The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe

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9780099524892: The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe

"The Genius and the Goddess", based on Jeffrey Meyers' long friendship with Arthur Miller and extensive archival research from Washington to Los Angeles, is a portrait of a marriage. The greatest American playwright of the twentieth century and the most popular American actress both complemented and wounded one another. Marilyn Monroe was a doomed personality whose tragic end was inevitable. Miller experienced creative agony with her. Their five-year marriage, from 1956 to 1961, coincided with the creative peak of her career, yet private and public conflict caused both of them great anguish. This book explains why they married, what sustained them for five years and what destroyed them; the effect of the anti-Communist witch-hunts on their marriage; and the impact of Marilyn on Miller's life and art. The fascinating cast of characters includes Marilyn's co-stars: Sir Laurence Olivier, Yves Montand and Clark Gable; her leading directors John Huston, Billy Wilder and George Cukor; and her literary friends Dame Edith Sitwell, Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov. Meyers offers an incisive account of the making and meaning of The Misfits, which destroyed their marriage. But Marilyn remained Miller's tragic muse and her character, exalted and tormented, lived on, for the next forty years, in his work.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Meyers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has recently been given an Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has written extensively on literature, film and art; his books have been published on all six continents, and twenty-five of them have been translated into twelve languages. His biography of Samuel Johnson appeared in 2008. He lives in Berkeley, California.

From Booklist:

Theirs was an unlikely match: Monroe from the glamorous world of Hollywood and Miller from the intellectual theater world. They married in 1956, after she divorced baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and he left his wife and two children. What followed was not the promised collaboration of creative energy and personal redemption, her from an image of dim-witted libido and him from emotional constraint, but five years of disappointment and eventual near destruction. Meyers, who has written extensively on the arts, relies on interviews and archival research to offer an in-depth look at a tempestuous marriage. Monroe’s troubled background included abandonment, drug addiction, and promiscuity. His background was more conventional, marked by success until his marriage to the starlet brought the attention of HUAC. Among the fascinating characters in their lives: Elia Kazan, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Lee and Paula Strasberg. During the marriage and even after her controversial death in 1962, Monroe was Miller’s tragic muse and the subject of several of his works, including The Misfits. A fascinating look at an incongruous match. --Vanessa Bush

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