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MÜ Magazine – Issue 2

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Vincent van Gogh – A Life in Letters

Vincent van Gogh's letters have long been prized as some of the most valuable documents in the world of art. Not only do they throw light on Van Gogh's own complex and intriguing character, they enlighten the whole creative process as seen through his eyes. Here we can observe Van Gogh's thoughts and opinions at first hand, as well as his close ties with his brother Theo, his sometimes troubled relationships with friends and fellow artists, his personal doubts and fears, and above all his overriding passion for his art. This is not only an immense treasure trove of biographical and art-historical information, it provides a lasting pleasure as a personal written testimony to a life consecrated to art. Vincent van Gogh: A Life in Letters belongs on the shelves of every reader in search of self-revelatory documents of one of the greatest creative minds.

Albert Camus – Plague, Fall, Exile And The Kingdom And Selected Essays

Once overshadowed by Sartre, Camus has proved the more durable of the two most celebrated French writer-philosophers of the last century. This collection of his work makes the reasons for his survival self-evident. In prose of bleak but piercing clarity, Camus cuts to the heart of each story he tells. After The Outsider (also published in Everyman) The Plague is his most powerful novel, at once an account of heroic attempts to contain an epidemic in Algeria and a parable of the human condition. In The Fall a once-successful Parisian lawyer tells his own tale of decline and self-discovery, Exile and the Kingdom collect together a number of short stories which explore the existentialist predicament from various viewpoints. This volume also contains two important essays - The Myth of Sisyphus and Reflections on the Guillotine - which reflect on the themes developed in the fiction.

Oscar Wilde – The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts. Illustrated with many fascinating photographs, the book includes introductions to each section by Merlin Holland (Oscar’s grandson), Owen Dudley Edwards, Declan Kiberd and Terence Brown. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Oscar Wilde, and a chronological table of his life and work.

Mary Oliver – Blue Horses

Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us. In this stunning collection, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life's work. Herons, sparrows, owls and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry and impermanence. Whether considering a bird's nest, the seeming patience of oak trees or the paintings of Franz Marc, Mary Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments. Blue Horses asks what it truly means to belong to this world and to live in it attuned to all its changes. 'To be human,' she shows us, 'is to sing your own song'.

Pablo Neruda – Twenty Love Poems: And A Song Of Despair

The Chilean Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was probably the greatest and certainly the most prolific of twentieth-century Latin American poets. He brought out his first collection at the age of seventeen, and quickly developed an assured and distinctive poetic voice. His third book, Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada - Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair- was published in 1924 and attracted international acclaim. It remains one of the most celebrated and admired books of erotic poetry published in the last hundred years, with over a million copies sold worldwide. Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971.

Oscar Wilde – The Illustrated letters of Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters, Writings and Wit

Although it is over 120 years since his infamous trial for indecency, Oscar Wilde has never held greater fascination for us. This packed illustrated biography tells the life of Oscar Wilde through his own words – private letters, poems, plays, stories and legendary witticisms. It includes his relationships with key artists and writers of the time, including John Ruskin, Charles Ricketts, and Lillie Langtry. It is illustrated throughout with paintings, engravings, contemporary photographs, cartoons and caricatures of Wilde and his social circle. With illustrations and paintings by Aubrey Beardsley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, James Whistler and Max Beerbohm, it is a beautiful evocation of the glittering fin de siecle word by its most fascinating wordsmith and aesthete. The book details Wilde's ruin after the trial and its outcome. The profundity of his writing from prison and exile form an epitaph, not only to his own life, but also for the era that carelessly delighted in it.

Charlie Mackesy – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

A book of hope for uncertain times. Enter the world of Charlie's four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared millions of times online - perhaps you've seen them? They've also been recreated by children in schools and hung on hospital walls. They sometimes even appear on lamp posts and on cafe and bookshop windows. Perhaps you saw the boy and mole on the Comic Relief T-shirt, Love Wins? Here, you will find them together in this book of Charlie's most-loved drawings, adventuring into the Wild and exploring the thoughts and feelings that unite us all.

Virginia Woolf – The Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf

The letters - at times witty and irreverent, at times melancholy and introspective – are possibly even more revealing for their insights into the complex personality of the novelist herself. "A true letter", she insisted, "should be like a film of wax pressed close to the graving of the mind". The book contains biographical notes on the main recipients of the letters, together with background information on Virginia Woolf's life and work. Frances Spalding's previous books include "British Art Since 1900" and biographies of the painters Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell. This book is beautifully illustrated with contemporary photographs and paintings, many by members of the Bloomsbury Group, such as Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant.

A. A. Milne – When We Were Very Young

Curl up with A. A. Milne’s classic book of poetry for children, When We Were Very Young. This is the first volume of rhymes written especially for children by Milne – as popular now as when they were first written. Featuring E. H. Shepard’s original illustrations, this collection is a heart-warming and funny introduction to children’s poetry, offering the same sense of humour, imagination and whimsy that we’ve come to expect from Milne's favourite books about Winnie-the-Pooh, that Bear of Very Little Brain.

Thomas Hardy Boxed Set – Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude

Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840 and became an apprentice architect at the age of sixteen. He spent his twenties in London, where he wrote his first poems. In 1867 Hardy returned to his native Dorset, whose rugged landscape was a great source of inspiration for his writing. Between 1871 and 1897 he wrote fourteen novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. This final work was received savagely; thereafter Hardy turned away from novels and spent the last thirty year of his life focusing on poetry. He died in 1928.
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