The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels by Anka Muhlstein
translated by Adriana Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book looks at the relationship between 19th and 20th century French writers and artists, looking closely at their relationship to each other as individuals and how writers used the painters creations in their own works of art.
To read this book successfully one really needs a working familiarity of French literature and art of the time period explored. It is taken as a given that the reader has such a knowledge base, and without which, the reading can be difficult and confusing. The first three chapters were lost on this particular reader, not having the knowledge of Belzac to make sense of the findings. The book came into its own from the forth chapter and beyond as my knowledge base of the art came into focus. It is also from the forth chapter that occasional examples of said artwork is given in a pictorial manner, which was really helpful.
It is a mere slip of a book at around 200 pages, meaning there is little in the way of superfluous waffle. The book highlighted the extent of connection between French writers and artists, and how they provided one another with inspiration. It is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about the period for both literature and art.