Saturday, February 27, 2010

Irwin Shaw & Rich Man Poor Man

I noticed from Wikipedia's lists of births and deaths of the great and good that today was the birthday of novelist Irwin Shaw. His best-known novel, probably because it was adapted for TV as a mini-series in the mid-1970s, is Rich Man Poor Man. That mini-series paved the way for many others - it was the original, and perhaps that's why it has remained in my memory so clearly after all these years. Or perhaps it was the portrayals of the brothers by young Nick Nolte and Peter Strauss that made the tale so memorable.

Rich Man Poor Man is the story of two brothers (a sister appears in the book, but not the TV series) during the period following World War 2 - 1945 to the early 1960s. The two brothers, Rudy and Tom Jordache were, in nature, polar opposites (of course!) I doubt that Irwin Shaw had astrology in mind, but Rudy was archetypal entrepreneur business man, driven by Saturn/Capricorn/Leo, a touch of Virgo too. Tom the disreputable rebel with his heart in the right place - Uranus/Mars/Aquarius, with a touch of Cancerian sensitivity.

Shaw achieved more critical acclaim for his short stories than for his novels, but TV producers and movie makers saw potential in his novels. As he'd started out script-writing for radio shows such as Dick Tracy, it could be that his natural writing style favoured adaptation to audio/visual media. Not all writers have such a style, nor would the more elitist among their number seek to acquire it.

Irwin Shaw was born on 27 February 1913 in The Bronx, New York. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants, which fact, later in life, caused him to move to settle in Europe for 25 years, after the McCarthy shenanigans, when he was placed on the Hollywood blacklist.

There's not much detail of his personal life on-line, other than two tidbits, and both come out in several of his novels: that he was a keen sportsman, and generally left-leaning politically. In Rich Man Poor Man Shaw's proletarian sympathy is summed up by one character's rule-of-thumb: "Never trust the rich."

Irwin Shaw is another example of the Pisces/Aquarius mix I've been encountering recently in my posts. His Sun and Mercury are in Pisces, but it's energetic and sporty Mars conjunct rebellious Uranus in Aquarius semi-sextiling his natal Pisces Sun which is the true key to his nature I suspect.

Unless he was born before 1am his natal Moon was in ebullient Sagittarius, and likely formed a planetary chain of harmonious aspects: Moon semi-sextile its ruler Jupiter, semi-sextile Mars/Uranus, semi-sextile Sun. An indication of a well-integrated personality, I'd say. And there's more... because if you move in the other direction : from Mercury to Venus, a semi-sextile, with another semi-sextile to Saturn, same on to Pluto, same to Neptune. So there are two separate planetary chains going on, one covering Pisces to Sagittarius, the other Pisces to Cancer. Fascinating! The broad interpretation: a well-integrated personality, with a variety of skills and interests.


Wisewebwoman said...

I read a few of his books, T and enjoyed them for the simple escapism in them, he could weave a good tale!

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, a master storyteller.
I reckon there are two kinds of writers: the storyteller and the artist with words. There are very few genius authors able to combine the two skills because one seems to get in the way of the other.

Shaw was a storyteller. :-)