29 May 2020

The Quarantine Library: Part Three

I. "The very poor, it could be said, often find it hard to be loved."

Stig Dagerman (1923-1954) was a Swedish master of the short story, far less well known than the Russian Chekhov or the Canadian Alice Munro. In her introduction to this new edition of his stories, Alice McDermott describes how her own introduction to Dagerman's work come about through her friendship with his daughter Lo.  McDermott connects Dagerman's work to the stories of James Joyce for his "ability to depict the intractable loneliness of childhood," noting that Dagerman "tempers this loneliness with brief gestures of hope, connectedness.."

Dagerman's stylistic variety is impressive, unlike many writers whose stories seem to blur together into one giant word-lump. He began as a journalist but turned to fiction as its antithesis:"Journalism is the art of coming too late as early as possible."  Dagerman wanted to arrive in time early. From experience, he understood the pains.of impoverished rural childhoods. The story "To Kill a Child," was commissioned by the National Society for Road Safety to show the dangers of speeding and has since been acclaimed as the greatest Swedish short story yet written.  Others here include "Bon Soir" in which a poor ship's cook supplements her meager income through prostitution only to be escorted from the shop by arresting officers; a young boy, observing her tears and humiliation, discovers in himself deep compassion he has never before experienced.

II. "There were plenty of rules, there was nothing but rules - the air was thick with them." - Bette Howland

I first heard of Bette Howland in 1983 when her story collection Things to Come and Go was published.  I enjoyed it so much that I resolved to read anything by her that came my way, but nothing did.  I did not know that Howland won a MacArthur Grant in 1984, after which  she never published again.  She died in 2019,  from complications of multiple sclerosis and dementia in Tulsa, far from her native city  of Chicago.  Recently, while at home, I discovered that Things to Come and Go and Howland's memoir W-3 have become collector's items that each cost more than $100.  Howland's gifts of language and observation stayed with me and when Public Space Books republished some stories under the title Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage I pounced on it.

"A Visit" which opens the present collection is a surreal story of a woman who accidentally drives onto a closed road under reconstruction in the dark. The character in "German Lessons" is a landlady who obsesses about the imaginary illnesses of her mother-in-law, who is also imaginary.  In "Public Facilities" a librarian notices a man who always carries a book tucked under his arm: "He was hatching it."  Howland worked at the public library an also in the editorial department at the University of Chicago Press.

Chicago was Howland's muse and it never failed her.  Her subject was the oddness at the heart of everything we take for granted. A single mother of two, Howland suffered a nervous breakdown  in 1968 and  was treated in hospital.  Saul Bellow, who had met Howland at a writers' conference in 1961, became a friend, sometime lover, and most crucially a strong advocate for her writing.  In on letter, written when Howland was discouraged, as she often was, he wrote this: "I think you ought to write in bed and use your unhappiness. I do it. Many do. One should cook and eat one's misery. Chain it like a dog. Harness it like Niagara Falls to generate light and supply voltage for electric chairs." Strong words for a writer in a league of her own.

III. Collector or hoarder?  "The function of the two terms ... was not descriptive but social, that is, to warn those in society against straying too far into the ambiguity of objects and the relationships they were capable of establishing with humans/" - Michael Rips.

I don't collect anything; a friend once told me that my apartment could be cleared out in half an hour. So when I opened The Golden Flea: A Story of Obsession and Collecting it was with the spirit of traveler into terra incognita.

For decades the Chelsea Flea Market on Manhattan's lower west side, adjacent to the Garment District, was one of the largest markets of its kind in the country.  It has recently been razed, a victim  of the city's real estate .....Michael Rips, director of the Art Students League and a resident of the Chelsea Hotel, knows objects and he became mesmerized by the oddball objects he found there and the  buyers and sellers. There were the "pickers" who look for undetected treasures to resell at a profit. Ibrahim Diop and his family, from Bameko, Mali, tutored Rips in the importance of  sculptures  based on their effectiveness,the ends for which they were created, age not so much. Characters like Paul, the haberdasher, who only sold to customers he liked. Providing a taxonomy of types was the Prophet, a psychotherapist who offered analyses of its denizens of the Flea. Ibrahim

IV. Tarjei Vesaas (1897-1970), one of the great 20th century writers from Norway, author of  novels,  poetry, and plays; The Hills Reply is the second novel (The Birds was the first) to be made available in English by Archipelago Books. a nonprofit literary press.  His writing is terse and yet.deeply sensitive in its effects.  The natural world has much presence as the human one; Vesaas asks us to question whether trees, wind, water, and stone do not possess as much right and reality as ours. His landscapes are lush, yet never sentimental. After all, the land supersedes us when we die.

