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The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe Hardcover – January 25, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (January 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252035445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252035449
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,801,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Theirs was an unlikely match: Monroe from the glamorous world of Hollywood and Miller from the intellectual theater world. They married in 1956, after she divorced baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and he left his wife and two children. What followed was not the promised collaboration of creative energy and personal redemption, her from an image of dim-witted libido and him from emotional constraint, but five years of disappointment and eventual near destruction. Meyers, who has written extensively on the arts, relies on interviews and archival research to offer an in-depth look at a tempestuous marriage. Monroe’s troubled background included abandonment, drug addiction, and promiscuity. His background was more conventional, marked by success until his marriage to the starlet brought the attention of HUAC. Among the fascinating characters in their lives: Elia Kazan, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Lee and Paula Strasberg. During the marriage and even after her controversial death in 1962, Monroe was Miller’s tragic muse and the subject of several of his works, including The Misfits. A fascinating look at an incongruous match. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"Prolific biographer Meyers is particularly well equipped for the task of gleaning something new from this heavily harvested field. . . . Meyers recognizes that Miller truly loved Monroe but finally ended the marriage when he realized she was destroying him. He’d spent three years working on a film for her (The Misfits), earning only her scorn, and her needs were too complex and her problems too intractable. In the final chapter, Meyers thoughtfully mines Miller's last plays for nuggets about Monroe."--Kirkus



 

"A fascinating look at an incongruous match."--Booklist


"A serious, deeply researched look at the marriage of the great playwright and the quintessential screen star."--St. Petersburg Times


More About the Author

Jeffrey Meyers is the author of Edgar Allen Poe: His Life and Legacy , Hemingway: Life into Art , Gary Cooper: An American Hero, Bogart, Edmund Wilson, and Joseph Conrad. He lives in California.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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The author writes in a style that is enjoyable and easy to read.
MacWel
As far as the sections on Monroe, they are not only utterly dismissive of her as a person and a talent, they are also, quite simply, riddled with factual errors.
A Customer
Because of this kind of slanted writing, it took me a while to get through this book.
Jungle Red

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone who has read countless biographies of Marilyn Monroe, I will tell you that this is one of the most worthless. I can't really comment on the sections about Arthur Miller, on whom I am not at all an expert, except to say that they are very favorable to Mr. Miller. As far as the sections on Monroe, they are not only utterly dismissive of her as a person and a talent, they are also, quite simply, riddled with factual errors. Some of the factual errors are basically irrelevant to a biography of Monroe (such as when the author refers to Rudolph Steiner--who was an Austrian mystic--as a Hungarian philosopher) while some are directly damaging and misleading. The mis-statements and falsehoods are rampant, but even more insulting and annoying are the author's characterizations of Monroe as being without intelligence, charm, or acting talent. In fact, it is a wonder someone so unimpressed by Monroe chose to write about her. The author's only motive appears to be to slander Monroe, spread misapprehensions, lies, and mistakes, and glorify Miller as well as exonerate him for his role in Monroe's misery and demise.

Don't read this book unless you want to be misinformed and influenced by one sloppy researcher's subjective and uncomplimentary views on Marilyn Monroe. As far as I can tell, he hasn't perceived a single redeeming feature about this remarkable woman.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David L. Nimz on July 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
From all the many wonderful photos of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe together, the art director (and the author, I presume) selected one for the dust jacket that shows Miller at his best and Monroe at her worst. And that's the basic theme of the book.

Miller is praised throughout for his artistic contributions to the theater while Monroe, with few exceptions, is denigrated as a pathetic, no-talent slut. Most of the memorable characters that Monroe created on screen (Cherie in "Bus Stop," The Girl in "The Seven Year Itch," Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," etc.) are dismissed as basically identical and worthless, yet Miller's tin ear for dialogue ("Attention must be paid!") is never commented upon.

The author has little appreciation for Monroe's talent; he wants us to believe that she looked and performed dreadfully in her unfinished movie "Something's Got to Give" when the minutes of film that have been released show just the opposite: she appears more beautiful than ever and demonstrates a delicious, sophisticated wit.

Over the years the lives of Miller and Monroe have been pored over and dissected by dozens of writers, and this book offers little that's new about the famous couple. Unless you want to read page upon page of tedious, analytical detail about Miller's scripts, save your money and watch "Some Like it Hot."
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Mccardell on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewers, the author hates Marilyn Monroe. Really a lousy book with not one thing in it I didnt already know and maybe one photo Id never seen.I think he has let his own personal quirks and attitudes about women get in the way of a fair evaluation. I dont think he can handle a strong successful woman. I wonder how much of his characterization came from Miller and whether Miller ended up feeling the same way about her after the divorce. I suspect so. Ive read everything about Marilyn Monroe and by and by Ive come to the conclusion Arthur Miller was no prize.He was humorless, not all that talented, a lousy provider when Married to Monroe, and basically a pompous no it all. This book did allude to the fact that Miller had very few friends thru out life, pretty easy to see why. Above all, he appears to have been a lousy father, his youngest child who he had in 1965 was autistic, and was basically hidden away the poor kids whole life. This is the ultimate irony as I suspect one of the prime reasons Marilyn married Miller in the first place was to provide a strong stable family and father to her children. Doubly ironic, Joe Dimaggio was an even worse father if thats even possible. Poor Marilyn.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Fry on April 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is mostly just a cut and paste job derived from other people's work. The author seems to believe everything he's read. At the same time, it contains a number of factual errors. (William Powell's character in "How to Marry a Millionaire" isn't the one who has a building named after him.) He seems not to have watched the movies carefully or read the books in his own bibliography carefully. Imagine a book about Monroe that doesn't think her comedies are funny, and you get some idea of the holes in this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Claud E. Morris on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This double biography is exactly what it represents itself to be, and is satisfactory in that respect. But it was my second choice. I have tried for two years to get a copy of the stage drama FINISHING THE PICTURE, by Arthur Miller. The play concerns the filming of the movie +The Misfits+ . It describes the declining health and abilities of the actress (Marlyn Monroe) in her last picture, and the off-screen manipulations of others in her life. ( +The Misfits+ was also the last movie of Clark Gable.) The play was written, and it was performed in Chicago; Google the right site, and you can read a review. The script seems never to have been published for sale in the USA. I have allegation, rumor and heresay that it can be purchased in the UK, but I have never been able to track down a source.

Anyway, GENIUS & GODDESS covers some of that material, and it may be all I can ever get on that score. Please keep an eye out for a source for a copy of the play script; let me know if one turns up.
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