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:
- Book Review: May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy
Posted on 14 Mar 2012 in Books, Fiction Reviews, Historical Fiction
Troy’s novel has much to recommend it, including sensitive character delineation and powerful narrative set pieces. But all Civil War fiction is faced with the almost insuperable task of trying to heal wounds that just go on festering, of finding some sort of redemptive meaning for unparalleled carnage. From the first great Civil War novel, John De Forrest’s Miss Ravenel’s Conversion, published in 1867, the problem for the Civil War novelist is to find a middle ground of hope and harmony upon which the survivors can rebuild their battered lives.
- Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Posted on 06 Mar 2012 in Art, Art & Design
But before he retreated into his private realm of race horses and ballet dancers, Degas was fully engaged with the contest of light and shadow in the spirit of Rembrandt. Degas was greatly affected by Rembrandt’s drawing skill, and the accomplished way that he reproduced his line art in etchings and dry point. The etchings of the Dutch master were an education in themselves.
- Book Review: The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination
Posted on 29 Feb 2012 in Art, Biography, Books, Great Britain, Non-Fiction Reviews
It was at Oxford University that Burne-Jones found divine beauty and William Morris. They shared a love for medieval themes, what we now call Gothic Revival, and were attracted to the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Founded in 1848, the Pre-Raphaelites were a loose confederation of young artists in revolt against the false veneer of academic art.
- Art Review: Van Gogh Up Close, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Posted on 12 Feb 2012 in Art, Art & Design
Indeed, if you can manage it in the crowded museum galleries, select a painting, perhaps Wheatfield from 1888, with its characteristic high horizon line. Study it from across the room. Then move closer and you will see an amazing transformation, an act of alchemy, in which the inner life of plants, trees, underbrush, even clouds and drops of rain are revealed.
- Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Posted on 31 Jan 2012 in Art, Art & Design
This exhibition of the works of Henry Ossawa Tanner is the first major reappraisal of the great African-American painter in a generation. On display in the PAFA exhibit are over 100 of Tanner’s works, including twelve paintings never shown in a previous retrospective. Drawings, photographs, prints and the only two surviving sculptures created by Tanner are featured, along with his paintings.
- Art Review: The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Posted on 10 Jan 2012 in Art, Art & Design
In his Portrait of a Young Man, painted in 1478, Antonello fused the psychological intensity of Byzantine icon painting with a close regard for his subject’s unique, personal identity. Antonello died the year after he painted Portrait of a Young Man, but with this and a handful of similar works, he blazed a trail for all of the great portrait painters who came after him.
- Book Review: Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
Posted on 15 Dec 2011 in Art, Biography, Books, Non-Fiction Reviews
For an artist who vied with Rembrandt in painting self-portraits, van Gogh seldom allowed himself to be photographed. The one surviving photo, from his days at Goupil’s, shows a scowling, tousled haired young man with troubled, searching eyes. It is the face of a man destined to be a prophet or a lunatic.
- Art Review: Transition to Christianity, Onassis Cultural Center, New York City
Posted on 13 Dec 2011 in Archeology, Art, Art & Design, Religion
After Christianity was recognized as the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380, a number of Christian groups, notably monks in Egypt, changed roles from martyrs to persecutors. A magnificent head of Aphrodite, dating to first century Athens, bears the marks of Christian vandalism. The eyes and lips have been chipped to “blind” and “silence” the deity. A cross was then inscribed on the forehead of Aphrodite.
- Book Review: Verdi and/or Wagner: Two Men, Two Worlds, Two Centuries by Peter Conrad
Posted on 28 Nov 2011 in Biography, Books, Germany, Italy, Music, Non-Fiction Reviews, Opera
Perhaps, the best way of approaching Conrad’s book is to regard it primarily as a meditation on creativity. As with opera itself, where passion and empathy lead, intellectual appreciation will follow. The key insight of this fine book is easy enough to grasp. In an age of strutting nationalism, both Verdi and Wagner gave the world music that ultimately transcends the limits of borders or political ideology, regardless of how subsequent regimes used it.
- Book Review: Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp
Posted on 21 Nov 2011 in Books, Design, Non-Fiction Reviews
The Vietnam War had been shredding bodies and hopes for so long that it hardly seemed possible that a single image of human conflict could pierce through the war’s futility and touch our hearts. And then photographer Nick Ut captured “The Girl in the Picture” on film. He aimed his Leica M-2 camera and with one quick “click,” Phan Thi Kim Phuc, became a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War and by extension all wars.
- Art Review: Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Posted on 06 Nov 2011 in Art, Art & Design
Beginning with paintings, drawings and a limited number of sculptures by such “wild men” as Matisse, Picasso and Brancusi, Stieglitz went on to champion works created by American painters in the years following World War I. His one-man crusade met with a very mixed reception. Many in the New York art establishment viewed Stieglitz as a cultural anarchist, intent on dynamiting the Beaux-Arts foundation of American art.
- Book Review: The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia
Posted on 01 Nov 2011 in Books, History, Non-Fiction Reviews
David Abulafia’s new book about the Mediterranean Sea, The Great Sea, has everything a major work of history requires. An important theme, solid research, magnificent writing and a perceptive insight into human nature figure prominently in the pages of his study of the body of water that the Romans called mare nostrum, “our sea.”
- Art Review: Charles Dickens at 200, The Morgan Library and Museum
Posted on 19 Oct 2011 in Art, Art & Design, Great Britain, Writers
Dickens’ novels probed the social ills of Victorian England in order to create unforgettable images of human misery and redemption in the minds of the literary public. Conscious of how the accompanying illustrations to his text would help in this respect, Dickens worked very closely with the artists who provided these memorable pictures.
- Book Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
Posted on 13 Oct 2011 in Books, History, Non-Fiction Reviews, Sociology
In this profound and spirited work, Pinker champions the civilizing process that, according to his detailed research, has enhanced the cause of peace, decreased the scale of violence and enabled peoples of widely separated nations and ethnic groups to realize their common humanity. Using a mass of scientific data and an intensive reading of history and current events, Pinker makes the case that Planet Earth is becoming a more Peaceable Kingdom.
- Book Review: Virginia Woolf by Alexandra Harris
Posted on 30 Sep 2011 in Biography, Books, Great Britain, Non-Fiction Reviews, Writers
Woolf spent much of her life trying to free herself from the grasp of the past, specifically the Victorian milieu of her childhood. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was the editor of the prestigious Dictionary of National Biography and a personification of the Victorian pater familias. Woolf both loved and rebelled against him. She suffered a severe nervous breakdown following his death in 1904. Yet it was not until her father died, that she was able to liberate her emotions to the point where she could begin a serious career as a writer.
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