Blonde Bookworm: Marilyn Monroe's love of literature

New book to be released this autumn reveals Hollywood star's interest in James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and many others
Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce's Ulysses
A collection of private writing by the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe is set for publication this autumn. Entitled Fragments, it purportedly sheds new light on the icon's extensive literary interests. Among her favourites, Susie Mesure reports, were James Joyce and Walt Whitman, alongside a number of writers for the stage, including Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and Tennessee Williams (link via 3:AM Magazine):
[...] Bernard Comment, who is editing Fragments, which will be published jointly by the Editions du Seuil in France and Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the United States in October, revealed last week that Whitman, one of the most influential American poets, had "fascinated" Monroe. "In these very personal texts we come across James Joyce, who she discovered aged 26, performing extracts from Molly's famous soliloquy. She also admired Samuel Beckett, who was in his first flush of success when she was a regular at the Actors Studio after her arrival in New York. More surprising still is her fascination with Walt Whitman, the founder of modern American poetry," he said.


She had a vast library, which included works by George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, D H Lawrence, F Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck, as well as Joyce, which she took with her whenever she moved house, something she did many times over her short lifetime. Her copy of Ulysses fetched $9,200 (£5,800) at an auction of her possessions by Christie's in 1999. While in Hollywood, she briefly took evening courses in art appreciation and literature at UCLA before withdrawing after her presence proved too distracting for the other students.

The book will also include notes from her readings about Renaissance art, letters and about 30 photos. [...] There are also diary-style entries on Monroe's relationship with [playwright] Arthur Miller, her third husband. [Read the article]

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