The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 25, 2013

August 25, 1724

James Lasdun, born in 1958, is a British writer: essays, poetry, memoirs and short stories.  He has lived in the United States for the past two decades.  Lasdun is an excellent writer, and we feature here a Google books blurb for his latest book:

A true story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author’s strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled “verbal terrorist,” who began trying, in her words, to “ruin him.” Hate mail, online postings, and public accusations of plagiarism and sexual misconduct were her weapons of choice and, as with more conventional terrorist weapons, proved remarkably difficult to combat. James Lasdun’s account, while terrifying, is told with compassion and humor, and brilliantly succeeds in turning a highly personal story into a profound meditation on subjects as varied as madness, race, Middle East politics, and the meaning of honor and reputation in the Internet age. 

Our perhaps tenuous date link refers to the cover art for the paperback edition of this book, which is scheduled to come out on February 4, 2014.  That cover features a painting by George Stubbs  (August 25, 1724 to July 10, 1806). The cover art for Lasdun's memoirs features a lion on the back of a horse. I believe this theme goes back to ancient Mesopotamia and Stubbs treats the topic several times.  I always think when I see this picture that the lion dropped out of a tree onto the horse, though I know that is not the artist's intention. The Stubbs painting in question is titled "Lion Attacking a Horse."  Considering the topic of Lasdun's memoirs, the picture is very apropos. 

Give Me Everything You Have
(2013) is just the latest of Lasdun's work to impress.  Let us excerpt a poem from his book 
Landscape with Chainsaw (2003).  The prose formatting is not Lasdun's own--

its throat black with “deathbringing speech”; the tongue of Being . . . its bitter waters black as the water Moses had to cleanse with his snakerod; the star glittering in its depths like a dove in a cat's eye, and the book, das Buch...

Landscape with Chainsaw was  a finalist for the T S Eliot Prize. Anybody that combines cats and ontology so nicely should have GOTTEN the prize.

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