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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!
I recently visited the marvellous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and was stimulated to buy this book. I love the paintings of Van Gogh but my knowledge of the man was superficial. I knew the basics, that he was considered to be mad, had lopped part of his ear off and eventually shot himself. The letters reveal a very different personality fighting all his life against...
Published on 9 Jan. 2010 by Mr. William A. Clarke

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Penguin Kindle edition is of very poor quality - not proof-read!
This Kindle edition is as clear a case of 'give us your money, take what you're given, and go away' if ever there was one.

I expected much better from Penguin Books.

Don't get me wrong, the content of the actual published book (as in the paperback) is excellent, but the proof-reading on the current Kindle edition is awful. The text has quite...
Published 9 months ago by G. High


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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!, 9 Jan. 2010
By 
Mr. William A. Clarke (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I recently visited the marvellous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and was stimulated to buy this book. I love the paintings of Van Gogh but my knowledge of the man was superficial. I knew the basics, that he was considered to be mad, had lopped part of his ear off and eventually shot himself. The letters reveal a very different personality fighting all his life against mental illness to perform some of the greatest art the world has seen. He was a highly intelligent, sensitive man who read deeply and poured all his emotions into the letters. Like many people with a personality disorder Van Gogh had great difficulties maintaining relationships and virtually fell out with everybody close to him. In many ways the remarkable letters must have acted like a safety valve until the final terrible tragedy. This is a book I galloped through and thoroughly enjoyed.
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91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spirit of a Great Artist, 27 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
While Vincent van Gogh has always been one of my favorite artists, this compilation of his letters combined with a more in-depth study of his work has intensified my appreciation of him as both an artist and a person. I've always felt it was impossible to separate this particular artist from his work and reading his letters has led me to a better understanding of why this is. These letters beautifully capture his soul and spirit and reveal him as the caring, expressive and socially aware person that he was. The combination of strength of character and vulnerability expressed in these letters explain both the intensity and sensitivity of his work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Penguin Kindle edition is of very poor quality - not proof-read!, 18 July 2014
By 
G. High - See all my reviews
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This Kindle edition is as clear a case of 'give us your money, take what you're given, and go away' if ever there was one.

I expected much better from Penguin Books.

Don't get me wrong, the content of the actual published book (as in the paperback) is excellent, but the proof-reading on the current Kindle edition is awful. The text has quite obviously been put through an optical reader with nobody at the other end bothering to check its output. I have free Kindle editions of books which are better proof-read than this one.

Letter headings appear in the middle of a text thus disprupting the flow, words appear with figures inserted instead of letters, and the formatting of paragraphs is confusing: This happens often. More insulting still is that the reader is not only expected to put up with this but to pay for it too.

Needless to say I have returned this edition for a refund.

Penguin should look to correct this problem as quickly as possible as this attitude does not help their reputation as a quality publisher, nor does it do the Kindle brand any favours.

The Van Gogh student on a budget would be better off getting hold of a second-hand paperback, as quoting from this Kindle edition would be hazardous to say the least.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Vincent revealed!, 11 July 2011
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This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This collection of letters is astounding. They reveal the thoughts, hopes, and above all doubts of one of the greatest artists of all time. That is what makes this book fascinating, how could such a talented individual ever have such doubts about his work and ability? These candid confessions and emotional outpourings to his brother Leo reveal Vincent Van Gogh to be a great thinker besides a great painter. Found myself underlining particularly poignant parts, and this from someone who hates the sacriledge of writing in books! A must read for anyone interested in just what makes us who we all are - from the humble to the great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I have become a little obsessed with van Gogh, so I found this book fascinating.
His letters are very revealing and much more enlightening than the usual 'life of the artist' offering. Van Gogh talks about his work in his letters, plans his work and sends Theo little drawings of them. It also shows that works such as the famous 'starry night' painted from the asylum window at st Remy was not the manically painted work many have tried to label it as, it was planned, he talks about wanting to paint such a work (see Professor biome on it being astromically correct).
Due to a good index it is possible to 'trace' his ideas etc. about various works, I have taken notes on works so when I go to look at them I can also reflect on van gogh's feelings about the work.
Great little book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, 4 April 2012
This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
At times prophetic and always heartfelt, this collection of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo left a deep impression on me. You don't have to be a lover of Art to appreciate the boundless commitment Van Gogh had for his work. He was desperate to express himself through his paintings, which makes the letters all the more poignant knowing that he never knew the heights the appreciation of his work would reach.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 6 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
A beautiful insight into Vincent's mind. His letters were so loving, some of them short, but all showed how much beauty he saw in natural world that was so kind to him while the human world was so cruel.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, engrossing read, 3 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Having seen the exhibition at the Royal Academy, and being frustrated at not being able to read the letters, - or afford the very expensive full translated set, I bought this book. Not a book you can fly through, but a fascinating insight into the relationship between Vincent, his family, his brother, and into his thinking on art. It packs a a very great deal into a small volume. Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into a fascinating man, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I always disagreed with people's views that Vincent Van Gogh was nothing but a madman. This book is proof that he was a sensitive, caring and very down to earth person. Always addressing his brother as "my dear Theo" and ending with "your loving brother, Vincent" these letters allow you to experience Vincent's thought processes about his work, the extremely close bond he had with his brother, and towards the end of his life, his battles with self doubt and anxiety attacks. If anything, this book has made me appreciate Van Gogh more as a person, and I hope to make time to visit the official Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Any fan of Van Gogh, or Art in general will find this a really interesting read into one of the greatest painters in history.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and Absorbing, 6 July 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I saw the recent Doctor Who episode with Van Gogh and lo and behold, the next time I go into a local bookshop they have this book cannily displayed. I know Van Gogh's paintings, and I know the basics of his life, also I have read and seen the tv dramatisation ofThe Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles, which if you like this then you will probably also want to read, and vice versa.

Ronald de Leeuw gives us here a selection of Vincent Van Gogh's letters, including the drawings that were on some of them interspersed with biographical sketches of the great man. You should be warned that the biographical pieces are in smaller print than the letters. The letters are on the whole to his brother, but there are some here for instance to his sister, and Gauguin. Because Van Gogh was such a prolific letter writer and a lot of these have been saved over the years, we can find out a lot more about him, as well as where to place his paintings so that they are in the correct chronological order. People sometimes get the impression that Van Gogh was an outright nutter, which is erroneous, or that he cut his ear off, which once again is wrong, he cut off part of the lobe, not the whole ear. This book starts at a time before Van Gogh became an artist and so you can see how he came to the decision to be one, as well as his thoughts and beliefs. I never knew that Van Gogh had spent so much time in this country, or that he was a fan of George Eliot's novels (something I have in common with him), as well as many other things.

Of course there are much more to his letters, including the fact that he had to ask his brother for money, and justify the quantities that he needed. All in all then this is a very illuminating book that will appeal to many diverse people, and is well worth reading.
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The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics)
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin Classics) by Vincent Van Gogh (Paperback - 31 July 1997)
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