James Merrill

By Langdon Hammer,

Book cover of James Merrill: Life and Art

Book description

Langdon Hammer has given us the first biography of the poet James Merrill (1926–95), whose life is surely one of the most fascinating in American literature. Merrill was born to high privilege and high expectations as the son of Charles Merrill, the charismatic cofounder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch,…

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Why read it?

1 author picked James Merrill as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

James Merrill (1926-1995) was a son of Charles Merrill, the man famous for bringing Wall Street to Main Street (Merrill Lynch. et al.).

He grew up in luxury—Manhattan, Long Island, Palm Beach— went to Amherst college, and was a poet born and bred.

A gay man at a time when it was still dangerous to be out, he wrote many superb, deeply moving lyric poems of “love and loss,” and an entire epic poem based on seances around a ouija board, which is still turning heads and bewildering readers.

Merrill’s own life and loves were as rich and varied…

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