Book Details

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    • November 2008
    • 9780231147378
  • 184 Pages
  • Paperback
  • $29.95
  • / £19.95


    • November 2008
    • 9780231147361
  • 184 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $90.00
  • / £62.00



Making American Culture

Edited by Micki McGee

Established by a pair of philanthropists who believed adamantly in the power of creativity, Yaddo has hosted some of the twentieth century's most renowned writers, composers, and visual artists, including Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Leonard Bernstein, Elizabeth Bishop, Truman Capote, Flannery O'Connor, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Carson McCullers, Sylvia Plath, Philip Roth, and Clyfford Still.

Richly illustrated with photographs, prints, intimate letters, papers, and ephemera from archives and collections at both Yaddo and The New York Public Library—many of which have never before been seen by the public— Yaddo offers a window into the workings of this famously private institution and insight into the lives and circumstances of the artists who lived and worked there. It examines the relationship between the premier artists' colony and the ideals of democracy and individuality that inform an American vision. From Aaron Copland to Robert Lowell, from Agnes Smedley to Langston Hughes, the volume shares the stories of those who visited this haven and highlights the debates and controversies that threatened to break apart its tranquility. With essays by Marcelle Clements, David Gates, Allan Gurganus, Tim Page, Ruth Price, Barry Werth, Karl Emil Willers, and Helen Vendler, along with an overview by curator Micki McGee, Yaddo revisits the major moments of twentieth-century American culture and history.

About the Author

Micki McGee is a sociologist and cultural critic on the faculty of Fordham University and the curator of the exhibition Yaddo: Making American Culture at the New York Public Library. Formerly a faculty fellow at New York University, she is also the author of Self-Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life.

Few names in American arts and letters resonate like Yaddo... This lavishly detailed book offers an intimate glimpse into life at this enchanting and storied retreat.

[A] beautifully illustrated and engagingly compiled book.

Angus Trumble

Foreword, by David S. Ferriero and Elaina RichardsonPreface1. Creative Power: Yaddo and the Making of American Culture, by Micki McGee2. Refuge and Crucible: Newton Arvin's Yaddo, by Barry Werth3. The Trailblazer: Aaron Copland and the Festivals of American Music, by Tim Page4. In Good Company: Visual Artists at Yaddo, by Karl E. Willers5. The Ghosts of Yaddo: What They Taught, by Allan Gurganus6. Living with Artists Is More Fun, by Helen Vendler7. The Longest Stay: Agnes Smedley, Yaddo, and the "Lowell Affair", by Ruth Price8. Writ in Water: The Rise and Fall of Literary Reputations, by David Gates9. Crème de la Crème: Highbrows, Lowbrows, Voracious Omnivores, High, Low, and Hi-Lo, by Marcelle ClementsNote on the Trasks and the Founding of YaddoYaddo Timeline, 1874-1980AcknowledgmentsList of ContributorsIllustration CreditsIndex