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ISBN:0060930365
Author: Sarah Payne Stuart
ISBN13: 978-0060930363
Title: My First Cousin Once Removed: Money, Madness, and the Family of Robert Lowell
Format: azw mbr rtf lrf
ePUB size: 1721 kb
FB2 size: 1415 kb
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Language: English
Category: Arts and Literature
Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (October 20, 1999)
Pages: 256

My First Cousin Once Removed: Money, Madness, and the Family of Robert Lowell by Sarah Payne Stuart



As fresh and smart as the Lowell material is, the book really catches fire when Stuart tells her own immediate family's story: the two-year breakdown her beautiful mother suffered after giving birth to a daughter; the manic depression that nearly destroyed her brilliant brother, Johnny; the bad luck, blindness, and sheer selfishness that kept her branch perpetually strapped.

Instead, Sarah Payne Stuart has written a book that turns dark and sad. My hat is off to her for keeping her balance in the face of continuing peril. The inherited money of the subtitle, it turns out, was used up, and all that Robert Lowell's grandfather Arthur Winslow left his children was a line in his will: "The gift of life in New England and the heritage of our ancestry dating back to New England's early times. The madness went beyond eccentricity. It was a broad, heavy band of manic-depression that afflicted the family for generations

My first cousin once removed : money, madness, and the family of Robert Lowell by Sarah Payne Stuart( Book . Correspondence between Thomas and Winslow family members includes letters written by Joshua Winslow, Anna Green Winslow, Isaac Winslow, Sarah Deming, and Sarah Coverly, among others regarding family news and daily activities. Also included is a manuscript map of Fort Halifax on the bay of the Kennebec River, Maine, drawn October 1853.

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To judge by this memoir Sarah Payne Stuart is-mercifully-less manic and destructive than her famous first cousin once removed, Robert Lowell. Unfortunately, she's also a considerably less talented writer than he was, more goofy than insightful. I found her treatment of the writer Jean Stafford, Lowell's first wife, particularly cruel. For a book about Robert Lowell, it mostly concerns other members of the author's family. It does have some very interesting insights into an old New England family. I would recommend reading this book before the author's "Perfectly Miserable," as some of that book is a bit mysterious without the information in "My First Cousin Once Removed. Jun 10, 2014 Laura Vona rated it it was amazing. I adored this book and could see so much of my own eccentric, yet well meaning Boston relatives in it.

Sarah Payne Stuart makes me howl and a second later makes me thank God that I've got both oars in the water. Published by Thriftbooks. Sarah Stuart has done a remarkable job of limning the WASP world of Robert Lowell's family - and her own. She is cheerfully honest, perceptive and quite amazingly intelligent. The picture she draws lingers with the reader long after the book has been put down. Her portrait of Lowell is refreshingly free from the amateur Freudian analysis so tiresomely characteristic of many memoirs.

By Sarah Payne Stuart. 244 pp. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 'My first cousin once removed was Robert Lowell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet - a fact I just happened to mention on my application to Harvard College. The worst part was that I had to work this genealogical information into the essay. Thus begins ''My First Cousin Once Removed: Money, Madness, and the Family of Robert Lowell.

My First Cousin Once Remo. has been added to your Cart. Sarah Payne Stuart grew up in a family of aristocratic lineage whose fortune had long ago been lost. Among the many family documents cited is a Boston Globe article in which Lowell's bankrupt grandfather is quoted in his will as having left his children their good breeding and Boston heritage. I usually wait until I've read a book to page 100 before I decide whether to continue, but this book only made it to page 45. It's well written, but it's heavy with detail, making for slow reading.

Sarah Payne Stuart grew up in a family of aristocratic lineage whose fortune had long ago been lost. Among the many family documents cited is a Boston Globe article in which Lowell's bankrupt grandfather is quoted in his will as having left his children their good breeding and Boston heritage

Money, Madness, and the Family of Robert Lowell. by Sarah Payne Stuart. There was his cold and proper mother, Charlotte Lowell; grandfather Arthur Winslow, whose approval he craved; and stern, rich Aunt Sarah, who loved yet then spurned Bobby

The art of being truly funny is an undervalued one in these angst-ridden times, but it is an ability that acclaimed novelist Sarah Payne Stuart has in abundance. Her talents have never been on more glorious display than in My First Cousin Once Removed, a memoir--at once hilarious, personal and sad--of her extraordinary Boston Brahmin family, whose most famous member is the legendary poet Robert Lowell, the author's first cousin (once removed).

