October 29, 2009 Life of Stripper Gypsy Rose Lee Is Subject of Book Talk

“Stripping Gypsy” Examines Lee’s Unconventional Life

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Most people’s knowledge of the entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee was gained through the stage musical and film of her extraordinary life. In Noralee Frankel’s biography “Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee” (Oxford University Press, 2009) the author offers new insights into this complex and enigmatic figure. Frankel’s lively biography, the first ever published about the highly mythologized Lee, examines the struggles she faced in making a lucrative and unconventional career for herself while maintaining a sense of dignity and social value.

Frankel will discuss her biography of Lee on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at noon in Dining Room A, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The program is sponsored by the Center for the Book as part of its Books & Beyond author series. The co-sponsor is the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division, whose reference specialist worked with Frankel on her research. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Frankel shows that the famous Lee was clearly struggling with her choices and her desire to be respected and legitimized. Those who only know Gypsy Rose Lee from the musical and film based on her rise to stardom will be surprised by what they uncover in “Stripping Gypsy.” She was at once a sex object, intellectual and activist. In addition to her highly successful striptease act and film career, she published two mystery novels and a memoir, wrote two plays and showed her original artwork in famed Peggy Guggenheim's gallery. Lee also was known for her participation in liberal politics.

As photographer Arnold Newman said, “She was a lady, a brilliant, bright woman who was the friend of many writers and intellectuals.” Though she wasn't above using her femininity to full advantage, Lee aspired to much more than admiration for her physical beauty.

Frankel’s book will be available for sale and signing following her discussion.

“Stripping Gypsy” is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/< External. Presented are discussions of books whose authors have appeared or will appear in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have just seen and heard.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new read.gov website, with its exclusive “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” serialized story.


PR 09-216
ISSN 0731-3527