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Diametrically opposite points of view and interpretations revealed in the two books. Whistler's mother was the second wife; in the Mumford book she is presented as sympathetic and devoted in her relations with her step-daughter, and the whole approach is frankly sentimentalized. In the Parry book, she is pictured as having made a dead set for a husband, as jealous and suspicious of her step-daughter, as crabbed and difficult both as wife and mother. Whistler's father was an interesting figure, and the experience in Russia; where he built the first railroad for the Russian Czar, is fresh and well handled. Parry ""takes off the gloves"" -- and paints no rose-colored picture of young Whistler or his mother, but the book ends with Whistler senior's death, while the boy was only about thirteen, and -- as a portrait of the artist it is relatively unimportant. Common source material is readily recognizable and the paradox of opposing interpretations, from the same sources, makes it an interesting comparative study. Mrs. Whistler lived to be seventy-five, so Whistler junior plays a more important part in the Mumford book, and comes off none too well.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1939
ISBN: 1406775940
Publisher: Bobbs, Merrill