Publication Date: September 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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From this prodigiously talented writer comes a stunningly original fictional life of the German director F. W. Murnau (1888–1931). Murnau ranks as a founding father of the cinema, not least for his legendary horror film, Nosferatu. Here he is revealed as a hermetic genius who turns against himself, becoming in a sense his own vampire. What shadows Jim Shepard’s Murnau—through the airfields of the Great War to Berlin in the twenties and to the virtual invention of filmmaking—is the conflict between his impossibly high ideals and his heartbreaking memories of love betrayed and love lost. From provincial Germany through Hollywood in its early days to the South Seas, Nosferatu charts a life at once artistic, intellectual, and deeply human. Ron Hansen provides an introduction to this Bison Books edition.
Jim Shepard is the author of six novels and two short-story collections, including most recently Love and Hydrogen: New and Selected Stories and Project X. He teaches at Williams College and in the Warren Wilson MFA program. Ron Hansen is the author of numerous books, including A Stay against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction and Atticus, a National Book Award finalist. He teaches writing and literature at Santa Clara University.
"Jim Shepard wrote a fictional biography of F. W. Murnau, a strange breed of man who made compelling art from life and whose life, it turns out, makes compelling art."—Small Spiral Notebook
"Shepard has so thoroughly mastered the idiom and feel of the period that we seem to be inside a young Thomas Mann novel."—Kirkus
"Mordantly funny and moving."—Entertainment Weekly
"In Nosferatu, F. W. Murnau becomes his own subject—one of the undead, hollowed out and sucked dry by the love he has betrayed. The life, again, informs, deforms, and becomes the work."—New York Times Book Review