Excerpt from a blogpost about a current exhibit of Van Gogh’s letters:
“Van Gogh’s letters reveals him to be passionate lover a books, a man equally enamoured with the art of the image and the art of the word. As a young man, Vincent van Gogh actually worked in a bookshop. Throughout his short life–he committed suicide at 37–he was a voracious reader. In the just over 900 letters of Van Gogh that still exist, over 150 authors are mentioned, and over 200 literary works. Van Gogh was fluent in French and English, as well as Dutch, and read widely in all three languages. French literary giant Emile Zola is mentioned 96 times in the letters, Victor Hugo is a close second with 62 references, and Honore de Balzac is brought up 35 times. English great Charles Dickens shows up 54 times, followed by George Eliot at 29, and William Shakespeare at 23.”
Read the entire Book Patrol blogpost for more about van Gogh’s reading, and about the searchable online database of his letters (a website which we posted a link to a few months ago).