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Lost, Stolen or Shredded
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Like Sherlock Holmes's dog in the night time, sometimes the true significance of things lies in their absence. Rick Gekoski tells the very human stories that lie behind some of the greatest losses to artistic culture - and addresses the questions such disappearances raise. Some of the items are stolen (the Mona Lisa), some destroyed (like Philip Larkin's diaries, shredded, then burnt, on his dying request) and some were lost before they even existed, like the career of the brilliant art deco architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which foundered amid a lack of cash -but behind all of them lies an often surprising story which reveals a lot about what art means to us. Gekoski explores in depth the greater questions these tremendous losses raise - such as the rights artists and authors have over their own work, the importance of the search for perfection in creativity, and what motivated people to queue to see the empty space where the Mona Lisa once hung in the Louvre.
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The stories behind the disappearances of some of our most famous works of art - and some that never existed at all.

Promotional Information

The stories behind the disappearances of some of our most famous works of art - and some that never existed at all.

About the Author

Rick Gekoski is is a rare book dealer, writer, and broadcaster. His previous publications include The Bibliography of William Golding, Staying Up (on Premiership Football), a collection of essays entitled Tolkien's Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books, and Outside of a Dog. He has presented two BBC Radio 4 series: Rare Books, Rare People and Lost, Stolen, or Shredded: The History of Some Missing Works of Art on BBC Radio 4, and was chair of judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2011.

Reviews

A natural and skilled storyteller * Colm Toibin * Think Bill Bryson, only on books * Tatler * Praise for Tolkien's Gown: 'Erudite, gossipy and delightfully readable ... If you are wondering what to buy someone bookish for a present, look no further than Tolkien's Gown. It's opinionated, it's funny, it's stuffed full of deliciously arcane trivia. It's a cracker. * Mail on Sunday * Praise for Rick Gekoski: 'Gekoski is funny, and it's delightful to read about serious books and laugh at the same time...every reading is insightful about the text and moving about people, about the choices that we make, about love.... Gekoski is endearing to read for his childlike enthusiasm for ... well, for everything. There is nothing cynical or clever here, just real intelligence and true feeling - and the sense of humour. -- Jeanette Winterson * The Times * Extravagantly enjoyable, lively, candid, and wonderfully well-written.... It is this voice that makes Outside of a Dog so irresistibly appealing. Rick Gekoski is a superb narrator, vivid, colloquial, funny and tough. He is an inspiring literary critic, engaging vigorously with his chosen texts; and he has a novelist's gift for creating character. * Spectator * Outside of a Dog is like Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch without the football. * Independent * Rick Gekoski has done many good things in return for the good things books have done for him. Not the least is this funny, touching, rawly candid memoir. I love the man. -- John Sutherland * Literary Review * This is an intelligent, consciously disarming book, packed with ideas, jokes, good stories, small triumphs and larger regrets. * Sunday Telegraph * Rick Gekoski's Tolkien's Gown is an irresistible mix of droll humour, shrewd literary criticism and fascinating anecdote, by a dealer in the fetishistic world of modern first editions. The perfect bedside book for bibliophiles. -- David Lodge * Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year 2004 * It's opinionated, it's funny, it's stuffed full of deliciously arcane trivia. It's a cracker. * Mail on Sunday * Highly entertaining ... One finishes the book exhilarated and amused. -- Alexander Larman * Observer * Rick Gekoski is charming company as a writer. His style is fluent and raconteur-ish ... A general knowledge-widening book which also makes you think about what does or doesn't matter in life. -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham * Country Life * An engaging and informative window on the impact of major cultural losses and society's relationship with art * Canberra Times, Australia *

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