Yale University Press, paperback
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Publisher Marketing: The first publication of Edna St. Vincent Millay's private, intimate diaries, providing "a candid self-portrait of the 'bad girl of American letters'" (Kirkus Reviews)
"Provides an occasion to revisit not just [Millay's] improbable life but also her sometimes revelatory work."--Abigail Deutsch, Wall Street Journal
"Rapture and Melancholy paints a picture of artistic triumph, romantic tumult, and a daily life that descended into addiction."--Heather Clark, New York Times Book Review
The English author Thomas Hardy proclaimed that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper, and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. In these diaries the great American poet illuminates not only her literary genius, but her life as a devoted daughter, sister, wife, and public heroine; and finally as a solitary, tragic figure.
This is the first publication of the diaries she kept from adolescence until middle age, between 1907 and 1949, focused on her most productive years. Who was the girl who wrote "Renascence," that marvel of early twentieth-century poetry? What trauma or spiritual journey inspired the poem? And after such celebrity why did she vanish into near seclusion after 1940? These questions hover over the life and work, and trouble biographers and readers alike. Intimate, eloquent, these confessions and keen observations provide the key to understanding Millay's journey from small-town obscurity to world fame, and the tragedy of her demise.