Cleopatra's Nose (Hardcover)

39 Varieties of Desire

By Judith Thurman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374126513, 448pp.

Publication Date: October 16, 2007

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (10/28/2008)

List Price: 27.50*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Cleopatra's Nose is an exuberant gathering of essays and profiles representing twenty years of Judith Thurman's celebrated writing, particularly her fascination with human vanity, femininity, and "women's work"--from haute couture to literature to commanding empires. The subjects are iconic (Jackie, the Brontës, Toni Morrison, Anne Frank) and multifarious (tofu and performance art, pornography and platform shoes, kimonos and bulimia); all inspire dazzling displays of craft, wit, penetration, and intelligence.  Here we find explorations of voracity: hunger for sex, food, experience, and transcendence; see how writers from Flaubert to Nadine Gordimer have engaged with history; meet eminent Victorians and the greats of fashion. Whether reporting on hairstyles, strolling the halls of power, or deftly unpacking novels and their writers, Thurman never fails to provoke, inspire, captivate, and enlighten. Cleopatra's Nose is an embarrassment of riches from one of our great literary journalists.

About the Author

Judith Thurman is the author of "Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller," winner of the National Book Award, and "Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette." A staff writer at "The New Yorker," she lives in New York City.

Praise For Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire

Praise for Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette: "A burnished, historically opulent, elegant, distinguished work . . . A book that will stand as literature in its own right." -- Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
"The most impressive and fascinating book of the . . . season. No novel, no memoir, no other biography displays such insight and vitality . . . Through deft observation, research, and beautiful writing, Thurman brings alive one of the most astonishing writers and women ever to stride this earth." --USA Today
"[Colette] has been the subject of . . . a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top . . . Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating." --The Washington Post Book World