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Original Essays | February 6, 2014 0 comments
One afternoon in the mid-1990s, I found myself in Dauphine Street Books in New Orleans, staring hungrily into a vitrine containing costly literary... Continue »
Ross KingDescribe your latest project.
My new book, The Judgment of Paris, tells the story of how and why Impressionism started in Paris in the 1860s and early 1870s. I cover the art, politics, and wars in the eleven years between the Salon des Refusés in 1863 and the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. The book is a group portrait in a way, with Monet, Cézanne and Renoir in the frame. But most of all it's the story of two drastically different painters, Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier. They were opposites in virtually every way imaginable. They were known, in fact, as "the two poles of art." Meissonier was the world's most famous and most popular painter, garlanded with critical laurels and showered in huge sums of money. Manet, on the other hand, was a critical laughingstock who couldn't even give his paintings away. Their reputations have since reversed, but I try to take the reader back to a period when Manet's paintings -- especially works like Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Olympia -- could scandalize and electrify a nation that was as obsessed with painters and painting as we are today with sports figures and other celebrities.
If you could choose any story to live in, what story would that be?
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
What is your favorite literary first line?
"Of the many problems which exercised the reckless discernment of Lönnrot, none was so strange so rigorously strange, shall we say as the periodic series of bloody events which culminated at the villa of Triste-le-Roy, amid the ceaseless aroma of the eucalypti."How could anyone not keep reading?
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?
What section of the newspaper do you read first?
What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, what sign would you change to and why?