Howard Moss Instant Lives And More

ISBN 13: 9780756779757

Instant Lives And More

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9780756779757: Instant Lives And More
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A classic artistic parody from two of the world's most satiric minds. Moss uncovers remarkable historical anecdotes, which are accompanied by Gorey's absurdly deadpan drawings. Although the insightful scenarios involving Emily Dickinson, Mozart, Henrik Ibsen, and El Greco are all the product of Moss's fertile imagination, his uncanny emulation of style makes us believe they (just possibly) might be true. 25 illustrations.

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Review:

Instant Lives is a wonderfully weird collaboration between Howard Moss and Edward Gorey. This brilliant collection of vignettes of the lives of the literati, punctuated by Gorey's droll illustrations, depends on wordplay, absurd non sequitur, outrageous puns, and dead-on parody of its subjects' styles to create a slim book that will have you weeping with laughter. Consider, for example, the opening lines of "Oscar Wilde": "'Bon mots, among intimates, are the cablegrams of the desert,' Oscar said, his finger still firmly on the pulse of the epigram." Or the epiphany in "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky": "He felt a sudden inspiration. Not a pig ballet but a bird ballet! He rushed over to his writing desk and changed 'Swine' to 'Swan.' Swan Lake. Of course! The whole thing was falling into place."

Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Paul Gauguin, John Donne, and James Joyce are just a few of Moss's targets in this hilarious little book. Moss approaches Johann Sebastian Bach from his wife's perspective ("'Thunderation!' Magda exclaimed. She'd just climbed the one hundred and seventeen steps to the belfry. 'Do you have to sit here and compose all day just to prove you're a Christian believer?'") and credits El Greco's future career as an artist to his eye doctor ("'Why not make a virtue out of a defect, El?' the kindly eye doctor asked.... The boy's eyes were not only hopelessly astigmatic, but a peculiarity, unique to the doctor's experience and probably genetic in origin, had elongated the lenses of the irises so that El Greco saw every object in the world attenuated to the point of emaciation"). Instant Lives will be an instant hit among readers with a strong appreciation for the ridiculous and the whimsical. --Alix Wilber

About the Author:

Howard Moss (1922-1987) was the poetry editor of The New Yorker for nearly four decades. He was also a poet, playwright, and critic. In 1972, he won the National Book Award for his Selected Poems.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780880015868: Instant Lives And More

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0880015861 ISBN 13:  9780880015868
Publisher: Ecco, 1999
Softcover

9780880010764: Instant Lives and More

Ecco Pr, 1985
Softcover