Browsing: Biography

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FRANCES BINGHAM has written a biography that reads like an Iris Murdoch novel, specifically A Fairly Honourable Defeat. It’s a moving portrait of the life of British poet Valentine Ackland (1906–1969), but it’s also about her longtime companion Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893–1978), an accomplished novelist and poet.

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[O]ne can hope that future biographers will build on [Troy R.] Saxby’s exploration of the human side of Pauli Murray, so that she can take her place in the pantheon of LGBT thinkers and activists.

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Francesca Wade wants us to rediscover the five subjects of the book within “a sense of place”—Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury, London. The author offers mini-profiles of five writers: All five who resided at Mecklenburgh Square at some point between 1916 and 1940.

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            Morris Kight lived a life dedicated to the biblical entreaty “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” His devotion to the value of every individual is inspiring, especially in times such as ours. Mary Ann Cherry has produced an account of a  pioneers of LGBT liberation whose achievements deserve to be acknowledged and remembered.

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Inseparable since adolescence, both men [Ed Wormley and Ed Crouse] came out to their families at eighteen, and without any notable wringing of hands—perhaps in part because as announced atheists and aspiring æsthetes they’d already come to be regarded as creatures outside community norms. Both men came from financially modest and emotionally cramped backgrounds.

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Embedded within this narrative of a Congressional career is the tale of the scandal that rocketed Studds to national fame. This involved his tryst with a Congressional page.

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Many more albums would follow over the ensuing fifteen years, featuring numerous songs that are now standards by Freddie Mercury, notably “Somebody to Love” (1976, the source of this book’s title), “We Are the Champions” (1977), and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1979).

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In Jane Crow, Rosalind Rosenberg delineates Murray’s education, career, and personal life in the context of American history.

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CLAUDE CAHUN may not be particularly well known outside the art world, but this highly readable biography of the 20th-century French writer, artist, and photographer ought to help change this situation.

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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 ascendance (such as Kingsley Amis and Anthony Burgess). However, as journalist Philip Eade argues in his new biography, “revisiting” Waugh to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death, he is now celebrated as one of the greatest English satirical novelists of the 20th century.

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