Hidden Tapestry reveals the unforgettable story of Flemish American artist Jan Yoors—childhood vagabond, wartime Resistance fighter, and polyamorous New York bohemian. At the peak of his fame in the 1970s, Yoors’s photographs and vast tapestries inspired a dedicated following in his adopted Manhattan and earned him international acclaim. Though his intimate friends guessed the rough outline of his colorful life, Hidden Tapestry is first to detail his astonishing secrets.
At twelve, Jan’s life took an extraordinary and unexpected turn when, lured by stories of Gypsies, he wandered off with a group of Roma and continued to live on-and-off with them and with his own family for several years. As an adult in German-occupied France, Yoors joined the Resistance and persuaded his adoptive Roma family to fight alongside him. Defying repeated arrests and torture by the Gestapo, he worked first as a saboteur and later escorted Allied soldiers trapped behind German lines across the Pyrenees to freedom.
After the war, he married childhood friend Annabert van Wettum and embarked on his career as an artist. When a friend of Annabert’s, Marianne Citroen, modeled for Yoors, the two began an affair, which led the three to form a polyamorous family that would last for the rest of their lives. Moving to New York, the trio became part of the bohemian life of Greenwich Village in the 1950s.
Told in arresting detail by Debra Dean, best-selling author of The Madonnas of Leningrad, Yoors’s story is a luminous and inspiring account of resilience, resourcefulness, and love.
Although Pablo Picasso's name is virtually synonymous with modernity, his late graphics repeatedly turn back to the traditional theme of the artist and model. Had the aging artist turned reactionary, or is Picasso's treatment of the theme more subversive than anyone has suspected?
In this innovative study, Karen L. Kleinfelder rejects the claim that Picasso's later work was a failure. The failing, she claims, lies more in the way we typically have read the images, treating them merely as reflections of an "old-age" style or of the artist's private life.
Focusing on graphics dating from 1954 to 1970, Kleinfelder shows how Picasso plays with the artist-model theme to extend, subvert, and parody both the possibilities and limits of representation. For Kleinfelder, Picasso's graphic work both mystifies and demystifies the creative process, venerates and mocks the effects of aging and the artist's self-image as a living "old master," and acknowledges and denies his own fear of death.
Using recent interpretive and literary theory, Kleinfelder probes the three-way relationship between artist, model, and canvas. The dynamics of this relationship provided Picasso with an open-ended textual framework for exploring the dichotomies of man/woman, self/other, and vitality/mortality. What unfolds is the artist's struggle not only with the impossibility of representing the model on canvas, but also with the inevitability of his own death.
Kleinfelder explores how Picasso's means of pursuing these issues allows him to defer closure on a long, productive career. By focusing on the graphics rather than the paintings, Kleinfelder contradicts the primacy of the painted "masterpiece"; she steers the reader away from the assumption that the artist must work toward creating a final body of work that signifies the culmination of his search for a coherent identify.
Picasso's search, she argues, realizes itself in the creative process. She interprets the late graphics not as a biographical statement but as a tool for investigating the possibilities of representation within the limits of Picasso's medium and his lifetime. Richly illustrated, Kleinfelder's book will open up new approaches to the late work of this complex artist.
From the award-winning author of Poe the Detective: The Curious Circumstances Behind "The Mystery of Marie Roget"comes a compelling argument for the identity of Emily Dickinson’s true love
Proud of my broken heart
Since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I
Did not feel till thee . . .
Those words were written by Emily Dickinson to a married man. Who was he?
For a century or more the identity of Emily Dickinson’s mysterious “Master” has been eagerly sought, especially since three letters from her to him were found and published in 1955. In Emily Dickinson in Love, John Evangelist Walsh provides the first book-length treatment of this fascinating subject, offering a solution based wholly on documented facts and the poet’s own writings.
Crafting the affair as a love story of rare appeal, and writing with exquisite attention to detail, in Part I Walsh reveals and meticulously proves the Master to be Otis Lord, a friend of the poet’s father and a man of some reputation in law and politics. Part II portrays the full dimensions of their thirty-year romance, most of it clandestine, including a series of secret meetings in Boston.
