Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

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Smari1989

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Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 3:40 pm

As stated before, I've been working on a book on Max Linder for some time. It'll not be a "definitive" biography, but hopefully serve as a nice overview to fans of the comedian.

I'm quite a bit into it by now; in fact, I expect to be soon finished. However, I'm still uncertain as to how I might deal with Linder's tragic passing in the best possible way. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish to idealize Max; I've studied him enough by now that I realize he was a difficult person, but I can enjoy his films regardless. No problem. However, it's a dreadfully sad story, and I frankly find it a bit challenging to write about it, from an emotional standpoint.

I would appreciate any insights as to how I may deal with it in a balanced way. Thanks.
Last edited by Smari1989 on Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Spiny Norman

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 3:54 pm

I'm not sure if this is a matter that anyone can help you with, because it seems to be mainly a matter of emotions. Perhaps you might come to see it in a different perspective. For example you could consider that those lives are the most complete that go through the full range of conditions that a human can have.
(What led me to this is that occasionally there is a film that centres around someone who is not always a good person, but nevertheless you can't hate them, whether it is Don Corleone or Henry Plantagenet.)

Perhaps if you'd written the end first you wouldn't have the problem so much, or maybe you would just have had it sooner.

For non-fiction writing the author is always hidden, it's part of an aspiration to objectivity I suppose to never use the first person. But this isn't necessarily the only option. You could just write "And now we come to the part that I, the writer, found hardest to complete.". Unusual, but not impossible. There's no law against it so to speak.
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Smari1989

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 4:06 pm

Thanks, I appreciate your response. Yes in fact I have considered "making it clear" on beforehand that I don't really wish to write about Linder's passing (or not, at least, go into details about it) but that it feels unavoidable, or something like that. Since this is not meant to be a "definitive" bio by an historian, but rather a lengthy-ish overview by a fan, it may not seem totally out of place. I'll think about it.
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milefilms

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 7:59 pm

His daughter Maud dealt with it very beautifully at the end of THE MAN IN THE SILK HAT, the documentary she made and narrated about her father.
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Smari1989

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 8:24 pm

True. I also think it was right not to dwell on the tragedy in THE MAN IN THE SILK HAT, as that film was clearly meant to celebrate Linder's art, with only a few bits on his off-screen life scattered about. However, Maud does write more (if still not all that much, understandably) about the tragedy in her (glorious) coffee-table book on Max, and I think all readers will expect a book-form biography to do so.

Anyway, I think I'll manage to write an OK end chapter; as I said, I've just found it a bit challenging from an emotional standpoint, and I appreciate the advice here. Thanks.
Last edited by Smari1989 on Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Max Linder blog: http://maxlinderblog.wordpress.com

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wich2

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 7:59 am

Smari, your work may be the only one that some readers ever encounter on your subject.

So I think that you best honor him, by being honest and thorough about all aspects of his life - and death.

Good luck,
-Craig
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 8:26 am

wich2 wrote:Smari, your work may be the only one that some readers ever encounter on your subject.

So I think that you best honor him, by being honest and thorough about all aspects of his life - and death.

Good luck,
-Craig


Agreed. So long as you avoid Anger-ish gossip, ghoulishness and snark, state the facts as you have uncovered them. You may wish to editorialize to stress that the tragedy of his death in no way mars the joy of the work he left behind.
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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 1:19 pm

I´ll tell you how his death was presented in Denmark:

His mother-in-law called their hotel room several times before alerting the hotel manager.
They broke in the door and found Linder and wife with severed arteries. Linder was dead
but his wife was alive and died a few hours later in hospital.

He evidently killed his wife before killing himself.

The wife´s parents were much against their marriage because of the age difference.

Go ahead og held og lykke.
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odinthor

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 3:02 pm

Putting it plainly: Not covering the death will make readers wonder what else you might have passed over out of personal distaste, a thought which would lead them to the next stage: Wondering if the whole book is really valid, or instead is manipulated in ways both large and small to suit personal preferences. While self-indulgence can be a good thing in abstract or fictional works of art (see the final lines of my recent review here of Tales of Hoffmann!), the writer of non-fiction owes his/her readers “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” An artist’s personality casts light on his/her work. There’s really no more intimate aspect of one’s personality than one’s choices concerning Death. For practical considerations as an author, and fairness both to the reader and to Max, it's best that you do it. I suspect that, afterwards, you'll find that dealing with it has enriched you; and you can thank Max for that!
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Smari1989

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 7:27 pm

Again, thanks for the responses, everyone. Yes, as implied in my previous post here, I do think I'll manage to reach an acceptable balance (as I see it, anyway); I won't spend pages upon pages dwelling on the tragedy, but I will report what happened according to the press, and also share some perspectives without, hopefully, appearing too speculative.
Last edited by Smari1989 on Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hamilton's Grandson

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 9:29 am

Perhaps you can also touch upon the depression that he endured immediately after serving in WW1 (PTSD?) that ultimately may have lead to taking his and someone else's life. Increasing awareness of untreated mental illness may give the modern audience of your book a reason why this happened. Best of luck...
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Smari1989

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 11:06 am

Yes, I will write about Linder's depression in the last chapter(s) of the book - which, as so often has been said, was undoubtedly much worsened by the War - but do try to not be too speculative, of course. PTSD seems quite probable to me as well.
Thanks!
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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostSun Mar 19, 2017 5:56 pm

Much what's been written about his war experiences, seems to have been highly exaggerated or flatly wrong (with Linder's participation and/or permission). What can be backed up by historical sources is, that he actively participated in the war for only about two month in 1914, and that he was officially discharged in March 1915.
So, he was certainly not gassed, because those attacks didn't occur until 1916, and whether he was 'really' wounded or 'just' fell ill again, is not yet clear.
There are reports however, that he has been a "melancholic all his life" and that he was a very jealous person, a combination that ultimately turned deadly after he met his future wife in 1922/23.
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Smari1989

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Re: Advice appreciated - on dealing with Linder's passing

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 6:49 am

Yes his treatment of his wife also before the tragedy in late 1925 is indeed disturbing. I'm aware that there are some quite conflicting reports of his War experiences, and will soon do more research on this - but as of now, at least, I do believe the months he spent there most likely had an unfortunate impact regardless. I appreciate the input!
Max Linder blog: http://maxlinderblog.wordpress.com

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