Friday, December 23, 2005

Written Lives

The other day, a rather beautiful little book dropped onto my desk. Written Lives is a short collection of potted biographies of famous writers by the Spanish novelist and essayist Javier MarĂ­as. Ranging from Faulkner to Nabokov, Joyce to Rimbaud, each life story is no more than 10 or so pages, concentrating on a particular period or aspect of the subject’s life. Thus we find Oscar Wilde bloated and listless in his life after prison, and a posturing James Joyce comparing "the mystery of Mass" with his own work. Each piece mixes a little anecdote, some biographical fact and a brief explanation of the chosen writer’s greatness.
More from Paul Hamlos on the Culutre Vulture blog.

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