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Instant Lives And More
by Howard Moss
A classic artistic parody from two of the world's most satiric minds. Moss uncovers remarkable historical anecdotes, which are accompanied by Gorey's absurdly deadpan drawings. Although the insightful scenarios involving Emily Dickinson, Mozart, Henrik Ibsen, and El Greco are all the product of Moss's fertile imagination, his uncanny emulation of style makes us believe the ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 10th 1999 by Harper Perennial
(first published 1974)
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Jul 26, 2007 Kate rated it it was amazing
This laugh-out-loud book parodies famous writers including (in particularly funny chapters) Hemingway, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I about peed myself the first time I read the Gertrude Stein chapter.
As I'm not a music aficionado, I found those biographies impenetrable, as did another reviewer. I consider myself pretty well-educated but felt I was being left out of the joke in several spots. Any flaws this book might possess are made up for by the fantastic contributions by Gorey. :)
This is the funniest, wittiest book I have read in years. Moss was the poetry editor for the New Yorker, an erudite chap indeed. In addition the book is illustrated by Edward Gorey. The book is short vignettes of famous artists, musicians, and writers. They are written in the style of the artist or that of their biographers. It helps to be familiar with these people to get the full effect. All the stories are funny, but the ones about Jane Austen, the Brontes, Ford Maddox Ford, Ibsen, El Greco, ...more
The Gorey illustrations are, of course, fabulous. The depiction of Proust was exceptionally entertaining. The prose was a bit dodgy in places; the brief bios of Emily Dickinson, Debussy, and the Brontë sisters were great, but some of the others were rather impenetrable.