A Year in Books/Day 113: Maria Callas

  • Title: Maria Callas an Intimate Biography
  • Author: Anne Edwards
  • Year Published: 2001 (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Year Purchased: 2004
  • Source: Unknown
  • About: I’m always skeptical about any biography with the word ‘intimate’ in the title. It holds scuzzy connotations for me, as if I’m about to read the unnecessarily shameful details of a dead person’s life. If you’ve been following my Project 366, you know that I love, love, love a good biography; just not the sordid kind. As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about: there is no enumeration of distressing personal habits or focus on gross minutiae. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to celebrate either. This book is entirely middle-of-the road. It is neither offensive nor illuminating. It’s a quick, surface study of the great singer. If you don’t know much about Callas , it’s probably a perfectly utilitarian introduction. The photo section is the best part.

    Publicity photo of Maria Callas (December 2, 1...

    Publicity photo of Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977) as Violetta in La Traviata by Houston Rogers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Motivation: I needed 7 or 8 books for a long vacation. I bought this to round out the more intellectual fare I’d already purchased. This was my “easy, fun” read. Maria Callas was a diva when being a diva was something more complex and less hollow than it is now: talented, dynamic, demanding, always-changing, never boring. A great subject for the dull leg of a long car trip.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 53: “Maria knew no one on this boat, or the SS Stockholm, and had not yet learned where her father or Dr Lantzounis lived. She could think of no one else to contact in New York. In her purse were $100, her entire personal wealth. Yet she felt free for the first time in eight years. She was saying goodbye to Maria Kalogeropoulou. As her American passport stated, she was now Maria Callas.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7

7 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 113: Maria Callas

    • Thanks. I’ll never forget when, as a teenage theatre student just really getting into classic film, I read a book about Marilyn Monroe by her housekeeper, Lena Pepitone (I think this is the book, anyway). She wrote about Marilyn’s menstrual period hygiene habits. I was so turned off by the concept. There’s a real difference between humanizing someone and that kind of sensationalist garbage. Although it is not particularly illuminating or deep, the Callas book does not engage in that kind of senseless cutting-down.


  1. Mae, Almost every book on the wonderful list you gave me was out of stock, can you imagine. The one I found, “Just Kids” wasn’t in it’s proper spot, they had it over in the rock and roll section, which is right I guess; I would have thought biography. I was lucky to get the last copy. I’ll order the others because I really would like to read them. My daughter has her eye on it, but she will have to wait….this is my 10 hour car ride book….and I can’t wait. Thanks again for the list – can’t wait to dive in.


    • Of course! I tried really hard to only recommend widely available books, too! 🙂 My copy of “Just Kids” was a gift but I definitely would have looked in the bio section. Oh, well. At least now you have several books to look forward to reading. You’ll have to tell me what you think of it when you get back. I love Patti Smith-she’s such an inspiration-so I am in love with her book.


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