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Creators: From Chaucer and Durer to Picasso and Disney (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The title of the first chapter (i.e. "The Anatomy of Creative Courage") could well have served as the book's subtitle. Each of the 17 whom Johnson rigorously examines demonstrated throughout their lives and careers extraordinary courage when pursuing their visions despite all manner of barriers. "What can be said is that creation is always difficult. If it is worth doing at all, we can be sure it is hard to do. I cannot think of any instance in which it is accurate, let along fair, to use the word `facile.'" Johnson also suggests that "courage and creativity are linked, for all creation requires intellectual courage." Also when overcoming physical disabilities, as well as severe poverty, alienation, voluntary or involuntary isolation (often resulting in severe loneliness), and constant awareness of hardships which one's loved ones have been forced to share and endure.Read more ›
The author wants us to see that the creative personality has certain tendencies, needs, and that society gains from this kind of individual even if there are also costs to those around him or her. There is also a vast range of personality. Some are healthy and vastly productive, others have a more restricted output, but still their contribution is large. Others have a toxic personality and then there is a full range in between. The real point here is to use these brief examinations of these creative artists to illustrate rather than to explain or provide some undergirding theory.
The chapters are arranged in a largely chronological order. This has some advantages in discussing artistic trends over time. Johnson includes authors and poets such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Hugo, Twain, and Eliot, but Dickens, the Br?ntes, and many other writers are discussed along the way as well. There are visual artists and architects beginning with D?rer, Turner, Hokusai, Pugin, le Duc, Tiffany, Picasso, and Disney. He also includes fashion designers Balenciaga and Dior with quite convincing observations for their inclusion.
Bach is the only musician given a chapter heading, but many other musicians are discussed along with Bach in his chapter.Read more ›
For me, the most interesting parts came in the descriptions of Chaucer, Durer, Bach, Cassatt and Wagner. Who knew that Wagner used to beg money from people so he could live in luxury? Otherwise, he apparently had trouble writing operas. The characterization of Chaucer's contributions to language is inspired and intriguing. The book is filled with other similar dribs and drabs of fascinating details from the lives of monumental creators in the arts.
If you want to learn about how to be a creator, look elsewhere. This book is primarily historical and biographical rather than focused on the psychology and methodology of creativity.
The author devotes a chapter to each of these creators. There are all sorts of anecdotes illustrating their mastery. For example, Bach reached such heights at composing music for organ that the best organ makers asked him for advice as to how to build organs so that they could produce more beautiful sounds. Pugin died young at 41 but by then he had built several cathedrals and the Houses of Parliament -he made such good use of his time. Balenciaga not only made women look gorgeous in the dresses he designed and produced for them, but also made them feel comfortable in those dresses. T. S. Eliot was so shy that he needed a stimulating alcoholic drink to be able to start writing poetry. Picasso led modern art on a path away from nature while Disney sought his inspiration in nature, which he "surrealized" (to use a word coined by Johnson) in his films: the author surmises what tendency will have the last word.
The book is written with an elegant prose which is suffused with Johnson's incomparable knowledge of history and a flair for the revealing anecdote which only a seasoned journalist could have possibly recorded. "Creators" is thus well worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Easy to read and enlightens. Paul Johnson writs great history.Published 13 months ago by j g hair md
CREATORS "of my choice" would be a good title for this book. I recommend it but you will miss a few names normally put among the greatest of all times. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
I purchased this volume ,Creators, at the same time as Johnson's Heroes. This volume presents another group of the author's favourite historical personages. Read morePublished on March 13, 2014 by jeanette frances conway
I almost never read a book twice (except for Charlotte's Web and The Life of Pi.) I am rereading Intellectuals and I am fascinated with these peoples lives. Read morePublished on February 12, 2014 by Gail Thomas
This book was very helpful in our home school education. Had my senior read it and do papers to compare two characters at a time and the different impact their lives had on the... Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by Kate
I bought this book for class I was registered for but the class was canceled because of lack of students. I ca have not read it yet so I ca not give you honest reviewPublished on June 8, 2013 by RMD