Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist Epub

Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist ➽ [Download] ✤ Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist By Lois Gordon ➲ – Lois Gordon's absorbing biography tells the story of a writer activist and cultural icon who embodied the dazzling energy and tumultuous spirit of her age and whom William Carlos Williams once called Lois Gordon's Heiress, Muse, PDF Ë absorbing biography tells the story of a writer activist and cultural icon who embodied the dazzling energy and tumultuous spirit of her age and whom William Carlos Williams once called one of the major phenomena of historyNancy Cunard Nancy Cunard: Epub / led a life that surpasses Hollywood fantasy The only child of an English baronet and heir to the Cunard shipping fortune and an American beauty Cunard abandoned the world of a celebrated socialite and Jazz Age icon to pursue Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Kindle Ö a lifelong battle against social injustice as a wartime journalist humanitarian aid worker and civil rights championCunard fought fascism on the battlefields of Spain and reported firsthand on the atrocities of the French concentration camps Intelligent and beautiful she romanced the great writers of her era including three Nobel Prize winners and was the inspiration for characters in the works of Ezra Pound T S Eliot Aldous Huxley Pablo Neruda Samuel Beckett and Ernest Hemingway among othersCunard was also a prolific poet publisher and translator and after falling in love with a black American jazz pianist became deeply committed to fighting for black rights She edited the controversial anthology Negro the first comprehensive study of the achievement and plight of blacks around the world Her contributors included Langston Hughes W E B Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston among scores of othersCunard's personal life was as complex as her public persona Her involvement with the civil rights movement led her to be ridiculed and rejected by both family and friends Throughout her life she was plagued by insecurities and suffered a series of breakdowns struggling with a sense of guilt over her promiscuous behavior and her ability to survive so much war and tragedy Yet Cunard's writings also reveal an immense kindness and wit as well as her renowned often flamboyant defiance of prejudiced social conventionsDrawing on diaries correspondence historical accounts and the remembrances of others Lois Gordon revisits the major movements of the first half of the twentieth century through the life of a truly gifted and extraordinary woman She also returns Nancy Cunard to her rightful place as a major figure in the historical social and artistic events of a critical era.

  • Hardcover
  • 447 pages
  • Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist
  • Lois Gordon
  • English
  • 19 March 2016
  • 9780231139380

10 thoughts on “Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist

  1. Sarah Spy Sarah Spy says:

    After reading this book and other biographies I'm struck by how little I know about history In school history was always men and their wars and the dates of their wars Reading about Nancy Cunard and other women paint real life experiences faces and personalities onto those events in history I had no idea about the Spanish civil war the atrocities that occurred there not only during the war but afterwords I'm saddened by how our country stood idly behind our policy of non interference while Franco and his party destroyed the society of Spain next up is the biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth to help explain this from the American side I'm disgusted by the French and their complicity in the formation of concentration camps to further victimize the refugees Meanwhile I'm revolted by the world wide attitudes specifically the American against the negro race as was the terminology of the time Yes I've read about the horrors taking place in the American South but there was detail in this book that even growing up a Southerner I had not heard about This book really brought to life the horrors of both world wars and the amazing strength of the people who lived and died in themNancy sought to expose the evils of the world so that action could be taken to correct the injustices that surrounded her She fought tirelessly and sacrificed all to help those in need She used her pen and typewriter to spread the word about discrimination educate the world about the beauty and intelligence of the black races and their cultures and civilizations she introduced the world to many of the literary greats of the time she single handedly rescued victims of persecution from the concentration camps fed the hungry refugees and broadcast their stories to the world I am truly amazed and inspired by what this woman accomplished and the sheer will and power that she demonstrated And for it all she lost the love and support of her family the great financial fortune that she inherited from her father of the Cunard Shipping Line her health the lives of many of her dear friends her home and her trust in all things goodLater in life she was involuntarily committed to an insane asylum It was said by many of her friends artistic and literary giants at the time that She was not mad she was maddened and after reading about her experiences and the times in which she lived there is no doubt that this is true From a modern perspective it seems that all the world was mad but Nancy Cunard was a beacon of sanity raging in the utter darkness that was the first half of the 20th centuryNancy has been described as the first Modern Woman She wore trousers and slept with whomever she pleased taking many lovers including many young men when she was of an advanced age She set her own course rejected Society and all of its trappings As an heiress great beauty and muse she could easily have chosen to stay at her family's massive estate of Nevill Holt marry Edward the Prince of Whales who courted her and lived a life of luxury and privilege Instead she chose her conscious over convenience warfare over complacency and the cause of the Scottsboro Boys nine falsely persecuted negro men from Alabama over the love and acceptance of her powerful mother Lady CunardAfter reading a lot of biographies of women specifically women who do something compelling with their lives not simply falling in love and having children I'm struck by how hard these women worked how much they gave to the world and yet how lonely they ended up At least Nancy didn't commit suicide like many others although her death was perhaps tragic At least with suicide women who lived on their own terms died on their own terms as well Nancy died broke and alone in a shabby hospital with battles still to be fought and causes to be wagedThe first third of this book can be tedious if one isn't familiar with the artistic and literary greats of her time as I wasn't but keep reading The book can be depressing due to the horrors that were taking place but keep reading The book can be disheartening because of the rejection and persecution that she faced as a result of her strong beliefs but keep reading This book is inspiring because it will restore one's faith that despite all of the horrors and failures and great struggles there was one woman who loved passionately and raged against the dying of the lightThis book finally ignited my interest in Poetry especially that of Nancy Cunard and Ezra Pound also wanting to check out Louis Aragon I've always found poetry tedious and fluffy but now I understand that in a world before literal images could be broadcast poetry painted images with wordsExcerpt from I Think of You by Nancy Cunard toward Ezra PoundIn the fieldsWhen the first fires of the nightly diamonds are litWhen the stir of the green corn is smoothed and silentAnd the plover circling at peace like a thought in a dream I think of you Finger the last words you have added to my rosaryOn a white roadHigh noon and midsummer witness my love of youGrown as a firm treeRich upright full hearted generously spreadingLong shadows on the resting place of our future daysIn a townI meet many with the thought of you in my heartYour smile on my lipsI greet manyWith the love that I have gathered at your fountainsI go to the feasts adornedIn a scarlet vestmentBejeweled and hung with many trappings Under these Burns the still flame that your hands alone may touch

