University of Pittsburgh
May 22, 2002

Award-Winning Biographer Barry Paris to Lecture at Pitt June 8 A Special Presentation of "Unconquered: Profile of Marcia Davenport"

Contact:  412-624-4147

May 23, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Barry Paris, award-winning biographer, film historian, and music and art critic, will present his research on author Marcia Davenport (1903-96) in a lecture titled "Unconquered: Profile of Marcia Davenport" at 2 p.m. June 8 in

Room 232 of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

The free public lecture is sponsored by a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences is hosting the event.

The daughter of celebrated opera and concert singer Alma Gluck and great-aunt of Stephanie Zimbalist, Davenport lived in Pittsburgh for two years in the 1930s and wrote a number of acclaimed books during her long career, including biographies of Mozart and Garibaldi, the 1936 novel "Of Lena Geyer," and the 1947 novel "East Side, West Side"; she appointed Paris her personal biographer.

Davenport's best-selling 1942 novel "The Valley of Decision"—which was made into a 1945 feature film starring Greer Garson and Gregory Peck—tells the story of East European immigrants working in the steel mills of western Pennsylvania during the early 1900s; and her 1960s book "Too Strong for Fantasy" gives a personal account of her friendship with Jan Masaryk, foreign minister of the Czech government in exile during World War II and of postwar Czechoslovakia. Davenport lived in Prague from 1945 until the Communist coup d'etat and Masaryk's untimely and mysterious death there, in 1948.

Paris will provide a look into Davenport's life, including personal accounts of interviews with her, information from her correspondence, and stories of accompanying her on her final dramatic trip to Prague in the 1990s.