The panther stride

The panther stride

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907–1940

by Victoria Wilson

Simon & Schuster, $48.99 hb, 1044 pp, 9780684831688

Barbara Stanwyck

by Andrew Klevan

Palgrave Macmillan, $32.99 pb, 147 pp, 9781844576487

How many words does it take to write a life (or actually half a life) of movie star Barbara Stanwyck? Admittedly, she had a long career – she started in a revue chorus in 1921 at the age of fourteen and played in her last episode of the television series The Colbys in 1987 at the age of eighty – but 1044 pages that take us only to 1940? As Liz Smith quipped in the Chicago Tribune, ‘She was a great actress, but not Winston Churchill.’

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Published in April 2014 no. 360
Desley Deacon

Desley Deacon

Desley Deacon is a writer and historian living in Sydney. She is currently revising a manuscript, Four Husbands, a Lover, and a Friend: Mary McCarthy’s Experiments in Heterosexuality, for University of Chicago Press and is working on a biography of Australian-born actress of stage and screen, Judith Anderson. She was formerly Professor of History at the Australian National University, where she is now Professor Emerita, and taught for a number of years at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Elsie Clews Parsons: Inventing Modern Life (University of Chicago Press), and Managing Gender: The State, the New Middle Class, and Women Workers 1830-1930 (OUP), and has co-edited, with Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott, two volumes on transnational biography.

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