MY SELF by Wayne Andersen


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Idiosyncratic autobiography from the inimitable Andersen, who ten years ago deserted a sterling career as a professor (MIT & Harvard)/author (Gauguin's Paradise Lost, 1971) to design mosques in Saudi Arabia and breed Arabian horses. A lengthy (585-page) hodgepodge of correspondence, journal extracts, reviews by others, clippings, etc., the text is invariably lively and byzantine. (From a letter to Anna Shelley dated March 20, 1989: ""Dear Anna, Considering the state of my mind these days [Not its neurontoic state that's statically electric, sometimes shocking but never lethal]. . . The fact is that I AM WRITING A NOVEL!. . ."") Andersen provides some coherent autobiographical information, appended to snapshots, in a chapter entitled ""Photo Album with Legends""; muses at length about Gaughin, van Gogh, genius, sex, and other matters; reports on various oddities, including several 18th-century cases of ""fractured penis""; and generally bubbles merrily, an intellectual cauldron teeming with challenging ideas, opinions, conclusions--although the resulting stew, bizarrely presented and with little concession to readers' habits, will likely prove unpalatable to many.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1990
Publisher: Fabriart Editions (124 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138)