Written Lives (2020)

Written Lives Javier Marías Written Lives A heartfelt and very funny gallery of mini biographies of twenty great world authors Like Isak Dinesen who claimed to have poor sight yet could spot a four leaf clover from a remarkable distance away
  • Title: Written Lives
  • Author: Javier Marías
  • ISBN: 9780141389271
  • Page: 265
  • Format: Paperback
Written Lives Javier Marías A heartfelt and very funny gallery of mini biographies of twenty great world authors.Like Isak Dinesen who claimed to have poor sight, yet could spot a four leaf clover from a remarkable distance away , Javier Mar as has a sharp eye He casts a long, shrewd, but appreciative look over his cast of great writers Nabokov is here, making the highly improbable assertion thA heartfelt and very funny gallery of mini biographies of twenty great world authors.Like Isak Dinesen who claimed to have poor sight, yet could spot a four leaf clover from a remarkable distance away , Javier Mar as has a sharp eye He casts a long, shrewd, but appreciative look over his cast of great writers Nabokov is here, making the highly improbable assertion that he is as American as April in Arizona, as is Oscar Wilde, who in debt and in great pain on his deathbed, ordered up a bottle of champagne, remarking cheerfully, I am dying beyond my means William Faulkner, refusing to be beholden to every son of a bitch with two cents to buy a stamp, is fired from the U.S Post Office Mar as also considers the fairly disastrous lives of Malcolm Lowery, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and Lawrence Sterne Affection glows through Written Lives, evidence, as Mar as remarks, that although I have enjoyed writing all my books, this was the one with which I had the most fun.
Written Lives Javier Marías

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    265 Javier Marías
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    Published :2020-04-24T17:16:24+00:00

One thought on “Written Lives

  1. Fionnuala

    Written Lives is extremely readable, mostly interesting and just a little disturbing Javier Mar as is so cunningly selective about the details of the various writers lives he examines in these brief pieces that the portraits he reveals are quite artfully and quite thoroughly distorted And speaking of distortion, I must mention Andr Carillho s cover art three clever and funny caricatures of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and R L Stevenson in suitably sepia tones.The penetrating insights in Written Live [...]

  2. Mike Puma

    Ah, Javier, you wonderful bastard so well read, so capable an author, so Mar as ish so capable of doing what you write about I ll come back to that.In Written Lives, Mar as paints brief portraits of many well known authors, weaving in information that is less well known, creating wonderful stories that supplement the biographies most of us will never read Aspects of lives are emphasized, humanizing or dehumanizing these artists, in forms that will linger, haunt, and inform our reading of said au [...]

  3. Hakan T

    Javier Marias, ge ke fetti im ama ne yazd ysa zevkle okudu um bir yazar Kurmaca olmayan bu kitab , baz nl yazarlar n s rad bir ekilde kaleme al nm k sa ya am yk lerinden olu uyor Sevdi iniz baz yazarlar n i nelenmesine de haz rl kl olun Ama bunun akademik bir kitap olmad n da hat r n zdan karmay n Sonu ta, keyifle okunan ama kesinlikle hafif s olmayan, edebiyata ilgi duyanlar n duyars z kalamayaca , bir ok ilgin bilgi de edinebilece i, yeni yazarlar ke fetmenizi de sa layabilecek bir kitap.

  4. Deniz Balcı

    B y k bir yazarla ba ka b y k yazarlar n g ybetini yap yormu hissini ya at yor bu kitap Marias se mesinde, zellikle uan hayatta olmayan yazarlar ele alm ve onlar bir roman karakteri gibi i lemi Yazarlar n pek bilinmeyen y nlerini dokunulmazl klar n ortadan kald rarak esprili ama di er yandan dokunduran bir dille anlatm Ancak Yukio Mishima ya yazd b l m beni ciddi anlamda sinirlendirdi Bu kadar zavall bir yorumu yapt i in hayal k r kl na u rad m da diyebilirim Zaten olduk a znel olan metinlerde, [...]

  5. Ben Winch

    I enjoyed this I think Marias is in his element here It s frequently funny and sometimes moving, and what s it s straight to the point For example, from the end of the Oscar Wilde piece He lies in the Paris cemetery of Pere Lachais, and on his grave, presided over by a sphinx, there is never any shortage of the flowers due to all martyrs.Now that s beautiful That s a homage It s graceful, not flashy, not indulgent, and it gets the point across I don t even like Wilde much and it choked me up Or [...]

