Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Um Pouco Sobre Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd já escreveu dezenas de livros, todos essencialmente sobre a Inglaterra, sua história, seus grandes escritores, sua língua e literaturas maravilhosas. Seu primeiro livro que li foi a biografia de T.S. Eliot, tenho meia dúzia deles e alguns ainda para ler. Sua produtividade e ética do trabalho são fantásticas, um verdadeiro exemplo de scholar, de intelectual, algo completamente inexistente na selva. O NYT publica um interessante perfil dele: In person, Ackroyd can seem a bit like a statue himself. He sits for an interview, barely stirring, answering questions in a deadpan tone, wearing a jowly frown that conceals occasional flashes of humor. He is a large, round, walrusine man; he has a bad leg and he moves uncomfortably, heaving himself up from chairs with great groans. He has always been a heavy drinker. “I used to drink spirits, but my liver said no,” Ackroyd says. These days, he only drinks wine, but lots of it: a bottle with dinner at a restaurant (he always dines out), and another bottle when he gets home at night. He is, in other words, a boozer and an eccentric — an old-fashioned, classically English type. He certainly stands apart from his contemporaries. Ackroyd is a member of the vaunted British literary generation that includes Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes; he was born, in October 1949, six months after Christopher Hitchens and six weeks after Martin Amis. But unlike those glamorous globe-trotters, Ackroyd is a provincial and proud of it, with a hermetic lifestyle that supports his writing regimen. He hates to leave London, professing a strong dislike for the countryside (“It’s too noisy, too dangerous, I don’t trust their food”) and no interest in traveling to other cities (“I don’t understand their histories”). He avoids nearly all the rituals of literary celebrity, restricting his promotional efforts to the occasional interview and a single appearance per year at a literary festival. He lives alone, and reserves just two Sundays each month for socializing, taking day trips with a friend to visit historic English towns. Ackroyd is gay, and has been single for almost two decades. (His longtime partner, Brian Kuhn, died in 1994.) He has been celibate for years, too, and he deems his sexless solitary life “a great relief”: “I’m happy not to have to bother with any of that anymore. It gets in the way of your work.” Ackroyd recently wrote a libretto for an opera based on William Hogarth’s engravings — but he never goes to the opera, or to concerts, or the theater. For several years in the 1980s, he was The Spectator’s film critic, but since leaving that post he has been to the movies only once. “I don’t want to go to the cinema,” he says. “Nothing would give me less pleasure.”

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