Novelist Robert Begiebing to Discuss “The Turner Erotica” on Book Talk Nation

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A city by city book tour? Oh, that’s so twentieth century.

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Begiebing’s artistry is all the more appealing,” said Provincetown Arts, “for the ease in which ‘The Turner Erotica’ makes what is long past feel as close as yesterday, bringing its people and their passions into a most compelling contemporary focus.

A book tour? Hustling from city to city across the nation? Oh, that’s so twentieth century.

Robert Begiebing is the author of “The Turner Erotica,” a novel being launched this month and that has generated a lot of pre-publication buzz. Begiebing is also the founding director of Southern New Hampshire University’s Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction program, and the author previously of a trilogy of award-winning historical novels set in New England.

Begiebing roams farther afield in this new novel, but in talking about the book he’ll be able to roam the nation—actually, the world—from an easy chair in Exeter, NH. On April 24, at 7:00 PM, Begiebing will be appearing on Book Talk Nation, an international online book discussion program available on your laptop at http://www.booktalknation.com.

“It’s a unique hybrid of discussion and interview,” Begiebing said. “I’ll be interviewed by Dan Chartrand, the owner of Water Street Books, the independent bookstore in Exeter that’s sponsoring this. So Dan will be in the bookstore, I’ll be at my publicist’s house, and we’ll also have a moderator from the Author’s Guild at a location in New York, possibly.”

Viewers will be able to submit questions or comments that Begiebing will respond to within the 30-minute program. Viewers can also order signed copies of “The Turner Erotica” that the bookstore will ship directly to home addresses.

Begiebing’s new novel turns on a pair of little-known historical facts: first, that the great British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) secretly created erotica as well; and second, that the art critic John Ruskin—Turner’s greatest champion—destroyed most of this material upon the painter’s death.

A few sketches and watercolors survived, however, though it remains a mystery how. Begiebing’s graceful novel proposes a train of events as plausible as they are dramatic.

“Begiebing grounds his story in documented historical events and credible characters, thoughtfully exploring how Turner blurred the line between art and pornography,” said Publishers Weekly. “Quotes from Ruskin, cameo appearances by famous Victorians, and portraits of artists as young men and independent women all enhance this attempt to unveil what the Turner erotica has to tell us about art, love, and life.”

And as in his New England novels, Begiebing’s story is really more timeless than historical. “Begiebing’s artistry is all the more appealing,” said Provincetown Arts, “for the ease in which ‘The Turner Erotica’ makes what is long past feel as close as yesterday, bringing its people and their passions into a most compelling contemporary focus.”

Since their recovery—however it happened—Turner’s surviving erotica has been kept in a locked room in the Tate, a family of four London art galleries housing Britain’s national collection. But Tate curator Ian Warrell has himself just published a book, “Turner’s Secret Sketches,” that makes them available to the public.

Not coincidentally, the cover art for Begiebing’s novel has been posted among the Turner images on the Tate’s website. Whether art or pornography, these works are being dragged out of the shadows by one of our best contemporary storytellers.

In his novel Begiebing proposes James Stillman, an American artist, diplomat, and friend to Ruskin, as the key figure in rescuing the works.

But that was then. The key figure now is Robert Begiebing

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