Daily Rituals: Women at Work

Mason Currey. Knopf, $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3295-0
In Currey’s previous Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, only 27 of the 161 profiles were of women; as a corrective in this fascinating sequel, Currey explains, he offers 143 vibrant depictions of the routines of creative women, living and dead, drawn from letters and diaries. Photographer Margaret Bourke-White was a morning person (“The world is all fresh and new then”); actress Tallulah Bankhead prayed on opening nights (“Dear God, don’t let me make a fool of myself”); artist Alice Neel was a “lifelong shoplifter”; Margaret Mitchell depended on Johnnie Walker, Frida Kahlo on Demerol. Currey quotes women on their men, from the helpful (George Eliot’s and Elizabeth Bishop’s Georges) to the hindering (choreographer Agnes de Mille’s unfaithful husband); on their women (Rosa Bonheur’s and Romaine Brooks’s Natalies); and their children (Ruth Asawa, six; Anne Bradstreet, eight; writers Eudora Welty and Virginia Woolf, none). He includes writers (Harriet Jacobs), sculptors (Harriet Hosmer, Niki de Saint Phalle), filmmakers (Jane Campion, Agnes Varda), composers (Charlotte Bray, Julia Wolfe), journalists (Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Thompson), and video artists (Joan Jonas). He covers women who succeeded young (writer Françoise Sagan, 18) and old (artist Alma Thomas, 80). Currey’s encyclopedic tour respectfully and entertainingly addresses Colette’s question about George Sand: “How the devil did she manage?” Agent: Meg Thompson, Thompson Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/11/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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