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I am the Most Interesting Book of All: v. 1: The Diary of Marie Bashkirtseff (Vol 1) Hardcover – 10 Jul 1997
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I didn't really understand the "half the face showing" for the front cover iof this book. I think it would've looked better with her whole face. Oh, and the title gives me a wry smile. I was totally enamoured with Marie, the only thing I found a bit off-putting was her pride and shallow social ambition, eg. to marry for status and money. That's all she seems to care about, besides being noticed and adored. But she also shows that she has many positive qualities and these far outweigh the negative. When it comes to her love-life, she had a few suitors but from what I gather, she doesn't seem to have ever fallen in love, even though she occasionally used the term loosely with regard to men like Audiffret, Antonelli, or her childish teenage infatuation with the Duke of Hamilton. It even appears that when she died a month shy of her 26th birthday, she died a virgin.
Anyway, a few years ago I was aquainted with Katherine Kernberger, who along with her mother translated this Volume One of Marie Bashkirtseff's diaries. She kindly sent me the as yet unpublished diaries that would make up a second volume, the rest of the diaries. Reading this manuscript was an amazing experience. I literally put my own life on hold for weeks and just got lost in the intriguing life of a pretty, talented, exceptional, young woman named Marie Bashkirtseff. I do hope this second volume of Marie's diaries will be published soon, so that eager readers will be able to see the rest of her true story.
Oh, one other thing. Since reading the diaries, I've discovered that Marie's close friend in her final days, the painter Jules Bastein-Lepage, with whom she was so obsessed, actually died the same year as her--1884. It must have been very soon after, perhaps prompted by Marie's own death? In the end he was ill and bed-ridden, and she would sit with him in bed, keeping him company. I wonder if he felt about her the same way she felt about him. What a tragedy if they had both been in love with each other and yet neither of them knew it! And to die in such a short space of time apart! I wish someone could tell me something about Marie's funeral--the public reaction, people who attended, where she's buried, etc? There's an old bio by a Stanley Jackson called "Guy de Maupassant"; the chapter titled "Moths" sheds some interesting light on Marie and her correspondence with literary men. It's interesting to note the things she left out of her diary. And she was a painter, so why was she writing to novelists rather than painters like Renoir and Monet?? She had a very interesting letter correspondence with the famed fiction writer Guy de Maupassant. There's a tiny book called "I Kiss Your Hands" which has all their letters to each other. It's very interesting. But it ends very vaguely, a letter by Maupassant offering to meet her (sort of) at a theatre, and then nothing. No surviving response. This was close to the time that Marie died though, of tuberculosis. If you hunger for more on Marie, I encourage you to read this correspondence.
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"