Peter Ackroyd

Language: English

Pages: 234

ISBN: 0802134807

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), apparently a suicide at 18, posthumously astonished literary England when he was revealed as the author of a sequence of famous and influential "medieval" poems he claimed to have discovered. An authentic talent as well as a literary counterfeiter, he is the guiding spirit of Peter Ackroyd's brilliant novel. In today's London, a young poet and an elderly novelist engage the mystery of Chatterton by trying to decode the clues found in an old manuscript, only to discover that their investigation discloses other riddles for which there are no solutions. Chatterton is at once a hilariously witty comedy; a thoughtful and dramatic exploration of the deepest issues of authenticity in both life and art; and a subtle and touching story of failed lives, parental love, doomed marriages, and erotic passions.

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side, and his eyes were swerving wildly with it. 'You may claim that you painted them,' he was saying. 'Very well. But I would like to see your proof.' Merk unzipped the portfolio beside him and took out a small canvas: it was clearly an example of Seymour's late style, with its combination of abstract shapes and small figurative objects as well as the characteristic stippled texture of its paint. 'I finished this last week.' He looked at it with admiration. 'Good, isn't it?' 'Unfortunately,'

Chelsea Embankment, Edward pressed his face against the grimy window. 'Look at that bridge, Dad! It's moving!' There was a strong wind, and the Albert Bridge was swaying slightly between its two banks. 'How can that be safe?' And Charles himself was aware how fragile it seemed: it looked to him to be on the point of collapse, ready to crack or break beneath the strain, and he had a sudden image of the cars and pedestrians falling helplessly into the water. 'Don't be silly,' he said. 'Of course

blushed. 'Here's Philip,' he said quickly; and indeed Philip was getting out of a second car, together with three others. Edward left his mother and ran towards him; Philip lifted him up in his arms, and kissed him. Why is it, Flint thought, that I am the only one who does not know how to behave? And slowly, with subdued voices, they proceeded into the West Chapel – Vivien and Edward leading the way, with Harriet following close behind. Flint sat down in a back pew, and watched as the other

just as popular then as it is now. Maitland, you know more about ugliness than anyone. I am right in thinking that this piece of furniture is from the 1830s?' Maitland nodded, sat down, took out a paper handkerchief and mopped his forehead. 'And the hair is quite wrong. Men's hair was the greatest tragedy of the eighteenth century, with the possible exception of George Stubbs's animal paintings. This hair is too carefully arranged. Strictly not done in the period.' 'I thought they wore wigs.'

Charles's death and make no further effort to prove or to disprove their authenticity. Had he not always said to Philip that there is a charm and even a beauty in unfinished work – the face which is broken by the sculptor and then abandoned, the poem which is interrupted and never ended? Why should historical research not also remain incomplete, existing as a possibility and not fading into knowledge? 'I should never have given them to Harriet,' Vivien was saying. 'But I didn't know what I was

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