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by A. S. Byatt,A.J.A. Symons
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Historical
  • Author:
    A. S. Byatt,A.J.A. Symons
  • ISBN:
    0940322617
  • ISBN13:
    978-0940322615
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    NYRB Classics; 1st edition (March 12, 2001)
  • Pages:
    312 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Historical
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1219 kb
  • ePUB format
    1389 kb
  • DJVU format
    1360 kb
  • Rating:
    4.1
  • Votes:
    745
  • Formats:
    mbr lit docx azw


Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). He is remembered for his groundbreaking biography of the bizarre genius Baron Corvo and for his own eccentric hobbies, as chronicled in a biography written by his brother, the mystery novelist Julian Symons. A S Byatt is renowned internationally for her novels and short stories.

Symon's The Quest for Corvo is a biography of a character

Published March 31st 2001 by NYRB Classics (first published 1932). The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography. 0940322617 (ISBN13: 9780940322615). Symon's The Quest for Corvo is a biography of a character. Baron Corvo aka Frederick Rolfe aka Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe was a British writer around the turn of the last century, who died young after a relatively colourful life - he was a staunch catholic who got kicked out of the seminary, he tried to be a painter, he tried to be a writer, he never held a steady job, instead.

Without further delay, we come to The Quest for Corvo. Symons’s hunt for the dubiously titled Baron Corvo (or Frederick Rolfe) begins when a friend (and rare book dealer) gives him a copy Hadrian the Seventh, Rolfe’s self-portrait as a pope: How was it that I had never heard of a man who had it in his power to write such a book as Hadrian the Seventh? It turns out that the writer had other, darker powers.

The Quest for Corvo is widely regarded as one of the best of literary biographies. He was Gay and the book is considered an early GLBT classic. Symons has given the world a biography of the author of Hadrian the Seventh written in exquisite prose. We follow along as Symons contacts through letters initially friends and family of Corso. He had assumed the title Baron, claiming with no substantiation he had been awarded the honor, and tried to live like royalty. He died in the gutters of the bad side of Venice.

Additional Book Information. Series: NYRB Classics ISBN: 9780940322615 Pages: 312 Publication Date: March 31, 2001. But it is the book's compulsive readability that proves the exquisiteness of the match Much as can be said for Symons's and Rolfe's mutual fit, a good part of the success of The Quest rests with Symons's decision to structure the story like a detective novel. The surest formula for a masterpiece biography-of which there are not that many-is an extraordinary human being writing about a great one.

An experiment in biography. Chapter I: the problem. My quest for Corvo was started by accident one summer afternoon in 1925, in the company of Christopher Millard. The Quest for Corvo by . Originally published London: Cassell, 1934. We were sitting lazily in his little garden, talking of books that miss their just reward of praise and influence. I mentioned Wylder’s Hand, by Le Fanu, a masterpiece of plot, and the Fantastic Fables of Ambrose Bierce.

plates; jacket chipped with loss at head, spine darkened, else a very good copy. Published by The Macmillan Co, New York, 1934. From Rulon-Miller Books (ABAA, ILAB) (St. Paul, MN, . Association Member: ABAA. Price: US$ 5. 5 Convert Currency. Shipping: US$ 1. 0 Within . Destination, rates & speeds. verified user30 Day Return Policy.

This listing is for The Quest for Corvo : An Experiment in Biography by A. J. A. Symons (2001, Paperback) : A. . Symons (2001) ISBN 9780940322615: All previously owned books are guaranteed to be in good condition.

Symons's THE QUEST FOR CORVO could almost be a sketch for these later, deeper studies in its very metatextual approach to what it means to compose a biography of Frederick Rolfe, one of the strangest figures in fin-de-siecle British letters. Although later biographies took this work to task for its errors and omissions, that shouldn't dissuade you from enjoying how Symons juxtaposes differing perspectives on the quarrelsome and paranoid Rolfe's actions and behaviors, and his desire to get at the "real ma.

One day in 1925 a friend asked A. J. A. Symons if he had read Fr. Rolfe's Hadrian the Seventh. He hadn't, but soon did, and found himself entranced by the novel -- "a masterpiece"-- and no less fascinated by the mysterious person of its all-but-forgotten creator. The Quest for Corvo is a hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of the strange Frederick Rolfe, self-appointed Baron Corvo, an artist, writer, and frustrated aspirant to the priesthood with a bottomless talent for self-destruction. But this singular work, subtitled "an experiment in biography," is also a remarkable self-portrait, a study of the obsession and sympathy that inspires the biographer's art.

