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Topic: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

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  1. #1
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    A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    I was at Barnes and Nobles (bookstore) last night. As I was walking past a shelf full of bargain rate classics (everything from "The Odyssey" to "Catcher in the Rye" and beyond) I noticed a familiar face.

    Franz List, a very young Franz Liszt, was staring at me from one of the book covers. I went to investigate, wondering who wrote a famous classic on Liszt.

    When I looked, it turned out to be Oscar Wilde’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray”!

    Randy (local Oscar Wilde expert), what do the book publishers know that I don’t? I recently read a bio of Liszt and didn’t read quite like Dorian……
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2

    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    Yes, Trent, - isn't that bizarre? That paperback edition of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" has been out for some time, featuring a painting of Liszt on the cover - and Why the publishers did that, I have no idea.

    Maybe it was a mistake? Maybe some bozo in the art department of that budget line of paperbacks just did a quick Google for a 19th Century portrait and grabbed that one, not knowing it was Liszt? - Oddest part really is that besides there being no connection between Liszt and either the novel or Wilde, his image doesn't fit the description of Anyone in the book. It's a totally inappropriate cover for the book.

    'Tis a mystery. - Wilde and Liszt, famous artists from the same era, both known for their vivid, Romantic output - but Liszt died before "Dorian" was published, and I'm not aware of Liszt and Wilde ever meeting.

    Here's one semi-connection, but it's coincidental really: In the novel, Dorian is a piano player of some ability. And in the 1940's film version, Dorian plays extravagant, Romantic pieces in two scenes - not by Liszt though, but rather by Chopin.

    It is an nteresting tidbit, Trent, and one I've puzzled over before--WHy in heaven's name does that edition have Liszt's portrait on the cover? Odd!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3

    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    Is it this portrait?



    I just googled Dorian Gray and Liszt, and someone had posted this picture amongst a portrait gallery of Liszt's many looks, and humorously labelled it 'The Dorian Gray' portrait. Presumably he means it looks like the way Dorian Gray's painting must look after it's aged in his place. Perhaps the publisher of the book thought the same.

  4. #4

    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    Sorry, just realised you said a young portrait. I don't get that either.

  5. #5
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    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    Sorry, just realised you said a young portrait. I don't get that either.
    Yes, it was a young portrait (like in the late 1830s).

    I know there are some that think his (Liszt’s) lifestyle was as bad as Dorian’s, but much of that was just gossip and rumors (give or take 3 illegitimate children and a married princess).
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6

    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??



    ...funny thing was, the first time I saw this in a store (I didn't look very closely,) I thought it was a portrait of Oscar Wilde.



    You do have to admit Liszt's expression lends itself to the story rather well.

    -Chris
    There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Therefore there must be a God. You either get this one or you don't - Kreeft & Tacelli
    The will to achieve is not sufficient. Some things should not be achieved. - Rimsky-Korsakov
    Musicians are just these guys that want to make music. Okay, they want to have a wonderful lifestyle, but the majority just want to make really great music. - Jon Anderson


  7. #7

    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    Yes, there's the picture.

    I still like my theory that it was just a random choice by some hack at the publisher's--"gotta find a 19th century portrait--ah, here's one"---having no clue who it was.

    And it actually isn't what Dorian's portrait should look like at all. The whole point is that he's a blank canvas, naive, young, innocent looking. Liszt looks far too intelligent, intense and mature.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  8. #8
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    Re: A Portrait of ………. Franz Liszt??

    That's the one! A detail of this portrait is on the cover of the bio I am just finishing, so I've been looking at this picture a lot. Also been listening to a huge amount of Liszt lately, so I've been looking at a lot of portraits of him.

    The book is, by the way, part of Oxford University Press' series "The Master Musicians" and is simply called "Liszt". It was written by Derek Watson and is, in my opinion, very good.
    Trent P. McDonald

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