THE LAST TIFFANY: A Biography of Dorothy Tiffany B by Michael John Burlingham

THE LAST TIFFANY: A Biography of Dorothy Tiffany B

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A frequently engaging though less-than-satisfying biography of the Long Island woman who began life as the unhappy daughter of Louis Comfort Tiffany and ended it as the contented companion of Anna Freud. Written by the subject's grandson, this is a surprisingly frank--and often unflattering--portrait. Truth to tell, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham is not an easy woman to like. Opinionated, seemingly interested only in her own needs and desires (though she always ascribed altruistic motives to her actions), she traced many of her psychological problems to her father, who was a curious blend of Puritan, prophet, and playboy. On the death of her mother, she rebelled against what she felt were her father's outrageous demands and hastily married, choosing as a spouse Robert Burlingham, himself the scion of a repressive New England family. As could be predicted, Dorothy soon chafed under what she perceived as her in-laws' management of her marriage. Robert, a lifelong manic-depressive, was unwilling or unable to confront either his parents or his wife. After producing four children, Dorothy fled with them to Vienna and placed herself and them in analysis with Anna Freud. The sessions went on for decades, as the two women pioneered the psychoanalytic treatment of children. An intimate of the family, Dorothy saw the Freuds through the terrors of the Nazi invasion of Austria and accompanied them to London. In the meantime, Anna and Dorothy set up housekeeping together, forming a liaison that the author describes as "intellectual lesbian." Following the suicides of her husband and one of her daughters, Burlingham devoted the rest of her life to maintaining a home for the ever-more-demanding Anna. Though the psyche of his protagonist remains somewhat undefined, Burlingham manages to keep the reader involved with the often contradictory twists and turns of his subject's mind, and to capture the atmospheres of stifling conservatism and heady idealism through which she moved.

ISBN: 689-11870-8
Publisher: Atheneum
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