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Author Comment
Heidi Anne Heiner
(11/24/00 9:54:45 pm)
Brust's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars
First of all, I recommended Brust's book to one of my dear friends and she is thoroughly enjoying it. She has been searching for books--both fiction and nonfiction--that deal with the creation of art. She is an artist and has read several but has stated that Brust seems to understand painting and creation and art better than many of the other novelists she has read.

Does anyone have any recommendations for her reading list?

Also, if anyone has any thoughts on the book please feel free to share them. Once again, this is one Terri had a part in, so we are hitting close to home!


Unregistered User
(11/24/00 11:07:08 pm)
fiction about art
If these book recommendations don't have to be fairy tale related I recommend
Spending by Mary Gordon, a deeply funny novel on the subject of female creativity and the possibility of a man fulfilling the role of Muse.

Other books that come to mind are Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, a novel that follows the path of a Vermeer painting through several owners, The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart, a haunting little novel about a male painter in Canada at the turn of the century, and The Truth About Lorin Jones by Allison Lurie, an amusing (if somewhat bitchy novel) with an art mystery at its core.

As for magical tales about art, there's Lisa Goldstein's The Dream Years, about the surrealists in Paris, and Gregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister about art and tulip merchants in the Netherlands. There's Terri's Wood Wife, of course, but even more apropos is Terri's short story "Color of Angels," about art-making and the Muse. Have you read that one, Heidi? It was published in Horns of Elfland (Ellen Kushner, Donald G. Keller, Delia Sherman, eds.) which may be out of print by now, but there's also a copy of the story posted on the Endicott site, I think...I'll go check. ...Yes, it's there, so your friend can read it or print it out from the site:

If I can think of any others, I'll post them. I like books about the arts myself so I am curious to see what other recommendations people here come up with.

I enjoyed the Brust book although it wasn't my favorite of the Fairy Tale series. I've just started the latest one, White as Snow by Tanith Lee. Very dark, very strange, very Tanith Lee.

- Jenna

Unregistered User
(11/25/00 1:35:09 am)
Not to be missed...
For a haunting combination of magic and art, try Charles DeLint's - Memory and Dream -

This particular book takes a look at creation and the responsibility that comes along with it. While the book focuses on a painter, any one considering the act of creativity in general would appreciate it. DeLint's work is lyrical and masterful, and always contains a strong folkloric element. Definitely a ***** pick!

Unregistered User
(11/25/00 3:00:17 pm)
Books on Art/Creation/Desire
I have a huge list of books related to art/art-making but here are a few I think of right away...if no one stops me, I will go ahead and post several more in a couple of days when I have a breather.

R. M. Berry, LEONARDO'S HORSE (novel)
Angela Carter, LOVE (novella)
Willa Cather (novels and essays, on/inspired by American Impressionists)
Dorothea Tanning, BIRTHDAY (memoir of surrealist painter)
Walter Benjamin, "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (essay)
Kurt Vonnegut, BLUEBEARD (novel, related to abstract painting)
Marguerite Duras, THE LOVER (autobiographical novel that uses photography to reconstruct memory/desire)

Unregistered User
(11/25/00 3:03:33 pm)
Before I sign off and disappear into the depths of my messy study, there are also of course A. S. Byatt's MATISSE STORIES and STILL LIFE.

Unregistered User
(11/26/00 6:24:51 am)
To which I would add,

Barry Unsworth: Stone Virgin (about a Renaissance sculptor fantastically influenced by the marble virgin he carves and the modern art restorer working on the sculpture equally affected)

Arturo Perez Reverte: either The Flanders Panel (a mystery in a 16th century painting) and "The Dumas Club (the devil and the art of making books)

Unregistered User
(11/26/00 1:41:52 pm)
art etc
There's also The Art Lover (a novel with images) by Carole Maso.

Unregistered User
(11/27/00 12:23:31 am)
Creation and Art
Oh, I am so glad someone mentioned _The Club Dumas_ -- one of my favorites!

