The Turner Erotica

Robert J. Begiebing. Ilium, $14.95 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-0-9833002-4-3
Inspired by J.M.W. Turner’s recently discovered erotica, historical novelist Begiebing imagines real-life 19th century American artist-diplomat William J. Stillman playing a pivotal role in saving the paintings from the fire. After glimpsing a sample of Turner’s erotica, Stillman steals some sketches that have been secreted away in a prostitute’s apartment. He’s encouraged in this by the heroine of Begiebing’s previous The Adventures of Allegra Fullerton, but Stillman loses track of the art when Allegra entrusts it to Sir Richard Burton. After marrying Pre-Raphaelite artist Marie Spartali, Stillman continues to look for the secreted sketches. Begiebing grounds his story in documented historical events and credible characters, thoughtfully exploring how Turner blurred the line between art and pornography. Quotes from Ruskin, cameo appearances by famous Victorians, and portraits of artists as young men and independent women all enhance this attempt to unveil what the Turner erotica has to tell us about art, love, and life. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
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