Margot Fonteyn: A Life
Posted 16 November 2004 - 07:34 PM
As for me, not at least yet a Fonteyn fan from the one video I've seen, in browsing the book I'm struck by her beauty.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 08:05 AM
Posted 17 November 2004 - 09:41 AM
I kind of think there's kind of a gender double standard. I've seen various articles/books that talk about Balanchine's spartan lifestyle and his piousness. They also mention in the same breath numerous marriages and the fact that he left a parapalegic wife for a woman who refused to marry him A lot of people hold principles that, for one reason or another, they cant maintain in their actual lives.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 09:43 AM
"Margaret!" said Dame Margot in a filmed interview, cutting off the interviewer, "I was never 'Peggy', I was always 'Margaret'!"
Whether this is the absolute truth or not, it was obviously what she wanted believed, and from her vocal inflection, one recognized the steeliness that made her a worthy successor to Dame Ninette de Valois.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 10:48 AM
I had the same reaction. Itís not that I wasnít aware of her beauty before, but in some of the photographs (which could have been reproduced a little better, IMO), especially the ones taken of Fonteyn on vacation (Fonteyn topless! Who knew? ), she looks lushly gorgeous in a way that Iíd never seen before.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 10:59 AM
Posted 17 November 2004 - 01:17 PM
Dale, on Nov 17 2004, 01:59 PM, said:
I think they should be, and the "two source" rule is not a bad one. It can be awfully tempting to quote the dead; they can't sue (and no one can sue on their behalf.) A friend of mine wrote a biography with controversial content, and the publisher's legal team went over everything and needed to know two sources, by name (even if the people were "a source close to the victim") who could be called to testify. That's not a bad standard.
I don't think anyone has said that there shouldn't be mention of Fonteyn's, or anyone's, assignations or sex life in a biography. It's the amount of detail, the kind of detail, and the amount of book time it takes up. Does every sex act have to be noted? Why not toothbrushing, cigarette smoking, meals? Sex sells. That's why the New School of Biography (which has been with us a long time) is obsessed with it. It has little to do with exploring the true nature of the subject, or correcting an imbalance in perception.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 02:00 PM
By the way, journalistic ethics and standards have all but vaporized during the last 15 years anyway. Remember Whitewater?
Posted 17 November 2004 - 02:16 PM
The problem -- and I'm now speaking generally, because I'm not saying that this is a problem with the book under discussion -- but it's just too easy to use the "Mr. X said" to manipulate your facts. I got some wonderful quotes of thirdhand gossip that would have helped buttress one of the main themes of my biography, and it really really hurt not to be able to use them, but when I'd check, and the person who was quoted n the thirdhand gossip "couldn't remember" that he'd said that, or two people said, "Oh, I can see how X would think that, but really...." and gave a good reason why my wonderful quote wasn't fair, then I couldn't use it. But I was writing for a university press, and the editors didn't pressure me to come up with anything juicy. I remember reading about Kirkland's autobiography, that she was pressured to come up with ANY story about a famous person. (Not a nice stoory, of course, not wanting to know if the First Lady had ever sent her a Christmas card.)
Posted 17 November 2004 - 03:04 PM
OK enough about politics.
A third-hand source is very dicey. I've stopped even THINKING about including anything like that in my work, even with an explicit proviso included.
Posted 17 November 2004 - 03:52 PM
in response to cygent's comment, on fonteyn's artistry:...[quote]'what' it looked like to those who witnessed it, (way before my time - or my parents')[/quote]please cygnet - NOT meaning to be at all rude, just explanatory or curious!...i can't help wondering how young you are!
Hi Grace! Its not rude at all to be curious. I was an infant when Margot and Rudi were dancing. I'm post a post baby-boom/Generation Xer. In response to Dirac about my comment re the 90 year old: I don't mean to come off as dismissing him as a 'non-person,' or that he was irrelevant in her life. Nor do I want to infer that I diminish what he believed he had with Margot. Far from it. It just seemed to me that Daneman gives him honorable mention (ie. short shrift) and just seemed, what's the word (?) - gratuitous - to me based on what had been
written prior to that portion of the text. With the other guys we get the whole record from first sight to break-up, and in Lambert's case, death, including all of
the casual stuff. It's Daneman's text that dismisses him. She even states that Margot doesn't comment about him at all in her memoirs. I think I'd let M have the last word on that for the obvious reasons.
Posted 18 November 2004 - 05:46 AM
I think the older we get the more we tend to filter the memories of our youthful romantic entanglements. Not that we are ashamed by them, although that may be part of it, it just our values and perceptions mature along with our minds and bodies. My feeling is that at the time she wrote her book, not only did MF have a certain chaste public image, she herself might have felt ashamed of her romantic past, hence the exorcising of it from her memiors. Also, she came from a era very different from today's celebrity tell all free for all.
Something else about this book and MF's autobiography is that with the Daneman we get loads of information about Fonteyn's sex life, romantic entanglements and so on but the subject herself remains a bit of an enigma. With Fonteyn's own book filtered though it may be, you at least get a sense of her personality, her warmth, her humor, her doubts. I just don't get that with Daneman's book.
Posted 18 November 2004 - 09:22 AM
But, of course, Alexandra's book about Kronstam spoiled me with its wonderful range of clear and expressive personal, rehearsal and performance photographs.
Posted 20 November 2004 - 09:55 AM
Jean Marbella in the Chicago Tribune on the Meredith Daneman biography of Margot Fonteyn:
Posted 01 December 2004 - 10:45 AM
Aloff raises one of those there-ought-to-be-a-law points: An appendix with a list of Fonteyn's roles, with attendant details, would have been immensely helpful, especially in a career of such length and breadth. There was the same omission in Suzanne Farrell's autobiography. (One of the things I appreciated about Peter Martins' book "Far From Denmark" was the inclusion of a list of his roles, the year he assumed them, whether or not the role was made on him, and his partners. )
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