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My Life
Isadora Duncan
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My Life

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  367 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Fabulous is the only adjective that comes close to doing justice to Isadora Duncan (1878-1927). Her awesomely self-assured autobiography depicts a woman who while still in her teens tells an eminent theatrical manager (from whom she desperately needs a job), "I have discovered the art that has been lost for two thousand years.... I bring you the dance." In Duncan's renderi...more
Hardcover, 359 pages
Published April 1st 1955 by Liveright Publishing Corporation (first published 1927)
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In cases like these, memoirs of people who exceed life, what can be said about their writing when it's all about their lives? Does Duncan write well? She never claims to, in fact the opposite. Is her narrative well-crafted? Hardly, and she admits as much. So what I'd be rating here is her life rather than how she tells it, and that is really unratable because it exceeds all bounds of norms, bounds, the typical vicissitudes. I couldn't help but read her as a character, a Mme. Bovary meets some Ge...more
Truly fantastic work! Duncan was so much more than a dancer. She was a dedicated scholar, one of the most free-thinking feminists I’ve encountered (some of her ideas would still be considered radical to some degree today), and a great writer. I was really surprised by the depth of her thinking and her understanding and passion for art in its many manifestations. She understood that one of the highest callings one can have in this life is art and that it is a spiritual pursuit—and she created som...more
I adore Isadora, and obviously she did too. Modest she was not, but I can hardly blame her. She certainly had a personality and a very unique view on various issues. The style of writing is sometimes simply annoying and unconvincing. Dancing in the womb, fed oysters and born under Venus guidance? I can scarcely believe she believed it, but perhaps she did, as her life was rather radical. That is not to say I believe it, though, and she often comes across as not quite in touch with reality. In th...more
I loved this book because it told Her-Story!!!

She takes us on a ride into her world of being free. Ms Duncan died tragically but lived vicariously thrilling !!!
She has been called the 'Mother of Modern Dance'. She was inflenced by the classics, especially Greek Myth, where she danced in grecian tunics. She had sexual escapades in the early 1900's that people shunned but today is the norm. She refused to be involved in anything that constricted her individuality!!!

I totally felt her character and...more
My first edition 1928 copy of this book sprouted post-its in every direction as I researched my graphic biography of Isadora. Isadora's version of events is perhaps a little puffed up, perhaps not all written by her own hand, but it's still the closest you can get to this daredevil of a woman. When I found this memoir on my grandmother's shelf, Isadora became my first feminist heroine.
Wow, what a fascinating woman and she writes beautifully. I am not really even a fan of her dancing but her story is fantastic. I recommend it as an interesting biography.
How good? So good. A completely inspiring woman who led a completely inspiring life.
Isadora is one of my heroes. She was so far ahead of her time.
Born in the late 19th century and living until her tragic accidental death in 1927, Isadora Duncan is credited with beginning the art of modern dance in the western world. This book is her autobiography. Duncan started dancing when she was a little girl and, despite lacking any formal training, devoted her life to dance. Her free and improvisatory style took a long time to gain popularity even among the artistic and intellectual community, but Duncan did eventually achieve quite a lot of success...more
Isadora Duncan, founder of modern dance, wrote her autobiography a few months before she tragically died in a freak, only-in-the-1920s car accident. But, after reading My Life, one could say she really died after she lost three children within a few years of each other. Heartbreaking yet frank, My Life is an enthralling read that shines a light on a desolate star, who could not achieve happiness but has a lasting vestige of a time when creative powers were bursting from a chaste Victorian societ...more
There are a lot of books about people, but I always feel that autobiographical works are interesting to read. Once read, you can be moved to read everything else you can get you hands on about the author; this book inspired me to both read and write about Isadora. You can read part of what I wrote here

