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.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-500-01566-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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



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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