Essentially gossip—in spite of the trendy title—in these 13 essays by various authors on the influence that sexually paired writers or artists have on each other. Chadwick also examined the issue of gender and creativity in Women, Art, and Society (1990) with the same superficial and fragmented results. How to reconcile the solitude that creativity requires with the love that artists crave? In these pieces, creativity becomes incidental. Instead, there are tales of monumental disorder, power struggles, madness and suicide, emotional chaos, and intense and often deviant political and sexual lives—all giving the clear message that creative people inflict immense damage on those who dare to love them. Marriage is rare, and adultery and sexual experimentation commonplace. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (Lisa Tickner), Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West (Louise de Salvo), and Anaãs Nin and Henry Miller (Noel Riley Fitch) are the most familiar couples. Chadwick offers one successful pairing in Sonia Delaunay and her husband, Robert, a painter whose theory of simultaneity Sonia translated into fashion design. And there's a mutually enriching collaboration in the secret pairing of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg (Jonathan Katz). Most pairings, however, display predictable inequities: Camille Claudel driven mad by Rodin (Anne Higonnet); Clara Malraux silenced by AndrÇ (de Courtivron); and the literal possession of Jackson Pollock's life by his wife, Lee Krasner (Anne Wagner), the major informant for his biographers. And however romanticized and sanitized, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (Hayden Herrera) and Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett (Bernard Benstock) still appear savage, disturbed, self- destructive, and power-hungry. A collection that raises questions not so much about pairing or even creativity, but rather about how people living such chaotic lives function at all—and about why those who enjoy their art should care about their sexual logistics.
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").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)