Nijinsky: A Life

Lucy Moore

Nijinsky: A Life

He achieves the miraculous,' the sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote of Vaslav Nijinsky. 'He embodies all the beauty of classical frescoes and statues'. Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre. And his life is the stuff of legends: a story of great beauty and great tragedy.Immersed in the world of dance from his childhood, he found his natural home in the Imperial Theatre and the Ballets Russes, and a powerful sponsor in Sergei Diaghilev - until a dramatic and public failure ended his career and set him on a route to madness. As a dancer, he was acclaimed as godlike for his extraordinary grace and elevation, but the opening of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring saw furious brawls between admirers of his radically unballetic choreography and horrified traditionalists.Though 2013 marks the Rite's centenary, Nijinsky's story has lost none of its power to shock, fascinate and move. Adored and reviled in his lifetime, his phenomenal talent was shadowed by schizophrenia and an intense but destructive relationship with his lover, Diaghilev. 'I am alive' he wrote in his diary, 'and so I suffer'. In the first biography for forty years, bestselling author of Maharanis Lucy Moore examines a career defined by two forces - inspired performance and an equally headline-grabbing talent for controversy. 3.7 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Nijinsky: A Life

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Music, Stage & Screen
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication May 2013
ISBN 978-1846686184
Publisher Profile
 

He achieves the miraculous,' the sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote of Vaslav Nijinsky. 'He embodies all the beauty of classical frescoes and statues'. Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre. And his life is the stuff of legends: a story of great beauty and great tragedy.Immersed in the world of dance from his childhood, he found his natural home in the Imperial Theatre and the Ballets Russes, and a powerful sponsor in Sergei Diaghilev - until a dramatic and public failure ended his career and set him on a route to madness. As a dancer, he was acclaimed as godlike for his extraordinary grace and elevation, but the opening of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring saw furious brawls between admirers of his radically unballetic choreography and horrified traditionalists.Though 2013 marks the Rite's centenary, Nijinsky's story has lost none of its power to shock, fascinate and move. Adored and reviled in his lifetime, his phenomenal talent was shadowed by schizophrenia and an intense but destructive relationship with his lover, Diaghilev. 'I am alive' he wrote in his diary, 'and so I suffer'. In the first biography for forty years, bestselling author of Maharanis Lucy Moore examines a career defined by two forces - inspired performance and an equally headline-grabbing talent for controversy.

Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore

Reviews

The Sunday Times

Bee Wilson

[A] superb biography … Nijinsky’s story divides into two equally dramatic halves, both of which Moore recounts with scholarship, grace and imagination. Though he is hard to like — for one thing, Moore suggests that he was devoid of humour — she makes us first marvel at his superhuman talent, then grieve at his all too human collapse.

21/04/2013

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Camilla Apcar

Although Moore relies heavily on the diaries of Nijinsky’s younger sister Bronia, she never loses sight of why Nijinsky’s art was so great. The result is a captivating biography.

17/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Sunday Telegraph

Juliet Nicholson

Enthralling ... Through Nijinsky’s own diary, as well as many other contemporary sources, Moore uses her meticulous and intelligent research to tell the moving story of a professional life that began in triumph and ended in desperate sadness … Moore’s descriptions of Nijinsky’s eventual isolation from his sister, rejection by his wife, and how he remained locked in insanity for the rest of his life are unforgettable.

01/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Veronica Horwell

Moore does doom divinely. She is blunt about her ignorance of ballet … Although the Diaghilev-Nijinsky experiment trialled all the phases and images of modern showbiz, Moore keeps away from the practice of celebrity, too, but for focusing on a vignette of Nijinsky and Charlie Chaplin, waifs woebegone together one day in California. What she writes about with angry unsentimentality is the absurd waste of Nijinsky's post-Rite existence

04/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Scotsman

Lee Randall

Despite the sad, upsetting nature of Nijinsky’s story, Moore’s enjoyable biography does a fine job of explaining not only who Nijinsky was, but — once you peel away the glitter — why he really mattered.

04/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Observer

Peter Conrad

Lucy Moore retells the familiar story engagingly, with due deference to Richard Buckle's completer account, but she can't help expressing her bafflement about a man whose art denied him a verbal outlet while requiring him to work through a series of mysterious physical metamorphoses ... She sympathises with what she modishly calls Nijinsky's "sexual and moral issues", though her psychological forays usually end in unanswerable rhetorical questions.

05/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Judith Flanders

Lucy Moore merely goes over the well-worn ground. Nijinsky also shows signs of having been produced in haste (presumably to coincide with the centenary of the famous 1913 performance of Sacre), with repetitions abounding, despite the book’s brevity. More troublingly, to produce a narrative flow, Moore has quarantined many of the controversies in the notes. What she calls “the reality” appears in the main text, only to be contradicted in the notes, which most people, of course, will not read.

14/05/2013

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore