Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay (2001)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375760814, Paperback)Fans of Zelda, Nancy Milford's groundbreaking (and bestselling) biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald's tortured wife and muse, have been waiting impatiently since 1970 for Milford's promised follow-up about poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). It's finally here, and they will not be disappointed. Milford's vivid narrative limns an electric personality with psychological acuity while capturing the freewheeling atmosphere of America in the turbulent years following World War I. After "Renascence" was published (when she was only 20) and she moved to Greenwich Village, Millay was the queen of bohemia, taking lovers with zest and voicing the reckless gaiety of a generation in her famous lyric, "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." With her flame-red hair, milk-white skin, and a voice that thrilled audiences (making her poetry readings a welcome source of income), Millay was the archetypal "new woman": powerful, passionate, and not to be ignored. But Milford makes it clear that her first loyalty was to her mother and sisters, and her deepest commitment to her writing. This juicy chronicle has famous names aplenty--critic Edmund Wilson and Masses editor Floyd Dell were among the men devastated by her refusal to be faithful--and lots of dissipation: Millay drank heavily and became addicted to morphine. It also takes a perceptive look at how an artist draws material from her life and at the strategies she uses to protect the wellsprings of creativity. Brief passages interspersed throughout delineating Milford's interactions with Norma Millay, the poet's younger sister and literary executor, might have been self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing; instead they offer intriguing snapshots of the complex process by which biography is made. The resulting book is a tour de force, and wildly entertaining as well. --Wendy Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:28 -0400)
"If F. Scott Fitzgerald was the hero of the Jazz Age, Edna St. Vincent Millay, as audacious in her love affairs as she was in her art, was its heroine. She embodied, in her reckless fancy, the spirit of the New Woman, and gave America its voice." "The first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Millay was dazzling in the performance of her self. Her voice was an instrument of seduction, and her impact on crowds, and on men, was legendary. Young women styled themselves in her image - fairylike, taunting, free. Yet beneath her studied act, all was not well." "Nancy Milford was given exclusive access to Millay's papers, and what she found was an unimaginable treasure. Hundreds of letters flew back and forth between the three sisters and their mother - and Millay kept the most intimate diary, one whose ruthless honesty brings to mind the journals of Sylvia Plath."--BOOK JACKET.
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.