Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject

Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her SubjectThe First Rule Of Biography, Wrote Justin Kaplan Shoot The Widow In Her New Book, Meryle Secrest, Acclaimed Biographer Knowing, Sympathetic And Entertainingly Droll The New York Times , Writes About Her Comic Triumphs And Misadventures As A Biographer In Search Of Her Nine Celebrated Subjects, About How The Hunt For A Life Is Like Working One S Way Through A Maze, Full Of Fall Starts, Dead Ends, And Occasional Clear Passages Leading To The Next Part Of The Puzzle.She Writes About Her First Book, A Life Of Romaine Brooks, And How She Was Led To Nice And Given Invaluable Letters By Her Subject S Heir That Were Slid Across The Table, One At A Time How She Was Led To The Villa Of Brooks Lover, Gabriele D Annunzio Poet, Playwright, And Aviator , A Fantastic Mausoleum Left Untouched Since The Moment Of His Death Seventy Years Before To A Small English Village, Where She Uncovered A Lost Romaine Brooks Painting And Finally, To 20, Rue Jacob, Paris, Where Romaine S Lover, Natalie Barney, Had Fifty Years Before Entertained Cocteau, Gide, Proust, Colette, And Others.Secrest Describes How Her Next Book A Life Of Berenson Prompted Francis Steegmuller, Fellow Biographer, To Comment That He Wouldn T Touch The Subject With A Ten Foot Pole.For Her Life Of British Art Historian Kenneth Clark, Secrest Was Given Permission To Write The Book By Her Subject, Who Surreptitiously Financed It In The Hopes Of Controlling Its Contents We See How Clark S Plan Was Foiled By A Jealous Mistress And A Stash Of Love Letters That Helped Secrest Navigate Clark S Obstacle Course.Among The Other Biographical Mis Adventures, Secrest Reveals How She Tracked Salvador Dal To A Hospital Room, Found Him Recovering From Serious Burns Sustained In A Mysterious Fire, And Learned That He Was Knee Deep In A Scandal Involving Fake Drawings And Prints And Surrounded By Dangerous Characters Out Of Murder, Inc And How She Went In Search Of A Subject S Grave Frank Lloyd Wright S Only To Find That His Body Had Been Dug Up To Satisfy The Whim Of His Last Wife.A Fascinating Account Of A Life Spent In Sometimes Arduous, Sometimes Comical, Always Exciting Pursuit Of The Truth About Other Lives From The Hardcover Edition. For me, the essence of penetrating intelligence is exemplified by the forehead, and his was as serene and sweeping as any I had seen, writes biographer Meryle Secrest of one of her subjects, Kenneth Clark When Clark had addressed her high s
In a lifetime of writing biographies of famous men, Meryle Secrest has been tempted on than one occasion to do away with their surviving wives Widows are the inconvenient keepers of the flame, who watch over the biographer s shoulder and forbid forays into intimate matters that might compromise the reputations of their husbands For Ms Secrest, widows are not simply the spouses of dead subjects They are anyone who might block her access to private papers and privileged information.Having written lives of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Salvador Dal , Frank Lloyd Wright, and other celebrated figures, Ms Secrest is than qualified to bring us behind the scenes to witness the hazards and frustrations of the business Her new book, Shoot the Widow Knopf, 256 pages, 25.95 , chronicles her mood swings, false starts, and above all delusions that her subjects can be easily snared.Sometimes it begins well For her biography of Sir Kenneth Clark, the august art historian, Ms Secrest initially had her subject s cooperation Say what you like, Clark s son told Ms Secrest But family members rarely mean it when they endorse openness They admire your work, what you have done with some othersubject, but then they discover that you have got it all wrong when it comes to themselves Sir Kenneth tried to control everything even paying some of Ms Secrest s interviewees on the sly Such maneuvers lead subjects to believe they ve got their
A memoir by a writer of biographies This entertaining read moves back and forth between the author s own life and her adventures as a biographer Her love of the arts inspired her to write biographies of Salvador Dali, Kenneth Clark, Bernard Berenson, Romaine Brooks, Frank Lloyd Wright, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein She describes the daily travails of the biographer, whether it s dealing with protective relatives who want to protect the great man s legacy Kenneth Clark , or trying to gain access to a still living but jealously guarded subject Salvador Dali , or having to realize that the idol had feet of clay Bernard Berenson All of this is described with a good sense of humor, which makes for fun reading For Ms Crest, biography is a process of discovery not just of the original sources letters, diaries, friends to interview but of what makes the subject of the book tick , what is the defining driver of their creative work This inevitably leads to some interest in these subject s early life relationship with mother and siblings , but it never turns into heavy handed amateur Freudian analysis At any rate, the book is not a compi
Justin Kaplan, a biographer of Mark Twain, called the first rule of biography Shoot the widow Secrest, a former columnist for the Washington Post, has written several biographies of notable people in the fields of art and music In her autobiography she tells us something of her life, and examines the challenges of writing biography the private truth versus the public fa ade, and appear
I was fascinated by this book probably because I just published a biography myself although not, thank goodness, of a subject with living relatives or others with vested interests in her Secrest s revelations of some of the twists and turns she encountered in dealing with individuals who held keys to her subjects pasts, and these sour
Nice read A good way to read several abridged biographies with out having to read full length biographies. The author discusses her own life and her work researching biographies of nine prominent people including Bernstein, Dali, Frank Lloyd Wright.

BOOKS ⚣ Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject Author Meryle Secrest –
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject
  • Meryle Secrest
  • English
  • 07 April 2017
  • 9780307264831