Have a carrot (if you can help me find this article)
October 7, 2010 3:58 AM   Subscribe

Some time in the last 8 years I read an article about children's author Margaret Wise Brown. It was a profile about her life (maybe in the context of a book review?), and it was about how depressed she was. I seem to remember her being in an abusive or controlling relationship with an older man or an older woman. It could have been in the New York Times, the New Yorker, or some other major publication. I've tried searching on the newyorker.com and nytimes.com, but didn't find what I wanted (but perhaps I wasn't searching the right way). Can you help me find this article? At least a citation if it's not online?
posted by bluefly to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could it have been a review of "Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon"? There was a review in the NYT book review, but I haven't yet found it. (Book is from 1999, though.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:32 AM on October 7, 2010

From the New Yorker, 2006:

"At the time that it appeared, Brown was thirty-seven and a well-established children’s writer; among her many acclaimed picture books were “The Runaway Bunny” and “Little Fur Family.” Still, she didn’t quite fit, or want to fit, the role of beloved children’s author; her real ambition was to write for grownups. Brown never married—her affairs were conducted with members of both sexes—and had no children. When she wasn’t making up tales about soft little bunnies, she liked to watch them get ripped to pieces; a fan of running to hounds, Brown was a charter member of an exclusive Long Island hunting club known as the Buckram Beagles. (Asked about this apparent conflict in an interview with Life, Brown replied, “Well, I don’t especially like children, either. At least not as a group. I won’t let anybody get away with anything just because he is little.”) Reportedly, Brown wrote “Goodnight Moon” in a single morning."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:16 AM on October 7, 2010

"Between Fur Covers," The New York Times, March 22, 1992, Sunday, Late Edition
"In 1940, after several broken engagements, Brown entered psychoanalysis. She also met Michael Strange, the self-named, flamboyant former wife of John Barrymore. Their stormy, 10-year sexual relationship, marked by the older woman's repeated and vicious denigration of Brown and her profession, ended when Strange died of leukemia late in 1950. In April 1952, at age 41, Brown fell in love with James (Pebble) Rockefeller, a much younger man, and they decided to marry. Before the wedding, however, Brown was stricken with acute abdominal pain and underwent emergency surgery while on holiday in France, and remained bedridden for weeks. Happily anticipating her release from the hospital, she flung her leg ceilingward in a jaunty gesture, dislodging a blood clot. Within moments she was dead."
posted by ocherdraco at 5:35 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tangentially, this recent article pointed out the surprising (to some) and similar unhappiness in the lives of some other popular children's book authors.
posted by peagood at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmm, I'm not sure any of those is it, but they do scratch my itch in learning the name of her older lover, Michael Strange. The article I'm thinking of went in depth into their relationship and did some literary psychoanalysis of Runaway Bunny in that context. It very well could have been a review of Awakened by the Moon, so I might check that out from the library anyway.

Thanks for trying to answer my obscure question! It's been bugging me for ages.
posted by bluefly at 12:16 PM on October 7, 2010

This reference also popped, though I'm having trouble finding a full-text version:

Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon (review)
Joseph Stanton
Biography, Volume 16, Number 3, Summer 1993, pp. 276-278 (Review)
DOI: 10.1353/bio.2010.0391

PDF Version (172k) | Summary

Subject Headings:

* Marcus, Leonard S., 1950- Margaret Wise Brown: awakened by the moon.
* Brown, Margaret Wise, 1910-1952.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:56 PM on October 7, 2010

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