Issue Categories Archives: Biography

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’

Write That Down is a compilation of notes and reflections on Frederick’s personal and professional friendship with Charles Pierce.

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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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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

  Billy Name: The Silver Age: Black and White Photographs from Andy Warhol’s Factory Edited by Dagon James Reel Art Press. 448 pages, $75.     EVEN IF you don’t recognize the name, you are probably familiar with some of the images captured by photographer Billy Name. Certainly this is the case if you have […]

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What Makes an Economist Great?

  Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines Basic Books. 432 pages, $29.99     JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES would not make a great Hollywood protagonist, at least based on Richard Davenport-Hines’ biography. It’s hard to identify a breakthrough moment, any dramatic shift, in the life of the most important economist of […]

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Poet of Desire

  Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke by Paul Delany McGill-Queen’s University Press 380 pages, $34.95   RUPERT BROOKE is one of those figures who continually haunt the periphery of literature, a figure of myth and uncertainty. Chief among his attributes is that he is forever linked with the generation of English poets who […]

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Baldwin the Shape-Shifter

  All Those Strangers: The Art and Lives of James Baldwin by Douglas Field Oxford University Press 220 pages, $29.98   THIS STUDY is hard to categorize—which, given its subject, is neither surprising nor a criticism. It is definitely not a chronological biography of Baldwin; we learn little about certain periods of his life. Nor […]

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