The characters are often children (a boy helps his father tend a pack horse as they clear a logging road of snow, a boy watches cranes dance overhead from a marsh hiding place, a girl waits for a boy in a snowstorm) or adolescents on the cusp of adulthood (a young man contemplates the indescribable distance between the mountain he has climbed and the familiar sights of home in the valley below, another is bemused by sunlight making mirrors in water, falls into the river and floats downstream clinging to log, noticed only by birds and fish).  Most affecting of all, near the end is "Melody." A woman who loves to play music, so much that she will go on skis during a snow storm to play with others, becomes the subject of intense wonderment by her adolescent son.  He compares the beautiful golden girl, so full of promise in her photograph album, with the woman who works so hard around the farmhouse, and thinks this is not what she should be doing, that she must regret her choice.

Born in Vinje, a town in southern Norway, Vesaas lived a mostly quiet  his life on a farm that had been in his family for three centuries.  He got the travel bug out of his system in his twenties.  Quiet, as Vesaas knew, makes space the most intractable human emotions. He published The Hills Reply, his last novel, two years before his death.

The books in the order I read them:

Sleet by Stig  Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Steven Hartman, David R. Godine: 2013 (1947)

Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage by Bette Howland, Public Space Books: 2019

The Golden Flea by Michael Rips, W.W. Norton: 2020

The Hills Reply by Tarjei Vesaas, translated from the Norwegian by Elizabeth Rokkan, Archipelago Books: 2019 (1968)

Image: unidentified photographer - Bette Howland, 1984, courtesy of the University of Chicago.

25 May 2020

Alice Halicka: Something Cool

She signed her painting prominently in an upper corner, a la Gauguin.  The colors - black, brown, red, blue, green, and white - could be used to produce bright effects, but that was not Alice Halicka's aim.
Here all is subtle, the arrangement a satisfying blend of formal items and the paraphernalia of an everyday tabletop.  A glass decanter an a wine glass flank a sheet of foolscap, paper used to commemorate important occasions. In turn, these are flanked by small ceramic pots and two boxes (the red and blue one looks as if may contain matches).

What attracted Albert Barnes to this subtle modernist picture?  My guess is that Halicka's color palette may have reminded him of  the one Cezanne used to paint Bathers At Rest, a Barnes favorite.  Such considerations were uppermost in his mind when he created  his "ensembles," unconventional arrangements of paintings and decorative  and utilitarian objects from many cultures.  And creative is not too strong a word for what he achieved through his demonstrations of the formal properties of the works thus displayed.

Alice Halicka was born in Krakow in 1894 and died in Paris in 1975. Her parents were Jewish; her father was a doctor. During her childhood Alice lived in Switzerland and Austria, as well as in Poland. She studied art at a private school for women in Krakow, directed by Maria Niedzielska.  At eighteen Halicka moved to Paris where she studied under Paul Serusier and Maurice Denis at the independent Academie Ranson, then run by its founder's widow,Marie-France Ranson. One advantage the Academie offered its female students was the opportunity to paint from live models.

In 1913 Halicka marred cubist artist Louis Marcoussis who was also Polish. Guillaume Apollinaire singled out Halicka's cubist works at an exhibition in 1914. A few years later Marcoussis advised her to give up painting, saying one cubist was enough in the family. Through the intercession of Raoul Dufy, Halicka  was hired by the Bianchini silk manufactury in Lyon. Halicka gave birth to a daughter, Madeleine, in 1922.  During the decade she illustrated children's books, Valery Larbuad's  Enfantines  and Israel Zangwoll's Les Enfants du Ghetto.

In addition to oil painting, Halicka created collages, watercolors, engravings, and stage sets for the  ballet (Stravinsky's Le Baiser de la Fee in 1937 was performed at the Metropolitan Opera). She even  executed decorative screens for Helena Rubenstein - New York in 1935.  Throughout her life, Halicka traveled widely and even lived for awhile in Benares, India. Marcoussis died in 1941. Halicka's autobiography Souvenirs was published in 1946.

