Blue Arabesque by Patricia Hampl
A Search for the Sublime

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Just out of college, Patricia Hampl was mesmerized by a Matisse painting in the Art Institute of Chicago: an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a Moroccan screen behind her. In Blue Arabesque, Hampl explores the allure of this lounging woman, immersed in leisure, so at odds with the rush of the modern era. Hampl’s meditation takes us to the Cote d’Azur and to North Africa, from cloister to harem, pondering figures as diverse as Eugene Delacroix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Katherine Mansfield. Returning always to Matisse’s portraits of languid women, she discovers they were not decorative indulgences but something much more. Moving with the life force that Matisse sought in his work, Blue Arabesque is Hampl’s dazzling and critically acclaimed tour de force.


About Patricia Hampl

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PATRICIA HAMPL is the author of four memoirs—A Romantic Education, Virgin Time, I Could Tell You Stories, and Blue Arabesque—and two collections of poetry. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, among many other awards. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Published October 1, 2007 by Mariner Books. 228 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Charmed in youth by a Matisse at the Art Institute of Chicago, a memoirist (I Could Tell You Stories, 1999, etc.) later pursues the painter’s story and discovers more of her own.

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The New York Times

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Patricia Hampl seeks out painting that jolts viewers into curiosity and craving.

Oct 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Blue Arabesque: A Search for ...

Entertainment Weekly

In Blue Arabesque, a sinuous meditation on artistic inspiration, poet Patricia Hampl revisits the figures who have meant the most to her, including Henri Matisse, Katherine Mansfield, and eccentric Minnesota-born filmmaker Jerome Hill, all of whom, like Hampl, were drawn ''as if by divining ro...

Oct 20 2006 | Read Full Review of Blue Arabesque: A Search for ...

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed In her wonderful spiritual memoir Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life, Patricia Hampl revealed an amazing ability to reflect on her experiences and to open her ...

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