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Of Monks & Mermaids
By Kate Ashton


Two towering figures of European literature: 19th-century contemporaries, compatriots, rivals. Two lonely men living separate but parallel lives, each destined in their own way to reshape the consciousness of the western world.

This is the true story of their private experience, as they told it each to themselves. And the story of the women they abandoned, silenced.

The story of how great ideas, literature come into the world, and at what cost. Of how shared stories influence our individual lives, affecting our day-to-day behaviour and reactions; how they sink secretly and deeply into our common consciousness and culture, altering its fabric, affecting everyone’s ways of thinking and being.

This book describes how the storyteller’s own story mutates in common memory, how he is turned into caricature in biography, portraiture and anecdote, while the power and authority of his words are assimilated, appropriated and become common good.


How a human life may be sacrificed in the search for truth and the mysterious compulsion to communicate it. And how much smaller the individual is than the story they have to tell; how inept, how impotent, how unhappy the most gifted may prove in managing the simplest business of everyday life.


Here is a tale of abject failure and the courage to transcend it; two men who each confronted and exposed their inadequacies in a uniquely extraordinary literary oeuvre, so bequeathing the whole of western civilisation new ways of understanding itself.


How simple and how shared is our human need for narratives to accompany us from the cradle to the grave.        

Additional Information:

Seeking initial publication as well as Foreign Rights

Rights: World (incl. World English)

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