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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The second sex by the modern standard: Divas where Lucy Tantamount meets Nancy Cunard

Roaring twenties divas 

 ITEM# 1 
The depiction of a a new leisure pursuit, or a "liberated female".
 Personality. Internal power.Beauty in those fascinating and inspirational women who accepted “to live as I liked always and to die in my own way.”

Avant-garde artist Tamara de Lempicka's 1929 “auto-portrait” depicts her at the wheel: "Heavily eyelids armored with kohl cut decisively across the pupils as she confronts the viewer; unworried, unimpressed, unconcerned. Where we might expect to find liquid life, depth, and vulnerability, we find instead an eye barked hard by the experience of modernity." / Cool Shades -by  V. Brown -2014)

How is it the World of Publishing, Human Rights Organizations, have failed to acknowledge the innummerable achievements, accomplishments, contributions and sacrifice of Nancy Cunard. She is number 3 of my List for Women In History of Greatest Courage and Spirit! ( after Tamara de Lempicka and Mae West)

Judith Mackrell's book studies generously this generation. 

 ITEM# 2 

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British novelist. Three examples.

which belong with the 'femme fatale' sketches of his earlier novels, Mrs Viveash and Lucy Tantamount, whose chief function is to deprive the hero of all normal concepts of morality.

Lucy Tantamount -character

Point Counter Point (Flamingo Modern Classics): ALDOUS HUXLEY “Living modernly’s living quickly,  you can’t cart a wagonload of ideals and romanticism around you these days. When you travel by airplane, you must leave your heavy baggage behind. The good-old fashioned soul was all right when people lived slowly. But it’s too ponderous nowadays. There’s no room for it in the airplane.”     Point Counterpoint (A. Huxley - 1928)

Lucy Tantamount is a portrait of the 1920s femme fatale Nancy Cunard—with whom Huxley had a very brief but emotionally debilitating affair prior to writing Point Counter Point.

"To-morrow," Mrs. Viveash interrupted him, "will be as awful as to-day." She breathed it like a truth from beyond the grave prematurely revealed, expiringly from her death-bed within."                                    Antic Hay (A. Huxley - 1923)

Myra Viveash is Huxley's version of the rootless modern woman, a promiscuous temptress who lives on the edge of despair. Gumbril, Lypiatt and Shearwater should be so completely subjugated by Myra Viveash, who symbolizes the destructive nihilism. There is one person, however, whom Gumbril  is careful to avoid: Myra Viveash, the fashionable beauty whose eyes have “a formidable capacity for looking and expressing nothing.” She destroys whomever she allures with her expiring death-bed voice. Her life is a void, an infinite boredom, a cold and heartless game with other people’s lives. She is largely responsible for Gumbril’s disenchantment.

OTHER writers:
in the fashion of Hemingway's Brett Ashley and E. Waugh's Margot Metroland.]

 ITEM# 2 .  Live and let live.

Nancy Cunard: A Biography

Nancy Cunard was a writer and political activist. She was born into the British upper class but strongly rejected her family's values,devoting much of her life fighting racism and fascism.
There are two biographies of Nancy Cunard recommended by critics: Lois Gordon’s Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist. Columbia UP, New York 2007; and Anne Chisholm’s Nancy Cunard: A Biography. Sidgwick and Jackson, New York 1979. I’ve read the book by A. Chisholm, which motivated this entry, and recommend it highly.

PROFILE. For Nancy Cunard, the beautiful heiress to the Cunard shipping fortune, a life like Paris Hilton's wasn't an option.

Though she partied with celebrities and had many lovers, Cunard rejected her privilege and fortune to fight for the oppressed. She was a poet, a publisher and a paramour of many writers of the 1920s and '30s.

TASK. Listen to this 9-minute radio program from NPR

   Nancy Cunard: Rebellious Heiress, Inspired Life

Nancy Cunard
Photographed by Man Ray -1926

while living in France Nancy learned typography and how to operate a printing press and became a publisher. The Hours Press 1928-31 published some of the most beautifully designed books of the period, works by Louis Aragon, Norman Douglas, Samuel Beckett, Robert Graves and Ezra Pound.  And in 1933 came Negro.
5 Nancy Cunard 4 Man RayNegro was an immense book published by Nancy Cunard which was a statement of African achievement in politics and the arts, inspired by her association with Henry Crowder, who had been her lover since 1928. Crowder was an unsuccessful black musician from Atlanta Georgia USA, and what he had to tell Nancy about the condition of black people in the southern states of America changed her life. Negro was not significant for its publication alone.

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