GOOD-BYE PROUD WORLD: The Autobiography of a Rhode Island Rebel by Margaret Emerson Bailey
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GOOD-BYE PROUD WORLD: The Autobiography of a Rhode Island Rebel

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One of the most refreshing autobiographies I've read in some time. And important not because it deals with famous people -- for it doesn't -- nor with vital events that made history -- for it doesn't do that either. But because, in the tracing of the development of one ""rebel"" against the mores of her world, one sees a bit of America in the making, one glimpses another bit of America in its passing. Margaret Bailey has written prose and verse; she has made a name for herself in the teaching world. But this is interesting chiefly because of that intangible quality that impells identification as one reads, -- a scene here, a point of view there, an acceptance, a denial of things as they were. She was brought up in Providence -- a summer in her botanist father's boyhood home, West Point, was ""travel"" to Meg. A professor's household -- a sensed background of rejected wealth and position -- a psychological unrest due to her father's scholarly detachment, her young mother's restless, rootless vitality and charm -- contacts which embraced all levels of society -- a self consciousness and prickliness towards society which cut her off from normal companionship -- a fear of certain emotional currents -- and a kind of ambition which made her surmount obstacles -- all this combined to make Meg's story an unusual one. Margaret Bailey is able to recapture moods and impulses and phases of growth without slipping at any moment into the nostalgic, sentimental recall that so often spoils autobiography of this sort. There's humor here -- in incident and turn of phrase. Bryn Mawr is vividly pictured, with just enough to give it the stamp of authenticity. The year following college -- a gift from her mother -- is perhaps less holding than the first three quarters of the book. But, in its ultimate explosion, it leaves the reader hoping there will be more. For there, with Rhode Island rejected -- the story ends. It is the kind of book that word of mouth publicity might well start rolling.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1945
Publisher: Scribner