  2. Maryann MJS1228 Maryann MJS1228 says:

    I wanted to love Lois Gordon’s biography of Nancy Nancy Cunard Heiress PoliticalIdealist Finally I’d found a book devoted to a woman I’d seen glimpses of in other memoirs biographies and histories Unfortunately Nancy is too often a supporting player in her own story and even unfortunately Gordon does not delve into what drove and shaped her For instance very early on we learn that “Nancy’s dislike of continued throughout her life and as an adult she remained model thin in figure” Let me put this in perspective – this is a woman who was regularly described as tall who weighed 57 pounds when she died That sounds like than a mere “dislike” of food Anorexia? Serious digestive issues? Who knows? Gordon doesn’t pursue itNor does she pursue the root causes of Nancy’s “promiscuity” other than to rack up all the famous men she bedded Was Nancy truly promiscuous or did she simply enjoy sex without emotional entanglements? Again who knows? Nancy blamed her promiscuity on her despair over World War I but it continued well beyond the war and even the 1920s leading her into relationships with men who beat her we learn that in one sentence destroying romantic relationships and without appearing to provide Nancy with any satisfaction The author mentions Nancy’s promiscuity freuently so freuently that when she describes Nancy going to the local train station to greet the soldiers with a sense of mission it sounded like she was giving out numbers like a deli counter Gordon doesn’t pursue the subject never truly delving into say the impact of George Moore a man Nancy adored and believed to be her biological father asking Nancy for details about her sex life and to see her naked Just as a for instance Ditto Nancy’s very serious drinking problem Smashed relationships broken bones and a trip to the mental ward are just a few of the by products but Gordon just mentions it an moves on to the next famous person Nancy meetsGordon leaves too much un examined for my taste Nancy’s lost love gets a few pages but no insight We aren’t even sure when Nancy met him or when he died We don’t learn why Nancy’s marriage failed – except for Gordon to dismiss another biographer’s theory – or examine why Nancy had a hysterectomy at such a young age and how it might have effected herInstead we get pictures of Virginia Woolf who barely makes an appearance in Nancy’s life a slightly bitter take down of the Bloomsbury Group and long long stretches of narratives about the famous writers Nancy encountered It’s as if Nancy’s own life is only interesting because she knew Pablo Neruda At least provide a few details about how she came to love bangles so muchIf like me you want to learn about Nancy Cunard this isn’t the worst place to start The chapters are a bit odd – they start with a summary of the entire chapter and then move on to the details In the Kindle version it wasn’t clear that’s what was going on so for the first five chapters I couldn’t figure out why Gordon was repeating things Anne Chisolm's biography of Nancy Cunard is out of print

  3. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    If Gordon's prose is sometimes workmanlike the content of this book is extremely thorough and Cunard's story is one worth learning about Cunard was the first to publish Beckett had affairs with Pound Huxley Aragon and lordy everyone else living at the time whom you can imagine She was a intrepid reporter during the Spanish Civil War and saved the lives of many Spanish refugees became lovers with an African American man and was moved to explore African and African American culture which resulted in the monumental anthology Negro which was the first anthology to celebrate this work it included creative work as well as historical and critical writing In short Cunard was a remarkable person and a lynchpin of many modernist projects She's too little known nowadays

