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Issue Categories Archives: Biography

Waugh’s Life Reconsidered: Still Dismal

  Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited by Philip Eade Henry Holt and Company 432 pages, $32.   WHEN EVELYN WAUGH died of a sudden heart attack at 62 on Easter Sunday, 1966, his literary reputation was in decline, his work seen as nostalgic and retrograde compared to the issue-oriented social realism of writers then in […]

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Where to Find Virginia Woolf

IN THIS CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY of Virginia Woolf, Ira Nadel takes us on a tour of the places of significance in Woolf’s life while drawing connections among these places, her relationships, and her writings.

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Kirstein’s Letters 2: Friends & Lovers

  In Part I of this essay, published in the January-February 2017 issue of this magazine, I described the recent discovery of a large amount of new archival material on Lincoln Kirstein, America’s “cultural czar” for much of the 20th century. The material is now housed in two manuscript depositories, the Houghton Library at Harvard […]

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And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens

Nevertheless, Ibell tries hard to rescue the plays that the critics serially panned after his last commercial hit, The Night of the Iguana. Plays like And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, Steps Must Be Gentle, and Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws were experimental, openly concerned with homosexuals, and mostly one-acts.

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A Foremother of Lesbian Publishing

notes, and a useful index. Joanne Passet has done justice to a complex personality who played an indispensable role in the development of lesbian publishing. Barbara Grier loved books and was on a mission to make lesbian-oriented books readily available to their intended readers. Her relentless drive to fulfill this mission led to conflict, which makes for good reading in a biography; but much of the conflict came from Grier’s own shortcomings, which makes her achievement seem bittersweet.

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Reassessing a 19th-century Novelist

IF WRITER Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) is remembered today, it is usually for her close friendship and literary rivalry with Henry James. Both writers had made a pact early in their friendship to burn their correspondence, and much of their relationship remains wreathed in mystery.

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The Definitive ‘Miss Bette Davis’

KIRK FREDERICK’S biography of “male actress” Charles Pierce (1926-1999), Write That Down, greets the eye with an iconic photograph of Pierce impersonating Bette Davis, his signature role.

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No Modifier Required

Although [Terrence] McNally’s gay bona fides are beyond question, he resists being labeled a “gay playwright.”

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Lewd

THINGS I WAS surprised to learn in William E. Jones’ biography of the legendary pornographer … Boyd McDonald: first, that he got the idea for his magazine Straight to Hell after reading a passage in Myra Breckinridge lambasting circumcision; second …

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The Factory from the Inside

Even if you don’t recognize the name, you are probably familiar with some of the images captured by photographer Billy Name.

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