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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Highbrow Monroe

Aside from a few gardening, travel and cookbooks, and odds and ends like a biography of herself, Marilyn's library had mostly serious literature (novels, plays, poetry) & and intellectually serious essays: Plato & Aristotle, Freud, Bertrand Russell, Edmund Wilson, Einstein; some popular science books. I'm gratified by not surprised. Despite worries in the 50s about the spread of middle-brow culture, even the middle-brow literary culture of then seems much more high-brow than our present day's, when some people with PhDs read mostly Young Adult fiction & detective novels. Leaving out the fact that it is Marilyn Monroe's library, and thus belies dumb "dumb blonde" clichés, it provides a glimpse into the cultural history of a particular time and place. Of course, she was married to one of the best-known playwrights of the period.

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