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In this first book-length biography of Mercedes de Acosta, theatre historian Robert A. Schanke adroitly mines lost archival materials and mixes in his own interviews with de Acosta’s intimates to correct established myths and at last construct an accurate, detailed, and vibrant portrait of the flamboyantly uninhibited early-twentieth-century author, poet, and playwright.
Born to wealthy Spanish immigrants, Mercedes de Acosta (1893 1968) lived in opulence and traveled in the same social circles as the Astors and Vanderbilts. Introduced to the New York theater scene at an early age, her dual loves of performance and of women informed every aspect of her life thereafter. Alice B. Toklas’s observation, Say what you will about Mercedes, she’s had the most important women in the twentieth century,” was well justified, as her romantic conquests included such internationally renowned beauties as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Isadora Duncan, and Eva Le Gallienne as well as Alla Nazimova, Tamara Karsavina, Pola Negri, and Ona Munson.
More than a record of her personal life and infamous romances, this account offers the first analysis of the complete oeuvre of de Acosta’s literary works, including three volumes of poetry, two novels, two film scripts, and a dozen plays. Although only two of her plays were ever published during her lifetime, four of them were produced, featuring such stage luminaries as John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, and Eva Le Gallienne. Critics praised her first volume of poetry, Moods, in 1919 and predicted her rise to literary fame, but the love of other women that fueled her writing also limited her opportunities to fulfill this destiny. Failing to achieve any lasting fame, she died in relative poverty at the age of seventy-five.
De Acosta lived her desires publicly with verve and vigor at a time when few others would dare, and for that, she paid the price of marginalized obscurity. Until now. With That Furious Lesbian” Schanke at last establishes Mercedes de Acosta’s rightful place as a pioneer and indeed a champion in the early struggle for lesbian rights in this country.
Robert A. Schanke has edited a companion to this biography, Women in Turmoil: Six Plays by Mercedes de Acosta, also available from Southern Illinois University Press.
About the Author: A Professor Emeritus of Theater at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Robert A. Schanke is the editor of the international journal Theatre History Studies and the Southern Illinois University Press series Theater in the Americas. His five other books include Eva Le Gallienne: A Bio-Bibliography and Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne, a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award and the Barnard Hewitt Award for theatre research.
Title: That Furious Lesbian: The Story of Mercedes ...
Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
Publication Date: 2003
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Book Condition: Good. 1st. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP10345631
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Light shelving wear with minimal damage to cover and bindings. Pages show minor use. Bookseller Inventory # G080932511XI3N00
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M080932511X
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. A 234 page hardcover publication. Illustrated with photos. First edition. Fine condition in fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 62617bpile
Book Description Southern Illinois University P, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # P02080932511X
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Book Description Southern Illinois University P, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11080932511X
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition; First Printing. Purple cloth, nearly new in like DJ. Now protected in a mylar jacket. ; Theater in the Americas; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall; 240 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 47958
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand new gift quality hardcover in jacket. Please email for photos. Larger books or sets may require additional shipping charges. Books sent via US Postal. Bookseller Inventory # 73995
Book Description Southern Illinois University Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX080932511X