Reviews: 7
Ger
This is a wonderful book -- delightfully well crafted and inspiring. It has less to do with Robert Lowell than the title and other reviews imply, but so what. The rest of the author's family is just as interesting if not more so. She deals in a flinty steadfast New England way with madness and eccentiricity and writes with wit and charm, leaping effortlessly from Plymouth Rock to the 1980's. She has the very rare gift of being ironic and insightful about herself and her growing up without degenerating into self-pity. An example from 1967: "Aunt Sarah talked of sending me to Miss Porter's [finishing school], just as she talked about the coming-out party she was going to given me in the garden in Manchester (but which I declined because of the bombing of Vietnam, a connection that was a bit clearer to me then)." If you enjoy crystal clear prose, history and getting to know some delightful characters, this one's for you.
Unereel
I usually wait until I've read a book to page 100 before I decide whether to continue, but this book only made it to page 45. It's well written, but it's heavy with detail, making for slow reading. After page 45 , I did a no-no and tried looking at other pages farther on to see if the tenor of the book had changed, but, no. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for this book, even though I had ordered it based on the description. Thanks, Amazon, though, for your speedy delivery of books and all else. You are my go-to site.
Wenes
A OK!
Roru
After reading this book I was able to unpack many of the messages of my New England childhood.

The author accurately describes the group mind set in a specific part of America in the 1970's. Her honesty and deft use of prose is an inspiration.
WinDImmortaL
Sarah Payne Stuart is now one of my favorite writers of all time! I love her!
Banal
An excellent, painfully honest description of an ancient New England clan going on the skids. As one who came from a similar background, I can report the author nailed the witless, wanton, careless vacuity of old families living on the fumes of glories past. Typical of people from such backgrounds, the author has some exaggerated notions about the importance of her family, the Lowells and Winslows of Massachusetts, and I doubt one American in fifty thousand gives a rap about Robert Lowell anymore. Still, the book offers a good peek behind the curtain of hidebound privilege -- and poof! -- there's really nothing there but petty cruelty beneath a veneer of polite chit chat. Spot-on as the author's observations are, I found myself getting lost in too many rich aunts and cousins of cousins -- once removed and otherwise. And while I've no objection to laying bare the foibles of relations long gone, recounting the author's brother's many troubles seems intrusive.
Anayajurus
Reading "My Cousin Once Removed" was like going home. Do other people besides my family name their cottages after their children? Ours was Tomberher, and it still embarrasses me to say it.
I perceived backbone and stoicism in the author. She will become a fine, undomnible Boston matron herself someday. These are people that know how to Pull-Up-Your-Socks. No one ever seems to give up. I amend that, the family will not *allow* anyone to give up. Poor Robert Lowell. His poetry must have kept him alive such as it was. The author makes an excellent point when she expresses amazement that he "lasted until he was 60." He seemed so gentle to be so mad. I couldn't resist smiling when I noted that only the Lowells would unfailingly be "God" in their deluded or "manic" states; other manic depressives might be Sam Spade, Peter Pan, or Theodore Roosevelt; but the Lowells went for the whole enchillada. My only complaint is the author neatly sidesteps giving the reader anything but broad outlines of what she was up to when the maelstorm whirled about her. Most younger writers cannot get out of the way; you are buried under their angst, but Ms. Stuart quotes her brothers to give us an idea what is going on in her generation. She's oddly elusive. I think she uses her fine sense of humor to deflect us from coming to close.
I'm going back to reread Robert Lowell. That's my idea of a successful book, one that sends you on a quest for further knowledge.
Many, many others have written poignantly on madness; for learning about Lowell my favorite work is actually the brilliant play "Dear Elizabeth"; but I have never read anything so insightful and frank about money, the last taboo subject in modern America. (Loved her July 2012 New Yorker piece too!)