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Vincent Van Gogh: Madness and Magic


Vincent Van Gogh: Madness and Magic


Vincent Van Gogh needs no introduction. An iconoclast to the last, an artist who challenged tradition, overturned outmoded customs, a man who relished being a bomb-thrower and expert provocateur, he was without question one of the greatest artists of all time. 

Madness and Magic by American author Philip Dossick contains thirty of Van Gogh’s wittiest, most profound works, harvested from a lifetime of his most radically creative years. The author’s choices range from the renowned and expected, to the obscure and disturbing.

The reader may find the lean precision of Madness and Magic an astute marriage of art and poetry. Each of the thirty paintings is paired with a short original poem, a format that breathes new life into the stale, over-populated coffee-table book universe of seldom opened volumes. 

Turn a page. Van Gogh’s trees are not simply trees. They are strange living creatures bursting with color and touched by solar flare. The author wonders, why did Van Gogh visualize them this way? What was it about them that enraptured him so? Why did this nature lover become mystically attuned to these leafy petaled creatures? Attuned to libidinous young women? Attuned to scrofulous individuals cursed by old age and infirmity? 

Human nature is far too complex, and the personality of an artistic genius too enigmatic for a biographer to supply easy explanations. Instead, in Madness and Magic, Dossick has chosen to chart the course Van Gogh’s genius took, and speculate, through selection and poetry, why some of the upheavals and catastrophes in his life might have occurred along the lines they did.

About The Author:

PHILIP DOSSICK is the New York Times critically acclaimed writer and director of the motion picture The P.O.W.

He has written for television, including the outstanding drama, Transplant, produced by David Susskind for CBS.

His most recent books include Aztecs: Epoch Of Social Revolution, Sex And Dreams, Mark Twain In Seattle, The Naked Citizen: Notes On Privacy In The Twenty-First Century, Raymond Chowder And Bob Skloot Must Die, The Deposition, Vincent Van Gogh: Madness and Magic, Oscar Wilde: Sodomy and Heresy, Abraham Lincoln: 5 Speeches that Changed America, Martin Luther King: 5 Speeches that Changed America, Barack Obama: 15 Speeches That Changed America, Nelson Mandela: 5 Speeches that Changed South Africa, Gandhi: 5 Speeches That Changed The World, Lenny Bruce: The Myth of Free Speech, Ghost Dance Prophets: From Martin Luther King to Mahatma Gandhi, Times That try Men's Souls: Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Paine on Slavery and Civil Disobedience, and Master and Protégé: Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.

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