After uncovering and confirming the Master’s identity, Walsh fits that information into known events of Emily’s life to make sense of facts long known but little understood—Emily’s decision to dress always in white, for instance, or her extreme withdrawal from a normal existence when she had previously been an active, outgoing friend to many men and women.
In a lengthy section of Notes and Sources, Walsh presents his proofs in abundant detail, demonstrating that the evidence favors one man so irresistibly that there is left no room for doubt. Each reader will decide if he has truly succeeded in making the case for Otis Lord.
In Empire's Mistress Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez follows the life of Filipina vaudeville and film actress Isabel Rosario Cooper, who was the mistress of General Douglas MacArthur. If mentioned at all, their relationship exists only as a salacious footnote in MacArthur's biography—a failed love affair between a venerated war hero and a young woman of Filipino and American heritage. Following Cooper from the Philippines to Washington, D.C. to Hollywood, where she died penniless, Gonzalez frames her not as a tragic heroine, but as someone caught within the violent histories of U.S. imperialism. In this way, Gonzalez uses Cooper's life as a means to explore the contours of empire as experienced on the scale of personal relationships. Along the way, Gonzalez fills in the archival gaps of Cooper's life with speculative fictional interludes that both unsettle the authority of “official” archives and dislodge the established one-dimensional characterizations of her. By presenting Cooper as a complex historical subject who lived at the crossroads of American colonialism in the Philippines, Gonzalez demonstrates how intimacy and love are woven into the infrastructure of empire.
In 1815, Goethe gave symbolic expression to his intense relationship with Marianne Willemer, a recently married woman thirty-five years his junior. He gave her a leaf from the ginkgo tree, explaining that, like its deeply cleft yet still whole leaf, he was "single yet twofold." Although it is not known if their relationship was ever consummated, they did exchange love poetry, and Goethe published several of Marianne's poems in his West-East Divan without crediting her authorship.
In this beautiful little book, renowned Goethe scholar Siegfried Unseld considers what this episode means to our estimation of a writer many consider nearly godlike in stature. Unseld begins by exploring the botanical and medical lore of the ginkgo, including the use of its nut as an aphrodisiac and anti-aging serum. He then delves into Goethe's writings for the light they shed on his relationship with Marianne. Unseld reveals Goethe as a great yet human being, subject, as any other man, to the vagaries of passion.
Reviews of this book: "This is a wonderful book...lucid, cultivated, amiable...[His Other Half] is a model of the kind of flexible, interdisciplinary culture criticism that is desperately needed to bridge the gap between the general reader and the academic ghetto. Lesser, moving with graceful ease from literature and art to photography and cinema, is concerned with the image of woman as refracted through male imagination...Wendy Lesser has made an important contribution."
--Camille Paglia, Washington Post Book World
"Wendy Lesser bases her group of essays on the idea that certain male artists are in search of their own lost or hidden female selves, and that the success of their search can be measured by the way such rescued selves are freed by the artist and given independent life in his works of art...Ms. Lesser is excellent on the force of Dickens's sentimentality...Her discussion of Degas's nudes is very moving...[and] her discussion of Alfred Hitchcock is really magnificent."
--Anne Hollander, New York Times Book Review
"[A] stimulating collection of essays...His Other Half is an arresting work of criticism. Lesser writes with volatile wit, an eager, almost breezy confidence and a palpable pleasure in reading and looking and analyzing--and in the suppleness of her own cleverness. She ranges from Henry James to Alfred Hitchcock, with chapters on Cecil Beaton's photographs, Degas's pastels, Barbara Stanwyck as The Lady Eve and Stella Dallas, and shows the kind of zapping glee throughout that recalls the wisecracking heroines of screwball comedies."
--Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement
"In this wise and generous book, Lesser enables her readers to go further than they might have expected, both in looking at the artists she has written about and in searching internally for their points of resonance."
In explaining an improbable liaison and its consequences, A Mattress Maker's Daughter explores changing concepts of love and romance, new standards of public and private conduct, and emerging attitudes toward property and legitimacy just as the age of Renaissance humanism gives way to the Counter Reformation and Early Modern Europe.
“The mourning never stops, it just changes.” (Edward Albee) For Claude Monet (1840–1926), the founder of French Impressionist painting, these words are a fitting testament to his lifelong relationship with the female muse, most notably—and most hauntingly—with his first wife, the model Camille Doncieux.
