Publishers Weekly (USA) – Edvard Munch review

‘Most famous for his painting The Scream, an iconic expression of anxiety and a reflection of his inner torment, Edvard Munch strove to paint his “soul’s diary,” a quest Prideaux chronicles incisively in this fascinating study. The first comprehensive English-language biography of Munch (1863-1944) presents an in-depth artistic, intellectual and psychological portrait of the Norwegian artist. A novelist and art historian, Prideaux (Magnetic North) enlivens her narrative with excerpts from Munch’s diaries, effectively tracing the roots of this mental suffering: his father’s religious fanaticism, the death of his mother and favourite sister, the insanity of another sister and the fear that he would go mad himself. Prideaux also charts Much’s intellectual influences, his immersion in Nietzsche and Dostoyevski and his involvement with a group of radical Norwegian intellectuals, including Hans Jaeger (a founding father of existentialism), and his later notable association with the playwright and painter August Strindberg. Munch’s angst-ridden paintings imbued with fears of sex, illness and death, shocked the conservative Norwegian public, but found a receptive audience in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, where the study of mental disorders was coming into vogue. This penetrating account of his life sheds light on the inner demons that drove him to create these disturbing images.’

Publishers Weekly (USA)
22 August 2005

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