An Autobiography

An Autobiography From his sheltered childhood in Orkney to the turmoil of industrial Glasgow Edwin Muir was witness to some of the most traumatic years and events of our modern age And yet in his life and in his art

  • Title: An Autobiography
  • Author: Edwin Muir
  • ISBN: 9780862414238
  • Page: 249
  • Format: Paperback
  • From his sheltered childhood in Orkney to the turmoil of industrial Glasgow, Edwin Muir was witness to some of the most traumatic years and events of our modern age And yet, in his life and in his art, he was constantly haunted by the symbolic fable which he longed to find beneath the surface reality of the everyday From his dream notebooks to his travels in Eastern EuFrom his sheltered childhood in Orkney to the turmoil of industrial Glasgow, Edwin Muir was witness to some of the most traumatic years and events of our modern age And yet, in his life and in his art, he was constantly haunted by the symbolic fable which he longed to find beneath the surface reality of the everyday From his dream notebooks to his travels in Eastern Europe, Muir paints an unforgettable picture of the slow and sometimes painful growth of a poet s sensibility as he comes to terms with his own nature amidst the terror and confusion of the twentieth century.

    One thought on “An Autobiography”

    1. Edwin Muir's life as set out in his autobiography crossed many currents of the twentieth century.He was born in the Orkneys in a farming community however the family was disconnected from a life bound by the seasons and rural traditions and moved to Glasgow when he was fourteen. There one by one his parents and siblings died over a short period of time. In his later poetry there is the sense of both an intense connection to the natural world and alienation from it. Something of that comes throug [...]

    2. This could have been my all-time favourite book, as it described a life of Jungian tenderness and Saturnian hardship, two things I know intimately. Edwin Muir's autobiography is a book of immense archetypal beauty (visions, patterns, aphorisms) coexisting with soul-crushing suffering (too lengthy for parentheses). I fell in love with the book, and every word felt sacred. For the first time ever my love towards a book was non-neurotic: no demands for entertainment, advice or consolation, nothing [...]

    3. Muir, Edwin. An AutobiographyEdwin Muir’s An Autobiography, first published in its entirety by The Hogarth Press in 1954, tells of Muir’s early life in Orkney and Glasgow, his life in Europe and his work for the British Council and his return to Italy, where he discovered ‘that Christ had walked on the earth, and also that things truly made preserve themselves through time in the first freshness of their nature.’As with the Brownings, Edwin and Willa Muir were a devoted couple who found [...]

    4. This book was an excellent read. It is not an easy read. While the author’s life has been interesting it is his careful use of the language and his reflection on his life that makes this autobiography so appealing to me. I read about this book in something Wendell Berry wrote - and I don’t think I would have paid any attention to it otherwise. I’m glad I did pay attention to it. This book - more than almost any other I’ve read made me see his own time period for what it must have seemed [...]

    5. This is still (more than 50 years after it was written) an engrossing account of an extra ordinary life. Not so much to do with external events, more the process of recollection and the significance for Muir as a writer and thinker. There is some recent doubt over whether Muir's account of growing up on an Orkney farm would have been quite as idyllic as he portrays it. In a sense this doesn't really matter: the book is very much concerned with what the intentions are behind writing autobiography [...]

    6. An excellent poetic account of a life begun on an Orkney farm and later including time in Prague and Dresden amongst other cities. Muir with his wife provided early and impressive translations of Kafka and wrote some lovely poetry.

    7. I could do without the Viennese / psychotherapy interlude, but the opening chapters on growing up lonely in the Orkney Islands made me woozy with delight.

    8. A neglected classic from the 20th century Scottish poet and translator of Kafka. Deserves to be reissued. Perhaps NYRB will add it to their list?

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