A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice "Pagan Light is mesmerizing. Every detail is compelling. I felt I was reading a family history of a family far more interesting than mine." --Edmund White, author of Our Young Man A rich, intimate embrace of Capri, which was a magnet for artistic renegades and a place of erotic refuge Isolated and arrestingly beautiful, the island of Capri has been a refuge for renegade artists and writers fleeing the strictures of conventional society from the time of Augustus, who bought the island in 29 BC after defeating Antony and Cleopatra, to the early twentieth century, when the poet and novelist Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen was in exile there after being charged with corrupting minors, to the 1960s, when Truman Capote spent time on the island. We also meet the Marquis de Sade, Goethe, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Compton Mackenzie, Rilke, Lenin, and Gorky, among other astonishingly vivid characters. Grounded in a deep intimacy with Capri and full of captivating anecdotes, Jamie James’s Pagan Light tells how a tiny island served as a wildly permissive haven for people—queer, criminal, sick, marginalized, and simply crazy—who had nowhere else to go.
Lonely Planet Indonesia is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Take in a traditional gamelan performance, laze on hidden beaches, or hike volcanic peaks; all with your trusted travel companion.
From the early days of steamship travel, artists stifled by the culture of their homelands fled to islands, jungles, and deserts in search of new creative and emotional frontiers. Their flight inspired a unique body of work that doesn't fit squarely within the Western canon, yet may be some of the most original statements we have about the range and depth of the artistic imagination. Focusing on six principal subjects, Jamie James locates "a lost national school" of artists who left their homes for the unknown. There is Walter Spies, the devastatingly handsome German painter who remade his life in Bali; Raden Saleh, the Javanese painter who found fame in Europe; Isabelle Eberhardt, a Russian-Swiss writer who roamed the Sahara dressed as an Arab man; the American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who went to Haiti and became a committed follower of voodoo. From France, Paul Gauguin left for Tahiti; and Victor Segalen, a naval doctor, poet, and novelist, immersed himself in classical Chinese civilization in imperial Peking. In The Glamour of Strangeness, James evokes these extraordinary lives in portraits that bring the transcultural artist into sharp relief. Drawing on his own career as a travel writer and years of archival research uncovering previously unpublished letters and journals, James creates a penetrating study of the powerful connection between art and the exotic.