Holly's Reviews > Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford
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's review
Jan 18, 14

bookshelves: 2011-reads
Read from February 22 to 27, 2011

A linear treatment of Millay's life, structured by dates and settings, acquaintances, and correspondence. Little or no analysis or cultural context: this is not a cultural biography, which I generally prefer to read (two admittedly disparate titles: Gopnik's Angels and Ages or Chase's Harvard and the Unabomber) - and world events do not appear to impinge on Millay's consciousness until the advent of World War II in Europe (though Milford merely reports this and quotes documents, rather than explores the reasons for Millay's anti-isolationism). I was amused by Millay's harsh comments about E.E. Cummings. I'm still pondering Millay's weird magnetism causing men/women to swoon before her "beauty." I was most fascinated by Milford's random interpolations of her conversations with Vincent's then-living sister, the prickly and sometimes-hostile Norma Millay. But except for "Renascence," the biography has made me disinterested in Millay's poetry, at least for the near future.

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