Other literary forms
A distinguished historian of eighteenth and nineteenth century French art and culture, Anita Brookner wrote several books of nonfiction before she began to write novels. Watteau (1968) is an assessment of the early eighteenth century French artist Antoine Watteau. The Genius of the Future: Studies in French Art Criticism—Diderot, Stendhal, Baudelaire, Zola, the Brothers Goncourt, Huysmans (1971) is a collection of six essays on seven French writers, with each writer considered in the context of his time; the book devotes the greatest space to discussion of Charles Baudelaire. Greuze: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon (1972), a study of the French painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze, is Brookner’s successful attempt to locate the background of a sentimental genre that is distinct from both rococo andclassicism. Jacques-Louis David (1980), a biography of the foremost painter of the French revolutionary period, explores the relationship between David’s life and his work, places that work in the context of contemporary French painting, and details a career that spanned some of the most turbulent years in French history. Soundings, a collection of essays, was published in 1997, and the study Romanticism and Its Discontents appeared in 2000. Brookner’s translations include Utrillo (1960) and The Fauves (1962). In addition, she has written many articles, introductions, and reviews on art history and on both French and English literature that have appeared in such publications as the Burlington Magazine, The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and The Sunday Times. Some of these pieces are collected in Soundings.