If you have danced, have connections to dance, are a woman, an artist, or are another creative type, you would probably find this book interesting , too. I...more
Dana Jennings
The back cover quotes Agnes de Mille describing Isadora as "a wild voluptuary, a true revolutionary" and I could not agree more. So many of her views about societal conventions, like organized religion and marriage, are still not widely accepted and she was promulgating them, living them in the years between 1899 and 1927. She explicates at length about her Art (with a capitol A) and how it is manifested from a deep appreciation of the Greek traditions, in tribute to the poetry of Walt Whitman,...more
Rachel Hope
I LOVED reading Isadora Duncan's memoir. I wish someone had given me this book when I was an adolescent. Her descriptions of the creative insanity of the artist as adolescent are inspiring. This is a fabulous feminist text, an exciting book, a sad book, a funny book. Do read it. I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on My Life here
one of my favorite books of all time. Isadora Duncan's story of her own life is written with an exuberance and reveals all the adventures of her life. She was a forward thinking woman, a very early feminist, refusing to be set into categories or be married for the sake of society, and often gave her opinions freely, shocking everyone. All this, plus you get to understand her love and passion for dance, the purity of feeling, and the universality of it. She was a great artist of her time. I was e...more
Isadora led a fascinating life. She was artistic to the point of being barely able to function in the real world. Noble, proud and pretentious, unwilling to apologize for herself. An artist in the truest sense of the word. She tells her life story here with dramatic prose.

I liked the book, but didn't love it. She was definitely a woman who was, if not before her time, just in time. Her forward thinking paved the way for many, both artistically and socially. She died the way she lived, throwing c...more
Fiona Goodman
I thought it was interesting coming from her point of view, however it was extremely self-aggrandizing and showed that she had little insight into her own psyche. I would like to read other books about her to get a fuller picture of both the good and bad aspects of her character. The funny thing is, she does present her self as someone so flighty that she would get her scarf caught under the wheel of a car and die.
This is an autobiography but when you are finished you feel like you have read a great work of fiction. That's how remarkable Isadora Duncan's life was. This is the best autobiography I have ever read, nothing else is even close. She was the mother of modern dance and she was a shooting star that streaked across the sky of the world she lived in, and everyone saw it. I highly recommend it.
Not a modest bone in the body of the mother of modern dance. Interesting life--if half of it is true--but so mellow-dramatic and self indulgent it was hard to actually want to keep reading. But, when all is said and done she is definitely a rock star, and I am glad I finished it.
Fascinating account by a true free spirit. Duncan wasn't bound by the conventions of her time, yet her autobiography gives a very vivid account of life before (and a little after) WWI.
Duncan wasn't a writer, but her autobiography nonetheless contains many beautiful thoughts, and fleshes out the thinking and experiences of a very inspirational trailblazer.
A wonderful insight into the mind and soul of one of the best dancers in history, who isn't given near enough credit!Much more than your average bio or memoir.
May 27, 2008 Ricardo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ricardo by: Jorge
el último libro que faltaba mencionar de los que leí en las playas de Punta del Diablo. 8 años para que Mr. Russo quedara satisfecho.
I laughed a couple of times and could relate to some of her thoughts, but overall for some reason I found it a little self-absorbed.
Jacqui Lafrance
A life worth documenting-her passion is infectious! I like her creative spirit and her thoughts about beauty and purity.
Nicole McCann
she obviously wasn't a writer...but she did promote a vegetarian lifestyle around 1900, which is rather impressive to me.
I found Isadora Duncan's autobiography to be by turns inspiring and tragic, uplifting and depressing.
Great book! Very honest, very personal, timeless. We read it in our Pirouettes and Pages book club.
My favorite book ever. Yes, I'm a dancer. She's the first author to capitalize Art. Nice.
I read this when I was about 15. It had a profound influence on my life.
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Isadora Duncan was an American dancer. She was born Angela Isadora Duncan in San Francisco, California and is considered by many to be the mother of Modern Dance. Although never very popular in the United States, she entertained throughout Europe.
More about Isadora Duncan...
Art of the Dance Your Isadora: The Love Story of Isadora Duncan & Gordon Craig Isadora Speaks: Uncollected Writings and Speeches of Isadora Duncan

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“Any woman or man who would write the truth of their lives would write a great work. But no one has dared to write the truth of their lives.” 22 likes
“For I was never able to understand, then or later on, why, if one wanted to do a thing, one should not do it. For I have never waited to do as I wished. This has frequently brought me to disaster and calamity, but at least I have the satisfaction of getting my own way.” 20 likes
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