Also, of course Byatt's _Possesion_, and two stories in _The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye_, the title story and "The Story of the Eldest Princess."
There's also _The Sixteen Pleasures_ by someone whose name escapes me.

In children's/young adult books, _The Owl Service_ by Alan Garner is an interesting examination of art used as a containment of supernatural forces. Also, Lois Lowry's _Gathering Blue_, about a young artist in a dystopian society. By the same author, _Anastasia Again!_ chronicles the title character's hilarious attempt to write a novel.

If you like mysteries, Iain Pears has a series of "Art history Mysteries" (_The Raphael Affair_, The Titian Committee_), which are very entertaining.

Registered User
(11/27/00 2:31:53 am)
art and crreativity
[This post got screwed up; I'm not sure why. See full post below.]

Edited by: Terri at: 11/27/00 2:37:13 am

Registered User
(11/27/00 2:33:19 am)
art and creativity
The book Catja mentioned, "The Sixteen Pleasures," is by Robert Hellenga. It's about a woman who goes to Florence after a massive flood in order to save Florence's book and manuscript treasures. It's terrific. Also, Sara Smith's recent novel, "The Knowledge of Water," set among artists, writers and musicians in the Paris of Colette's day, is splendid.

Heidi, if your friend likes books about the interconnected lives of groups of painters,
she might like "The Red Rose Girls" by Alice A. Carter, which contains art and biographical text about 3 women artists who trained under Howard Pyle in turn-of-the-century Philadelphia. It's a beautiful book, and fascinating. Jan Marsh's "PreRaphaelite Sisterhood," and "Pre-Raphaelites in Love" by someone-whose-name-I-can't-remember, are great reads. And Thomas Disch's novel "Neighboring Lives," about the Pre-Raphs and other artists and writers in Chelsea in the late 19th century, is lots of fun.

For non-fiction about art and the creative process, I highly, highly recommend Lewis Hyde's "The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property" -- a smart, thought-provoking look at myth, art making, and commerce. It's an absolute favorite of mine. I'm always inspired by artists' biographies too, particularly for women painters -- Remedios Vara or Vanessa Bell, for example. "Signifcant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnerships" edited by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron is a great collection of biographical essays looking at various partnerships in the arts (Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Kay Sage & Yves Tanguy, Camille Claudel & Auguste Rodin, etc.)

Jenna, I agree with you that Mary Gordon's "Spending" is a hoot. For another novel about women, creativity, and the Muse, I adore May Sarton's "Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing," which is about poetry rather than art, but really about art-making in general, exploring the nature of the Muse (both male and female). It's a luminous book.

This is somewhat off topic, but can anyone here recommend a book about women's history, or great women in history, for a ten year old girl?

Edited by: Terri at: 11/27/00 2:41:44 am

Registered User
(11/27/00 11:23:01 am)
Terri wrote:
"I highly, highly recommend Lewis Hyde's "The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property"

Is this the same Lewis Hyde who wrote "Trickster Makes the World"?


Unregistered User
(11/27/00 11:48:51 am)
yup...same guy.

Heidi Anne Heiner
(11/27/00 10:12:49 pm)
Thanks for more great reading!
I knew I would get some great suggestions. Some I have read, some Val (my friend) has read, but most we haven't and are adding to our lists. Val is an archivist as a profession so the one about restoring work in Florence sounds particularly interesting along with all the others.

Please feel free to add more.

Side note to Terri:

Val loved Red Rose Girls, too, which I lent her while she was visiting me.

And to answer the question about young adult books about women in history, here are a few titles my mom has used in her studies and teaching. Women in history and art is one of her pet topics, especially when teaching.

Ten Queens : Portraits of Women of Power
by Milton Meltzer

100 Women Who Shaped World History (100 Series)
by Gail Meyer Rolka

Other Half of History Women in Ancient Rome (The Other Half of History)
part of six volume series by by Fiona MacDonald including Greece, Rome, Medieval, etc.

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