About Edna St Vincent Millay Research Essay

About Edna St. Vincent Millay Essay, Research Paper


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St. Vincent Millay ( 1892-1950 ) was born in Rockland, Maine. Her parents, Cora Lounella, a

nurse, and Henry Tolman Millay, a school teacher, divorced when she was approximately eight ;

“ Vincent ” stayed with her female parent. In 1917 she graduated from Vassar, published Renaissance

and Other Poems ( the rubric piece had won her acknowledgment in 1912 ) , and took the lead

in her ain drama The Princess Marries the Page ( published in 1932 ) . She played in it

once more and directed it for the Provincetown Players in Greenwich Village in 1918.

[ Provincetown besides produced two of Millay & # 8217 ; s other dramas, ] Aria district attorney Capo and Two

Slatterns and a King. Meanwhile she earned her populating with pseudonymous magazine

studies [ published under the name Nancy Boyd and ] collected in Distressing Dialogues

in 1924. With the Frank and misanthropic love poesy of A Few Figs From Thistles in 1920

[ incorporating “ First Fig, ” one of Millay & # 8217 ; s most good known and widely quoted

verse forms ] , and Second April in 1921, Edna St. Vincent Millay was hailed as the voice

of her coevals, incarnation of the New Woman. After two old ages in Europe as a

letter writer for Vanity Fair, she married Eugene Jan Boissevain in 1923 ; [ Millay

had earlier ] devoted a sonnet to the memory of his first married woman, her suffragist graven image Inez

Milholland. [ In 1923 she besides ] became the first adult female to have a Pulitzer Prize for

poesy, for Ballad of the Harp Weaver. At the tallness of her popularity she joined a

author & # 8217 ; s campaign to remain the executing of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927 ; she

commemorated their terminal in five verse forms, “ Justice Denied in Massachusetts ” ,

“ Hangman & # 8217 ; s Oak ” , “ The Anguish ” , “ To Those Without

Commiseration ” , and “ Wine from These Grapes ” ( collected in The Buck in the Snow

in 1928 ) . After more volumes of wordss came a joint interlingual rendition [ with George Dillon ] of

Baudelaire & # 8217 ; s Fleurs du Mal in 1936 ; Conversation at Midnight, a

dramatic poetry colloquoy demoing her increasing political consciousness, in 1937 ; and Huntsman,

What Quarry? in 1939 ( which included six elegiac verse forms to her close friend Elinor

Wylie, who died in 1928 ) . [ With the attack and oncoming of World War II, Millay became

progressively alarmed at the rise of fascism in Europe, and participated in a figure of

public forums advancing US readiness and engagement. She besides published ] Make

Bright the Arrows: 1940 Notebook in 1940, which consisted of “ verse forms for a universe

at war. ” [ Millay wrote ] The Murder of Lidice, her 1942 wireless drama, at the

petition of the Writer & # 8217 ; s War Board. Collected Lyrics, Collected Sonnets,

and Collected Poems appeared in 1939, 1941, and 1956. Millay & # 8217 ; s letters

( located at Vassar and elsewhere ) were published in 1952, [ edited by her close friend

Allan Ross MacDougal. Millay died at her place, Steepletop, in Austerlitz, New York in

October, 1950. ]

From The

Feminist Companion to Literature in English. Virginia Blain, Isobel

Grundy, and Patricia Clements, eds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

Ann Douglas

Floyd Dell in Love in Greenwich Village ( 1923 ) & # 8230 ; writes about Edna St.

Vincent Millay as “ It ” in the Village ; so does Edmund Wilson in his

extraordinary and merely court, “ Edna St. Vincent Millay ” ( 1952 ) , included in The

Shores of Light.

We still await a full and up-to-date life of Millay ; although sometimes inaccurate

and virtually soundless on her androgyny and alcohol addiction, Miriam Gurko, Restless Spirit:

The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay ( 1962 ) and Norman Brittin, Edna St. Vincent

Millay ( 1967 ) are utile. The memoirs by two of her friends, Vincent Sheehan, The

Indigo Bunting ( 1952 ) , and Max Eastman, Great Companions: Critical Memoirs of Some

Celebrated Friends ( 1959 ) are blunt and insightful.

From Ann Douglas, Awful Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. New York:

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995.

Edmund Wilson

& # 8230 ; I had found, when I had come into contact with the formidable strength of

character that lay behind [ Millay & # 8217 ; s ] attraction and glare, something as

different as possible from the fable of her Greenwich Village repute, something

austere and even inexorable. She & # 8230 ; had grown up in little Maine towns. I heard her speak of

her male parent merely one time. He and her female parent had non lived together since the kids were

rather little, and her female parent, who had studied to be a vocalist, supported them by territory

nursing. & # 8230 ; They were hapless ; the female parent was off all twenty-four hours, and the three misss were

thrown much on themselves. To Edna, her sisters and her poesy and her music must hold

been about the whole of life. & # 8230 ; By her precocious and singular verse form, Renascence,

written when she was barely 19, she had attracted & # 8230 ; the attending of Miss

Caroline B. Dow, the New York caput of the National Training School of the YWCA, who raised

the money to direct [ Millay ] to college. She did non graduate, hence, till she was

25, when she at last emerged into the freedom of a universe where her mastermind and

beauty were shortly to do her celebrated, to convey all kinds of people about her, with an

mind and a character that had been developed in purdah and under the subject of

difficult conditions. & # 8230 ; It was this tough rational side combined with her feminine

attractive force that [ subsequently, in Greenwich Village ] made her such an attractive force, and persuaded

so many work forces that they had found their ideal mate. She was rather free from the

blue-stocking & # 8217 ; s showing-off, but she did hold a instead schoolmarmish side & # 8211 ;

which wrapped [ Vincent ] Sheean & # 8217 ; s brass knuckss when he put out a coffin nail in his java


Edmund Wilson, “ Epilogue, 1952: Edna St. Vincent Millay, ” in The Shores of

Light: A Literary Chronicle of the 1920s and 1930s. Boston: Northeastern University

Imperativeness, 1952.

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