Showing posts from May, 2012

Natalie Barney: An American Amazon

Natalie Barney painted by her mother Alice Pike Barney Natalie Barney (1876-1972) was probably one of the most fascinating and maddening woman of the 19 th and early 20 th century. She was a great seductress whose list of conquests sounds like a who’s who of the Belle Époque, Collette, the poet Renee Vivien, the painter Romaine Brooks, Dolly Wilde, the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre, just to name a few. Although her epic love life alone would be enough for a place in the history books, Natalie was much more than just a female Casanova. She was also a writer, playwright, and poet who held a salon for more than 60 years on Paris’s Left Bank, which brought together artists from around the world. Barney was a bridge between the Parisian community and the ex-pats who flocked to Paris particularly after WWI. She was what you might call a facilitator. She also worked to promote women writers by founding a “Women’s Academy” in response to the all-male French Academy. Like G

Scandalous Review: Hysteria

Hysteria (2012) Directed by: Tanya Wexler Written by: Jonah Lisa Dyer, Stephen Dyer, Howard Gensler Running Time: 95 minutes Cast Felicity Jones as Emily Dalrymple Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte Dalrymple Hugh Dancy as Dr. Mortimer Granville Rupert Everett as Lord Edmund St. John-Smythe Jonathan Pryce as Dr. Robert Dalrymple Ashley Jensen as Fanny Anna Chancellor as Mrs. Bellamy Gemma Jones as Lady St. John-Smythe Malcolm Rennie as Lord St. John-Smythe Tobias Menzies as Mr. Squyers Sheridan Smith as Molly the Lolly Kim Criswell as Mrs. Castellari What it’s about: The film, set in the Victorian era, is about the invention of the vibrator . The film's title refers to the once common medical diagnosis of female hysteria. Dr. Mortimer Granville gets fired from yet another hospital after he questions the father old-fashioned medical techniques of his superior who doesn‘t believe in the existence of germs. Granville moves in with his fri

The Queen's Lover

Title: THE QUEEN’S LOVER Author: Francine du Plessix Gray Publisher: Penguin Pub Date: June 14, 2012   About the author: Francine du Plessix Gray has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker and is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, including Simone Weil, At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life, Rage and Fire, Lovers and Tyrants, and Soviet Women. She is most recently the author of the memoir Them: A Memoir of Parents . She lives in Connecticut. What it’s about:   The Queen's Lover begins at a masquerade ball in Paris in 1774, when the dashing Swedish nobleman Count Axel von Fersen first meets the mesmerizing nineteen-year-old Dauphine, Marie Antoinette. This electric encounter launches a lifelong romance that will span the course of the French Revolution. The affair begins in friendship, however, and Fersen quickly becomes a devoted companion to the entire royal family. As he roams the halls of Versailles and visits the

Lincoln Center Festival 2012 | Émilie

Sometimes you find the most interesting things in the oddest places.  For example, I was perusing Time Out New York at work today (because I was bored) when I saw an ad for The Lincoln Center Festival.  What really caught my eye was the title Emilie.  For some reason, I just assumed that it had to be about one of my favorite Scandalous Women, Emilie du Chatelet.  And I was right.  Here is the description: Émilie is a modern one-singer, multimedia tour de force about an extraordinary woman: French Enlightenment thinker Émilie du Châtelet. Émilie was many things: the brilliant physicist who first defined kinetic energy; mistress to Voltaire, among other luminaries; a prodigious mathematician and the translator of Newton’s Principia Mathematica; the author of a treatise on the happiness of women; a pioneer of what are now called financial derivatives, which she invented in part to pay off a $1 million debt to card sharks accrued in an unlucky night gambling—all achieved before she

May Book of the Month - Overseas by Beatriz Williams

Title:  Overseas Author:  Beatriz Williams Publisher:  Penguin Pub Date:  May 10, 2012 What it's about: A passionate, sweeping novel of a love that transcends time. When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is. Julian’s relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she’s baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college? The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian’s story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry office