Portrait: The Life of Thomas Eakins

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 237 pages
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Thomas Eakins, a native of Philadelphia, painted two worlds: one sure of its valuesthe surgeons, inventors, musicians, and athletes of his timeand another that reflected his own struggles with depression and sexual identity. In this evenhanded account of those struggles, William S. McFeely sheds new light on Eakins's genius and on the evocative melancholy of his portraits, particularly of women, which include many of his remarkable wife, Susan McDowell Eakins. Those deeply perceptive paintings may be the greatest expressions of his art.

One of America's leading historians, McFeely has long been an interpreter of nineteenth-century American writing. A fascinating aspect of this narrative is how he brings the painter into the company of Thoreau, Melville, and Whitman, with whom Eakins formed a deep friendship. The famous painting Swimming, for example, is likened to Walden, Typee, and to passages in Leaves of Grass.
 

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Contents

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About the author (2007)

William S. McFeely is Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen; Grant: A Biography, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Parkman Prize; Frederick Douglass, which received the Lincoln Prize; Sapelo’s People: A Long Walk into Freedom; and Proximity to Death.

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