Image: Alice Halicka - Still Life, by 1925, oil on canvas, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.

20 May 2020

Jozef Czapski: A Not So Empty Train Station

"Each time it is almost nothing. But that 'almost nothing' signifies everything." - Jozef Czapski

Seven large empty baggage carts cluster on a platform.  In back is a train that is also  empty.  We don't see train tracks or the train station but we know they are there.  We also know that it is daytime because of the light streaming from the left, outside the frame.

Like a stage set waiting for the actors to appear, all the elements of the set are ready for the arrival of travelers and their bags, conductors and baggage handlers.  The muted institutional tones of depot architecture, the greens of the cars reminiscent of 'hospital' green, all typical of industrial paint.  Not so the yellows and oranges, fanciful colors that embody the excitement of travel. There is something quirky about these baggage trolleys  that makes a viewer smile at  these humble, utilitarian objects.  

Pleasure comes from the vibrant yellows and orange of the baggage trolleys set against the violets of the shadows.  These allow us to imagine the sounds that we can't hear - the buzz of people talking,  announcements issuing from a loudspeaker, the noise of the engines and the hiss of the air brakes wit What a contrast between Czapski's painting and the empty urban scenes of Giorgio de Chirico, where silence and lifelessness are one and the same. Czapski's talent was to make something vivid and expressive from  a glimpse of tiny events most of us overlook.

Josef Czapsli (1896-1993) studied art in Krakow, beginning in 1921, and soon after he began to exhibit his paintings. His painting life was sidetracked by the many creative outlets he found when he moved to Paris and, again. when Czapski became a prisoner during World War II; yet he continued to sketch on scraps of paper, he lost confidence.  After a postwar stint as an international diplomat, he returned to painting and by the time he painted  Baggage Trolleys in the Station in 1965 he was.....

Image: Jozef Czapski - Baggage Trolleys in the Station, 1965, oil on canvas, Aischlimann Collection, Chexbres, Switzerland.

17 May 2020

The Quarantine Library: Part Two

"Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away/ in any direction - " - Rainer Maria Rilke

Somehow these lines, seemingly unrelated to what I have been reading recently, nevertheless make a good epigraph.

I. The author of more than one hundred  books, all of them short (Artforum is 82 pages), Cesar Aira is one of Argentina's best known contemporary writers.  The first-person narrator of Artforum is a man obsessed by the international magazine Artforum, a publication characterized by cache, clout, and controversy.  Unfortunately for him, the magazine is be hard to come by in Buenos Aires and its maddening elusiveness only increases the feverishness of his search.  Haunting bookshops and used magazine stores, enlisting the aid of friends, he eventually breaks down and takes out a subscription, only to hound the mail carrier when they fail to appear on time. 

II. When I studied comparative literature in college I found that the short story has a longer history in Italian than in other Romance languages, beginning in the 13th century with numerous anonymous novellinos and followed by Giovanni Boccacio's Decameron (circa 1349-1351). "The Novel of Juliet"  by Luigi da Porto (1485-1529) of  Veneto  The story had been told previously but it was da Porto who gave his lovers the names Romeo and Juliet. The Neapolitan Giambattista Basile (1566-1632) wrote "The Cat-Cinderella" which inspired both Charles Perrault an the Grimm Brothers.

Jhumpa Lahiri, winner of  the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Emperor of Maladies, lived in Rome for three years where she immersed herself in the Italian language and plunged into reading Italian literature.  The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories is the result.  Forty stories, all by 20th century authors, include more by and about women than you usually find; each author is introduced and situated in their milieu.

Fittingly, the first story "Names and Tears" by Elio Vittorini (1908-1966) who, as editor at Einaudi, was the one who rejuvenated Italian literature after the Second World War.  Also, as a prodigious translator of  D.H. Lawrence, Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner, and John Steinbeck.  A deceptively simple story about  a boy writes words in the dirt while waiting for a girl who does not come.

