Sprang forward... fell back on my reading, already.
Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust without Reason
by Anne Roiphe
The title suggests a life of uncompromising passion and zeal. Indeed, “Moderation for most of us is a most unnatural condition ... I preferred to burn out like a brilliant firecracker,” declares American feminist writer and journalist Anne Roiphe, known for such novels as Up the Sandbox and Lovingkindness. Characteristically, Roiphe has kept up a prolific pace – one that has been likened to “following somebody through a revolving door” — having published seven novels and two memoirs in her four-decade career, while contributing essays and reviews to The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and others. She was nominated for the National Book Award for her 1996 memoir Fruitful: A Memoir of Modern Motherhood.
With the brash, staccato prose in which she imbues Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust without Reason, Roiphe fulfills the premise in her journalist daughter Katie’s foreword that "this book is the record of an idea as it moves through a life: the idea is the supreme and consuming importance of art." In this regard Roiphe couches her chronicle of bohemia and bonhomie during her lost years among the charismatic but coercive male literary and artistic icons of the late 1950s and 1960s – years as cocktail party candy, strewn from Park Avenue to the Hamptons, for the likes of George Plimpton, Terry Southern, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, William Styron, Larry Rivers, Jack Gelber, among others. Putting her ambitions of becoming a writer on hold, Roiphe married Jack Richardson, a promising playwright, typing his manuscripts and putting up with his promiscuity and drunkenness. She stayed with him for eight years, all the time – as “a free-thinking welter of contradictions, a never-say-die feminist who's absolutely nuts about children" — distressed about the kind of life she was giving her daughter.