Forging Fame: The Strange Career Of Scharmel Iris

July 16, 2007|
Forging Fame: The Strange Career Of Scharmel Iris by Craig Abbott
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If poets are \u201cliars by profession,\u201d Sharmel Iris was truly professional. Poet, plagiarist, imposter, and forger, Iris engaged in a lifelong campaign of self-promotion that linked him to a constellation of leading writers and public figures-among them T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Joyce Kilmer, Ezra Pound, Dame Edith Sitwell, Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Wrigley, and Woodrow Wilson. \u201cOf poets writing today, there is no greater,\u201dstates a preface, signed by W.B. Yeats, to one of IrisÆs volumes of poetry-although at the time of publication Yeats had been dead for several years.

As a child, Iris had emigrated from Italy with his mother, who arrived in Chicago in pursuit of the American dream. Driven by ambition and narcissism, he began publishing poetry in 1905, participated in the Chicago Renaissance, and continued publishing until two years before his death in 1967.

With energy and persistance, the minor Chicago poet insinuated himself among the great and famous and simulated a life of literary stardom. IrisÆs self-projection as a neglected poetic genius often was designed to translate into monetary value, while confirming his role behind the scenes of 20th-century literary history.

Examining IrisÆs grandiose fantasy, Abbott exposes his forgery, plagiarism, and imposture. Granting Iris the attention he haplessly courted all his life, Abbott discovers a forger of fame whose story provides a commentary, often parodic, on the place of poetry in his time.

Craig Abbott, a professor emeritus of Northern Illinois University, is author of several studies on modern American poetry.
Title:Forging Fame: The Strange Career Of Scharmel IrisFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:204 pages, 8.5 X 5.5 X 0.8 inShipping dimensions:204 pages, 8.5 X 5.5 X 0.8 inPublished:July 16, 2007Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0875803768

ISBN - 13:9780875803760

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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