An unexpected tale from a familiar name, Primo Levi's "Quaestio de Centaurius" is a fable of magic and cruelty about a centaur and the boy who befriends him.  And a tale of an old man and a doe from one who should be more familiar - Grazia Deledda (1871-1936), the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926. A rare find is Alda Cespedes, a Cuban girl who married at fifteen to gain Italian citizenship and then enlisted the help of Mussolini himself to arrange an annulment.  She later became friends with Fidel Castro, who did not hold it against her.  Her "Invitation to a Dinner Party" is central to understanding the ways Italians dealt with the Fascist regime and then with their liberators at the end of World War II.  An English guest and a bourgeois Roman couple perceive themselves and each other very differently.  A particular favorite  author of mine, Dino Buzzati who is represented by a  story new to me, "And Yet They Are Knocking at Your Door." Like its author, it is sui generis, telling the social upheaval that of the war through a domestic drama overtaken by the supernatural.

III. Goethe famously said that  a person is worth as many as the foreign languages they speak and anyone who does not know a foreign language does not know their own. This is the pretext for an extremely clever novel written in Spanish by a Polish writer. Aleksandra Lun's protagonist is also a Polish writer, one who writes in an imaginary language called Antarctic. Palimpsests upon palimpsests occur through variations and repetitions that are musical in effect. Czeslaw Przesnicki, an aspiring novelist/veterinarian,  ends up in an asylum in Liege, Belgium ("a country that has not had a government for the past year").  His roommate and his psychiatrist are both hounded by their own issues. His therapy sessions are interrupted by a parade of writers who wrote in "foreign" languages - Conrad, Nabokov, Beckett, Ionesco, Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) and Georges Simenon (a native of Liege).

IV.  Pierce-Arrow was a car company founded in Buffalo, NY in 1901;  Susan Howe lived there for awhile.  Peirce-Arrow is the title Howe chose for her poem-book about Charles Sanders Pierce (1839-1914), a mathematician and philosopher who, among other accomplishments, developed  pragmatism as a distinctly American philosophy, one that only gained attention when William James took it up.  As Pierce conceived it, pragmatism  was rigorously scientific while also containing spiritual elements Peirce's professional obscurity was matched by the personal obfuscation of his wife Juliette.  Howe writes  poetry of breathtaking artifice(I mean that as a compliment). She makes connections between Peirce and 19th century English poet Thomas Love Peacock, his daughter Mary Ellen, and her husband George Meredith, Tristan and Iseult, and other literary figures.  Howe has been labeled a Post-Modernist and a difficult poet. I found Peirce-Arrow delightful and a jolt to my own lines of thinking.

The books in the order I read them.

Artforum - Cesar Aira, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver, New Directions: 2020
Jhumpa Lahiri, Penguin Press: 2020

The Palimpsests - Aleksandra Lun, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer, David R. Godine: :20190

The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories - edited and introduced by Jhumpa Lahiri, Penguin Press: 2020

Pierce-Arrow - Susan Howe, New Directions: 1999

John Storrs (1885-1956) was an American artist, primarily a sculptor.  He studied with Laredo Taft in Chicago and with Auguste Rodin in Paris. In the 1930s he began to paint rather abstract pictures with human figures. Question: We see where the light from the window falls, so could it be that Storrs wants us to think of light emanating from the book?  I think so.

Image: John Storrs - Woman Reading, 1949, oil on canvas, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.

13 May 2020

Paul Gauguin: On the Road to a New Synthesis

"Art requires philosophy, just as philosophy requires art. Otherwise, what would become of beauty?"
    - Paul Gauguin

What first catches the eye here is the bowl of fruit but what makes this picture so compelling and even mysterious are the repeating blue metal panels with their emphatic patternization. Brilliant strokes of blue outlined in darker blue do most of the work that usually falls to shading; some critics compared the effect to cloisonne. It gradually dawns on the viewer that the blue grids are  a metal garden chair.  To be sure, the apples in the bowl also show Gauguin moving toward a new stylistic synthesis, particularly the lone green apple outlines in a darker shade of green. 

It had become very important to Gauguin that his paintings have strong and identifiable compositional elements that contained within them an  emotional  response. His quest was to synthesize these seemingly opposing aims. It would be a decorative art and a frank acknowledgement of the two dimensional reality of canvas. 

