RESTLESS SPIRIT: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Miriam Gurko
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RESTLESS SPIRIT: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unbelievably successful, this biography of a poet that youth still claims as their own- while an older generation looks back, somewhat wistfully to the reflection- the symbol- Edna St. Vincent Millay was of the rebellion against tradition in the '20's. When this biography was in process of being written, this reader questioned the possibility of doing an objective, honest, perceptive biography of so controversial a rebel. Miss Gurko has succeeded beyond expectations. Here is a story of a girl growing up in a home where they often had the luxuries (books- good talk- appreciation) but often not the necessities (clothes - enough to eat- a chance to go beyond the limitation of Maine town-Camden- where they lived). But the three Millay girls and their mother- extended those horizons, and each in her way touched the stars. This is however Edna (or to her friends Vincent) - and her story. Her school days- her small triumphs her chance for college, and how nearly rebellion cost her the finale; and then the greenwich village days- and little theatre in its beginnings. Writing recognition came later and too the acceptance of Vincent as symbolic of the Village and its intellectual and social formant. There's nostalgic quality in this assessment of this formant- nostalgic without being sentimental. Miss Gurko has handled it with sensitivity and taste, without meretricious illusions. The story winds up with the years of Miss Millay's marriage - her staunch battle for civil liberties- and her mature writing. While designed for the teens particularly those interested in a literary career- there is nothing that limits then for older readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1962
Publisher: Crowell