On The Passing OF Artthur MIller

John Krygier jbkrygier at owu.edu
Mon Feb 14 17:38:43 EST 2005

On Feb 13, 2005, at 3:08 PM, GORDON NEAVILL wrote:

> I've heard the Marilyn Monroe-Modern Library story for
> years, but I've never seen any documentation for it--even in
> Arthur Miller's autobiography, which I skimmed looking for
> references to the ML.  About a year and a half ago I asked
> an acquaintance who was visiting Arthur Miller to ask him
> about it, but I don't think he ever did.
> If anyone can cite a reference linking Marilyn Monroe to the
> Modern Library, I'd love to know  about it!

"Last week, after an absence of more than a year, Marilyn was back
at work.  Early in 1955 she had walked out on Hollywood.  'I want
some respect,' she huffed at the world in general, and off she
flounced to New York.  Her studio bosses hastily offered her more
money.  'I don't care about money,' she said.  'I want better parts
and better directors.  i want to be an actress.'"

"Hollywood snickered.  'Act?' sneered one of Marilyn's directors.
'That blonde can't act her way out of a Whirlpool bra.'  Cocktail
parties were convulsed with the news that Marilyn was holed up in
Manhattan with the entire Modern Library, and had sworn she would
not unlock the door until she was cultured."

"To Aristophanes and Back" Time Magazine, May 14, 1956 (p. 74)


...I started buying Modern Library books with the money I made
writing for the newspaper, and I pledged to myself, as Marilyn
Monroe had, that I would read them all, and in alphabetical order...

"A Texas Education" Willie Morris, Commentary Magazine, Vol. 42, no. 2,
August 1966


So, Marilyn dug into the Modern Library BEFORE Arthur, indeed,
the rest of the Time Magazine article notes that after her break
from acting she took a literature class and began to hang out with
poet Edith Sitwell, Elia Kazan, the Strasbergs, and Arthur Miller.

In a way, then, the Modern Library led Marilyn to Arthur.

Anyone else out there (on this Valentines Day) find their significant
other via the Modern Library?

In any case - the place to look for more on the Modern Library link
to Marilyn is in her biographies.

Barry: If you want a copy of the Time Magazine article send me your
address off list.

john k.

j   b   k r y g i e r

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