Wal
In recent years we've been treated to many thoughtful and highly readable studies on the nature of biography itself, such as in Richard Holmes's FOOTSTEPS and Janet Malcolm's THE SILENT WOMAN. Symons's THE QUEST FOR CORVO could almost be a sketch for these later, deeper studies in its very metatextual approach to what it means to compose a biography of Frederick Rolfe, one of the strangest figures in fin-de-siecle British letters. Although later biographies took this work to task for its errors and omissions, that shouldn't dissuade you from enjoying how Symons juxtaposes differing perspectives on the quarrelsome and paranoid Rolfe's actions and behaviors, and his desire to get at the "real man." Greater drawbacks, I think, might be Symons's homophobia--which, while very common for its time, seems a bit hysterical today--and the fact that Rolfe (or "Baron Corvo," as he liked to style himself) as a person either enchants readers completely or eventually becomes as tiresome to them as he did to his contemporaries. Still, even though Rolfe's antics do grate on some people's nerves a bit after a while(as they did mine), the fascination of his personality remains quite compelling.
This edition features a beautiful cover and paper stock (as do all NYRB editions) and an intelligent and thoughtful introduction (which, unfortunately, they do not always).
Xtintisha
I read this book many years ago and it was fascinating because of its portrait of a seriously weird man. The man who called himself Baron Corvo was one of the strangest members of the British company of eccentrics. At the time I read it, I was of an impressionable age, so I was not sure that I would be as impressed by it upon re-reading it. It is still an engrossing "experiment in biography" but it is much more than that. I felt at the time of first reading that the prose was the best model for a writer that I had ever read. The prose is is not florid or ornamental. It is almost transparent. When reading it, you do not notice the prose. It is almost as if the story it relates goes directly into your mind without any intermediary. Outstanding writing!
Jan
This book is mostly famous as an example of how o make a biography engaging. Rather than chronologically narrating the life of Frederic Rolfe a.k.a "Baron Corvo", the author follows his own progress and correspondence in search of the Baron's life details. The subject of the book itself is one of those late victorian characters that simply had to confront a new reality driven by capitalism and not just church or aristocratic patronage.
Frederic Rolfe was a delusional, tragic man with a talent for writing and a deep seated paranoia. He attempted to become a priest for all the wrong reasons and was quickly expelled and dismissed as a superficial spendthrift . He cursed at all those who tried to help him, begged and buggered around in Venice till funds ran out. Then he died alone and poor as a rat. He refused moral judgment while dispensing it in abundance. But his writings, mostly "Hadrian the VII" and "Tales that Toto told me" caused enough impression on enough people to merit Mr. Simmons "quest" for Corvo. It is interesting to see how the author seems to need to justify the life of this hard working parasite again and again based on his literary merits. The author cannot conceal his passion for the subject and it becomes contagious. May be he saw in Fr. Rolfe a twin soul. I haven't read the books Rolfe wrote but I am afraid that they might have lost whatever glow they had in their time. Some of the neologisms he created and the language he used might have been dazzling a century ago. Today, I am afraid it might be almost incomprehensible in its rancid archaism. I admit I am judging it a priori but somehow I have no interest in finding out if I am right or wrong.
superstar
So so.
Wilalmaine
why all the fuss over Corvo. Better bios elswwhere.
Yllk
One summer afternoon in 1925, A. J. A. Symons and Christopher Millard, each somewhat obscure and eccentric literary figures in their own right, were sitting in a garden discussing books and authors that had never received proper recognition from the arbiters of literary history. Millard asked Symons whether he had ever read "Hadrian the Seventh." Symons acknowledged that he had not and that he was unfamiliar with the book. "To my surprise, [Millard] offered to lend me his copy-to my surprise, for my companion lent his books seldom and reluctantly. But knowing the range of his knowledge of out-of-the-way literature, I accepted without hesitating; and by doing so took the first step on a trail that led into very strange places."
Very strange places indeed! Symons began reading "Hadrian the Seventh," a book written by Frederick Rolfe, also known as Baron Corvo, and originally published in 1904, and quickly felt "that interior stir with which we all recognize a transforming new experience." Symons went on to spend the next eight years of his life tracking down the details of the life and writings of Baron Corvo, one of the most eccentric, original and enigmatic English writers of the last one hundred years. The result was "The Quest for Corvo: An Experimental Biography," a fascinating book that has been in- and out-of-print since its first publication in 1934 and has enjoyed a literary cult following akin to that of the text ("Hadrian the Seventh") and the author (Rolfe, aka Corvo) that originally inspired it.
As one reads "The Quest for Corvo," it seems that Symon's text represents the outermost of three concentric circles of eccentricity.
The innermost, core circle is "Hadrian the Seventh," a strange and imaginative novel that tells the story of an impoverished, eccentric and seemingly paranoid writer and devotee of the Roman Catholic faith, George Arthur Rose. Rose, a brilliant, self-taught man whose candidacy for the priesthood had been rejected twenty years earlier, is unexpectedly approached one day by a Cardinal and a Bishop who have been made aware of his devotion and his shameful treatment by the Church. Rose is ordained and ultimately becomes the first English Pope in several hundred years. While a work of fiction, Symons' biographical investigations disclose that much of the story of "Hadrian the Seventh" closely parallels the life of its strange author, Frederick Rolfe.
The second circle of eccentricity is, of course, the life of Frederick Rolfe, Baron Corvo, himself. It is the telling of this life that occupies Symons in "The Quest for Corvo," and the result is a fascinating, if perhaps not always historically accurate, detective story cum biography. Starting with his obsessive search for information on Rolfe and his meetings and correspondence with those who knew him, Symons brilliantly recreates a life-the life of a strangely talented artist, photographer, historian, and writer who led a life of seemingly paranoid desperation, ultimately dying impoverished in Venice at the age of forty-five.
The third, outermost circle is the eccentricity of the author of the "Quest for Corvo," A. J. A. Symons, a founder of The Wine and Food Society of England, a collector of music boxes, and a master at card tricks and the art of forgery. Like Corvo himself, Symons died at an early age-he was only forty years old-and his life and his book is seemingly as eccentric as its subject.
"The Quest for Corvo" is one of those little gems that deserve a cherished, if perhaps minor, place in English literature and the literature of biography. Happily, it is back in print again, courtesy of New York Review Books. Read it, and then read "Hadrian the Fourth" (also brought back into print by NYRB) for a fascinating turn in the world of the imaginative and the eccentric.