"Like Van Gogh the work of the Norwegian artist Edward Munch symbolizes the tortured genius who must pay for his creativity with madness and misery. Of course 21st Century sensibilities now reject this view of creativity-linked-to-suffering, but it endures as a potent symbol in our culture. In 1892, in a Berlin exhibition, Munch's paintings so shocked the authorities that the show was closed.
So Daedulus designed his winding maze,
And as one entered it only a wary mind
Could find an exit to the world again
Such was the cleverness of that strange arbour
-Ovid, Metamorphoses (viii)
O rocks! she said. Tell us in plain words.
There can't have been more than three or four people who have ever read "Finnegan's Wake" in its entirety from cover to cover, and it's likely only one of them even truly understood it. That would have to be its author, James Joyce.
In the Autumn of 1958, poet/playwright LeRoi Jones and his wife, Hettie Cohen, then editors of the New York-based literary magazine Yugen, wrote to Louis Ginsberg, father of Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg, about Louis's earlier protest of their "arrogant mutilation and falsification of the manifold nature of American poetry." Their reply, probably authored by Jones, read in part, "I think it's mags lk Poetry, PR [Partisan Review], Kenyon[Review] that do that, we are just patiently trying to show
Irvine Welsh emerged from the council projects of Edinburgh, Scotland. Soaking in the popular pastimes of his down-and-out neighborhood, he became fond of the Hibernian Football club, and later became even fonder of the hard drug scene around his town. Heroin was easy to find, almost impossible to avoid.
Paul Auster was born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey (home also to Philip Roth, who would also, later in his career, write novels full of tangled identities and secret subtexts).
It takes incredible skill and determination to write a novel, especially one as defining and creative as Nick McDonell's debut, Twelve. This book would be great on it's own. However, given the fact that the author was only seventeen years old at the time of its conception, it borders on exceptional. Indeed, McDonell captures the spirit of modern adolescence flawlessly.