Friday, February 19, 2016



First published in 1927 and after she had tragically died. This link has MANY wonderful pictures of Isadora and the people in her life.  But, by the way, she has a code name for Paris Singer, the name which begins with L.

From chapter 19, about giving birth to her first child, a daughter by Gordon Craig.

"We were all sitting at tea one afternoon, when I felt a thud as if some one had pounded me in the middle of the back, and then a fearful pain, as if some one had put a gimlet into my spine and was trying to break it open. From that moment the torture began, as if I, poor victim, were in the hands of some mighty and pitiless executioner. No sooner had I recovered from one assault than another began. Talk about the Spanish Inquisition! No woman who has borne a child would have to fear it. It must have been a mild sport in comparison. Relentless, cruel, knowing no release, no pity, this terrible, unseen genie had me in his grip, and was, in continued spasms, tearing my bones and my sinews apart. They say such suffering is soon forgotten. All I have to reply is that I have only to shut my eyes and I hear again my shrieks and groans as they were then, like something encircling me apart from my self.

It is unheard-of, uncivilised barbarism, that any woman should still be forced to bear such monstrous torture. It should be remedied. It should be stopped. It is simply absurd that with our modern science painless childbirth does not exist as a matter of course. It is as unpardonable as if doctors should operate for appendicitis without an anæsthetic! What unholy patience, or lack of intelligence, have women in general that they should for one moment endure this outrageous massacre of themselves?"


I got my own English version copy at a used bookstore years ago and found it so Poetical.  Isadora Duncan could probably never be accused of speaking in an ugly, guttural way.  But the book I recently read about her checks her version of her life, as she remembered it, with some other references such as her student Irma's book, the writings of Gordon Craig, and even mentions that some of her book was censored by the publisher, despite her so eloquent and even obscure ways of mentioning sex, for instance, for the American readership.  - Missy

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