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Lust for Life Paperback – June 1, 1984

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 50th anniversary edition (June 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452262496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452262492
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Irving Stone was born in San Francisco on July 14, 1903. He wrote several books in a genre that he coined the “biographical novel,” which recounted the lives of well-known historical figures. In these novels, Stone interspersed biography with fictional narrative on the psychology and private lives of his subjects. He also wrote biographies of Clarence Darrow and Earl Warren, and short biographies of men who lost presidential elections. He died on August 26, 1989.

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Customer Reviews

If you like to read about artists, I recommend this book.
Anne Bishop
Van Gogh's life is incredible, and reading this book is helping me to understand and appreciate his work so much more.
This book is so well written, I have read it about four times.
Old dinosaur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
Irving Stone's greatest novel, "Lust for Life," traces the life of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh from his auspicious beginnings as an art dealer in London to his death at age 37 in Auvers in 1890.
The book is considered a 'biographical novel' because, although it is rooted in fact, the author has fictionalized certain details, as well as dialog that can only be imagined. Stone, however had quite an advantage when writing "Lust for Life." He had at his disposal the massive three volume set of "The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh." Van Gogh, after all, was not only one of the greatest painters in history, but also one of most prolific and eloquent writer of letters. When reading "Lust for Life," one can easily find Van Gogh's own words liberally sprinkled throuhgout the dialog, giving a depth of insight into his art and philosophy that no author could ever dream up in a work of pure fiction. Stone seamlessly weaves a literary portrait of Van Gogh that can honestly be called a masterpiece.

Stone opted to skip over undramatic events in Van Gogh's life, such as his brief stay in Drenthe. Instead, he keeps the story moving steadily and sometimes swiftly, over the pricipal events in the artist's stormy life. Such ommisions have unjustly drawn harsh criticism from Van Gogh scholors, who question the wisdom of tampering with history. It must be remembered, however, that the purpose of "Lust for Life" is not to read as a dry, historically accurate biography, but as an entertaining story, which works wonderfully at emphasizing the drama without resorting to prepetuating myths about the artist.

"Lust for Life" works best as pure escapism for anyone wanting to transport themselves into another time.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By george r meurer on November 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lust For Life, first penned by Irving Stone over 60 years ago, still stands out as the definitive biography of Van Gogh despite all the years that have since brought us new books on this man and his art.
One little-known fact about this book is that in researching it back then, Stone was able to interview people who were acquaintances of Van Gogh, including his red-headed friend in Auvers, Dr. Gachet, who also sat for several of his portraits. This alone adds an authenticity to this work which subsequent bios find it tough to equal.
Last summer I vacationed in France, and made a point of visiting several of Vincent's haunts, including Arles, St. Remy and Auvers. I will always remember the bittersweet sight of his grave on the lonely hill above Auvers where Vincent lies next to his beloved brother Theo. Having just read Lust For Life added immeasurably to my experience and understanding of the man and his remarkable, albeit brief, life.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Irving Stone is not a "great" biographer. He doesn't provide copious bibliographic details or even pretend particularly to serious scholarship. But he does do his research. What Stone is is a very good storyteller. And the stories he tells, whether about Jack London, Heinrich Schleimann, Michelangelo or Freud, have always entertained and (yes) enriched me. Van Gogh's biography, and it's companion-piece, Dear Theo, are particularly moving accounts of that great, tragic painter. I doubt if any artist ever despaired as deeply or more profoundly than Vincent. Stone captures the pathos of Van Gogh's few moments of exhiliration, followed always by days of dissilusionment and depression. Van Gogh was the saint and prototype of all struggling artists. The penury and neglect he suffered through shouldn't have to be endured by the mangiest stray animal. It's one of God's great ironies (Faulkner's cosmic jester?) that Van Gogh's works are bought by Japanese investors and museum collections for umptold millions, whereas their creator, having climbed down to the last rung of despair, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. If you enjoy this book as much as I did, read Dear Theo. It reveals the extraordinarly tender love the two Van Gogh brothers had for each other. Theo was basically Vincent's sole means of support during the artists's latter years. Unfortunately, Theo was living in boderline poverty himself, had a family, and thus couldn't give much to Vincent save for a little bit of money and a great deal of moral encouragement. Both of these books are infinitely sad, yet the redeeming aspect is that Vincent didn't live his life in vain, as he thought, and that the body of work which has survived ( many paintings were painted over - canvas was a luxury) is a testament to his genius.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chris Phillips on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very inspiring. Van Gogh's life makes the average person's everyday life seem completely bland and uninspired. With little to no support or guidance from the outside world save for the financial backing of his brother Theo, Vincent continued to pursue his craft of painting with unparalleled fervor. In short, there was nothing that would stop Van Gogh from doing what he had to do-paint. In his personal life, Vincent comes across as almost a christlike figure by exhibiting a profound and deap love for humanity. Coming into the book I had no appreciation for the complexity of Vincent's life. After having read the book I feel as if I am only drifting through life with little regard for the consequences. I have no idea how accurate a portrayal this is and really don't care. Regardless, the book is a great read.
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