Even before he began to devote himself to painting, Van Gogh was gathering layers of experience that provided a way of seeing far beyond the inspiration works of painters he encountered provided him.
How does the idea of the “wild” manifest itself in the lives, and ways of living, that contemporary America remains both fascinated by and deeply ambivalent about?
If a critic can write through a text, in what sense, then, does the novelist write through life?
Samantha Peale’s 2010 novel opens with a celebrated painter standing alongside his regular, slightly awe-struck collectors, directing his assistant as she finishes a moody seascape for him.
Sinclair Lewis’s novel offers no solutions to current social ills, nor does fiction serve such ends well. Fiction may, on the other hand, meditate on the romantic and the realistic to reveal insight into individual minds seeking out the world to find the best way to live in it.