Title: The Great Good Place: American Expatriate ...
Publisher: Norton, New York
Publication Date: 1991
Edition: First Printing of the First Edition.
A Fine copy in a Fine unclipped dust jacket. For the five American expatriate women profiled in Wiser's superb, sparkling group portrait, Paris was a social laboratory in which to lose or remake oneself. Mary Cassatt's fertile relationship with Degas gave way to her sour last years of exile in France, when she progressively lost her eyesight. Edith Wharton, cool-headed observer of society's ironies, flung herself into a dalliance with English journalist Morton Fullerton, who at the time was engaged to his first cousin, while Wharton neglected her own clinically depressed husband. Flapper Caresse Crosby shared the opium highs and sexual excesses of her poet husband Harry, then managed their Black Sun Press after his suicide. Daredevil Zelda Fitzgerald envied famous novelist husband F. Scott, who expropriated her mental breakdown as material for his fiction. Josephine Baker, illiterate teenage chorus girl from St. Louis, came closest to becoming a "changeling hybrid Parisienne." In marvelous vignettes, Wiser ( The Crazy Years ) creates an iridescent prism refracting the City of Light's special alchemy and ambiance. From Publisher's Weekly. Catalog Garnet. Bookseller Inventory # 23234
Synopsis: From the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, Paris was that good place - the only place, it seemed, where an American woman of strong feeling, of artistic ambition of wayward impulse or sheer joie de vivre could be wholly herself. William Wiser draws portraits of five American women who made Paris their home: painter Mary Cassatt, novelist Edith Wharton, those mercurial gadabouts and tragic wives, Zelda Fitzgerald and Caresse Crosby, and the one and only Josephine Baker. Here also are fascinating cameos of Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner, Sara Murphy and other luminaries, all set against and shaped by the spell of the City of Light. Paris meant possibilities. These five had utterly different responses to this freedom - but as Wiser shows, the web of connections among them was strong and Paris was its centre.
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