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June 16 , 2011

"My Own Portrait in Writing"

Self-Fashioning in the Letters of Vincent van Gogh


In Grant’s earlier book, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh. A Critical Study (AU Press, 2014), he followed a practical-critical analysis of the letters that dealt with key patterns of metaphors and concepts. This volume is a complement to the first book and provides an effective, theory-based reading of the letters that brings them more fully and successfully into the domain of modern literary studies. Each chapter addresses some significant aspect of Van Gogh’s writing including a “reading” of the letter-sketches and their narrative dimensions, a deconstruction of the binaries used in Van Gogh’s writing and painting, observations of Van Gogh’s own understanding of the permeable boundary between words and visual art, and a discussion of the set of polarities apparent in Van Gogh’s discussions of imagination, fantasy, belief, and self-surrender. Consequently, as a whole and in each of its parts, this book offers a new, timely, and theoretically-informed interpretation of Van Gogh’s literary achievement.

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