The Last Modern: A Life of Herbert Read

James King, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (364p) ISBN 978-0-312-04810-5
It is ironic that Read (1893-1968), the influential English art critic, champion of surrealism and abstraction, greatly resented the role of critic. He was full of contradictions: a pacifist, he fought heroically in WW I; a defender of modernism, he felt betrayed by ``tedious'' post-modernist fads like Pop and minimalism; an anarchist with paternalistic tendencies, he abandoned the view of the artist as outsider for a faith in art's power to transform society. In a rich, full-scale portrait of one of the foremost English intellectuals of this century, King, biographer of William Cowper and Paul Nash, delves into Read's troubled first marriage, his resentment of ``gloomy priest'' T. S. Eliot, his relationships with Henry Moore, Jung, Orwell, Dali, Graham Greene, Edward Dahlberg and many others. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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