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Cole Porter : a biography

Author: William McBrien
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
William McBrien's biography, the result of ten years of work and bursting with stories and scenes of Porter's life, takes us beyond the patina of Porter's very public career, beyond the high and low aristocratic worlds of Venice (Porter with Elsa Maxwell in 1923 together put Venice back on the map as the place to be), beyond the opulent parties and costume balls on two continents he not only attended but threw
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Genre/Form: Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
McBrien, William.
Cole Porter.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1998
(OCoLC)639535586
Named Person: Cole Porter; Cole Porter; Cole Porter
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: William McBrien
ISBN: 0394582357 9780394582351 9780965068581 0965068587
OCLC Number: 37947272
Description: xiii, 459 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Contents: We open in Peru --
I want to be a Yale boy --
Seeing America first --
I'm tired of living alone --
Raising hell in Europe --
Mesdames, messieurs ... --
Take me back to Manhattan --
Anything went --
World-famous Tunesmith --
Like living on the moon --
Back in stride --
DuBarry --
I'm in love with a soldier boy --
Little houses in which our hearts once lived --
Night and day --
The champ is back --
Down in the depths --
Can-can --
The dream is over --
After you, who? --
He kept on living.
Responsibility: by William McBrien.
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Abstract:

William McBrien's biography, the result of ten years of work and bursting with stories and scenes of Porter's life, takes us beyond the patina of Porter's very public career, beyond the high and low aristocratic worlds of Venice (Porter with Elsa Maxwell in 1923 together put Venice back on the map as the place to be), beyond the opulent parties and costume balls on two continents he not only attended but threw himself - and made into an art form.

McBrien takes us into Porter's seemingly conventional marriage to reveal his complicated emotional life - the lost, privileged man who had a wild, irrepressible talent to amuse but at first couldn't find his voice; the man who married "the most beautiful woman in the world," the very social, very southern Linda Lee Thomas, but who preferred his own sex. He had long relationships as well as frequent dalliances with many men but for thirty-five years maintained a loving marriage to the woman he truly adored.

We see the supremely gifted Porter who created twenty musicals on Broadway (Anything Goes, DuBarry Was a Lady, Gay Divorce, Born to Dance), writing for such stars as Ethel Merman, Fred Astaire, Mary Martin, Bert Lahr, and Bea Lilly; and who gave Hollywood Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Gay Divorcee, Rosalie, Broadway Melody of 1940, Night and Day, High Society, Silk Stockings, Can-Can, and Kiss Me, Kate. Porter was "the top" and lived at the top, but his life was catastrophically transformed after a near-fatal horseback-riding accident. The thirty-one operations during the next eighteen years brought on increasing pain, and the growing paralysis that darkened his life was never hinted at publicly nor in his work.

Interweaving the life and the music, McBrien shows us a man whose genius as a composer flowered in deceptively simple melodies that were thought to be completely modern but today are considered ingenious, complicated, and steeped in the nineteenth-century tradition of lieder; a composer whose craft concealed complicated solutions to musical problems while it enchanted his audiences.

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