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Backgrounds to David Jones: A Study in…

Backgrounds to David Jones: A Study in Sources and Drafts (original 2007; edition 1990)

by Jonathan Miles

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1505114,111 (3.5)15
Title:Backgrounds to David Jones: A Study in Sources and Drafts
Authors:Jonathan Miles
Info:University of Wales Press (1990), Edition: annotated edition, Hardcover, 232 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:David Jones, Lit Crit

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Wreck of the Medusa by Jonathan Miles (2007)



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This was not just one book. This is several books. Most of them are about post revolutionary France or a bio of an artist. The book about the wreck is only about the first five chapters. ( )
  Neilsantos | Oct 8, 2010 |
Newton Centre ( )
  IraSchor | Sep 28, 2009 |
In The Wreck of the Medusa, Jonathan Miles deftly interweaves the story of the ill-fated shipwreck, its survivors, and the life of Theodore Gericault who rendered the famous painting of the ship's raft.

The story of the raft's unfortunate fate is the most sensational aspect of the shipwreck as it combines the injustice of the captain abandoning hundreds, mutiny, and cannibalism. But Miles resists the temptation to descend to lurid descriptions of the horrors. Nor does he shortchange the sufferings of those in lifeboats who had to trek through the unyielding desert. Instead Miles' descriptions are evocative with many sections drawn directly from first-person accounts.

The author lends depth to the reader's understanding of Gericault's painting by describing the painter's artistic development, the influence of his personal life, of survivor Alexandre Correard, and the implications of Gericault's political leanings - particularly concerning the abolition movement.

While certainly engrossing, Miles' account of the shipwreck is a confusion of names. It was difficult at times to tell who was on what craft, who landed where, and in what circumstances. Given the importance the raft would later take, that section also seemed a bit brief. Furthermore, a few incidents were included that seemed to have little to do with the overall point of the work (the Fualdes incident). The placement of the plate of the famous painting renders it useless as the main focus of the canvas (and many of the details the author analyzes) are hidden in the fold of the pages. Luckily the painting is easily found online.

Aside from these few quibbles, Miles has written an informative and thorough book examining the causes and the influences (artistic and political) of the famous wreck of the Medusa. Well worth reading. ( )
2 vote Caramellunacy | Apr 9, 2008 |
This is not only a well-researched account of the wreck of the French ship Medusa off the coast of Africa on July 2,1816, but also an account of the political life of France in the time of King Louis XVIII and a study of the life the great Romantic painter Theodore Gericault and of his famous painting The Reft of the Medusa. The research evidenced is vast and the events of July 1816 are told in all their horror. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Apr 2, 2008 |
Anyone who has studied art history is probably already familiar with Gericault's famous painting of the Medusa. I was first introduced to the painting in high school and while I remembered that it was inspired by a true and politically important incident, I didn't really know much beyond that. This book explains the event in great detail, but in a way that is very readable and not at all tedious. It also provides an overview of Gericault's life, his experience of creating the painting and public reactions to it. So really, you get a lot out of this book: naval history, 19th century French political history, art history and it has enough depictions of humanity at its worst that one might even classify it as having "true crime" elements. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote readgrrl | Feb 3, 2008 |
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for all those misled by their leaders
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An agitated young man with a recently shaven skull and piercing eyes emerged through a monumental portico that fronted the hospital and turned into the chilly shadow of the street.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0871139596, Hardcover)

The Wreck of the Medusa is a spellbinding account of the most famous shipwreck before the Titanic, a tragedy that riled a nation and inspired Théodore Géricault’s magnificent painting The Raft of the Medusa . In June 1816, the flagship of a French expedition to repossess a colony in Senegal from the British set sail. She never arrived at her destination; her incompetent captain Hugo de Chaumareys, ignoring telltale signs of shallow waters, plowed the ship into a famously treacherous sandbar. A privileged few claimed the lifeboats while 146 men and one woman were herded aboard a makeshift raft and set adrift. Without a compass or many provisions, hit by a vicious storm the first night, and exposed to sweltering heat during the following days, the group set upon each other: mayhem, mutiny, and murder ensued. When rescue arrived thirteen days later only fifteen were alive. Meanwhile, those in the boats who made it to shore undertook a dangerous two-hundred-mile slog through the desert. Among the handful of survivors from the raft were two men whose written account of the fiasco became a bestseller that rocked France’s political foundations and provided graphic fodder for Géricault’s world-famous painting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:21 -0400)

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Describes the 1816 sinking of the Medusa, the flagship of a French expedition en route to reclaim a colony in Senegal from the British, which ran aground thanks to the incompetence of the ship's captain, Hugo de Chaumareys.

(summary from another edition)

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