Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters by Rosanna Warren

Max Jacob wrote some fine poetry. He was also a capable painter who could always dash off a few charming gouache landscapes when in need of money.

But Jacob had the misfortune of being a contemporary of Picasso’s and Modigliani’s, both of whom painted his portrait, along with Guillaume Apollinaire, who name-checks his fellow author in one of his poems. Jacob’s own work is hardly forgotten and retains a small dedicated following in France. He nonetheless seems destined to continue to be defined by the more illustrious figures with whom he shared the cultural stage. Jacob is the Ringo Starr of modernist French literature.