Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith (Paperback)

Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith By William Todd Schultz Cover Image
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Elliott Smith was one of the most gifted songwriters of the '90s, adored by fans for his subtly melancholic words and melodies. He died violently in LA in 2003, under what some believe to be questionable circumstances, of stab wounds to the chest. By this time fame had found him, and record-buyers who shared the listening experience felt he spoke directly to them from beyond: astute, damaged, lovelorn, fighting until he could fight no more. And yet Smith remained unknowable. In Torment Saint, William Todd Schultz gives us the definitive biography of the rock star, imbued with affection, authority, sensitivity, and long-awaited clarity.

Torment Saint draws on Schultz's careful, deeply knowledgeable readings and insights, as well as on more than 150 hours of interviews with close friends from Texas to Los Angeles, lovers, bandmates, music peers, managers, label owners, and recording engineers and producers. This book unravels the remaining mysteries of Smith's life and his shocking, too early end. It's an indispensable examination of his life and legacy.

About the Author

William Todd Schultz is a professor of psychology at Pacific University in Oregon, focusing on personality research and psychobiography. He edited and contributed to the groundbreaking Handbook of Psychobiography, and curates the book series Inner Lives, analyses of significant artists and political figures. His own book in the series, Tiny Terror, examines the life of Truman Capote. Todd Schultz blogs for Psychology Today.

Praise For…

“In Torment Saint, William Todd Schultz has written his own kind of love song--an account of Smith's life that does full justice to his memory and the impressive legacy of his art . . . A persuasive reckoning with Elliott's inner demons and--much more important--a full appreciation and celebration, of his undeniable genius.” —Bookforum

“Rigorously researched . . . Offers the deepest, most informative look into the singer-songwriter's tortured life.” —BuzzFeed, "Books Every Music Lover Should Read"

Torment Saint will likely go down as the definitive biography.” —PASTE Magazine

“Elliott Smith, whose soul presides over the lives of melancholy indie rockers, gets the wake song he deserves in William Todd Schultz's Torment Saint.” —Vanity Fair

“Schultz brings to his work a deep understanding of how inner and outer landscapes can affect unique and sensitive artists . . . But no matter how dark Smith's story gets, Schultz never loses sight of the beauty of his music.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Torment Saint is a highly readable, headlong dive into the far end of a tormented artist's head space. It's a cloudy, gray place at times, but even the saddest, darkest moments contain a beautiful silver lining.” —Willamette Week

“Persuasive . . . Exposes surprises across the songwriter's body of work . . . An admirably well-written biography with much to offer . . . Essential for fans of Smith [but] more than worthwhile for any pop music fan.” —Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781620407844
ISBN-10: 1620407841
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 368
Language: English