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 Post subject: Another Book about Rudolf Nureyev
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1639
Location: London UK
On the Sunday before last I discovered Rudolf Nureyev’s picture on the front of the Sunday Telegraph magazine. The article inside was in fact an extract from a new book about him by Carolyn Soutar but unfortunately the Telegraph magazine is not available on line. Since then a friend has alerted me to this review of the book in The Scotsman. http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/critique.cfm?id=972662004

Although the review states that the author worked professionally with Nureyev over a number of years, the Telegraph extract seemed to show more interest in his sex life than in his dancing. Also the author began her acquaintance with Nureyev in 1980 when he was 42 years old and his career was in serious decline. According to The Scotsman review one of the main contributors to the book is Robert Tracy, a former lover of Nureyev’s who reportedly once sued him for a large sum in ‘palimony’, so I wonder how objective his views on Nureyev will be.

A few years ago Simon Robinson wrote a book called “A Year with Rudolf Nureyev” which described the author’s time working for Nureyev when the dancer was already gravely ill. It was both illuminating and moving and even quite funny in places. Roland Petit, who knew him well, has also written a memoir of Nureyev, but it is yet to be translated or to find a publisher in the UK. There are also three major biographies written about him since his death. The first was a disgrace, appallingly edited with preposterous speculation and full of outright inaccuracies, the second was better written but marred by the author’s preoccupation with gay politics. It was only when the third biography, by Diane Solway, appeared that a totally accurate, un-sensational and well-researched book became available.

If I sound unduly critical about a book I haven’t yet read it’s because I feel so uneasy about this sex and sleaze approach that authors (and film makers: who remembers “Nureyev Unzipped”?) invariably seem to adopt when dealing with Nureyev’s life. In recent years I’ve noticed a trend in ballet circles, particularly among those that never saw him, to belittle both the man and his career. He is now constantly being compared unfavourably with Baryshnikov and others and his many achievements brushed aside. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if their knowledge of him comes from authors who view him as an easy way to make a quick buck.

I find all this desperately sad, especially since he always kept his private life under wraps during his lifetime. Surely more respect should be paid to him than this constant reminder about his sex life? At present I have 18 books in four different languages about Nureyev, many of them books of photographs: and one photograph can tell you more about him than reams of prose. I will certainly be buying this book and the other one in the pipeline by Julie Kavanagh which I have heard from a reliable source will contain contributions from people very close to Nureyev that were reluctant to collaborate with earlier biographers.

Dancers have short professional lives and are often soon forgotten. It looks as if Nureyev is to be remembered – but for all the wrong reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Book about Rudolf Nureyev
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 1
Location: London
Why do people place comments like this when they haven't read the book that they are commenting on? Well I have read it, and I can now say with some authority that it is not 'all' about sex, it is a wonderfully human tale about the man, his insecurities, his humour,his friends and his passion for Performance. I would say thank heavens for a book by someone who knew him, who was sensitive to his friends and his own reputation.It creates wonderful scenes and imagery of backstage life, touring and what it was like to actually work and talk to this wonderful man and it starts way back in 1964 right up until 1993. Go read it and learn about his love of 'I Love Lucy' and tea and toast 24/7, teaching children andhis love of art, then comment about it. As a woman there was nothing in it to 'scare your granny' or me. There had to be references to sex, that was a part of his life but as for anything else, more sordid, more lurid, sorry, you would be sorely dissapointed.

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Butterfly2004


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 Post subject: Re: Another Book about Rudolf Nureyev
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 1
I agree with Butterfly. If you haven't bothered to read the book, your opinion on it is worthless, mere hearsay.
When you do get around to reading it, you will find it gives a balanced and fascinating view of Nureyev. Anyone with an interest in Nureyev will surely welcome the opportunity to gain a further insight into his life and work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1639
Location: London UK
Rudolf Nureyev continues to intrigue the Russians who know so little about his career in the west. Today I came upon this review in the Moscow Times while searching for news of the Bolshoi.

http://context.themoscowtimes.com/story/159414/

By the way, I have now read this book and agree with everything Mindy Aloff says. The book is packed with inaccuracies and gives a totally skewed view of one of the greatest dancers that ever lived.


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 Post subject: Do you know this one?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 222
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Rudolf Nureyev was a dancing genius, a celebrity with a large ego, and a private man who would purposely let falsehoods about his life go unchallenged.

Instead of trying to write another biography of him, Colum McCann has created a fictional account of Nureyev's life. Dancer captures the essence of Nureyev's life, if not the details, and chronicles the drama, tumult, obsession, and loneliness that can accompany genius and fame.

This book has garnered high praise from almost all reviewers. The Spectator says of Dancer, "Colum McCann writes with a ferocious eloquence and a masterly sense of narrative."

http://www.reviewsofbooks.com/dancer/


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