Here’s an excerpt from Jim Harford’s book “Merton & Friends” in which Alexander Eliot writes to Robert Lax in 1962 about how important it is that his poetry gets a wider readership because, in his words: “[Your poems] are the finest crystals of enlightenment now being formed anywhere within my ken.”
“One of (Kevin Brine’s) family friends was Time art critic Alexander Eliot, a passionate Hellenophile who had worked with Brine’s mother, Ruth Brine, the magazine’s first and, for many years, only female senior editor.
Another Time colleague had been Robert Lax, who went on to become an acclaimed poet and settled on the island in the early 1960s and whose niece happened to be a friend of Brine’s.”
Read the full article here:
Fifty-three years after New American Library published the US English edition of Alexander Eliot’s novel Love Play in 1966, publisher Rowohlt Repertoire releases a new German language edition.
As Alexander described it, this “… big, fat, lewd, philosophic work of fiction, pure and impure; a free-for-all, with Rabelais as a referee.” is now available to delight our German speaking friends.
Read more about Love Play Here
Tomorrow Alex would have been 97 years old … and we are delighted to let you know that the memoir he worked on for the last decade of his life is now published! It’s called “Because it was Beautiful” and now available on Amazon.
For those of you who don’t know, Alex spent many years writing and rewriting the story of his amazing, engaging, and deeply inspiring life. As he writes: “I lived through eighty-one percent of the twentieth century. My career as an art journalist, novelist, foreign correspondent on the cultural beat, eager lover, and comparative mythologist, was lucky indeed.”
Alex had the great good fortune to encounter an extraordinary wealth of people during his life, artists like Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, musicians like Benny Goodman, spiritual leaders like Masao Abe, the photographer Diane Arbus, and many others, some famous and some not, some he knew intimately, and some who were passing acquaintances. He writes about them with wit and wisdom and that marvelous story-telling gift that those of you who knew him personally will remember well.
During this past year, since Alex’s death last April, many people have asked me about his memoir and wondered when it would be published.
We are so glad to be able to announce this publication as a marvelous birthday celebration, a gift to all of us, one that shares the story of the life of an extraordinary human being.
If you’d like to keep in touch with updates and information, please let us know. We do intend to publish this in e-book format soon and can let you know when that will be available if you wish. We welcome your comments, feedback, and friendship, for Alex’s sake as well as our own.
Winslow Eliot (daughter)
Jefferson Eliot (son)
May Eliot Paddock (daughter)
A record of the original Sistine Chapel survives. In 1967/8 the writer, painter and former art critic of Time, Alexander Eliot and his film-maker wife, Jane Winslow Eliot, spent over 500 hours on the scaffold making The Secret of Michelangelo, Every Man’s Dream, in the course of which film they noted that:
“With the exception of the previously restored Prophet Zachariah, almost everything we saw on the barrel vault came clearly from Michelangelo’s own inspired hand. There are passages of the finest, the most delicately incisive draughtsmanship imaginable.”
Someday, the Eliots’ film (made for ABC Television) might be re-shown, but meanwhile, Alexander Eliot’s testimony is now on the record in a new full-length film/DVD biography, A Light in the Dark: The Art and Life of Frank Mason, in which he and other early campaigners against the restoration (including the late painter, Frank Mason, and the late Professor James Beck) are given voice on the Sistine Chapel restoration. Not least of the delights among this film’s precious and historical footage, are Tom Wolfe’s account of his lessons in Frank Mason’s painting classes at the Art Students League, New York, and the sight of the former Metropolitan Museum of Art director, the late Thomas Hoving, belligerently boasting that he himself had helped sponge from the ceiling the “filth” that was in truth the last stages of Michelangelo’s painting.
The 500th anniversary of the completion in 1512 of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings has gone almost entirely un-celebrated. On October 31st, in a small “in-house” service marking the 500th anniversary of Pope Julius II’s service celebrating the completion of the ceiling, Pope Benedict XVI asked a group of cardinals, Vatican employees and guests to imagine what it must have been like 500 years ago, adding that contemplating the frescoes renders them “more beautiful still, more authentic. They reveal all of their beauty. It is as if during the liturgy, all of this symphony of figures come to life, certainly in a spiritual sense, but inseparably also aesthetically.” Apologists for the transforming 1980-90 restoration of the ceiling are nonplussed by the missed opportunity for a mega-beano half-millennium art celebration.