Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Author Nancy Milford spent more than thirty years writing her biography on the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. The thirty years paid off, as this is the most definitive bio of Edna to date. Edna St. Vincent Millay was a passionate, wild, and extremely talented woman who became a heroine of the Jazz Age, and her poetry was both controversial and incredible. She was also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The author, with the help of Millay's sister, also goes into detail on Edna's later life, when she became addicted to morphine, and her mysterious death. This is a story of a woman who was a celebrity in her time, carrying on affairs with both women and men, writing blatantly about sexuality, and a mysterious private life that was never revealed until now.
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The review of this Book prepared by Amanda Goodwin

While Nancy Milford's biography is rich in detail about this poet's short and complicated life, it is fraught with bad editing. Saying Millay is 5' 1" on one page, 5' 4" on another with no explanation. Saying Millay was
supporting six people and naming only two. It seems to me she was being careful to not offend the controllers of the Millay estate and at the same time please her publishers.
The review of this Book prepared by Jenifer Kay Hood

Vincent Millay was the voice of an era. Famous, infamous...her face, her voice, her poetry, and her plays were fervently embraced across the country. She could be witty, playful, poignant, pointed, sarcastic. She rose from a poor single-parent household to become one of the most renowned women of all time, yet she never quite escaped her financial slump, she never settled for one man (or woman), she never reconciled with her sister Kathleen. Her poetry continues to touch readers today--because she wrote poetry of every emotion, and she had cause to feel many.
The review of this Book prepared by Sarrah

Chapter Analysis of Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Plot & Themes

job/profession:    -   writer Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Period of greatest activity?    -   1900+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France    -   Italy    -   Greece    -   Eastern Europe City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee Misc setting    -   Fancy Mansion    -   resort/hotel Century:    -   1900-1920's

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   thoughtful Graphic sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript. of nude males (the big P)    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   descript. of female anat. (the big B's)    -   lesbians!    -   descript. of female anat. (the big V) How much dialogue in bio?    -   little dialog

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