The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

9781927356746: Paperback
Release Date: 1st May 2014

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 225

Series Cultural Dialectics

Athabasca University Press

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

A Critical Study

As the first literary critical study of Vincent van Gogh’s letters, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh presents the painter’s letters as purposeful imaginative creations that chart van Gogh’s evolving conception of himself as an artist.
Paperback / £24.99

Vincent van Gogh’s letters are frequently admired for their exceptional literary quality, but there is no extended critique of this aspect of his writing. Addressing key constellations of metaphors and ideas, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh shows the remarkable imaginative coherence underlying the painter’s correspondence and charts van Gogh’s evolving conception of himself as an artist. 


Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction: Letters as Literature

Part I   Vincent Agonistes: Religion, Morality, Art

Religious Convictions, Moral Imperatives

The Artistic Life and Its Limits

Part II  Thinking in Images

            Birds’ Nests: Art and Nature, Exile and Return

            The Mistral: Creativity and Adversity

            Cab Horses: Despair and Optimism


Part III Exploring with Ideas

            By Heart: The Creative Unconscious

            A Handshake Till Your Fingers Hurt: Autonomy and Dependency

            Something New Without a Name: Beyond Religion, Morality, Art


Conclusion: “My Own Portrait in Writing”



A mature scholar and established literary critic, Patrick Grant is professor emeritus of English at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Imperfection (nominated for the Canada Prize), Literature, Rhetoric, and Violence in Northern Ireland, and Personalism and the Politics of Culture among other works.