  6. Jonfaith

    Written Lives is a twisted triptych, composed of disparate elements, forces which may be at cross purposes The first section is a series of slim portraits of established authors Marias tends to judge favorably on those not burdened with self importance He likes the quiet ones, those that shunned self promotion and didn t think of themselves in terms of immortality this section has a certain commonality with Cultural Amnesia Necessary Memories from History and the Arts but geekily indulgent than [...]

  7. MJ Nicholls

    My alternative to pumpkin soup and pop culture clich s on this, The Halloweenshire of Hollowness Bitesize essays on a limousine of luminaries, plus some titbits on unknown promiscuous darlings of the demimonde The final essay, Perfect Artists is an illuminating gloss on famous author portraits Mar as plucks out the pertinent data and serves his musings in a coulis of wit and irony A charming ickle stocking filler for the literate pater in your life See Mike s review for some scrumptious selectio [...]

  8. M. Sarki

    A thoroughly enjoyable read that held much promise I was looking ever so forward to the last section being right up my alley with Javier Mar as using old postcards and such of authors to gaze at and then muse over what may or may not have been going on that particular day with each of them But the last section proved to be a bit of a disappointment for me as it did not live up to my perhaps extravagant and unreliable expectations But I really did like the book as a whole and I shall give it thre [...]

  9. Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy

    Tanto en su comentario sobre Rimbaud como sobre Mishima sobre todo este ltimo Mar as se deja en rid culo, como artista y como lector 1 Rimbe, sus superdotes y su crueldad son indivisibles, y si se dedic m s a leer, escribir, vagabundear, drogarse, los idiomas y el piano que a escalar en el mundo de las letras, es porque fue Arthur Rimbaud, no Pere Gimferrer o alg n poetastro o poetisa hipster contempor neo de nuestra jodida Espa a, y estaba a otras cosas lo intent con su carta a Banville para pu [...]

  10. Lee

    Enjoyable little book of portraits of mostly very famous writers Took me longer than I thought it would since I usually read it in bed and usually put it down and turned off the light before pushing on to the next writer I liked how Henry James and Ford Maddox Ford and Oscar Wilde and others were strung through the text, like a Bolano book about real writers Not too much to say about it since it doesn t really present an argument etc other than stray, not so immortalized moments in the lives of [...]

  11. Justin Evans

    Marias holds a cigarette, that is nearly burned out, between the index and middle fingers of his left hand if he holds it for much longer, he ll burn his fingers, but perhaps he s too intent on the viewer to really care That burn would also match well with what looks like an insect bite on the back of his hand However, it s doubtful that he would care about that, either, since he seems to be wearing the kind of clothes worn by a man who wears the same kind of clothes every day white shirt, neat [...]

  12. Ben Loory

    picked this book up on a whim at the used bookstore because of the cover one of the best 4.95 s i ever spent i tend to shy away from literary biographies or artistic biographies in general because they always seem to flatten my heroes down into mean and angry little reality bound drunkards either that or blow them up into saints and tell you in endless detail what kinds of dish soap they used and stuff like that this is exactly neither of those things instead it s a collection of twenty extremel [...]

  13. Mark

    Yukio Mishima was immodest enough as a writer to ensure that posterity was kept au fait with his ejaculations, from which one must deduce that he lay great store by them and so we are obliged to know that he had his first ejaculation whilst contemplating a reproduction of the torso of St Sebastian whom Guido Reni had painted pierced with arrows It is therefore not surprising that, as an adult, he was given to having artistic cum muscleman photographs taken of himself, and that he appeared in one [...]

  14. Jim Fonseca

    There are many works that are collections of mini biographies of authors I recently reviewed John Sutherland s Lives of the Authors What makes this one different, and intriguing, is that Marias paints each writer with a few quick brushstrokes, making us feel like we know them without having to slog through a 500 page biography Kipling was marked by his upbringing in India, and was mostly friendless and humorless well liked but not loved Every Henry James was irritated with him Or the author focu [...]

  15. Abigail

    This is a lovely little book of vignettes The lives of great or, at least, greatly interesting authors are boiled down to two or three page glimpses Marias comedic timing is impeccable and welcome in relief to the poignant and sometimes tragic details of each biography.

  16. Stephen Durrant

    While reading Javier Marias Written Lives, Italo Calvino s Invisible Cities kept popping into my mind On the surface the two books have little in common, except that each is made up of a series of short pieces Marias presents short lives of twenty famous writers Faulkner, Conrad, Sterne, Dinesen, etc and six fugitive women, all either writers or with strong connections to writers Vernon Lee, Julie de Lespinasse, etc , along with a short essay on writers portraits Calvino imagines a series of cit [...]

