Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton

Author:   Julie Kavanagh
Publisher:   Faber & Faber
Edition:   Main
ISBN:  

9780571190621


Pages:   704
Publication Date:   03 January 1998
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
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Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton


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Overview

The founding choreographer of English ballet saw his influence extend far beyond that world. For more than 50 years he worked with the most famous dancers of his day and many celebrated figures came to know this dazzling and witty personality. Given complete access to Ashton's papers, Kavanagh has written a compelling and definitive account of one of the most important cultural figures of the 20th century. photos.

Full Product Details

Author:   Julie Kavanagh
Publisher:   Faber & Faber
Imprint:   Faber & Faber
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Width: 13.50cm , Height: 4.00cm , Length: 21.60cm
Weight:   0.502kg
ISBN:  

9780571190621


ISBN 10:   0571190626
Pages:   704
Publication Date:   03 January 1998
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
Stock availability from the supplier is unknown. We will order it for you and ship this item to you once it is received by us.

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Reviews

'Not only the best biography of a ballet figure but, far more important, a Proustian recollection of that glamorous near-mythical time, the first half of our now setting century.' Gore Vidal; 'A compulsive read for balletomanes, but also for its portrait of between-the-wars high Bohemia.' The Times


A slavishly detailed but lightsomely written life of the British ballet-maker. Kavanagh, London editor of the New Yorker, explains in an afterword that Ashton alternately authorized and forbade her project, chagrined to be reminded by her of his mortality. It's the finality of it - knowing you're grabbing as much out of me as you can before I die, he once complained. And she has grabbed it. The intelligence and novelistic command of this book about the man who helped to invent modern English ballet is equaled only by the depth of Kavanagh's research. Her enviable ease and glamorous settings range from Ashton's first glimpse, as a boy in Lima, Peru, of Anna Pavlova, to his apprenticeship with Bronislava Nijinska in Paris in the '20s, to his American stints and sundry European wanderings, and his irrepressibly multiple sexual selves. We're treated to the chronicle of Ashton's dances (Les Patineurs, A Wedding Bouquet, Monotones, et al.) as he worked with Marie Rambert of the Ballet Club and Ninette de Valois of the Vic-Wells Ballet (later the Royal Ballet, which he eventually directed). And we're regaled with his legendary late-night wit. Kavanagh reports high times in the '30s: Spotting a minor playwright performing fellatio on a major playwright in a comer of a typical theatrical party, Ashton quipped to Bunny Roger, 'Look! There's K - trying to suck some talent out of E - .' Her secondary characters alone seem reason enough to look for this life someday in a movie theater: Margot Fonteyn, Maynard Keynes, Jean Cocteau, Serge Diaghilev, Gertrude Stein, Rudolf Nureyev, and the Queen Mother. But in all the crush of this crowd, she also singles out Ashton for memorable, consistent portraiture. Gamin, crank, romantic, he was not a happy man, she says. Most of his adulthood was spent half-consciously seeking unrequited emotional situations. Kavanagh explores them vividly. Both Ashton's wiles and his ballets make this irresistible reading. (Kirkus Reviews)


Author Information

Julie Kavanagh was trained at the Royal Ballet School, and, while still a student, performed with a company in Cape Town, where she has spent her early childhood. As a result of injury, she gave up dancing and began a career in journalism. Her first job was on British Vogue, and for three years she worked as London Editor of Women's Wear Daily and W. In 1977 she went to Oxford, where she graduated with a First Class degree in English. For the next decade she worked as Arts Editor of Harpers & Queen, and as dance critic of The Spectator. Under Tina Brown's editorship she was London Editor for Vanity Fair, and then of The New Yorker until 1997, when she began to research the life of Rudolf Nureyev. (Her book, the official biography, will be published in 2005.)Julie Kavanagh is married to ex-Royal Ballet dancer Ross MacGibbon, now head of dance at the BBC. She has two sons, the younger of whom is currently studying at the Royal Bal

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