Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography

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"Marion Meade has told the story of Eleanor, wild, devious, from a thoroughly historical but different point of view: a woman's point of view."—Allene Talmey, Vogue.
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About the author

Marion Meade is the author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? and Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties. She has also written biographies of Woody Allen, Buster Keaton, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Victoria Woodhull, and Madame Blavatsky, as well as two novels about medieval France.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Nov 1, 1991
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781101173930
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Royalty
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Europe / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A “breezily entertaining” look at the comic couple who hobnobbed with Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, Bennett Cerf, and other luminaries of their day (The New York Times Book Review).

Nathanael West—author, screenwriter, playwright—was famous for two masterpieces: Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, which remains one the most penetrating novels ever written about Hollywood. He was also one of the most gifted and original writers of his generation, a scathing satirist whose insight into the brutalities of modern life proved prophetic.
 
Eileen McKenney—accidental muse, literary heroine—grew up corn-fed in the Midwest and moved to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village when she was twenty-one. The inspiration for her sister Ruth’s stories in the New Yorker under the banner of “My Sister Eileen,” she became an overnight celebrity, and her star eventually crossed with that of the man she would impulsively marry.
 
Together, Nathanael and Eileen had entrée into a social circle that included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, Katharine White, and many of the literary, theatrical, and film luminaries of the era. But their carefree, offbeat Broadway-to-Hollywood love story would flame out almost as soon as it began. Now, with “a great marriage of scholarship and gossip” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune), this biography restores West and McKenney to their rightful place in the popular imagination, offering “a shrewd portrait of two people who in their different ways were noteworthy participants in American culture during one of its liveliest periods” (Los Angeles Times).
 
“Opens a window onto the lives of writers in 1930s America as they struggled with anxieties, pretensions, temptations and myths that confound our culture to this day.” —Salon.com
 
“The first to fully chronicle and entwine these careening lives, Meade forges an engrossing, madcap, and tragic American story of ambition, reinvention, and risk.” —Booklist, starred review
“A psychologically nuanced, tough-minded portrait” of the New York filmmaker and his relationships with Mia Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn (Publishers Weekly).

Writer, director, actor, humorist. Woody Allen stands as one of our era’s most celebrated artists. Starting in the 1950s, Allen began crafting a larger‐than‐life neurotic persona that has since entertained and enlightened millions. In his films, widely thought to be autobiographical explorations of his own comic fears and fixations, Allen carefully controlled the public’s view of him as a lovable scamp. But that all came crashing down the day Mia Farrow found a Polaroid on her mantle. What followed was a flurry of sensational headlines and legal battles. His relationship with Soon‐Yi Previn, thirty-four years his junior and the step‐daughter of his longtime girlfriend, caused shockwaves in the public’s perception of the director, yet few biographers and journalists have explored what happened and why.

In this, the first deep investigation of Allen’s life and the events surrounding his split with Farrow, biographer Marion Meade tracks down dozens of friends, actors, neighbors, and film historians. They open up with insights and details rare in the world of wealth and celebrity. What results is a fascinating portrait of a flawed genius, as adept at constructing his own image as he is at crafting films. Rereleased and updated, this is an unauthorized biography that neither Woody Allen’s fans nor his detractors will be able to put down. The revised and updated edition was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal in 2013 by Carl Rollyson, in a roundup of the five best Hollywood biographies.
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