  17. Tyler Jones

    I love books like Bolano s Nazi Literature in the Americas and Bartleby and Company by Villa Matas books containing mostly fictional biographies descriptions of lives not lived Marias does something in the same spirit here but stays strictly in the realm of the non fictional Marias is only to happy to pass judgement Joyce was a pervert, Mann was unbearably arrogant and Mishima spectacularly stupid Such pronouncments are rare in the rather dry world of literary biography but with the exception of [...]

  18. leighcia

    Sometimes you have to know when to put a book down This book is one of those books that I didn t really want to stop reading but decided that I should, because it didn t really have anything substantial to offer It would have been mildly entertaining but probably not worth my time I spotted this in a bookstore and it seemed interesting a collection of brief 3 5 page biographies or snapshots of famous authors, revealing their strange habits and tendencies I read about 2 3 biographies and found th [...]

  19. Agustín Fest

    Un excelente compendio de chismes y an cdotas acerca de grandes escritores C mo dice el autor todas esas historias raras que bien podr an pertenecer a cualquier hijo de vecino pero, en el caso de escritores c lebres, prestamos demasiada atenci n porque creemos ilusoriamente que eso pudo formar o construir su talento Se lee f cil, no es aburrido, posee un humor que se goza de inmediato Libraco recomendad simo.

  20. Douglas Dalrymple

    I m not sure why we should care very much about the lives of authors and artists, but we do.Bookish types in which group I include myself tend to overvalue literature We imagine that the making of art is the most important category of human activity, or else the final, transcendent goal that all other activities serve This is absurd, of course While certain poems or books may have influenced the course of things to a small degree, the catalog of human folly would be no voluminous if our species [...]

  21. Trin

    Whenever I explain this book to someone, I always start with the story of the time Malcolm Lowry punched a horse Apparently, Lowry best known as the author of Under the Volcano got so upset about something, he hauled off and slugged a horse in the face The horse crumpled to its knees but was otherwise all right Lowry burst into tears Lowry didn t have the best luck with animals in general, it seems there s also an anecdote in here about how he once broke the neck of a bunny he was attempting to [...]

  22. Maureen Thorson

    Book of short biographies of famous writers, mostly British, late nineteenth early twentieth century Focus on odd details, strange anecdotes Not an objective biography, but a sardonic musing one Each lasts no than a few pages.Just interesting enough to keep reading, but not the sort of thing to make you miss your subway stop Good fodder for cocktail party chatter, I imagine, or the sort of random factoids that make up a David Markson novel.Annoying bad typesetting Words terminating in a miniscu [...]

  23. Maria Headley

    Capsule bios with a slant toward the literary character Great tiny stories here, about a variety of the sort of eccentrics we know as now worldclass artists and thinkers Entertaining, and occasionally entertainingly bitchy I love that Marias picks and chooses the details of thoroughly lived lives to create these original stories It s a great example of what memoirists and biographers do on a regular basis it s all constructing a narrative out of a sea of details I was reading it at the same time [...]

  24. Jeremy

    Marias s mini portraits of various writers all partake of his usual elegance and poise, and these manage to be witty in a very delightful, glancing way that smart Europeans seem almost born knowing how to do And he s not afraid to take pot shots at writers who he thinks possess a maudlin degree of self importance, like Thomas Mann, James Joyce, and Yukio Mishima I m not sure what else to say, it s a pleasant little book to dip into, and it s interesting to see Marias writing in a less formal voi [...]

  25. B A

    My actual rating is 3.5 It was a fun read I knew most of stuff about the writers mentioned but I enjoyed reconstruction of them and writing of Marias Asl nda 3,5 veriyorum E lenceli bir okumayd Bahsedilen yazarlar hakk ndaki eylerin o unu zaten biliyordum ama bunlar n kurgulanmas ve Marias n anlat m n be endim Kitap hakk nda detaylar ve kitaptan al nt lar i in Kitap Notlar Yazarlar n Maskesini D ren Kitaplar

  26. Emily

    This is a lovely collection of short, semi fictional biographies of notable writers Marias definitely achieves his puropse to treat these well known literary figures as if they were fictional characters without straying into the realms of fan fiction y fantasy His longer essay on author photos, with samples from his own collection, was also interesting.

  27. Bülent Özgün

    Bir ok g l yazarla ilgili ilgin bilgiler sunuyor Tanr la t rd m z yazarlar daha insan yap yor bu bilgiler Bu a dan ilgin ama kitap bu yazarlar hakk nda temel bir bilgiye sahip olan okurlar i in daha keyifli olacakt r.

  28. annakatrina

    i love the ambiguity of truth and fiction in this collection reminds me of jurassic technology as intimate a look into marias and his literary passions as much as the subjects he lovingly portrays.

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