Im Flieger auf dem Weg von Bangkok nach Thimphu fand Birgitt Morrien jüngst in einer thailändischen Tageszeitung den Hinweis auf eine Neuerscheinung mit dem Titel "All We Know: Three LIves", die sofort ihr Interesse weckte. Die Biografie beschäftigt sich mit Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta und Madge Garland, drei schillernden Frauen, deren kulturelles Wirken und künstlerisches Schaffen laut Autorin Lisa Cohen zu Lebzeiten Gefahr liefen, trivialisiert zu werden, da sie lesbisch lebten. Das Buch möchte diese fast in Vergessenheit geratenen Amerikanerinnen wieder ins öffentliche Licht rücken.
Lesbians Restored to Lives of Glamour (Link zu vollständigem Beitrag)
In “All We Know,” Lisa Cohen does rescue work on the reputations of three scintillating lesbians whose accomplishments were once written off as dubious or, worse, trivial.
Esther Murphy (1897-1962) was a world-class talker. Someone who knew her well described her, unkindly, as “a huge & rather clumsy tank” — she was six feet tall — mounted with “a loudspeaker which blares forth brilliant ideas no one can refute and which everyone wants to listen to for just so long.”
Madge Garland (1896-1990) was the most successful and accomplished of the three. Born (to her lifelong chagrin) in Melbourne, she grew up a well-to-do English snob. But when she quietly insisted on going to work, her father cut her off.
The shy, sickly girl matured into a dragon in pearls, becoming the fashion editor of British Vogue in the 1920s and again in the ’30s and, later, the creator of the School of Fashion at the Royal College of Art.
And so Cohen’s discussion of Garland — the longest and finest section in this magisterial book — builds to her intricate “Notes on Discretion,” in which she considers the reigning paradox of Garland’s career.
The “organization of her life around self-display was bound up with a need to actively, continually conceal herself,” Cohen explains — the necessary concomitant of a longing for achievement in the England of that era.
There’s no hint of mess in this almost perfect book.