Author: Deborah Baker

Information about the author.

Works

Book:The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism

The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism

Deborah Baker

What drives a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont became Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West.

A cache of Maryam’s letters to her parents in the archives of the New York Public Library sends the acclaimed biographer Deborah Baker on her own odyssey into the labyrinthine heart of twentieth-century Islam. Casting a shadow over these letters is the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam’s adoptive father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam.

As she assembles the pieces of a singularly perplexing life, Baker finds herself captive to questions raised by Maryam’s…[more]

Book:In Extremis

In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding

Deborah Baker

In her poetry, fiction, essays, and public statements, Laura Riding, the author of twenty-three books, tackled feminism, communism, sexuality, Freud, language and belief, and the coming-of-age of the American dream. In her personal relationships she was often at the center of a circle of friends and artists whose activities she inspired and sometimes controlled. Her extraordinary range of associates included writers as diverse as Hart Crane, Gertrude Stein, Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren. During a long and “scandalous” affair with Robert Graves, she watched over his most productive period and guided much of his best work. Together they launched the New Criticism.

Laura Riding, who died in 1991 at the age of ninety, was a deeply divided woman whose ability to create a personal mythology and continually reimagine herself could be both astonishing and maddening. The frequent subject of outrageous rumor and intense…[more]

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