George Mackay Brown: The Life

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9780719566059: George Mackay Brown: The Life
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George Mackay Brown was one of Scotland’s most prolific and acclaimed writers, but he was also a handful of paradoxes. He holds a wide international reputation despite rarely leaving his native Orkney. He never married, but some of his most poignant letters and poems were written to Stella Cartwright, the Muse of Rose Street.” Maggie Fergusson is the only biographer to whom the reluctant Brown gave his blessing, and her brilliant account reveals that this artist’s life was not only fascinating but vivid, courageous, and surprising.

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Maggie Fergusson is a journalist and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature who has contributed to publications such as The Daily Telegraph, Harpers & Queen, and Independent magazine.

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*Starred Review* Vociferously admired by British poet laureate Ted Hughes and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney and an honored novelist, Brown (1921-96) is one of the great writers of the twentieth century least well known outside his homeland. His books appear in America not in domestic editions but as imported British products, as does this rainwater-fresh biography, a first book that has already garnered high praise from master literary biographer Claire Tomalin. Fergusson tells a quietly fascinating and moving story. The youngest of six children of a part-time postman and pieceworker, Brown was reserved from childhood. The adolescent onset of severe depression and, later, tuberculosis exacerbated his shyness and delayed the higher education he wanted until his 30s. He had begun writing, however, as a columnist in Orkney's newspapers, and even that early work, quoted liberally here, displays the clarity, precise imagery, and intimate and sympathetic perspective characteristic of the poetry and prose fiction that followed. If not for his strong sense of vocation, TB or the alcoholism triggered by his depression might have killed him. He triumphed over both, and his final decade was his most productive. Perhaps the best thing about the biography is that Fergusson's prose seems inspired by Brown's. It's simply beautiful. Ray Olson
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9780719556593: George Mackay Brown: The Life

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ISBN 10:  0719556597 ISBN 13:  9780719556593
Publisher: John Murray, 2006
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Maggie Fergusson
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Book Description Hodder Stoughton General Division, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. George Mackay Brown was one of Scotland s greatest twentieth-century writers, but in person a bundle of paradoxes. He had a wide international reputation, but hardly left his native Orkney. A prolific poet, admired by such fellow poets as Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Charles Causley, and hailed by the composer Peter Maxwell Davies as the most positive and benign influence ever on my own efforts at creation , he was also an accomplished novelist (shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize for Beside the Ocean of Time) and a master of the short story. When he died in 1996, he left behind an autobiography as deft as it is ultimately uninformative. The lives of artists are as boring and also as uniquely fascinating as any or every other life, he claimed. Never a recluse, he appeared open to his friends, but probably revealed more of himself in his voluminous correspondence with strangers. He never married - indeed he once wrote, I have never been in love in my life. But some of his most poignant letters and poems were written to Stella Cartwright, the Muse of Rose Street , the gifted but tragic figure to whom he was once engaged and with whom he kept in touch until the end of her short life.Maggie Fergusson interviewed George Mackay Brown several times and is the only biographer to whom he, a reluctant subject, gave his blessing. Through his letters and through conversations with his wide acquaintance, she discovers that this particular artist s life was not only fascinating but vivid, courageous and surprising. Seller Inventory # AA69780719566059

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Book Description Hodder Stoughton General Division, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. George Mackay Brown was one of Scotland s greatest twentieth-century writers, but in person a bundle of paradoxes. He had a wide international reputation, but hardly left his native Orkney. A prolific poet, admired by such fellow poets as Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Charles Causley, and hailed by the composer Peter Maxwell Davies as the most positive and benign influence ever on my own efforts at creation , he was also an accomplished novelist (shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize for Beside the Ocean of Time) and a master of the short story. When he died in 1996, he left behind an autobiography as deft as it is ultimately uninformative. The lives of artists are as boring and also as uniquely fascinating as any or every other life, he claimed. Never a recluse, he appeared open to his friends, but probably revealed more of himself in his voluminous correspondence with strangers. He never married - indeed he once wrote, I have never been in love in my life. But some of his most poignant letters and poems were written to Stella Cartwright, the Muse of Rose Street , the gifted but tragic figure to whom he was once engaged and with whom he kept in touch until the end of her short life.Maggie Fergusson interviewed George Mackay Brown several times and is the only biographer to whom he, a reluctant subject, gave his blessing. Through his letters and through conversations with his wide acquaintance, she discovers that this particular artist s life was not only fascinating but vivid, courageous and surprising. Seller Inventory # AA69780719566059

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