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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Reference Desk

by Janet Hamill

May 19, 1999

Spring brings a potpourri of new biographies to the shelves of current non-fiction at the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society. Among those of particular interest are biographies of leading figures in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Henry Clay Frick: An Intimate Portrait is Martha Frick Symington Sanger's extensive look at the life of her great-grandfather. Drawing on family memories and private family diaries, Ms. Sanger's portrait of the world famous art collector and steel tycoon reveals both the triumphs and tragedies of a remarkable life. In addition, the author examines the extensive inventory of the Frick collection and provides insights into Frick's motivations for acquiring his outstanding collection of painting and sculpture. Henry Clay Frick is a beautifully designed "coffee table" biography illustrated with over 200 photographs in full color of The Frick Collection and the Frick Art and Historical Center.

The Friendly Dickens: Being a Good-Natured Guide to the Art and Adventures of the Man Who Invented Scrooge by Norrie Epstein is a delightful reexamination of the life and work of the great English novelist. Ms. Epstien provides a spirited guide to masterpieces like David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Nicholas Nickleby and a lively appreciation of the characters that populate these literary icons. By peeling away the polite veneer of Victorian society, The Friendly Dickens also reveals details of Dicken's life, from the squalor of his childhood, to the treatment of his wife and indifference to fatherhood, and his hunger for applause. All the richness of the adjective Dickensian is brought to life here with liberal use of contemporary quotations, Victorian engravings and photographs, and a Dickens filmography.

Nureyev: His Life by Diane Solway is the first full-scale biography of the legendary Russian dancer. Ms. Solway traces Nureyev's life from the war-torn poverty of his childhood in the Soviet Union, to his dramatic defection to the west in 1961, and untimely death from AIDS in 1993. This exhaustively researched biography weaves together over 200 interviews with friends, lovers, and dance partners and draws on new material from Soviet archives, family documents, diaries, correspondence, and other original sources. Nureyev takes us inside the great companies and shows us how this intriguing personality revitalized the Royal Ballet and Paris Operal Ballet and permanently transformed the role of the male dancer. Separating fact from fiction, Ms. Solway explores Nureyev's legendary relationship with Margot Fonteyn, his glamorous friendships with Andy Warhol, Jacqueline Onassis, Marlene Dietrich, and Mick Jagger, and the intimacies of his private life. Illustrated throughout with previously unpublished black and white photographs, Nureyev: His Life is a marvelous telling of one of the century's most dramatic stories.

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