Reading Vincent van Gogh

Soon after his death, Vincent van Gogh’s reputation grew and developed through the remarkably symbiotic relationship evident between his paintings and letters. However, the sheer bulk and complexity of Van Gogh’s complete surviving correspondence presents a formidable challenge to those who wish to read and analyze the whole text as a literary work.
Reading Vincent van Gogh is at once an interpretive guide to Van Gogh’s letters and a distillation of the key themes that reoccur throughout his collected letters—foremost among them the motifs of suffering, love, imagination, and the ineffable. In this indispensable, synoptic view of the letters, Patrick Grant makes the main lines of Vincent van Gogh’s thinking accessible and displays the arresting vividness of the well-known artist’s writing.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Title 4
Copyright 5
Contents 10
Preface and Acknowledgements 12
Introduction 18
Privacy and the Public Record 19
Biography and Beyond 22
1 Shaping Commitments 28
Religion 31
Morality 43
Art 59
2 Enduring Adversity 74
Suffering 75
Perseverance 85
Imperfection 93
3 What Holds at the Centre 108
Freedom 109
Love 120
Imagination 131
4 The Power of Words 140
Literature 141
Word-Painting 150
5 Matter and Spirit 164
The Law of the Father 166
Nature 176
The Ineffable 185
APPENDIX 1: SOME FACTS ABOUT THE LETTERS 194
APPENDIX 2: SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READINGS 196