Image of a Man: The Journal of Keith Vaughan


SKU: 9781789620290
Author: Belsey, Alex
Publication Date: 02/29/2020
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Binding: Hardcover
Media: Book
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‘I want to know what I am, what I want, what I can do, what is real, what is lovely.’

The post-war British artist Keith Vaughan (1912-77) was not only a supremely accomplished painter; he was an impassioned, eloquent writer. Image of a Man is the first book to provide a comprehensive critical reading of Vaughan’s extraordinary journal, which spans thirty-eight years and sixty-one volumes to form a major literary work and a fascinating document of changing times.

From close textual analysis of the original manuscripts, this book uncovers the attitudes and arguments that shaped and reshaped Vaughan’s identity as a man and as an artist. It reveals a continual process of self-construction through journal-writing, undertaken to navigate the difficulties of conscientious objection, the complications of desire as a gay man, and the challenges of making meaningful art.

By focussing on Vaughan’s journal-writing in the context of its many influences and its centrality to his art practice, Image of a Man offers not only a compelling new critical biography of a significant yet underappreciated artist, but also a sustained argument on the constructed nature of the ‘artist’ persona in early and mid-twentieth-century culture – and the opportunities afforded by journal and diary forms to make such constructions possible.