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Rapture and Melancholy

The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay Daniel Mark Epstein Holly Peppe

$51.95

Hardback

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Yale University
24 June 2022
The first publication of Edna St. Vincent Millay's private, intimate diaries, providing a candid self-portrait of the 'bad girl of American letters' (Kirkus Reviews)

Endlessly intriguing and illuminating. The publication of Edna St. Vincent Millay's diaries is a major literary event, providing astonishing insight into the great poet's art and life. -Chloe Honum, author of The Tulip-Flame

The English author Thomas Hardy proclaimed that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper, and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. In these diaries the great American poet illuminates not only her literary genius, but her life as a devoted daughter, sister, wife, and public heroine; and finally as a solitary, tragic figure.

This is the first publication of the diaries she kept from adolescence until middle age, between 1907 and 1949, focused on her most productive years. Who was the girl who wrote Renascence, that marvel of early twentieth-century poetry? What trauma or spiritual journey inspired the poem? And after such celebrity why did she vanish into near seclusion after 1940? These questions hover over the life and work, and trouble biographers and readers alike. Intimate, eloquent, these confessions and keen observations provide the key to understanding Millay's journey from small-town obscurity to world fame, and the tragedy of her demise.
By:  
Foreword by:  
Edited by:  
Imprint:   Yale University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780300245684
ISBN 10:   0300245688
Pages:   416
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was a poet and playwright. Millay biographer Daniel Mark Epstein is a poet and dramatist, the author of books about Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Bob Dylan, and a recipient of awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Holly Peppe, literary executor for Edna St. Vincent Millay, has written and lectured about the poet's life and work since the early 1980's, when she lived in Millay's home at Steepletop with the poet's younger sister Norma. Dr. Peppe's essays about Millay appear in the Penguin Classics, Harper Perennial, and Yale University Press editions of her poetry.

Reviews for Rapture and Melancholy: The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Rapture and Melancholy: The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay, edited by Millay biographer Daniel Mark Epstein, provides an occasion to revisit not just her improbable life but also her sometimes revelatory work. . . . While the diary entries vary widely in interest level, Epstein's biographical summations are reliably fascinating and informative. . . . Hopefully the release of this complex woman's diaries will draw readers' attention to the complexity of her work, which offers much more than figs and ferries. -Abigail Deutsch, Wall Street Journal A book of surprising revelations and careful silences, these diaries constitute a remarkable portrait not only of a woman, an artist, and a citizen, but of the cultural life of her time. - David Bergman, author of The Poetry of Disturbance An essential work for the study of Millay, Daniel Mark Epstein's brilliant edition of her diaries takes us with great knowledge and insight behind the scenes of her remarkably poetic, complex life. -Jonathan Cohen, author of Muna Lee: A Pan-American Life Endlessly intriguing and illuminating. The publication of Edna St. Vincent Millay's diaries is a major literary event, providing astonishing insight into the great poet's art and life. -Chloe Honum, author of The Tulip-Flame From her 'tired and crushed and driven' girlhood through days of gardening in the nude, Millay kept diaries that illuminate a gifted poet's life and are a pleasure to read. Millay's prejudices emerge as nakedly as the gardener herself, and the late entries about addiction are devastating. I'm still grateful for this book. It was hard for an ambitious woman to survive her own daring. We need to remember it. -Lesley Wheeler, author of Poetry's Possible Worlds


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