Resurrections: Authors, Heroes—and a Spy

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University of Virginia Press, Oct 9, 2018 - Biography & Autobiography - 248 pages

Jeffrey Meyers’ Resurrections: Authors, Heroes—and a Spy brings to life a set of extraordinary writers, painters, and literary adventurers who turned their lives into art. Meyers knew nine of these figures, in some cases intimately, while five others he admires and regrets never meeting. As he writes in the preface, "The chapters in this book represent in miniature my career as a life-writer. My biographies have always been driven by fascination with the source of artistic creativity, with people who wrote or painted and with the worlds they inhabited."

Ian Watt, who taught Meyers at Berkeley, struggled with the legacy of his ordeal as a Japanese prisoner of war, and with its depiction in the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai. The story of Paul Theroux’s feud with Sir Vidia Naipaul is well known, but Meyers finds greater meaning in their quarrel through the lens of his own long friendship with Theroux. While James Salter, fighter pilot and brilliant stylist, epitomizes Meyers’ heroic ideal, the fiction writer also responds with an epistolary friendship, punctuated by visits, and Meyers is delighted by Salter’s great reputation late in life. Anthony Blunt, art historian and communist spy, fascinates the biographer for a darker reason: the depth of his capacity for intellectual and personal deceit. The feckless, lesser-known Hugh Gordon Porteus, told Meyers many revealing and amusing stories about his friends Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

In the process of writing these profiles, Meyers discovers a common thread relating to himself: not only do these subjects provoke a kind of personal testing, they also represent his search for the ideal father in his vivid intellectual and imaginative inquiry.


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Preface Part
Ian Watt
Gerald Brenan
Phillip Knightley
Donald Greene
Hugh Gordon Porteus
Alex Colville
James Salter
Part II
Anthony Blunt
Basil Blackwood
Derek Jackson
Nicola Chiaromonte
Xan Fielding

Paul Theroux
Patrick Leigh Fermor

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About the author (2018)

Thirty-three of Jeffrey Meyers’ books have been translated into fourteen languages and seven alphabets and published on six continents. In 2005 he received an Award in Literature "to honor exceptional achievement" from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2012 he gave the Seymour Lectures in Biography at the National Library of Australia in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.

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