The Blazing World

The Blazing World

Large Print - 2014
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After years of watching her work ignored or dismissed by critics, artist Harriet Burden presents her art behind three male masks. The shows are successful, but when Burden triumphantly reveals herself as the artist, critics doubt her. The public scandal turns on the final exhibition, initially shown as the work of acclaimed artist Rune, who denies Burden's role in its creation. But no one doubts that the two artists were intensely involved with each other.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press,, 2014.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781410472069
Characteristics: 631 pages.


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Mar 14, 2017

The fictional foreward tells it all. The rest of the book is just boring. I love the novel concept of how the book is formatted in excerpts from the main character's journal and various articles and interviews about this fictional character, but it is just so slow and dull. Life is too short to read boring books. Not going to finish it and move on.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jul 22, 2015

When Professor Hess stumbles across an unusual letter to the editor in an art journal, he is surprised to have known so little about the brilliant and mysterious artist it describes, the late Harriet Burden. Intrigued by her story, and by the explosive scandal surrounding her legacy, he begins to interview those who knew her, hoping to separate fact from fiction, only to find himself tumbling down a rabbit's hole of personal and psychological intrigue. Before she died, Harriet had claimed credit for three shows of contemporary art that had been the biggest sensations of the previous decade, sending the critics into a tailspin. So was Harriet Burden one of the greatest artists in recent memory, having masterminded a puppet show of grand proportions, or was she a washed-up has-been looking for glory on others' coattails? An intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle presented as a collection of texts, including Harriet’s journals, assembled after her death, this mashup of storytelling and scholarship unfolds from multiple perspectives as Harriet’s critics, fans, family and others offer their own conflicting opinions about where the truth lies.

Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize

May 13, 2014

A complex but fascinating novel, for anyone interested in the modern art world and feminist issues. There's lots of political material but also some compelling humans here.


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Dough, Jane
Jul 16, 2014

All intellectual and artistic endeavors, even jokes, ironies, and parodies, fare better in the mind of the crowd when the crowd knows that somewhere behind the great work or the great spoof it can locate a cock and a pair of balls.” In 2003, I ran across this provocative sentence in a letter to the editor that was published in an issue of The Open Eye, an interdisciplinary journal I had been reading faithfully for several years. The letter’s author, Richard Brickman, did not write the sentence. He was quoting an artist whose name I had never seen in print before: Harriet Burden. Brickman claimed that Burden had written him a long letter about a project she wanted him to make public. Although Burden had exhibited her work in New York City in the 1970s and ’80s, she had been disappointed by its reception and had withdrawn from the art world altogether. Sometime in the late nineties, she began an experiment that took her five years to complete. According to Brickman, Burden engaged three

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