Savage Beauty

Savage Beauty

The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Book - 2001
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Thirty years after the smashing success ofZelda, Nancy Milford returns with a stunning second act.Savage Beautyis the portrait of a passionate, fearless woman who obsessed American ever as she tormented herself. If F. Scott Fitzgerald was the hero of the Jazz Age, Edna St. Vincent Millay, as flamboyant in her love affairs as she was in her art, was its heroine. The first woman ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, Millay was dazzling in the performance of herself. Her voice was likened to an instrument of seduction and her impact on crowds, and on men, was legendary. Yet beneath her studied act, all was not well. Milford calls her book "a family romance"--for the love between the three Millay sisters and their mother was so deep as to be dangerous. As a family, they were like real-lifeLittle Women, with a touch ofMommie Dearest. Nancy Milford was given exclusive access to Millay's papers, and what she found was an extraordinary treasure. Boxes and boxes of letter flew back and forth among the three sisters and their mother--and Millay kept the most intimate diary, one whose ruthless honesty brings to mind Sylvia Plath. Written with passion and flair,Savage Beautyis an iconic portrait of a woman's life.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780394575896
Characteristics: xviii, 550 p., [32] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm


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Apr 18, 2018

The complex life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, told through well-researched letters and journals from her estate. The eldest of 3 daughters who lived in extreme poverty with their divorced mother in Rockland Maine, Edna honed her poetry writing at Camden High School. Her controversial fourth place prize in a Lyric competition for "Renascence" brought notoriety and the attention of a wealthy arts patron who paid for her matriculation at Vassar. Millay's vast talent, and bohemian reputation brought her meteoric fame. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923, the third woman to do so. Living a life of passion and extremes' Millay died in her early 50's. As a school girl (and fellow Down Easter) I learned the G-rated
version of Millay's life in school. Interesting to learn the rest of the story.

Apr 27, 2017

I suppose Millay's poetry is considered old-fashioned today because it's:
a. Lyrical and humanistic b. Comprehensible and c. Mostly metric
All of which makes it enjoyable for me (and catalogues me as hopelessly out of date). Like so many of my own (and a previous) generation, she had me at "My candle burns at both ends...."
But this remarkably authentic biography goes far beyond exposing Vincent the girl poet and popular sensation of her day. Milford explores the passionate, driven, rebellious woman in all her guises.


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