THE WHITE BLACKBIRD

A LIFE OF THE PAINTER MARGARETT SARGENT BY HER GRANDDAUGHTER

A compelling biography of a troubled socialite and talented but minor artist. Rich, charming, and a drop-dead beauty, Margarett Sargent (18921978) was also a footnote in the history of art. An independent spirit from the start, Sargent challenged her conservative and wealthy Bostonian family by pursuing a career, first as a sculptor of portrait busts and later as a painter. She studied with, among others, Gutzon Borglum (of Mount Rushmore fame) at his art camp in Turn of River, Conn., and George Luks, who became Sargent's most important mentor and friend. She exhibited fairly regularly in solo and group shows between 1916 and 1936. Critic Henry McBride wrote in 1930: ``If she is ever able to forget, or conceal, her somewhat noticeable admiration for Matisse she will prove an artist that has to be taken very much into account.'' But in 1936, Sargent felt that creating art had gotten ``too intense,'' and she turned instead to gardening. Sargent's artistic career is only part of this story, however. Like a character out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, she partied, flirted, and drank to excess. Alcoholism, along with severe mental illness, undermined her career, her marriage, and, ultimately, her life. Her last decades were pathetic and lonely ones, spent in and out of various mental institutions. In this carefully researched biography, Moore, the artist's granddaughter and a playwright and poet, has gone through her family's attic, culling information from letters, journals, and interviews to introduce us to Sargent's handsome society husband, many lovers, suffering children, and loyal friends. Most painfully, she has confronted the legacy of a family haunted by mental illness. Striking just the right balance between personal and professional, Moore places Sargent's life and career in a broader cultural context. In Moore's skilled hands, this portrait of narcissism, illness, and social privilege becomes completely captivating. (color and b&w photos, line drawings, not seen)

Pub Date: March 12, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-85063-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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