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In his book INTELLECTUALS (1988) Paul Johnson asked whether intellectuals were morally fit to give advice to humanity (no, was the usual answer). In contrast, this book is about the creative and heroic side of outstanding individuals.
There are many themes but no typical creator. Courage is always required, and self-confidence. Some never lacked recognition or sales, like Turner and Victor Hugo, Picasso and Durer. For others, like Bach or Jane Austen, the scale of their achievement was unrecognised in their lifetime. Luck can play a crucial part - as in Worsdworth's meeting with Coleridge and T.S. Eliot's with Ezra Pound (Eliot needed strong martinis too). Fashion made some, like Tiffany, rich and famous before dumping them (although now, again, his pieces are worth a fortune). Ruthlessness is important too - Mark Twain was not even his own pseudonym, he pinched it from another Mississippi-pilot-turned-writer who he savaged so severely he gave up writing. If there is no one typical creator, there is a common theme: putting excellence before any other consideration. Walt Disney and Christian Dior did this in their own way as surely as Chaucer or Shakespeare, William Morris or Turner.
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the author is agreeable company... He has a fluent style, wide-ranging curiosity and an extremely well stocked mind. (SAM LEITH, LITERARY EDITOR, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH SPECTATOR)
This book is agreeable and continuously interesting. (ALLAN MASSIE DAILY TELEGRAPH)
At its best Creators effortlessly mixes flavoursome biographical considerations with a committed historicism that makes one reach immediately for the work of the creator in question. (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)
an informed meander through different examples of human creativity... a splendidly idiosyncratic book, brooking no compromise and bristling with opinions... an extremely entertaining read. It helps that Johnson has a nicely zippy and fluid style, but his judgements (up with Disney, down with Picasso) are thoughtful and provocative, and there are some lovely touches of colour. (EVENING STANDARD)
The essay on Disney and Picasso [is] the best in the book, and beautifully crafted... highly intelligent. (THE SCOTSMAN)
"as distinguished a journalist as any in his generation... seldom not worth reading this, his latest offering, is certainly not one to be laid aside lightly (LITERARY REVIEW)
The book comes into its own when it moves from creators to creativity... Johnson is good on the notion of creative capital - the resources on which creators draw throughout their lives. (FINANCIAL TIMES)
...his prose is consistently enjoyable, and he has a genuinely popular touch, always quick to disdain intellectual snobbery.... I unreservedly recommend this book: it is sheer delight to spend time with such a fine mind. (MATT THORNE CATHOLIC HERALD)
It's an endearing book.... While being commendably cosmopolitan, Johnson is ineffably and unashamedly proud of English culture. (THE GUARDIAN)
Wonderfully readable portraits of outstanding creators
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Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. This Is A New Book. Book. Seller Inventory # 080673
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # DH29pg1606to1905-3016