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My Life
Isadora Duncan
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My Life

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  534 Ratings  ·  45 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 January 1st 1977 by Liveright Publishing Corporation (first published 1927)
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This autobiography by Isadora Duncan reads like a work of fiction. What a remarkable woman she was and what a remarkable life she lived. She was born in California in 1877, but she spent most of her life and career in Europe and Russia. By 1910 she was world famous with several dance schools across Europe. 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. She died tragically in Paris at age 50 in a car acci ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Asya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
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
I knew nothing about Isadora Duncan, the highly creative dancer, before I picked up a copy of her charming autobiography. It is only because I had recently discovered that she had spent some time in Albania, a country that fascinates me and about which I have written, that I decided to read this book.

The book was highly enjoyable. She writes well and makes frequent allusions to, and uses quotes from, the great classical authors and also from Nietzche and other more recent writers. I felt that Is
Feb 27, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2008 Ashti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sergiu Pobereznic
I know that I am probably going to commit Isadora Duncan sacrilege with this review, so before I begin, and for the record, I would like to state that the world is indebted and grateful for what Isadora Duncan achieved in her lifetime and what she stands for as an artist in the dance world.

However, my critique is directed towards her writing (and perhaps her eccentric career claims) not her dance and career achievements.

Although her fame is undoubtedly recogni
Oct 13, 2015 Marcella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit: I have already been a big fan of Isadora Duncan before and I am even more now.
In spite of the fact that I truly see a lot of critical points in this book and flaws in her personality.

She was visionary, way ahead of her time, a feminist, confident, went against all conventions.
Her life was tragic through and through and ended in a way, even the best writers could not have imagined (Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!)

As a dancer, I have heard long ago of Isadora Duncan as the
Fiona Goodman
Oct 30, 2010 Fiona Goodman rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
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.
Sue Iri
Feb 05, 2015 Sue Iri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

The life of Isadora Duncan was undoubtedly worth writing about, but she was not the one to do it. Her turgid writing style and overblown dramatics make the autobiography almost unreadable. She had a great deal of sadness end reason for heartbreak but suffered excruciating highs and lows that may well have been part of her nature, and are exhausting to follow.
Apr 12, 2011 Sabrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Feb 16, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 18, 2011 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 24, 2011 allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
How good? So good. A completely inspiring woman who led a completely inspiring life.
Mar 31, 2009 Susanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 29, 2013 Jax rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Oct 12, 2013 Ava rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dana Jennings
Jun 08, 2013 Dana Jennings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
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
May 06, 2014 Rachel Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The story of a free spirit. Isadora Duncan's vision of what the Dance or the Art should be, her passions, her sorrows...her life. Not a story written by a writer though.
Apr 01, 2015 Isador rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a fantastic autobiography of a great American dancer. I liked a lot this story.
Aaron Gallardo
La mujer está loca o es una diosa. Ambas cosas son probables. Este libro me hizo recordar a las memorias maniatadas de Dalí. Un mundo de artificio y una muerte preciosa.
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
Jan 10, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fascinating feminist
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
Nov 24, 2015 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: rocky j adkins public library
this is also called Isadora the autobiography of Isadora duncan
Dec 02, 2014 Caish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman very ahead of her time.
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.
Dec 03, 2013 Chelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.
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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.” 28 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.” 25 likes
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