Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy

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9780374109646: Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy

The poet and visual artist Mina Loy (1882-1966) has long had an underground reputation as an exemplary avant-gardist. Born in London of mixed Jewish and English parentage, and a restless and much photographed beauty, she moved in the pivotal circles of international modernism, where her friends and lovers included Gertrude Stein, Marinetti, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Djuna Barnes, the poet-boxer Arthur Cravan, and the Surrealists and Man Ray. Carolyn Burke's riveting, authoritative biography brings this highly original and representative figure wonderfully alive, in the process giving us a new picture of modernism—and one woman's important contribution to it.

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Review:

Altering her family name, wearing the clothes she wanted (which she designed herself), encouraging nudity among her children, writing about sex, and befriending derelicts were among the life achievements of English poet Mina Loy (1882-1966). Loy emerged out of a tortured childhood into the age of free love and expression in Europe and America with irrepressible force. Though her behavior was at times reproachable, such as when she dumped her children in Florence to go gallivant among the elite in New York, her story is always interesting. Biographer Carolyn Burke tells it in generous detail in Becoming Modern.

About the Author:

Carolyn Burke holds a Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University. A native of Australia, she now lives in Santa Cruz, California, and teaches in Sydney part of the year.

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