Those interested in American letters, and those who found Ellen Glasgow's A Certain Measure and her autobiography The Woman...

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LETTERS OF ELLEN GLASGOW

Those interested in American letters, and those who found Ellen Glasgow's A Certain Measure and her autobiography The Woman Within of interest, will constitute the market for selected letters from her correspondence. Those who read the aforementioned books will not be surprised at her morbid preoccupation with her own health: interspersed with her comments on the ""corncob cavaliers"" and the ""Raw-Head-and-Bloody-Bones"" literary schools of the South, are detailed health reports --from ""her severe cold . . . and sorry recovery in 1897"" to ""doctors doing painful things to my head and ears"" in 1933. To judge by her letters, the lady was an egocentric and sensitive individualist. There is an unwitting self-portrait in her correspondence. There are notes and salutations and thank-yous as well as longer messages to Van Wyck Brooks, Irita Van Doren, J. Donald Adams, Margaret Mitchell, Douglas Southall Freeman and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Much of her lugubrious interchange takes an ""I could lay me doon and dee"" tone. She was far from guileless in her correspondence with book publishers and critics. She hints at the anguish of deafness, bridles at being called a spinster, and cannily nudges her publishers toward wider promotion of her books. Here too is revealed that dedication which she brought to her early resolution, ""I will become a great novelist or none at all"". Her comments on the state of the nation's literary health are far more interesting than those on her own. ""I have nothing against Gertrude Stein except her 'Influence'. My private opinion is that the writers she influenced (especially Hemingway) couldn't have been much worse if she had left them alone.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1957