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Grissi

Julie Kavanagh's Nureyev biography

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Has anyone read this biography? Is it better than Diane Solway's? Which is, in your opinion, the best biography on Nureyev?

(How inquisitive I am, sorry!!! :o )

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Kavanagh's bigography hasn't been published, so i assume the only ones to have read it are her editors. i know publication is going forward but haven't been told a pub date. i assume it will come out in the UK before the US but it's scheduled to be released in both places sometime in the near future.

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Thank you two. I misread the entry in amazon. In Europe it will be published on 6 september. I will take a look to the thread on Solway's.

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Grissi, I haven’t picked up the Solway book in awhile, but my lasting impression was while it was thorough to the point of exhaustiveness, I found it awfully hard to get through – in fact I never did, quite – too verbose for the most part, one of those missing-the-forest-for-the-trees bios, although it’s useful to have around as a reference and if you're interested in Nureyev you should at least give it a try. I’ll have to look at it again. Looking forward to reading Kavanagh’s book.

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Which is, in your opinion, the best biography on Nureyev?

My favourite, by a long shot (and I own several Nureyev biographies), is Peter Watson's biography, titled Nureyev. I couldn't put it down. The book also gives an excellent, detailed overview of life in Communist Russia as it tells Nureyev's story. I highly recommend it.

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Which is, in your opinion, the best biography on Nureyev?

My favourite, by a long shot (and I own several Nureyev biographies), is Peter Watson's biography, titled Nureyev. I couldn't put it down. The book also gives an excellent, detailed overview of life in Communist Russia as it tells Nureyev's story. I highly recommend it.

I enjoyed that one, too. I also liked Otis Stuart's gossipy take, although I'd not recommend it as the one and only book to read, certainly.

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Peter Watson's book was utterly appalling in my view: an opportunistic piece of rubbish written by a hack with no knowledge of ballet whatsoever. It was packed with inaccuracies and scandalous unfounded speculation and the editing was so bad it made reading the book confusing.

Some of the biographical books written during Nureyev’s lifetime give a fairly accurate picture of his abilities as a dancer, the ones by Alexander Bland, Clive Barnes and John Percival are all worth reading. Since his death only the Diane Solway book has been an honest measured account of his life, but the Kavanagh book will contain material about Nureyev from people closest to him that refused to collaborate with the previous biographers.

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Thank you everyone. I read a year ago Solway's bio and I liked it. But I read in Nureyev's offical website that Kavanagh's is the one authorized. What I am looking for is an 'academic' biography, one that could be translated to Spanish, one reliable.

I will take a look to the books you recommended. Thank you again.

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What I am looking for is an 'academic' biography, one that could be translated to Spanish, one reliable.

Then I would definitely go with Solway.

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Marga,

I agree 100% with Mashinka. The Watson is utterly atrocious and indeed libellous, just as well (as I'm sure he knew) the maligned parties were all dead and unable to pursue lawsuits.

Watson's prurient judgements, wrong facts and flights of fancy were embellishing a life already so remarkable they didn't need his somewhat strange and purple additions.

The Solway suffers as Kavanagh's Ashton biography by being somewhat removed from the dance world, she didn't quite understand the difference between technique and artistry so constantly contradicted herself when she wrote about Nureyev's stature as the "greatest dancer in the world", but she did address the erroneous belief that Nureyev and his father hated each other throughout their lives and poured scorn on Watson's theory that Fonteyn was pregnant by Nureyev, she'd been sterilsed.

Also Watson's rather strange ramblings about Nureyev's involvement with KGB organised art crime and State assassination, came so out of left field and was so unrelated to anything else within the "biography" one wondered what Boy's Own Story album circa 1950 he'd been reading before writing that chapter.

Kavanagh is a very thorough scholarly approach to writing though Beryl Grey after reading her Ashton biography said she didn't recognise Kavanagh's Ashton at all, though this recalls the Anais Nin quote "we don't see things as they are we see things as we are".

Probably the most empathetic approach to dance biography of late was Daneman's Fonteyn (despite the very flowery style and approach) because Daneman was a dancer and specatator of all the cheif protagonists at their height.

I'd be very interested to read Kavanagh's as she at least will have unrestricted access to interviewees and material and is a very intelligent and engaging writer.

But please, whatever you do, through out the Watson. It's dreadful.

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Kate,

I respect your opinion and your right to disagree with me, but I don't like being told to throw (if that's the word you meant when you wrote "through") out my copy of a book just because you hate it. In fact, I have two copies of Peter Watson's Nureyev, a paperback (easier to carry around) and a hard cover, and intend to keep both of them.

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Pardon me for assuming the role of hall monitor for the moment, but I would like to remind everyone that it is possible to disagree, and disagree strongly, about the merits of a given book and conduct a discussion without appearing to impugn the tastes or opinions of others. Please bear this in mind when posting.

Thanks, all. :thumbsup:

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