Alexander Averin

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Josephine Hart RIP

Writer Josephine Hart who died this week.
Josephine Hart's last message: 'Without reading I would have found life less bearable'

Dear Diary,

I am sorry I have not been here for so long.  I've certainly not given up this blog but just lately life has taken over a little.  I hope to be present again from now on and just had to pay tribute today to a fine writer who moved on from this world this past week.

I have copied a newspaper article from the net and below that I add some quotes.

Novelist Josephine Hart gave a powerful endorsement of the Evening Standard's campaign against illiteracy days before her death.

The writer and "visionary" poetry campaigner lived her life cherishing the power and beauty of words, and said she was delighted by the Standard's "wonderful campaign" highlighting the shocking number of children unable to read.

In a statement dictated from her hospital bed, she said: "Without reading, and for me especially poetry, I would have found life less comprehensible, less bearable, and infinitely less enjoyable. It has never let me down."

Today tributes poured in for a woman revered for her brilliance as a writer, intellect and determination to encourage children to develop an understanding of the great poets.

For two years she kept secret that she was battling primary peritoneal cancer. Even her agent Ed Victor did not know until the day before her death yesterday. He told the Standard: "She wrote one of the most stunning, dazzling, moving, powerful first novels of the last half-century.

"She wrote because she needed to write and she wrote what she wanted to write. I think her passion for literature and her passion for poetry burned with the purest flame."

She attended a Poetry Week rehearsal at the Donmar on Monday but was unable to see the sell-out shows. Lady Antonia Fraser said: "Josephine Hart was beautiful in everything she did (including how she looked) but above all there was her passionate love of beauty in language, especially poetry."

Born in Ireland, she drummed into her two sons the need to "grab life by the throat" after losing two brothers and a sister by the time she was 17.

Married to Lord Saatchi, her first novel, Damage, sold more than one million copies. It was translated into 27 languages. Jeremy Irons starred in the film version.
Here are some quotes by her:

Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

 Josephine Hart (Damage)

 There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Those who are lucky enough to find it ease like water over a stone, onto its fluid contours, and are home. Some find it in the place of their birth; others may leave a seaside town, parched, and find themselves refreshed in the desert. There are those born in rolling countryside who are really only at ease in the intense and busy loneliness of the city. For some, the search is for the imprint of another; a child or a mother, a grandfather or a brother, a lover, a husband, a wife, or a foe. We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself and we slip at last into place.

— Josephine Hart

 Memory is never pure. And recollection is always coloured by the life lived since.

 Those who do not have imaginary conversations do not love.

I always recognize the forces that will shape my life. I let them do their work. Sometimes they tear through my life like a hurricane. Sometimes they simply shift the ground under me, so that I stand on different earth, and something or someone has been swallowed up. I steady myself, in the earthquate. I lie down, and let the hurricane pass over me. I never fight. Afterwards I look around me, and I say, 'Ah, so this at least is left for me. And that dear person has also survived.' I quietly inscribe on the stone tablet of my heart the name which has gone forever. The inscription is a thing of agony. Then I start on my way again.

 We learn from tragedy. Slowly.

They say that childhood forms us, that those early influences are the key to everything. Is the peace of the soul so easily won? Simply the inevitable result of a happy childhood. What makes childhood happy? Parental harmony? Good health? Security? Might not a happy childhood be the worst possible preparation for life? Like leading a lamb to the slaughter.

Lucky people should hide. Pray the days of wrath do not visit their home.

For why trap what is already trapped? It is only in flight that we know the freedom of the bird

Rest in Peace Josephine
You are free to fly now.

Bye for now,


Jude said...

A beautiful tribute to a fantastic woman..thank you
Take care

laurie said...

i had not realized she had died! oh i am so sorry. i loved DAMAGE and her other books.

Vee said...

A lovely tribute...

Ah, life, it has a way of snagging us and taking us away. Hope that all is well and that you will be found here more often.

Mark said...

I have not read Damaged, but should perhaps do so - certainly this tribute has stirred my interest.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So pleased to see you've returned. And with such a lovely posting. Marvelous words. I had not heard of her passing. May she rest in peace and, as you said, may she fly free.

ds said...

Thank you, Cait. And thank you, Josephine Hart.

Frances said...

Hello to you, Cait. I've missed seeing your posts and hope that this summer will give you opportunities to post more often. (Of course, I wish the same for my own infrequent posts!)

Now. Thank you for this tribute to Josephine Hart. The quotes from her writing that you have exerpted are very good choices. They remind those of us who have had the good fortune to already have read her books to remember her writing. And will encourage others to open one of her books and begin to enjoy what it can be to be a reader.


e said...

This is a wonderful post, Cait. Though I am sorry for her passing, I shall re-visit her books and help in the effort against illiteracy any way I can. Best to you.

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

I didn't know of Josephine before your beautiful tribute, yet when I read this:

Without reading, and for me especially poetry, I would have found life less comprehensible, less bearable, and infinitely less enjoyable. It has never let me down."

..I feel as though I need to know her!

Lovely to "see" you again, Cait! I hope all is well with you!

Karen said...

That's so sad. A lovely tribute though.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

What a truly wonderful tribute, such wonderful quotes of Josephine Hart. I had not come across her books before but do remember the film DAMAGE although I had not seen it.

I shall definately be buying her books now.

May she rest in peace and fly free.

Sorry to have missed you recently dear Cait. This coming Sunday is going to be a wonderful summers day, hope you can enjoy some relaxing time in your pretty garden with a good book.