maandag 16 juli 2012

The lives of artists are as boring as any other life

"Over the past four centuries there has been too much emphasis on the life and personality of authors - great streams of reminiscence, biography and autobiography. In fact the lives of writers are not greatly different from the lives of plumbers; except that, in the romantic age,  writers stuck poses and behaved in wild eccentric ways - not so much because those aberrations were a part of their nature but because the public expected it of them: "true genius is to madness near allied". In the late nineteenth century no poet or artist was genuine unless he broke most of the social rules, steeped himself in drink and laudanum, got syphilis or consumption, fled to wild barren places of the earth, manned barricades, was alternately in a trough or on a crest of the spirit, flirted with the demonic and the angelic (or both). It seems to me that under all the masks, the lives of artists are as boring and also as uniquely fascinating as any or every other life." - Gordon Mackay Brown (For these islands I sing, 1997)

Gordon Mackay Brown was a writer from Stromness in Orkney, the son of a postman and a student of Edwin Muir. These are all good credentials.

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