Sisters of Salome
Winter 2002, Vol 78; No. 4
First the frame: this book breaks the Yale mold. No crusty academic tome, this daring, playful work reads like a trade book. The seductive and colorful authors photograph on the back flap surprises readers expecting a certain kind of product from Yale. Next the substance: this book traces the cultural influence of Oscar Wildes 1893 play Salome. The idea that the heroine of a Wilde play could induce free-thinking women at the beginning of the 20th-century to risk danger and wing their way through life holds real interest for scholars. Through chapters on Colette, Maud Allan, Mata Hari, and Ida Rubinstein -- crazy women of the day -- the author explores a fresh take on how, little by little, sisters started doing it for themselves. Defiantly throwing caution to the wind, the femme fatale has her way in these engaging vignettes.