  4. John John says:

    I just heard about this book and have ordered it from the library I'll note here before I forget that Nancy Cunard's concern for racial justice was something of a family tradition She is a descendant of Thunes Kunders a uaker who emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683 In 1688 some of his fellow uakers drafted in his house what is regarded as the first public protest against slavery in American historyThe Kunders later Anglicized their surname in at least three different ways Conard Conrad and CunardDuring the American Revolutionary War several Kunders remained loyal to England and fled to Canada One of them Samuel Cunard founded a shipping company which evolved into the celebrated ocean liner business

  5. Mary Kristine Mary Kristine says:

    A true symbol of 1920's Nancy love life alcohol and men She hated discrimination and oppression of minorities As a poet essayist and publisher she expressed her intolerance of prejudice This book contains extremely personal and descriptions of her experiences during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath If her life was written no one believe one women could do so much

  6. Jen Jen says:

    This is not a fast read which is too bad because my reading time is mostly limited to my 15 minute subway commute It is endlessly fascinating and as with most biographies I really REALLY wish I could have met this woman So progressive and interesting Brave really

  7. Len Hayter Len Hayter says:

    She could have and should have been a heroine of modern times A battler against racism a fighter against Nazism a supporter of Republican Spain against General Franco a champion of civil rights and a patron of literature and the arts All of that was too often overshadowed by a fondness for alcohol and the appearance – in her youth of being the spoiled brat of the enormously wealthy Cunard family living by the rules of licentiousness and immoralityTowards the end of her life when she was temporarily confined to a mental institution the following was written by her friend Louise Morgan to the administrators It sums up the state she had driven herself into but also the state she had been driven into“She Nancy Cunard has never shown signs of insanity She feels the world has been against her as indeed it was throughout all her childhood and youth She got the habit of rebellion in her cradle and nursery and had an army of nannies and governesses one after the other to 'control' not educate her by a mother who knew nothing and cared nothing about children and was jealous of her as she grew upBut they did not kill an innate gentleness loyalty and utter sweetness of nature which overflows like a suddenly unfrozen fountain in the presence of understanding friendsI can tell you that it was one of the most hideous shocks of my life when I learned she had become a certified lunatic”Now admittedly part of what had led to her committal was being stopped by the police in Chelsea for being drunk and disorderly resisting arrest and kicking a police officer and when in court taking off her shoes and throwing them at the magistrate That was only the last of a series of incidents some of which happened in Spain setting a taxi driver's car ablaze with a flame thrower attempting to set a policeman on fire and blow up a post office and lifting her skirt in a restaurant to reveal her nakedness You can see how easy it is to see her life through the eyes of a tabloid journalist and forget about the work she did in the struggle against racial abuse helping Spanish prisoners held in French concentration camps after Franco's victory and fighting Nazism in the Second World WarIf one puts to the side the author's continual name dropping usually in the form of lengthy lists of personalities and celebrities this is a very well written and absorbing biography of a woman with talent loyalty and crusading drive than sense

  8. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    I heard this book described on a radio program on NPR some years ago and made a mental note to read itFinally got around to itI guess I could have waited a few yearsFor whatever reason it just didn't grab me Or maybe I remember Cunard as being described as much interesting Or maybe I remember the writing being described as much interestingAnd now I can't remember anything about what I read other than I was boredBut it might be someone else's cup of tea Not mine though

  9. cansu m cansu m says:

    original sjw ueen immensely enjoyed reading this tbh

  10. Rob Atkinson Rob Atkinson says:

    I've long been aware of Nancy Cunard as an artist's muse and fashion plate of Paris in the 1920s and expected little from this biographyperhaps anecdotes of fabulous parties peopled with her friends amongst the avant garde It turns out she was far than that striking as her appearance and highly individual fashion sense were She was a gifted poet and there are many brief segments of her work offered here to amply demonstrate as muchher long poem Parallax drew favorable comparisons to Eliot's The Wasteland from literary contemporaries With no previous publishing experience she bought an old hand press and set up her own small luxury publishing house at her home in Normandy Dubbed the Hours Press it published luxurious limited editions by some of the avant garde's leading lights featuring cover art designed by her talented friends like Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp For the decade or so it existed it was the most successful press of its typeShe was far ahead of her time in crusading for the euality of blacks in society Her relationship with the black American jazz musician Henry Crowder saw her disinherited from the Cunard fortune to which she was sole heir; rather than chastening her it only redoubled her efforts to address the public on the injustice of racial prejudice Her efforts culminated in the magisterial and totally unprecedented anthology Negro an account of the cultural achievements of blacks throughout the world and of the prejudices they faced in the contemporary 1930s world Contributors included many of the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance as well as her many friends in the European literary establishment She was a tireless foe of fascism risking her life and giving all she had to support the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and continuing her efforts through World War IIIn short she was a remarkable woman who deserves to be remembered for much than the bewitching portraits of her by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton This biography does a good job of making the case for her importance in both artistic and politicalsociolgical history documenting her many talents contributions and her ceaseless self sacrifice for noble causes It makes for a fascinating and ultimately very moving read

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