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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
6


on 23 January 2017
Got totally intrigued by this selection of Vaughan's journals.They feature a lot about contemporary art, Vaughn's failed attempt at being a Conscientious Objector in World War 2, being chased by the taxman, his faith in the younger generation, what it's like growing old as a gay man, and his atheism.
The reader also sees Vaughan as an outsider, who doesn't quite understand the world. In 1940 , he innocently painted a trench dug outside Guildford, which soldiers were using for military exercises. He ended up arrested, locked up for eight days, the house shared with his mother raided by CID at 2 AM , in court and fined and his painting destroyed. Vaughan had quite innocently fallen foul of wartime regulations about drawing or painting defences. His later bewilderment at being chased by zealous Inland Revenue officials is not surprising.

There are parts where Vaughan's solitude get poignant " From a warm room, I look onto a cold world and long for a companion." Details of how he spent evenings on his own during the 1970's with some mystery device to help him masturbate, chain smoking, consuming a lot of alcohol and swallowing barbiturates, must have upset friends , including Alan Ross who edited the journals. It's is interesting to speculate what passages of the journals were deemed too personal or stark to be published. .
The last entry is particularly moving as Vaughan was writing after intentionally mixing alcohol and various pills, knowing he was dying from cancer. This suicide bid succeeded in 1977, and the final sentence just drifts off, his handwriting became too ineligible to transcribe.
But for all the post war suburban bleakness there are some passages of great perception
"Religion and the arts are often classed together in the higher cultural brackets of society. There is no justification for this. No one has ever been burnt at the stake, racked, thumb-screwed or garroted for liking or disliking any particular work of art. "( 20th August 1970)
Vaughan was well read , and his observations about literature , philosophy and art, are witty and interesting. There are also moments where Vaughan experienced of human intimacy ,but sadly fleeting when contrasted with accounts of his depression.
What I found intriguing is there seemed little about his own painting. No direct reference to what drove him to become a successful artists, I don't recall any of his paintings being referred too. But I 've only read the kindle version, have no idea if the book versions had more illustrations.
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on 10 May 2017
Excellent service as usual. Arrived promptly. This edition as described. A deeply moving, insightful self-portrait of a great Neo-Romantic artist.
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on 12 March 2014
Very muddy print and few illustrations make this very disappointing, especially from such a respected publisher. The binding is a bit dubious too- don't know how it will last.
Nevertheless Vaughan's journals are a revelation and well worth reading. One of the great art journals of the 20thC. But if you love these I'd recommend one of the other, out of print, editions like the Journals and drawings from 1940-1965 (but it'll set you back over a ton).
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on 6 June 2013
THESE JOURNALS PROVIDE AN INSIGHT INTO A COMPLEX GENIUS ARTIST.HOWEVER THE ART OF VAUGHAN REVEALS MORE THIS ART COULD NOT BE CREATED BY MR HETROSEXUAL MAINSTREAM.KEITH VAUGHAN WAS A GENIUS ARTIST AND A COMPLEX MAN .A GREAT READ
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on 30 April 2014
Not a book to read if you're feeling remotely depressed but this insight into a major artist's mind is totally absorbing.
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on 17 September 2013
This is a down to earth revelatory set of journals from a relatively little known British artist. Well worth reading.
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