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Myth Versus Fact: Chris Schoeman Tells Darryl Accone About the Process of Finding The Unknown Van Gogh

The Unknown Van GoghDie onbekende Van GoghChris Schoeman recently spoke to Mail & Guardian books editor Darryl Accone about his biography of Cornelis van Gogh, The Unknown Van Gogh.

“A very rewarding part of this exercise was walking in the footsteps of this family in the lovely province of Brabant and reading their letters,” Schoeman says about the research he did to construct an accurate account of Cor van Gogh’s life.

Schoeman talks about the process of writing this book, the origin of the idea to find The Unknown Van Gogh, writers he admires (John Kannemeyer for one) and the purpose of non-fiction.

Read the article:

What was the originating idea for the book?

Five years ago, when working on Brothers in Arms, a book on the Hollander volunteers in the Anglo-Boer War, I came across the name of Cornelis van Gogh, who had sided with the Boers. I was inspired by the fact that little was known about him and that no biography of him has ever been written. The fact that he spent the last 10 years of his life in the Transvaal was, of course, significant from a South African perspective.

Were the years you spent in journalism significant?

In the sense that it gives an edge to look into preconceived perceptions regarding Cor van Gogh and then through one’s own research to discover what was myth and what was fact.

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