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February House (Paperback)

Author:  Sherill Tippins
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FORMAT: Paperback
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Learn more about February House:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 061871197X
ISBN-13: 9780618711970
Sku: 202181848
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.5L x 1T
Pages:  317
Age Range:  NA
Tippins reveals the story of an extraordinary experiment in communal living--involving the young but already iconic writer Carson McCullers and burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee--in a house at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn during 1940 and 1941.
From the Publisher:
The author chronicles a hitherto unknown chapter in both literary history and communal living--the experiment in communalism undertaken by Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, W. H. Auden, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Jane and Paul Bowles. Reader's Guide available. Reprint.The story of an extraordinary experiment in communal living, one involving young but already iconic writers--and the country's best-known burlesque performer--in a house in Brooklyn during 1940 and 1941. It was a fevered yearlong party fueled by the appetites of youth and by the shared sense of urgency to take action as artists in the months before America entered the war. In spite of the sheer intensity, the house was for its residents a creative crucible. Carson McCullers's two masterpieces, The Memberof the Wedding and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, were born here. Gypsy Rose Lee, workmanlike by day, party girl by night, wrote her book The G-String Murders in her bedroom. W. H. Auden, who along with Benjamin Britten was being excoriated at home in England for absenting himself from the war, presided over the house like a peevish auntie, collecting rent money and dispensing romantic advice. And yet all the while he was composing some of the most important work of his career.
In the early 1940s, the house at 7 Middagh Avenue near the Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn became the communal residence of many literary lights, including W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Paul and Jane Bowles, and Carson McCullers, as well as the composer Benjamin Britten and the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Amid the boozing and the occasional flareup of animosity, friendship flourished and much good work was done there, including the writing of BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE and PETER GRIMES. The house that Paul Bowles said provided "a comforting facsimile of family life" was demolished in 1945.


Kirkus Reviews
"[A] lively literary history with some surprising depth....Tippins demonstrates some fine research on Auden's life--and on the first tremulous days of fear and dread as American faced another European war." 12/01/2004

New York Times Book Review
"If Tippins...does not always manage to make a convincing case for 7 Middagh Street as a vital creative crucible...she nonetheless makes a deliciously readable one....Where FEBRUARY HOUSE succeeds is as a story of young artists trying to become themselves...." - Amanda Vaill 02/06/2005

New Yorker
"Tippins's book is a cozy, gossipy read, punctuated by solid, if perfunctory, literary criticism." 03/07/2005

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0317
Product attributePublisher:   Mariner Books
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