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A Genius for Failure


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A vivid and compelling biography of Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846) - historical painter and polemicist, diarist, friend of the famous - and genius.

About the Author

Paul O'Keeffe is a freelance lecturer and writer based in Liverpool. He gained his Ph. D. with a scholarly edition of Wyndham Lewis's Tarr, and won critical acclaim with his 2000 study of Lewis, Some Sort of Genius.


O'Keeffe has done an exhilarating job -- Emma Crichton-Miller * Evening Standard *
Haydon's story is essentially tragic but it has many elements of comedy, even high farce, and Paul O'Keeffe's biography brings the comedy to the fore with an enviable lightness of touch -- Peter Burton * Daily Express *
Haydon's story is one of the great cautionary tales in art history, and it still has the power to shock, even after 150 years: there is barely a page in Paul O'Keeffe's new biography on which this reviewer has not written in the margin either "oh no" or "Oh God"...O'Keeffe's book largely refrains from psychological speculation, and I can't decide whether that's a good thing. What is definitely a good thing, though, is the way Haydon's tragedy is presented as a human story, with many down-to-earth facts -- Lynne Truss * Sunday Times *
O'Keeffe has produced a fascinating study of a forgotten life that is rich in detail for fans of period drama -- Mark Williamson * The Herald *
tactful and unobtrusive ... Hayden steps forth, as full of colour and bluster as ever, but with dignity as well as absurdity, and a perspicacious, as well as biting, tongue -- Gregory Dart * TLS *

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