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Book cover of Monsters


A Fan’s Dilemma

Claire Dederer

Coup de coeur
Coup de coeur (Essays), by Olivia

Monsters reads as a provocative and passionate examination of how we approach art in the wake of #MeToo, and whether we can separate an artist's work from their biography. What do we do with the art of monstrous men? Does genius merit dispensation? Can we ever look past the stains on artists' records, or does the stain ruin all? And how are we to approach this philosophically, emotionally, and ethically? Dederer unfurls the debate, drawing upon examples of her own personal experiences, and her admiration of the works of Polanksi, Picasso, Woody Allen, Wagner, Michael Jackson, amongst others. Though she never claims to have the answer to the issue, her blending of the autobiographical and academic strikes an interesting balance and offers up arguments I will constantly be reflecting upon and evaluating.

'Funny, lively and convivial... how rare and nourishing this sort of roaming thought is and what a joy to read' MEGAN NOLAN, SUNDAY TIMES

'An exhilarating, shape-shifting exploration of the perilous boundaries between art and life' JENNY OFFILL

A passionate, provocative and blisteringly smart interrogation of how we experience art in the age of #MeToo, and whether we can separate an artist's work from their biography.

What do we do with the art of monstrous men? Can we love the work of Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson, Hemingway and Picasso? Should we love it? Does genius deserve special dispensation? What makes women artists monstrous? And what should we do with beauty, and with our unruly feelings about it?

Claire Dederer explores these questions and our relationships with the artists whose behaviour disrupts our ability to understand the work on its own terms. She interrogates her own responses and behaviour, and she pushes the fan, and the reader, to do the same. Morally wise, deeply considered and sharply written, Monsters gets to the heart of one of our most pressing conversations.

'A blisteringly erudite and entertaining read . . . It's a book that deserves to be widely read and will provoke many conversations' NATHAN FILER

'Wise and bold and full of the kind of gravitas that might even rub off' LISA TADDEO

'An incredible book, the best work of criticism I have read in a very long time' NICK HORNBY

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Binding: Hardback
Publication date: 11 May 2023
Dimensions: 163 x 242 x 28 mm
ISBN: 9781399715034

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