The Other Elizabeth Taylor Paperback
Part of the Persephone Classics series
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages, Illustrations, 1 map, ports.
- Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 23/04/2009
- Category: Biography: literary
- ISBN: 9781906462109
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by LizzieD
I wanted to love this book; I certainly love and respect Elizabeth Taylor's writing. I couldn't quite make it, and so thought that I should leave a little caveat for others of my ilk.Granted that ET is a difficult subject for a biographer, I came away with few personal insights. Ms. Beauman does paint a general picture of her life and does include quotations both from ET's letters and friends' responses. She felt neglected; she was. Other women writers scorned her; they did. Her publishers mishandled her: they shouldn't have. I'm left with not very much more than I knew going into the book.Ms. Beauman did spend a sizable portion of the biography in thumbnail sketches of the published short stories. While such a record is valuable, I thought that these interrupted what might have been a more helpful analysis of the woman herself.Sorry.
Review by MariaAlhambra
A well researched and detailed biography, despite the limited source of biographical materials. There is extensive analysis of all her works, although it is superficial at times (it does not have an academic reader in mind, despite denouncing acedemic neglect of Taylor's work).
Review by lauralkeet
The Elizabeth Taylor in this biography was a British novelist (1912-1975). Although she was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (for <em>Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont</em>), to the average reader she is a complete unknown. I discovered her work through Virago Modern Classics, and she quickly became a favorite author. So this year, to celebrate the centenary of her birth, I thought I'd learn more about the life of this talented, but very private, woman.This is a classic chronological biography, beginning with Taylor's childhood and her secondary school education at the best school for girls in Reading, her home town. Beauman shows how Taylor developed as a writer, even as she also became a wife, a mother, and even a mistress. She was dedicated to writing even as she juggled these other roles, but it wasn't until she was 32 that her first novel was published. From that point on she had a lucrative career with twelve novels and a considerable number of short stories, many of which were published in <em>The New Yorker</em> magazine. Despite her success, she never wanted to play the game expected of authors, making public appearances and so on. This probably cost her some fame, but allowed her to stay a devoted wife and mother, which she valued highly. Still, Taylor's career had a certain arc. Her first few novels were considered her best, and the 1960s brought a shift in public sentiment where readers gradually began seeking out other authors with more modern points of view.I was pleasantly surprised by this book. All too often, biographies are dry, factual accounts. Nicola Beauman's thorough research infused this biography with real people and emotion. In the course of her research she was able to meet with a man who had been Taylor's lover in the 1930s. He never stopped loving her, and Beauman's meeting with him was quite touching. Beauman also successfully conveyed Taylor's emotions during difficult periods, like when her later work attracted negative reviews.By the end of this year I will have read all of Elizabeth Taylor's twelve novels. I plan to use this book as a reading companion, returning to it with each novel to remind myself of what was happening in Taylor's life at that time, and of how her life experiences influenced each book.