Contributing editors Nell Altizer, Patricia Angley, Alana Bell, Michael Fassiotto, Noel Kent, John W. I. Lee, Gabriel Merle, Barbara Bennett Peterson, Eric Thau, and Valeria Wenderoth provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, L'Espresso, Globe and Mail, Journal of World History, The Medieval Review, Le Monde des Livres, New York Review of Books (NYRB), New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Le Nouvel Observateur, El Pais (Madrid), Presidential Studies Quarterly, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), Washington Post National Weekly Edition (WP), and the Women's Review of Books.
Adams, Harriet Stratemeyer. See Drew, Nancy.
Anna of All the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova. Elaine Feinstein. New York: Knopf, 2005. 331 pp. $27.50.
"In her superb and concise biography, Feinstein brings to life the complex interplay between poetic truth and the ordinary truth of experience in the poet's life and work. Feinstein has a special understanding of the poet's moral universe and the role that poets played in Russian history. A poet and translator of Russian poetry, she has written fine biographies of Pushkin and Marina Tsvetaeva, the other great poet of twentieth-century Russia. . . . Feinstein's poetic sensibility gives her book a distinctive quality, setting it apart from previous biographies."
Orlando Figes. NYRB, June 22, 2006: 40–42.
Allégret, Marc. See Gide, André.
Al-Wazzan (Leo Africanus)
Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds. Natalie Zemon Davis. New York: Hill & Wang, 2006. 435 pp. $40.50.
"Though they dispute particular points about this person, scholars agree that al-Wazzan (most commonly known as Leo Africanus in the West) was one of the Renaissance's greatest geographers and the author of The Description of Africa (1550), a bestseller across Europe. . . . Though rich in scrupulous details about her subject's scholarship and writings . . . Davis remains outside al-Wazzan's psyche, much more than scholars who attempt the biography, say, of Shakespeare. She evidently trusts her research into his writings to reveal [End Page 506] the inner man. . . . However, she cannot close some important gaps in his biography and much of her text remains speculative."
Keith Garebian. Globe and Mail, May 13, 2006: D5.
Augustus Caesar. David Shotter. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2005. 128 pp. 15 plates, 5 figures. $18.00.
"Augustus Caesar is a revised and updated second edition of Shotter's 1991 monograph on the first emperor of Rome. [I]t is a noble undertaking, indeed, to write a short monograph that aims to deal with a historical figure as complex as Augustus and a period of history as significant as the Augustan Principate, with its huge cast of characters and changing landscape. . . . Shotter has given us a clearly written, well-organized introductory survey."
Anne-Marie Lewis. Bryn Mawr Classical Review, June 15, 2006.
Dominique Aury. Angie David. Paris: Ed. Leo Scheer, 2006. 560 pp. Euro25.
Dominique Aury (1907–1998), born Anne Desclos, was for long years the eminence grise of NRF and French literature at large. In 1994, she confirmed to the New Yorker what was an open secret concerning Histoire d'O, that masterpiece of erotic literature (1954): the author was not Pauline Réage (an assumed name) but herself. Jean Paulhan, her lover, who had been suspected to be the author, was in fact the addressee. Aury was a conqueror, a woman of power, liking secrecy, concealment, even disembling: she was convinced that there lay the key to personal power. This fascinating biography, in which we learn all about Aury's multiple loves, with their jealousies, ruptures, manipulations, disillusions, still manages to leave untouched in that zealot of secrecy her share of mystery.
Jo.(syane) S.(avigneau). Le Monde des Livres, Apr. 14, 2006: 3.
Roland Barthes. Le métier d'écrire. Eric Marty. Paris: Seuil, 2006. 342 pp. Euro23.
Of the three parts composing Marty's book, only the first, "Memory of a friendship," concerns a biographical review. It aims at producing an "autobiographical portrait," giving a nearly phenomenological description, at...