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Avant-Garde Persuasions
March 29, 2012

The Steins Collect Metropolitan Museum of Art   Van Gogh: Up Close Philadelphia Museum of Art   Van Gogh: The Life By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Random House, 953 pp., $40) Nobody in the history of culture has known more about the art of persuasion than the avant-garde painters, sculptors, writers, composers, choreographers, and impresarios who transformed European art from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The Miserabilist
October 20, 2010

Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl By Donald Sturrock (Simon & Schuster, 655 pp., $30) Roald Dahl, the beloved laureate of modern children’s fiction, who often boasted of his uncanny access to the seven-year-old mind, who preeningly referred to himself in old age as a “geriatric child,” did not actually get around to following his agent’s advice and writing a children’s book until he was well into his forties. Even then he did so grudgingly, and only because his short stories for adults were not selling.