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The Private Journals of Edvard Munch

We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth

Edvard Munch, edited and translated by J. Gill Holland

Publication Year: 2005

Scandinavia's most famous painter, the Norwegian Edvard Munch (1863-1944), is probably best known for his painting The Scream, a universally recognized icon of terror and despair. (A version was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, in August 2004, and has not yet been recovered.) But Munch considered himself a writer as well as a painter. Munch began painting as a teenager and, in his young adulthood, studied and worked in Paris and Berlin, where he evolved a highly personal style in paintings and works on paper. And in diaries that he kept for decades, he also experimented with reminiscence, fiction, prose portraits, philosophical speculations, and surrealism. Known as an artist who captured both the ecstasies and the hellish depths of the human condition, Munch conveys these emotions in his diaries but also reveals other facets of his personality in remarks and stories that are alternately droll, compassionate, romantic, and cerebral.
This English translation of Edvard Munch's private diaries, the most extensive edition to appear in any language, captures the eloquent lyricism of the original Norwegian text. The journal entries in this volume span the period from the 1880s, when Munch was in his twenties, until the 1930s, reflecting the changes in his life and his work. The book is illustrated with fifteen of Munch's drawings, many of them rarely seen before. While these diaries have been excerpted before, no translation has captured the real passion and poetry of Munch's voice. This is a translation that lets Munch speak for himself and evokes the primal passion of his diaries. J. Gill Holland's exceptional work adds a whole new level to our understanding of the artist and the depth of his scream.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Contents

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pp. vi-

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-

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Foreword by Frank H

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pp. xi-

One thing can be said about the literary legacy of Edvard Munch: it defies generalization. A complete and scholarly presentation belongs to the future. Over the years fragments and extracts have been published. It is tempting—beyond resistance!—to quote from Munch’s texts to bolster one’s own concept of the “true” Edvard Munch. To what extent was there...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

At Davidson College generous study grants by the Faculty Committee on Research and Summer Study of Davidson College have enabled me to travel to Norway to study Norwegian art and literature. The staff of the E. H. Little Library at the college has assisted me in my research. Professor Job Thomas of the Department of History and members of the...

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Introduction: We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth

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pp. 1-8

When Time Magazine needed an arresting cover for a lead article on medicine in the 31 March 1961 issue, the editors chose The Scream, a painting by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Publisher Bernhard M. Auer wrote: “For this week’s cover story on guilt and anxiety, a most 20th century subject, Time found the most appropriate cover expression of the subject” in...

Brief Chronology

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pp. 9-13

The Private Journals of Edvard Munch: We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth

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pp. 15-192


E-ISBN-13: 9780299198138
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299198145

Publication Year: 2005