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|Alma mater||Brandeis University,
University of Wisconsin–Madison
|Notable awards||Marfield Prize|
Brenda Wineapple is an American nonfiction writer, literary critic, and essayist. Her books include Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848–1877; White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson; Hawthorne: A Life; Sister Brother: Gertrude and Leo Stein; and Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner. A regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, The Nation and other national publications, she is also the editor of The Selected Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier (a volume in the Library of America's American Poets Project) and Nineteenth-Century American Writers on Writing (a volume in The Writers' World, ed. Edward Hirsch).
Early life and education
Born in Boston, she graduated from Brandeis University.
In 2014, Wineapple received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her book White Heat:The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and three National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. Elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is also an elected Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and was the Donald C. Gallup Fellow at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, as well as a fellow of the Indiana Institute of Arts and Letters. She serves as literary advisor for the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of America, and she is on the advisor board of Lapham's Quarterly and The American Scholar.
Wineapple currently teaches in the MFA programs at Columbia University's School of the Arts and at the New School University in New York City. She was formerly the Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at The Graduate School, CUNY, and its Writer-in-Residence. She has also taught at Sarah Lawrence College and in the summer MFA program of Johns Hopkins University in Florence, Italy.
In 1989, Wineapple published her first book Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner with Ticknor and Fields (paperback, University of Nebraska Press, 1992.) May Sarton called it "wonderfully perceptive and moving", and Kay Boyle wrote, "how Brenda Wineapple understood Genêt and her times is almost uncanny. She writes of them with clarity and accuracy in a style that is almost startling in its simplicity."Genêt is the first and only biography of the woman who wrote "The Paris Letter" for The New Yorker for fifty years, since its founding in 1925.
- Sister Brother
"A dramatically compelling story", according to The Washington Post, Sister Brother Gertrude and Leo Stein (Putnam's, 1996, Univ. of Nebraska 1997) is a dual biography of the complex, doomed relationship between Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo Stein, whose collection of modern art was unparalleled and whose salon in Paris was the celebrated gathering place of writers and artists. This book was an Editor’s Choice of the Los Angeles Times and hailed by poet Richard Howard as "a luminous, harrowing achievement for which all students of literature and art, as well as of families are in Brenda Wineapple's debt".
|Booknotes interview with Wineapple on Hawthorne: A Life, January 4, 2004, C-SPAN|
Hawthorne: A Life (Knopf, 2003, Random House 2004) won the Ambassador Award of the English-speaking Union for the Best Biography of 2003, the Julia Ward Howe Prize from the Boston Book Club, and was listed as one of the Best Books of 2003 by The Providence Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Newsday, among other publications. Robert D. Richardson called it "a brilliant, powerful, nervy, unsettling, and riveting book. With the possible exception of Herman Melville, no one has ever understood the grand, tragic Shakespearian nature of Hawthorne's life and work as well as Brenda Wineapple."
- White Heat
Called "trenchant" in The New Yorker, "a tour de force" in The Washington Post, and "captivating" by Time magazine, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf 2008/Anchor Vintage 2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a winner of the Marfield Prize for Arts Writing, and a New York Times "Notable Book". It was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by The Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, The Providence Journal, and The Kansas City Star, among other publications. White Heat explores for the first time "the quiet drama and elusive tempos of one of the most improbable and fateful authorial friendships in all of American writing".
- Ecstatic Nation
Praised in The New York Times Book Review as a "splendid new history of the Civil War period..." in which "Wineapple brings alive the vibrant, imperfect people behind the issues," and "a masterly, deeply moving record of a crucial period in American history", Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848–1877 (Harper, 2013) was named a New York Times "Notable Book". It was also listed as one of the best nonfiction books in 2013 by Kirkus Reviews and Bookpage. "Illuminat[ing] one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and new freedom, and bitterly divided over its great moral wrong: slavery", Ecstatic Nation was also hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "magnificent". "Brilliantly balanc[ing] cultural and political history: [Ecstatic Nation] is a riveting account of the sectional conflict that preceded the Civil War, and it astutely chronicles the complex aftermath of that war, Reconstruction, including the promise that women would share in a new definition of American citizenship." "Beautifully written, artfully constructed, and passionately argued on every page, Ecstatic Nation stands forth as a model of narrative history," said the Pulitzer Prize–winner Ron Chernow. "A marvelous survey of both familiar and unsung American stories, contextualized and framed within one sweeping canvas," wrote Publishers Weekly in a starred "Review of the Week".
- "Brenda Wineapple". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Genêt - University of Nebraska Press". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Wineapple, Brenda. Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner with Ticknor and Fields (1992, University of Nebraska Press).
- "Sister Brother - University of Nebraska Press". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Hawthorne: A Life". C-SPAN. January 4, 2004. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- White Heat reviews on RandomHouse.ca[permanent dead link]
- "National Book Critics Circle: 2008 Biography Finalist White Heat, by Brenda Wineapple - Critical Mass Blog". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Reynolds, David (August 9, 2013).  New York Times Book Review
- "100 Notable Books of 2013". The New York Times. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Best Nonfiction Books of 2013 - Kirkus Reviews". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Wineapple, Brenda (5 August 2014). "Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877". Harper Perennial. Retrieved 23 January 2017 – via Amazon.
- Howe, Daniel Walker (22 November 2013). "Book Review: 'Ecstatic Nation' by Brenda Wineapple". Retrieved 23 January 2017 – via Wall Street Journal.
- "Nonfiction Book Review: Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 by Brenda Wineapple. HarperCollins, $35 (736p) ISBN 978-0-06-123457-6". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "The Scarlet Letter and Nathaniel Hawthorne's America" by Brenda Wineapple
- "Up Front: Brenda Wineapple", The New York Times Book Review
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "Emily's Tryst", Review of White Heat by Miranda Seymour, The New York Times, August 22, 2008.
- Interview on White Heat at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on February 20, 2009
- "Eccentric Nation: PW Talks with Brenda Wineapple", Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2013