Modern Nature (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Derek Jarman, the British artist and filmmaker, found out he was HIV-positive in the late 1980s, bought a house by the sea with a view of a nuclear power station, and planted a garden. This journal, spanning 1989 and 1990, documents the planting of the garden and his gradual descent into serious illness, and it is a rarely perfect reading experience, full of flowers, memories, sex and death. Reading Jarman's book is comparable to the writings of David Wojnarowicz and Herve Guibert, but he's more restrained, more influenced by a somber, English romanticism, like E.M. Forster or D.H. Lawrence.

— Madeleine

About the Author


One of England’s foremost filmmakers, Derek Jarman (1942–1994) wrote and directed several feature films, including Sebastiane, Jubilee, Caravaggio, and Blue, as well as numerous short films and music videos. He was a stage designer, artist, writer, gardener, and an outspoken AIDS and queer rights activist in the United Kingdom and the United States. He wrote several books, among them At Your Own Risk, and Chroma, forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

Praise For…


"Epiphanies infuse Modern Nature, Derek Jarman’s diaries from 1989 to 1990, with their ebullient evocations of gardening. For Jarman, planting flowers at his wind- and sea-blasted cottage and then reciting their names (endlessly, passionately) becomes sex, becomes the fullness he’s on his way to leaving as he grows sicker from AIDS." —Village Voice Literary Supplement

"The pace of Jarman’s life as chronicled in Modern Nature is unpredictable. In more energetic moments, Jarman cruises the public parks, makes a film without a script (The Last of England, 1987), and attempts to get Matt Dillon’s heartbeat for a project. He plants saxifrage and sea kale. He starts taking AZT. When Jarman discovered he was seropositive, he set himself a goal: to disclose his status and survive Margaret Thatcher. These he has done with aplomb." —Artforum
Product Details
ISBN: 9780816665945
ISBN-10: 081666594X
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: October 5th, 2009
Pages: 320
Language: English