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Fw: Re: GG: Brooding Artists -- Perception versus Reality

Whoops, *somebody* forgot to send this response to the whole list. <wink>

----- Original Message -----
From: Elmer Elevator <bobmer@javanet.com>
To: Anne M. Marble <amarble@abs.net>
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 12:45 AM
Subject: Re: GG: Brooding Artists -- Perception versus Reality

> I've read Gormenghast and love it; it's unique as fantasy, thrilling,
> rarely have I so thoroughly been taken to a different world. (In
contrast, I
> think "Lord of the Rings" is the most tedious, month-wasting piece of
> pretention.) Peake was primarily a painter, a visual artist, and as so
> happens, brought a sweeping originality to literature from such a
> viewpoint. (Likewise, if you wonder why "A Clockwork Orange" seems a bit
> different as literature, Burgess is (was?) a composer and symphony
> Likewise Paul Bowles, an avant-garde composer.)
> Let me fully echo Anne and again point out what these endless discussions
> brooding artists never mention: that it is far too boring for biographers
> psychologists ever to do "base-line" studies to get a statistical
> on "brooding ordinary folks." Largely through the perverse efforts of
> generations of college literature, music and art professors (no personal
> attacks intended), we have conditioned young educated people to love
> unrequited, tormented, demented, unhappy, masochistic, suicidal creative
> artists, to love and praise their early deaths above all other virtues
> young is NOT an achievement!), and to be deeply suspicious of evidence of
> happiness and health in the creative arts.
> And, as Anne insightfully notes, it makes the arts-consuming public rubes
> suckers for an artist's manipulative image spin that he/she has Big Dark
> Personal Troubles. When Paganini arrived in London for his first English
> concerts, he took out full-page newspaper ads to denounce the vicious
> that he had sold his soul to the Devil to achieve his fantastic skills.
> followed a riot at the box office.
> Bob Merkin
> Elmer Elevator's Discount Prep
> http://www.javanet.com/~bobmer/
> "Why do I like these things? Are my ears on wrong?"
> -- Charles Ives
> Anne M. Marble" wrote:
> > Whenever I read some "half-baked" articles about Glenn Gould, I'm
> > about how little the writer knows about GG. Short articles in
> > newspapers, and collective biographies often miss the mark. They'll
> > the reclusive, brooding side but miss out on so many other aspects of
> > personality. And their comments on the music... (cough, cough) It's
> > they are listening to the "experts" instead of listening to the music.
> > longer works (such as biographies) often dwell too much on "symptom
> > gathering." Maybe it's "cooler" to write about the brooding guy instead
> > pointing out that along with his troubled life, he also had a great
> > of humor, could be very charming, etc. People who actually knew GG
> > point out the contrast between the way he is portrayed and the real GG.
> > You'd think people who write about GG would be fascinated by the
> > but maybe showing all sides of his character doesn't prove their point.
> > course, GG *wanted* everybody to think of him as that brooding grey
> > but that's another thing...
> >
> > I was reading an article on British fantasist Mervyn Peake, and I was
> > struck by similar contrasts in the "image" of the artist versus the
> > reality. Peake definitely had a troubled life -- he spent much time in
> > mental hospitals and his life was tragically short by what may have
been an
> > early case of Alzheimer's disease. He is often portrayed as tortured
> > brooding. Yet according to people who knew him, he loved children, he
> > playful, and he was compassionate. He hated cruelty to children and
> > took himself seriously.
> >
> > Here's a nice set of Peake links:
> > http://home.earthlink.net/~ellendebrock/gormenghast.htm
> >
> > Here's a link to an abridged article (by writer Michael Moorcock) that
> > points out these contrasts:
> > http://members.xoom.com/langdonjones/mike.html
> >
> > I'll bet other list members can recommend other artists who were, in
> > reality, nothing like their popular image.
> >
> > P.S. I haven't read the Gormenghast trilogy yet. Have to be in the
> > mood for that one...