stays true to its nature.Anyway, it was highly entertaining, and it raises once again the question of whether knowing about the life of an artist or writer adds, or detracts, anything from an appreciation of that person’s work. This is a tough question and I shall not propose an answer. Sometimes I welcome knowing more, sometimes I do not.To this group I would give the following Prizes:The greatest painter: MillaisThe most irritating character: RossettiThe most Oxfordy: Burne-JonesThe best decorator: MorrisThe most complex character: RuskinThe most interesting character: HuntThe most forgettable: Madox BrownSome hold two prizes.The most kitschy painter: HuntThe most inspiring: RuskinThe most socially significant: MorrisWith the women, I ended up very confused, since they all move around from one member of the brotherhood to another. Most of them cut a similar Pygmalonian pattern, had (or were depicted as having) frizzy hair, long neck and melancholic eyes. Alas, in my mind they have all become one.I will give more attention to their art when I visit the Tate’s exhibit next month. I will also then start with Ruskin’s writings on art in preparation to reading someone who was deeply inspired by him: Proust.

Currently reading

The Aspern Papers (Dover Thrift Editions)
Henry James
No es lo mismo ostentoso que ostentório: la azarosa vida de las palabras
José Antonio Pascual Rodríguez
Dernier Des Camondo
Pierre Assouline
A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (A la recherche du temps perdu, #2)
Marcel Proust, Pierre-Louis Rey
Music in the 17th and 18th Centuries, Oxford History of Western Music Vol. 2
Richard Taruskin
Thaïs (Dodo Press)
Anatole France
Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
Eric Karpeles
The Poetics of Space
Maria Jolas, John R. Stilgoe, Gaston Bachelard, Étienne Gilson
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Siena, Florence, and Padua: Art, Society, and Religion 1280-1400, Volume 1: Interpretive Essays
Diana Norman