Edna st vincent millay recording
The unglamorous intestinal business was left out of the story. According to Epstein, who tends to hero-worship Millay's cultivated husband "Master chef and connoisseur of wines During this period Millay's work remained taut and successful, particularly a libretto for Deems Taylor's opera The King's Henchman ; sales of the printed version proved as robust as the reviews. While the great modernists were refracting themselves ever more obliquely into ever more elusive personae, Millay was a frail but flamboyant actual presence on hundreds of stages across the country.
Milford brings her tiny frame back out in front of the lights, "dressed in a long gown of heavy creamy silk, her hair a flame of red. The domestic contentments of an overcivilized marriage were in some ways more suited to prose, but an affair with the young poet George Dillon, begun when she was thirty-six and he twenty-one, left Millay, according to Epstein, "in perfect ecstatic condition to write love sonnets of longing, despair, and grandiose aspirations. As the affair stretched on with the two lovers in Paris, he instructed his wife, "Settle down quietly, Edna, take a place for a year or come back here with him, do what you like Actually, no.
Before the affair had even reached its climax, Millay produced the sonnet sequence Fatal Interview , with herself playing Selene to Dillon's Endymion. In a sonnet addressed to Boissevain, Millay turned his horns into laurels. As for the callow shepherd, after winning his own Pulitzer in , for The Flowering Stone , Dillon never produced another book of poetry. Thirty years have passed since Nancy Milford published her best-selling biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, a subject with obvious links to a poet she now says "gave the Jazz Age its lyric voice.
But the latter, a woman of little talent and monotonous instability, was more than anything a bore. So, finally, was Zelda. Millay, with her genuinely complex talent, is a much richer subject—if one resists the impulse to overrate her. She may have given the Jazz Age its lyric voice, but she also had the big-top touch of Carl Sandburg and some other literary hustlers of the time.
I'm not sure that Millay is worth thirty years of anyone's writing life, but after making numerous references to her s visits with Norma Millay at Steepletop now a National Historic Landmark , Milford offers no explanation for the long delay of Savage Beauty. There's a nice Aspern Papers feel to these encounters between the biographer and the surviving sister, who was by turns protective and jealous. In a wonderful scene Milford watches Norma slip Millay's Vassar class ring onto her own finger.
I was keeping house, that's all.
Three decades should have been enough time to pare away sentences like "One can almost feel the heat from the sparks flying from her pen" and to realize that readers requiring a definition of "appeasement"—Milford gives one—are unlikely to know who Edna Ferber was without some identification. For all its pleasures and general thoroughness, there is a disjointed quality to Milford's entire production. A number of incidents and figures, Boissevain included, take to the page only half explained or introduced; subsequent references assume a reader's acquaintance with facts that Milford provides only later still.
Epstein is a more prolific and versatile writer seven volumes of poetry, a biography of Nat King Cole , and his tone is sometimes buoyant to the point of flippancy. He, too, breezes in and out of the book, a bit less successfully than Milford, as if he sees no difference between a preface and a text: "It is my opinion that Hooley had something to hide," he says with sudden first-personality several chapters into the body of his book; "but I can educe no evidence to prove this—it's only a biographer's hunch.
Epstein must be annoyed by the star machinery that's been revved for the long-awaited Milford book, already excerpted in Vanity Fair— a magazine for which Millay wrote pieces under the name Nancy Boyd. And one can bet that Milford is galled by seeing the latecomer Epstein piggyback onto her subject and her reviews. But that's what she gets for taking so long. Epstein got to the Millay papers after Norma died and they were transferred to the Library of Congress.
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He mentions Milford only as a "biographer whom [Norma] engaged to write a book in the s," and Milford doesn't mention him at all. But the reader of both books will come away with no appreciably different estimations of Edna St. Vincent Millay's life and work—both of which ended badly.
During the s and s Millay became more and more depressed and alcoholic, and then, after a painful auto accident, ferociously addicted to morphine.
The dope-taking logs, kept mostly in Boissevain's handwriting and described by Milford, are harrowing. In an act of uxorious folly Boissevain started using the drug too—in order to know Millay's suffering, Milford suggests; to show her how to withdraw, Epstein argues. Millay eventually did kick the habit, but booze undid her remaining health and confidence. Wilson wrote,. Her poetry had gone downhill too.
Shahirah Majumdar is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light. Notify me of follow-up comments via email.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
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Edna St. Vincent Millay reading her poetry. (Audiobook on LP, ) [dopalcarapwheelc.gq]
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