Romaine Brooks A Life by Cassandra Langer
Romaine Brooks A Life by Cassandra Langer

Congratulations to Cassandra Langer for recognition of her book “Romaine Brooks: A Life” in After Ellen’s list of Lesbian/Bi books of 2015! Check out their list of fiction, non-fiction, memoire, poetry, and academic books here:


Langer cracks the canon with Romaine Brooks and Company
Cassandra Langer’s, “A Life: Romaine Brooks” reveals the complex passages of this artist and modern woman, whose legacy will continuously gain its deserved prominence. In each chapter, Langer articulates details of Romaine’s life exemplary and informative of the choices she made towards an adventurous career and radical personal relationships. Langer builds a scholarship for the artworks Brooks created throughout her life while informing the reader of the challenges involved to resolving mysteries and overturning institutionalized biases in doing so.
-Elaine A.


A must-read!
This is a meticulously researched and refreshingly insightful examination of Romaine Brooks’s life in relation to her art. Langer’s study illuminates the centrality of Brooks’s stoicism and how it influenced her way of dealing with and representing the world she experienced. Langer’s book also contributes to a more detailed understanding of the vivid personalities in Romaine Brooks’s social circle. — Dr. María DeGuzmán, author of _Spain’s Long Shadow: The Black Legend, Off-Whiteness, and Anglo-American Empire_ and _Buenas Noches, American Culture: Latina/o Aesthetics of Night_.
-Maria DeGuzman


Very readable and thorough biography of a complex and unique woman, and her circle of friends and acquaintances. I especially liked the way the author situated Romaine Brooms in relation to the general history of the time in which she lived. I greatly appreciated the Glossary of Names at the end because Brooks knew and interacted with so many different people


Brilliant analysis- Great Read!
Great book- Langer disproves many former assumptions about Brook’s life and shows her to be a very complex and gifted artist. This book places Brooks within the pantheon of modernist artists of the twentieth century. A must read for those interested in women and art, lesbian expatriate life in Paris and Italy and modernism.
Kudos to Professor Langer!


This readable, insightful biography of Romaine Brooks provides both social and historical context for her life, art, and writings, as well as a psychological analysis of her motives. An excellent portrait of a complex woman.
-B. Edwardson


Excellent new biography of Brooks
Loved this book! A compelling retelling of the life of Romaine Books and her crowd with interesting new details from Langer’s research and sensitive interpretations that invite new understandings of Brooks. A delight in so many ways. Highly recommended.
-Julie R. Enszeron


“Langer makes clear that Romaine Brooks was an artist of unusual courage and originality, tracing her development not only as an artist, but as a woman artist and a boldly lesbian artist. This biography includes fascinating material on the many talented, independent, and liberated women in Paris in the 1920s, with Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks at the center of that milieu.”
—Jerry Rosco, author of Glenway Wescott Personally: A Biography


“Cassandra Langer insightfully recounts the life of Romaine Brooks, including the sources of her creativity and blocks to that creativity in later life, her bigotry, and her contributions to twentieth-century British, American, and French culture. This readable, vivid biography provides social and general historical context for Brooks’s life, art, and writings, as well as incisive psychological analysis of her motives.”
—Betsy Draine, author of Substance under Pressure: Artistic Coherence and Evolving Form in the Novels of Doris Lessing


“Art historian Langer is zealous and exacting as she seeks to fully portray her heretofore too-little-known subject, . . . addressing the complexities and contradictions of Brooks’s life and celebrating the courage and power of her meticulously composed paintings. . . . Langer sensitively grapples with Brooks’s elitism, bigotry, and fascist tendencies while avidly reclaiming this ‘fascinating and controversial’ artist’s elegant and evocative, haunted and defiant art in praise of audacious women.”
—Booklist, *starred review


“Romaine Brooks has long glimmered in the constellation of lesbian and queer culture; now, through the prism of Langer’s tireless research and intelligent yet conversational style, the brilliance of Brooks’s life and career is both magnified and refracted. By turns anecdotal and analytical, journalistic and theoretical, Langer colorfully repaints the historical portrait of Brooks, revealing her as both more radical and more conservative than we thought.”
—James M. Saslow, author of Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts


“A biography of the American painter and heiress (1874-1970), whose work in art and decor has been overshadowed by her romantic relationship with the writer Natalie Barney and what were seen as flirtations with Italian Fascism.”
—Chronicle of Higher Education


“Langer manages to shoot through the myths about Brooks and looks at her friends, lovers, and the subjects of her portraits. What we see should come as no surprise—Brooks was a woman of wit and passion who managed to overcome personal challenges and the whims of society and became a wonderful artist who lived life only on her own terms.”
—Amos Lassen, Artist and Innovator, Univeristy of Wisconsin Press


“Most revelatory, Langer tells the full story of the artist’s private life that focuses on her life-altering open relationships, which she viewed as her ménage relationships with Natalie Barney and Lily de Gramont.
—Lewis Whittington, Contributor, Chicago


“In her latest book, “Romaine Brooks; a Life” art historian Cassandra Langer sheds light on the painter, who up until very recently has been predominately ignored or misunderstood by art historians. Dr Langer’s fascinating account of Brooks’ life brings a fresh look at both her social sphere of lesbians living in Paris as well as her artistic contributions within Modernism. Dr Langer based her research on newly discovered information on paintings and previous scholarship as well as a careful examination of primary sources material such as personal letters, and memoirs.


“Cassandra Langer performs a difficult balancing act with her fascinating biography of the lesbian painter, Romaine Brooks. On the one hand, she tries to restore the painter’s artistic reputation and rightful place in the Modernist canon as an innovator whose figurative portraits were largely ignored by a patriarchal art world dominated by abstractionism.” (See more)
—Walter Holland, Lambda Literary Review