Around 1890 was when Gauguin  probably painted Bowl of Fruit on a Garden Chair while at at Le Pouldu in Cap Finistere, Brittany. While at Le Pouldu, he lost a small stipend from the family of his Dutch friend Meter de Haan. The small canvas is mounted on board, an inexpensive way of working necessitated  by Gauguin's minimal finances. He roomed at La maison de Marie Henry; when he left it was with a trail of unpaid bills. Mme Henry sold the paintings that were also left behind to recoup her losses 

The year before Gauguin had joined his friend Emile Bernard ar Pont-Aven and there Gauguin coined the term synthetism, shorthand for his rejection of Impressionism.  He had come there from Arles where he told van Gogh that his appetite to do new things was insatiable. 

Gauguin exhibited with the Impressionists in 1886 but, even if they had continued the annual ritual, he was looking for a different approach.  He found Impressionism confining, superficial, and lacking aesthetic rigor; its emphasis on the effects of light (effet de lumiere) in the natural world seemed reductive and  stifling to his creative impulse. At this time Gauguin was unable to sell his work easily, paradoxically freeing him to experiment.

Bowl of Fruit on a Garden Chair was donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 11954 by the actress Merle Oberon.

Image: Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) - Bowl of Fruit on a Garden Chair, circa 1890, oil on canvas, 11.25 x 14 in.,Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

06 May 2020

Lau Tzu, Art Critic

"We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the
usefulness of the wheel depends.

We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the
usefulness of the vessel depends.

We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on this space where there is nothing that
the usefulness of the house depends

Therefore, just as we take advantage of what is,
we should recognize the usefulness of what is not."
   - Lao-Tzu (4th century BCE)

Yves Mohy's ceramic piece contains many shapes of things. We see one hand and the suggestion of its mate; we may assume that both hands belong to the same person without certainty. The thumbs create a steeple within a steeple reminiscent of a children's game Mohy's Hands show prints of the maker's hands visibly in contrast to the smoothness of the black base. The areas around and in between the object's parts are essential to its impact.

The significance of negative space has never been more salient than at this moment. Negative space could be another term for social distancing. A steeple is a signal sender to faraway receivers, again suggesting social distancing.

"Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." - Wallace Stevens

Image: Yves Mohy (1929-2004) - Hands, 2003, ceramic, Cite de la Ceramique, Sevres.

01 May 2020

The Quarantine Library: Part One

My new favorite person is the postal carrier.  Every day with unfailing good cheer he makes the rounds of my apartment complex, the sound of his wheeled cart announcing his imminent arrival.  Although there is less bulk mail to pass out these days, he has so many packages to deliver that he makes repeated trips to the mail truck, full almost to bursting with boxes.  Many of them are books.  I should know, because I have ordered so many in the past eight weeks that I can spot a book box from my balcony. In thanks, I now decorate every bill and letter I mail with the legend "I HEART USPS."

I.One of  my first picks was Vincent's Books describing Vincent van Gogh's insatiable appetite for reading - and for writing about it in his journals.  I, too, began to keep a journal of what I was reading at age thirteen.  Van Gogh writes to his brother Theo and others about the connections he makes between the Bible (he was an itinerant preacher before he turned to painting) and socially engaged literature by Jules Michelet, Alphonse Daudet, Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, etc.  Such did these books resonate with him that van Gogh not only included them in his paintings but also made sure that their titles were legible.

The books in Still Life with Statuette (at left) are Germinie Lacerteux by the Goncourt Brothers  and Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant.

And now let me offer a few brief thoughts about some of the books I have been absorbed in these past eight weeks.

II. Effie Briest is one of those classic novels I have intended to read but hadn't. Theodore Fontane is generally considered the greatest German novelist between Goethe and Thomas Mann.  I have written about another Fontane novel Irretrievable (see hyperlink).  Fontane portrayed his female protagonists with  unusual empathy for a 19th century writer.  Then there is Chance,  Joseph Conrad's only novel to have a female protagonist.  Published in 1913 it was Conrad's "New Woman" novel. The story is told by Conrad's frequent narrator, Marlow. Conrad is more sympathetic to women's lot than H.G. Wells, whose success with the novel Ann Veronica (1909) urged the subject on him; it proved to be Conrad's first major commercial success.

III. Please Talk to Me by the Argentine writer Liliana Hekeris the first collection of stories to be translated into English.  A darkly humorous writer who refused to go into exile during her country's "Dirty War", Heker uses the microcosm of  the family and everyday life to illuminate covertly the social and political life under a dictatorship.

