As Wonderful as All That?: Henry Crowder's Memoir of His Affair with Nancy Cunard, 1928-1935

Henry Crowder, Author, Robert L. Allen, Designed by, Hugo Speck, With Wild Trees Press $9.94 (201p) ISBN 978-0-931125-05-8
Shortly after the events described here, Crowder, the black jazz pianist, collaborated with Speck, an American journalist, on a tale about his affair with Cunard, an heiress of the shipping fortune, a poet and a left-wing political activist. The two finished the manuscript but it remained unpublished until now, and there's little wonder as to why: As Wonderful As All That? is a mean-spirited, ungracious catalogue of slights that Crowder seems to have suffered during the seven years he was involved with Cunard. Although there must have been much to attract him (Cunard was apparently intelligent, charming and enthusiastic if voluble), he derides everything about her. Their circle of friends (including e. e. cummings and Samuel Beckett and various Parisian expatriates) become props for his bitterness; her Hours Press (which published Ezra Pound and Robert Graves, among others) is yet another source of spite; and Cunard's book Negro, an anthology of work by blacks around the world, occasions the typically nasty remark that Cunard faced ""tremendous odds'' in putting together the book, ``the greatest of which was her own ignorance.'' (July)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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