For the esteemed clinical psychologist and art historian Mary Mathews Gedo, Monet and His Muse represents a project twenty years in the making. Artfully interweaving biographical insight with psychoanalytic criticism, Gedo takes us on an exploration of Claude Monet’s conflicted relationships with women, complete with exquisitely researched material never before understood about one of our most popular—and inimitable—artists. Beginning with Monet’s childhood, Gedo delves into his relationships with a distant, unreliable father and his beloved, doting mother—whose death when Monet was just sixteen, the author establishes, inspired a lifetime preoccupation with the sea, its lushly imagined flora, and the figurative landscapes Monet painted to such acclaim.
And then—Camille. Entering Monet’s life when he was still a young man, becoming first his model and then mistress and then—finally—his wife, Camille Doncieux always fulfilled the function of muse, even after her life had ended, as Monet not only painted her one last time on her deathbed, but preserved her memory through the gardens he planted at his home in Giverny. Demonstrating how Monet’s connections with women were exceedingly complex, fraught with abusive impulses and infantile longing, Gedo sensitively uses Monet and Camille as exemplars in order to explore links between artists and muses in our modern age.
Vita Sackville-West, novelist, poet, and biographer, is best known as the friend of Virginia Woolf, who transformed her into an androgynous time-traveler in Orlando. The story of Sackville-West's marriage to Harold Nicolson is one of intrigue and bewilderment. In Portrait of a Marriage, their son Nigel combines his mother's memoir with his own explanations and what he learned from their many letters. Even during her various love affairs with women, Vita maintained a loving marriage with Harold. Portrait of a Marriage presents an often misunderstood but always fascinating couple.
"Portrait of a Marriage is as close to a cry from the heart as anybody writing in English in our time has come, and it is a cry that, once heard, is not likely ever to be forgotten. . . . Unexpected and astonishing."—Brendan Gill, New Yorker
"The charm of this book lies in the elegance of its narration, the taste with which their son has managed to convey the real, enduring quality of his parents' love for each other."—Doris Grumbach, New Republic
Robert Lowell in Love
Jeffrey Meyers University of Massachusetts Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3523.O89Z7878 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.52
Robert Lowell was known not only as a great poet but also as a writer whose devotion to his art came at a tremendous personal cost. In this book, his third on Robert Lowell, Jeffrey Meyers examines the poet's impassioned, troubled relationships with the key women in his life: his mother, Charlotte Winslow Lowell; his three wives—Jean Stafford, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Caroline Blackwood; nine of his many lovers; his close women friends—Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Bishop, and Adrienne Rich; and his most talented students, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.
Lowell's charismatic personality, compelling poetry, and literary fame attracted lovers and friends who were both frightened and excited by his aura of brilliance and danger. He loved the idea of falling in love, and in his recurring manic episodes he needed women at the center of his emotional and artistic life. Each affair became an intense dramatic episode. Though he idealized his loves and encouraged their talents, his frenetic affairs and tortured marriages were always conducted on his own terms. Robert Lowell in Love tells the story of the poet in the grip of love and gives voice to the women who loved him, inspired his poetry, and suffered along with him.
Although Prussia’s beloved Queen Luise and the Swiss-born aristocrat and writer Germaine de Staël were Napoleon Bonaparte’s best-known female opponents, women’s discontent with Napoleon and the Napoleonic wars was more widespread—and vocal—than once assumed. Women against Napoleon expands our awareness of the range of women’s responses to the despot by presenting an international spectrum of female opposition, including contemporary letters, diaries, and published writings, as well as historical fiction of the twentieth century. By setting these materials together, this volume forges new links between literary, historical, and gender scholarship.
Zane Grey was a disappointed aspirant to major league baseball and an unhappy dentist when he belatedly decided to take up writing at the age of thirty. He went on to become the most successful American author of the 1920s, a significant figure in the early development of the film industry, and a central player in the early popularity of the Western.
Thomas H. Pauly's work is the first full-length biography of Grey to appear in over thirty years. Using a hitherto unknown trove of letters and journals, including never-before-seen photographs of his adventures--both natural and amorous--Zane Grey has greatly enlarged and radically altered the current understanding of the superstar author, whose fifty-seven novels and one hundred and thirty movies heavily influenced the world's perception of the Old West.