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Yaddo: Making American Culture

Edited by Micki McGee

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Paper, 184 pages, 125 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-14737-8
$29.95 / £19.95

November, 2008
Cloth, 184 pages, 125 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-14736-1
$90.00 / £62.00

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.

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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.

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