Conceived with Malice

Conceived with Malice

4.16 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Every creative act is a declaration of war," wrote Henry Miller. This fascinating book examines the motive of revenge as a catalyst for the creative process. Evoking Bloomsbury and Paris in the twenties and thirties, acclaimed biographer Louise De Salvo focuses on four famous literary partnerships where the written word was used as a weapon of revenge. Like her pioneering Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work, Conceived with Malice challenges our conceptions of how and why great works of literature are written.The "ideal" marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf not only linked Leonard Woolf to a partner far more talented than he but "elevated" him to a social class that dismissed him as the son of a Jewish shopkeeper. His retaliation was the novel The Wise Virgins, actually penned during the couple's honeymoon. It portrayed a thinly disguised Virginia as deranged and sexually inadequate, sending the shattered bride spiralling toward depression and attempted suicide.The mercurial relationship between D. H. Lawrence, a coal miner's son, and his patron Lady Ottoline Morrell, whose list of lovers included Bertrand Russell, Roger Fry, and Henry Lamb, began as a union of "soulmates" but deteriorated into an enmity that spawned Lawrence's vicious portrait of her as the morally corrupt Hermione Roddice in Women in Love. The legendary writer Djuna Barnes reveals the psychic wound that lay at the core of her classic novels Nightwood and Ryder - and that at last was excruciatingly exposed in her final major work, The Antiphon, the amazing play that discloses a family history of multiple incest and child abuse, making her pain-filled and boldly experimental work all too comprehensible.Henry Miller's wife, June, the beautiful, strung-out, coked-up taxi dancer who kept him up all night talking about writers, who lived with him and her lesbian lover in a squalid Brooklyn apartment, nearly drove him mad. But she also became his lodestone over forty years of writing, from his first novel, Crazy Cock - only recently published - through Tropic of Cancer and his later classics.Full of enticing literary gossip, Conceived with Malice is also a daring exploration of the dark side of the creative process, analyzing much never-before-addressed material in each of these writers' lives. Blending consummate scholarship with great narrative skill, Louise DeSalvo vividly describes how these great literary figures each perceived an attack on the self - and struck back through their art, creating lasting monuments to their deepest hurts and darkest obsessions.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 771.1g
  • Dutton Books
  • United States
  • English
  • 0525938990
  • 9780525938996

Rating details

18 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 44% (8)
4 39% (7)
3 11% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 6% (1)
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