IV. Blaming is the last novel, published after her death from breast cancer, by the British writer Elizabeth Taylor.  Taylor has been described as "the thinking person's dangerous housewife."  Often mistaken for a harmless domestic novelist, Taylor used wit and subtlety to reveal the horrors buried in home life. And she was more than equal to the challenge of making an unsympathetic character a memorable protagonist.

V. The Women in Black is a charming and humorous ode  to women working in an upscale Sydney department store in the 1950s. The title refers to the black dresses that saleswomen were required to wear as a uniform.

VI. The Outward Room is a novel from the Great Depression; its atmosphere has echoes  of our current duress.  Harriet Demuth, a young woman who has a nervous breakdown after her brother's death, escapes from the asylum and, with few resources, travels under darkness to New York City where she lives a hand-to-mouth existence, even sleeping on the subway when she cannot afford a room (history has repeated itself in the pandemic)..  Millen Brand worked as an advertising copywriter for New York Telephone, writing his novel in the two hours before the day's work began.  Presciently, Brand  recognized the foolishness of the Freudian nostrums that the psychiatrist presses on Harriet.

VII. In Idra Novey's The Next Country the poems follow the poet's journeys through Central and South America.  Novey is an American writer who has translated works by Clarice Lispector (Brazil), among others.

VIII. I have written here recently about Jozef Czapski and will probably do so again, thanks to Eric Karpeles' book.  Czapsky was born in Prague, studied law in St. Petersburg and art in Krakow, became an officer in the Polish army, and  a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union, and moved to Paris after WWII ended. Born into an aristocratic family, Czapski, who was extremely tall, towered over his friends.
Becoming a painter was almost as difficult as being a prisoner of war; the 20th century kept intervening. Anyone who can deliver lectures from memory on Marcel Proust in a prison camp is no ordinary mortal. After the war Czapski became a diplomat, a writer, and a historian of the toll the war took on Poland. And, although a devout Roman Catholic, Czapski wsa more at ease with his homosexuality that contemporaries.

IX.  Short Life in a Strange World  by Toby Ferris is a hard book to characterize, part art criticism, part philosophy, part memoir.  At the age of 42, Ferris embarks on a five year mission to view all 42 known panels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, great Flemish painter of the 16th century.  His travels take  him to 22 galleries in 19 cities and 12 countries and across two .continents. Ferris shows us how to read these teeming images for how life was lived  in the Netherlands of the Renaissance.
This is also the story of Pieter Bruegel the Younger who ran a successful workshop making copies of his father's works and Ferris invites us to make comparisons and choose which versions we prefer.  Surprisingly, to non art historians (like me), The Fall of Icarus, that most familiar of Bruegel the Elder's paintings is a copy made by his son, from an original that has been lost.

I have listed the books in the order that I read them.  All but two are paperbacks.  When the publication date is in parentheses that indicates the original date of publication, not the date of the edition I bought.

About Love and Other Stories - Anton Chekhov, translated from the Russian by Rosamund Bartlett, Oxford University Press: 2004

Almost Nothing: The 20th Century Art and Life of Jozef Czapski - Eric Karpeles, New York Review Books: 2018

Effie Briest  - Theodore Fontane, translated from the German by Hugh Rorrison & Helen Chambers, Penguin Books: (1895)

Please Talk to Me: Stories - Liliana Heker, translated from the Spanish by Miranda France, Yale University Press: 2015

Short Life in a Strange World: Birth to Death in 42 Panels - Toby Ferris, Harper Press: 2020

Chance  - Joseph Conrad, Oxford University Press: (1913)

Vincent's Books: Van Gogh and the Writers Who Inspired Him - Mariella Guzzoni, University of Chicago Press" 2020

Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor, Virago Modern Classics: (1976)

The Next Country: Poems - Idra Novey, Alice James Books: 2008

The Women in Black - Madeleine St. John, Scribner: (1993)

The Outward Room - Millen Brand,i New York Review Books: (1937)

1. Vincent van Gogh - Pile of French Novels, October 1887 + oil on Canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
2. Vincent van Gogh - Still Life with Statuette, 1887, oil on canvas, Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterloo, Netherlands.