Rus Articles Journal

Catherine Ann Porter and her “Ship of fools“. How to live 90 years and to become famous for one novel?

How to live 90 years - at once I will honestly tell what I do not know. Perhaps, it is enough to look at the biography, but hardly there are hints in this respect.

In addition - to be left without mother in infancy, to have serious illnesses and to stick, stick...

Cases when women led the female life, and then “suddenly“ began to write - are known. I once wrote about Jesse Li Braun Fovo who began the memoirs in 80 years, published them when she was 98 years old, and received the one million dollars (it is mentioned for those to whom it is important). That history, certainly, is very interesting, it is only necessary to consider that its memoirs were demanded at some certain historical moment when it was necessary to show the nations of the “imperceptible“ heroes. Including - mothers having many children who lived the hard century in one town, enduring all historical events together with the people.

History of life of Catherine Ann Porter - is much more dynamic. But it did not leave memoirs. But wrote one novel which dispersed on the world, gained the international recognition and became a basis for the movie of Stanley Kramer of the same name. The movie, by the way, too received various awards.

This year it is executed by of 120 years since the birth of the writer and is 30 years old from the date of her death. It it is easy to find the photo in the Internet: beautiful woman, strong-willed character.

Catherine Ann Porter was born on May 15, 1890 and died on September 18, 1980. The childhood passed it at the grandmother - mother died in the fifth childbed. The senior child died in infancy, there were four - one baby, and Catherine (then Kelly) was only two years old. The father gave all four to the grandmother. By the way, on the father she was O. Henry`s relative.

The grandmother, probably, was a surprising person. Lifted all, children of soul in it did not hope. But also the grandmother died, having left yet not grown up children. But there was a kind memory - not for nothing the name nee Callie Russell Porter was changed soon for Catherine Ann Porter - in honor of the grandmother.

A family, that is children, move from relatives to relatives, nobody receives systematic school education. In 16 years Catherine Porter already marries, but quickly gets divorced: the rich husband let loose hands. Then she is very seriously ill and is ill long. Doctors diagnose tuberculosis, bronchitis, is not more slight further - epidemic of “Spaniard“, special flu. This epidemic is called the most terrible pandemic of flu for all human history (then about about hundred million people, and my pra - the great-grandmother died too).

But the organism coped though when the young woman left sanatorium, she was incorporeal and bald. When hair grew, were absolutely white and that already and remained for the rest of life (K. E. Porter has a story written under impression of endured - “A pale horse, the pale rider“).

New - York and existence by “hack writer“ was farther. Knigger, or ghost writer - the everyday and age-old occurrence around the world. Dumas - the father did not shun to use similar services. And many other celebrities paid and pay gifted persons for the books appearing under the known names. By the way, it concerned not only literatures, but also music - Mozart so earned additionally. Practice is widespread and now, there`s nothing to be done, such is life.

In noisy raging New - York Porter is fond of the left ideas and even goes to Mexico where meets Diego Rivera. In Mexico she endures some drama as a result of which she departs at the same time both from radicalism, and from Catholic church. The whole decade of Catherine Ann Porter and plies from Mexico to New - York and back. Once again marries, but too for a while.

Only in 40 years she publishes a full-fledged cycle of stories which brought it literary recognition at once under the name. Two more times marry, but again dreams of family happiness do not come true. Children were not for health reasons too.

Catherine Ann Porter begins to teach at various American universities. Her lectures had great success in students. And only in 1962 (in 72 years) she publishes the first and only novel “The ship of fools “ which right there became well-known everywhere where it was translated.

To whom it is interesting: the right for the screen version was instantly redeemed. For very considerable sum: 500000 dollars (now 3,5 million taking into account inflation). And, though the author declared that she will not write any more, in several years the collection of stories for which the writer got the Pulitzer Prize and the National book award followed. And in 87 years Catherine Ann Porter wrote the story “Vanity Terrestrial“.

Catherine Ann Porter rushed into the American literature not the young genius, it entered it the mature, learned many troubles person capable to allegorically reflect eternal subjects, it is even brighter to sate them with philosophical symbolics. Subjects of life and death, treachery, claims for superiority and so on. “The ship of fools“ - a mold of human society, regardless of time and the place.

The closed ship space, the inhabitants turning into barbarians - a symbol of our general huge ark. This image not today`s, an image with tradition. Iyeronim Bosch has “A ship of fools“ also , the satirical poetic cycle with the same name is and at the German satirist is the 15th century of Sebastian Brant .

A symbol - the mankind floating on an ark - the ship - very fertile. Fools nicknamed in medieval European tradition just vicious and sinful people. “The cargo of sinful souls“ crosses the seas and oceans (a way of mankind). The convicted human defects in 500 years did not run low and did not change unless in the list was still what to add.

And this allegory is stretched further and further presently: there is already also a play of the actor and playwright of N. Christmas carols “Our sea …, or the Ship of fools is unsociable“. The young British author Gregory Norminton wrote the “Ship of fools“. One more British - Dave Stone famous to us as the coauthor of a TV series “Doctor Kto“ (Doctor Who), wrote the “Ship of fools“.

“The ships of fools“ were over the past few years composed by different authors some more. And songs with the names of the same name - several tens. The subject, apparently, becomes for some reason sharply actual...

But it would be very desirable that sometime in “fine it is far“, passengers of our general ship did not give so bright reasons for accusations. Though the talented author will always find the subject here.

And the journalist, the writer and the surprising woman Catherine Ann Porter died in September, 1980, her ashes are based near a grave so early of the died mother. The book “Ship of Fools“ appeared also in Russia not so long ago. The book - accusation, the book - the prevention, the book - thought.