"Begiebing grounds his story in documented historical events and credible characters, thoughtfully exploring how [J.M.W.] Turner blurred the line between art and pornography. Quotes from Ruskin, cameo appearances by famous Victorians, and portraits of artists as young men and independent women all enhance this attempt to unveil what The Turner Erotica has to tell us about art, love, and life." -- Publishers Weekly
Spotlight Publicity is pleased to announce award winning author Robert Begiebing’s newest work of historical fiction The Turner Erotica which releases on April 16th through Ilium press. An east coast tour launches April 16th at Water Street Books in Exeter NH. More information can be found at www.begiebing.com
J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), the greatest British landscape painter and one of the most revolutionary influences on Western art since the eighteenth century, left upon his death a rich and varied legacy to Britain’s National Gallery, including more than 19,000 sketch studies containing considerable erotica. When John Ruskin, Turner’s greatest supporter at the time, discovered the erotic works, he, with the help of National Gallery Keeper Ralph Wornum, burned most of the material they found offensive. The Turner Erotica follows narrator William James Stillman (the young American artist, Consul to Rome and Crete, friend of Ruskin, and acquaintance of Turner) as he pursues a dangerous quest across Britain, Europe, and New England to discover and save the few remaining studies that through theft and betrayal escaped Ruskin’s outraged fire. In his quest, Stillman enlists the help of Pre-Raphaelite William Rossetti, the liberated American painter Allegra Fullerton, and Sir Richard Burton (the greatest linguist, swordsman, pistol-shot, and covert agent for the British government in the 19th century). Stillman’s obsession with the surviving erotic studies arises out of their potential value to British art history and his deep sense that the studies contain a secret clue to the master’s celebrated body of public work.
Begiebing is the author of six previous books, a play, and thirty articles and stories. His books include a trilogy of novels spanning 1648-1850. His novel Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction won the Langum Prize for historical fiction. The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin was chosen as a Main Selection for the Mystery and Literary Guild Book Clubs and is currently optioned for a film. His novels have been favorably reviewed in The New York Times, The Times of London, The Los Angeles Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Yankee Magazine, and Library Journal, among other periodicals. His fiction writing has been supported by grants from the Lila-Wallace Foundation and the New Hampshire Council for the Arts. In 2007, NH Governor John Lynch appointed Begiebing to the Council for the Arts. In 2009 he served both as one of the inaugural faculty members at the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony and as finalist judge for the Langum Prize. He continues to teach at the colony and is the founding director of the Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University.