Poet, satirist, playwright, novelist, classicist, raconteur, star in the firmament of fashionable London of the 1890's, martyr in the dock at the Old Bailey, convicted felon, prison reformer and devoted lover of Bosie Douglas, the male beauty of the day. These are just a few of the reasons that many books, plays and films have been produced on Oscar Wilde and his friends and others who form the background to his rise and fall as an eminent man of letters ...
John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger (1956) is credited with transforming British theater from escapist fantasies to stark realism. The play came to represent a generation of disaffected Brits after World War II and was hailed as a significant theatrical breakthrough. Osborne was described as the first of the "angry young men," working class British playwrights and novelists who came to prominence in the 1950s. The play was adapted for a 1959 film starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Mary Ure (whom Osborne married). It was directed by Tony Richardson.
The Roman poet Ovid not only had his book, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) banned, but he himself was banished from Rome for writing it in the year 8 CE. All of his works were burned by Savonarola in his infamous bonfire of the vanities in 1497. Christopher Marlowe translated it in 1599, and his translation was banned. U.S. Customs banned it in 1930 - nearly two thousand years later. This makes it a candidate, if not the winner, of the dubious distinction of being the longest (in time) banned book.
The New York Times reviews the recent publication by Margaret Leslie Davis: "THE LOST GUTENBERG: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey", describing the story of the American book collector Estelle Doheny and her acquisition of a Gutenberg Bible.
From vintage cars (how many rare book dealers drive an Aston Martin?) and guitars to Beslers, Blaeus and Goulds, Bruce Marshall, a major but discreet player in the colour-plate, natural history and travel book fields, reveals to Beatie Wolfe his pilgrim's progress through the rare book world.