The Most Interesting Book of All


bashkirtseff.jpgON THIS DATE in 1858, Ukrainian-born artist and author Marie Bashkirtseff was born. At thirteen she began a diary that would eventually be published under the title, I Am the Most Interesting Book of All. Called “a book without parallel” by one reviewer, Bashkirtseff’s journal described the author’s galloping ambition: at fifteen she wrote, “What Am I? … Nothing! What do I want to be? … Everything!” “At thirteen when she begins, (she) talks and writes like a woman of thirty,” marveled Lady Louisa Knightley in 1880. “Her self-introspection, her cynical frankness, her burning ambition, her extraordinary ability, are absolutely phenomenal.” A feminist as well as an author and artist, Bashkirtseff lived much of her brief life in Paris. She died of tuberculosis at age twenty-five.

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