Edvard Munch Behind the Scream New Edition Sue Prideaux

Publication date:
11 Jun 2019
Yale University Press
496 pages: 216 x 140mm
3 maps, 129 b-w + 22 color illus.

Who was the man behind The Scream, the iconic painting that so acutely expresses the anguish of the twentieth century?

Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) was twenty-eight when he embarked on a lifelong effort to paint his ‘soul’s diary’ – and began a perverse love affair with self-destruction. This intimate and moving life of the Norwegian artist explores his turbulent early years, his time as a recluse, and his intense efforts to paint not what he saw, but what he experienced.

In addition to her prize-winning biography of Edvard Munch, Sue Prideaux is the author of I Am Dynamite! A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019, and Strindberg: A Life, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for nonfiction and winner of the Duff Cooper prize.

"...excellent...highly detailed...fascinating..." - Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper

'... it is packed with information and event. Few biographies of artists can be described as gripping. This often is.'---Martin Gayford, The Sunday Telegraph

"... a magisterial portrait of a deeply troubled man. It is both humerous and tragic in its account of Munch's abortive relationships with women, his dependence on drink, and his struggle for success and recognition.'---Frances Spalding, The Sunday Times

"[An] assured and vivid biography."—Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker

"...a significant addition to the literature on the Norwegian artist... It is among Prideaux's achievements to give us a thousand...details that pull Munch into sharper focus." - Christopher Riopelle, Apollo Magazine

"Sue Prideaux's marvellously detailed study of Munch's extraordinary life takes us deep into the very soul of an astonishing Scandinavian painter who must be measured by no ordinary yardstick."---Birmingham Post

"Beautifully illustrated, this is one of the most engaging biographies I have read this year."---Mohara Gill, Art Buyer at Foyles Bookshop, The Bookseller

"Already a successful novelist, [Prideaux] combines a scholar's precision with a writer's insight."---The Brighton Argus

"In Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream, Sue Prideaux, who speaks fluent Norwegian and was able to read Munch's diaries first hand, extends the understanding of this complex man."---Sue Hubbard, The Independent

"[Munch] once wrote: 'Just as Leonardo studied the recesses of the human body and dissected cadavers, I try from self-scrutiny to dissect what is universal in the soul.'

Prideaux has written a life which goes a long way towards upholding his aim and anyone who wants to know how and why he painted as he did should read this book."---Tom Rosenthal, The Independent on Sunday

'... [an] absorbing account of the social and intellectual forces, as well as the personal demons, that Munch struggled against - or solicited - in order to create.'---Alan Jenkins, Times Literary Supplement

"This fine biography succeeds in explaining why this deeply troubled man, in many ways forgotten, was and is an important and profound artist." ---Alastair Lack, Oxford Times

Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography in 2005, awarded by the University of Edinburgh.

Selected for Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2006

“Such was the nature of Edvard Munch’s life that this book makes a gripping read. Prideaux provides a convincing sense of the psychological experiences of Munch and also the flavor of the times that he occupied.”—John Milner, University of Newcastle

“Munch emerges as a real person, rather like you and me.”—Karl Ove Knausgård

“Munch emerges as a real person, rather like you and me.”—Karl Ove Knausgård