Art and Its Discontents: The Early Life of Adrian Stokes
Although interest in the painter, poet, and art writer Adrian Stokes (1902&–1972) has been growing in recent years, Art and Its Discontents is the first biographical study of this pivotal figure in British modernism. Focused on Stokes's formative years, the book offers important new insights into his intellectual development, his growing commitment to the arts, and his eventual turn to the art criticism that would win him international renown.
Even as Richard Read follows Stokes from his London childhood to his travels in Italy and his psychoanalysis with Melanie Klein, he weaves Stokes's experiences and writings into the great social and cultural issues of his era. Stokes's friendship with Ezra Pound is given its due, but Read balances his exploration of Stokes's modernist ideas with detailed discussion of his profound debt to the teachings of John Ruskin and Walter Pater. Seen in this broad perspective, Stokes emerges as a thinker who bridged Victorian and modernist cultures and renewed the British tradition of aesthetic criticism.
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