Introduction
Renaissance Man in search of a soul
in Derek Jarman
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Before he died in 1994 Derek Jarman had achieved distinction in an astonishing number of different activities - as a film director, painter, writer, set designer, gardener, and political activist. He was a true 'Renaissance Man' in the colloquial sense of the word, as well as having a strong and permanent interest in the art, thought, and literature of the Renaissance. His career was unique in many respects and there are no obvious immediate successors to him, but his influence continues to be apparent in a large number of recent films. Like most Englishmen prior to the end of the twentieth century, he elided English with British national identity in a seemingly unproblematic way. Although the tone of Jarman's films is frequently melancholic, the threat which death poses for desire is sometimes modulated by an apparent desire for death.

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