California Literary Review

Profile of Ed Voves


Ed Voves is a free-lance writer, based in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, the artist Anne Lloyd, and a swarm of cats who love curling up with good books.

Mr. Voves graduated with a B.A. in History from LaSalle University in 1976 and a Masters in Information Science from Drexel University in 1989. After teaching for several years with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he worked in the news research department for “The Philadelphia Inquirer” and the “Philadelphia Daily News,” 1985 to 2003. It was with the “Daily News,” that he began his free-lance writing, doing book reviews and author interviews with such notable figures as Umberto Eco, Maurice Sendak and Peter O’Toole. For the “Inquirer,” he specialized in reviews of major historical works. Following his time with the newspapers, he worked as an independent researcher for Knowledge@Wharton, the online journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the staff of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2005 and is currently the branch manager of the Kingsessing Branch in southwest Philadelphia. In 2006, he began writing for the “California Literary Review.”

Articles written for the California Literary Review:

  • Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde
    Posted on 05 Dec 2019 in Art, Art & Design, Biography

    The overall sensation evoked by examining the works on display in “Cezanne to Picasso,” however, is one of awe at his grasp and appreciation of the creative talent of artists spurned, at least initially, by the rest of the art world.

  • Civil War 150 – A Readers’ Guide (Part 3)
    Posted on 27 May 2013 in Books, Non-Fiction Reviews

    The most notorious atrocity of the Draft Riots was the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum, located on 5th Ave and 43rd street. Of the “50 Objects” from the New-York Historical Society, none is more poignant than a charred Bible from the Colored Orphan Asylum, “the sole, improbable artifact to endure the sacking and destruction of the orphanage.”

  • Civil War 150 – A Readers’ Guide (Part 2)
    Posted on 15 May 2013 in Best Books, Books, Non-Fiction Reviews

    On a sultry summer afternoon, 150 years ago, a young man named Strong Vincent changed the course of American history. The date was July 2, 1863, around 4 P.M. The place was the left wing of the fish hook-shaped Union defensive position at Gettysburg.

  • Civil War 150 – A Readers’ Guide (Part 1)
    Posted on 08 May 2013 in Best Books, Books, History, Non-Fiction Reviews

    A sampling of new or recent books on the Civil War suggests that this bygone conflict is still relevant to the lives, hopes and fears of the American people in the twenty-first century. If anything, some of the new research and analysis of the Civil War shows that the terrible ordeal of 1861 to 1865 is more meaningful than it has ever been.

  • Book Review: The Books that Shaped Art History, Edited by Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard
    Posted on 18 Apr 2013 in Art, Books, Non-Fiction Reviews

    Clark’s The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art received glowing reviews upon its publication in 1956. Among its many virtues, The Nude reasserted the primacy of classical art in the Western world during the dark, drab Cold War era. America’s Abstract Expressionism confronted Soviet Socialist Realism in a long, drawn-out propaganda campaign. Clark showed that there was an alternative to such cultural brinksmanship. Art lovers, tired of ideology, were greatly pleased.

  • Art Review: “Great and Mighty Things”: Outsider Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Posted on 27 Mar 2013 in Art, Art & Design

    And what is true of Blagdon’s poignant attempt to thwart illness and disease is true of the other artists’ work. Outsider Art is not an attempt to evade life but to engage with it, to deal with sorrow, sickness and poverty by affirmations of beauty.

  • Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848–1900, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    Posted on 10 Mar 2013 in Art, Art & Design, Great Britain

    The Pre-Raphaelites shared several treasured ideals, but their painting styles varied greatly. The two transcendent themes, especially in their early work, were “truth to nature” and the power of religious faith. They aimed to depict the natural world with great fidelity, while evoking spiritual values as medieval artists had done.

  • Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    Posted on 03 Mar 2013 in Art, Art & Design

    Portraits at the Stock Exchange reveals a truth about the age of the Impressionists that often goes unobserved. This period in French history was an age of acute anxiety. It was far from being an era characterized by evening dances at Bougival. Repeatedly, when studying the faces of these sumptuously dressed citizens of the Belle Époque, one catches a glimpse of people acutely aware of the fragile foundations of their civilization.

  • Art Review: Drawing Surrealism, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City
    Posted on 05 Feb 2013 in Art, Art & Design

    Serious or concerted intellectual effort had no part in the process of creating Surrealist art – at least in theory. Artists were expected to switch-off their ideas about art and just draw.

  • The Female Gaze and Modern Women at PAFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
    Posted on 22 Jan 2013 in Art, Art & Design

    In Neel’s painting, the sitter’s beauty is not compromised by her pregnant condition and makes no concessions to male desires. Claudia Bach is alive with the promise of new life, which in turn is an expression of her own individuality and of her place in the world.

  • Book Review: A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts by Sebastian Faulks
    Posted on 07 Jan 2013 in Books, Fiction Reviews, Short Stories

    If we could follow the mortal remains or spiritual resonance of a sport-loving soldier from the Second World War, an impoverished London lad from the time of Charles Dickens, a French servant woman of the Napoleonic era or a scientific researcher from a decade or two in the future, where might these trails lead?

  • Book Review: Titian: His Life by Sheila Hale
    Posted on 12 Dec 2012 in Art, Biography, Books, Italy, Non-Fiction Reviews

    Seeing a paint brush on the floor, the emperor reached down to retrieve it and presented it to the painter. Had Charles bestowed a golden scepter upon Titian, the honor would have been no greater. Artists were still viewed as artisans by most of the nobility of Europe. In sullying his royal hands with a tool of Titian’s trade, Charles paid him the ultimate compliment.

  • Art Review: Picasso Black and White
    Posted on 26 Nov 2012 in Art, Art & Design

    The Guggenheim Museum in New York City is the perfect venue for hosting great chronological exhibitions of art. Ascend the spiraling ramps and you are able to understand the course of an artistic era in its totality or the development of a national school of art, as was the case in the spectacular 2005 presentation of Russian art from its Byzantine-inspired roots to the post-Soviet present. But seldom have a museum and a special exhibition been so perfectly matched as Guggenheim New York and its present show, Picasso Black and White.

  • Book Review: John Keats: A New Life by Nicholas Roe
    Posted on 16 Nov 2012 in Biography, Books, Non-Fiction Reviews, Poetry, Writers

    Whether one approaches Keats’ life by reading a biography or by the direct study of his poems, there is no escaping the fact that he was obsessed by the nature and effect of beauty in its various forms. He was also haunted by death, the sheer, undeniable, inescapable physical annihilation that awaits each of us, sooner or later. In the case of Keats, death occurred much, much too soon.

  • Book Review: Through the Eye of a Needle by Peter Brown
    Posted on 12 Nov 2012 in Books, History, Non-Fiction Reviews

    Brown writes that Christian leaders had to carefully deploy Church resources, spiritual and financial, to create a new society to take over after the Roman one had collapsed. In the place of Roman municipal buildings and fortresses came Christian basilicas, monasteries and what Brown brilliantly calls “a coral reef of institutions devoted to intercession,” hospitals, hostels and eventually schools administered by the Church. This was the civilization of the Middle Ages, the foundation of a new vision for the Western world.

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