VICTORIA OCAMPO: Against the Wind and the Tide by Doris Meyer

VICTORIA OCAMPO: Against the Wind and the Tide

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Victoria Ocampo is a remarkable woman, and Doris Meyer has every reason to be in her thrall. Now 88, Senora Ocampo has faithfully discharged duties of stewardship over South American letters and Argentinian feminism for more than half a century; her magazine Sur easily takes its place in the pantheon of great literary journals. But Doris Meyer, so bedazzled by her subject, sadly provides only starpricks and floaters instead of solid, critical illumination. Ocampo's life and those who in friendship shared it with her--Ortega y Gasset, Tagore, Stravinsky, Camus, Virginia Woolf, among the big names--was one of great energy, great money, and large independence. Her feminist insistencies brought her into conflict with Evita Peron--and a short jail term. Yet Meyer's Sunday-supplement style, on the one hand (""Certainly it is a house""--Ocampo's--""to be lived in, with its comfortable sitting rooms conducive to hours of relaxed conversation. . .""), and academic facthoarding, on the other, provide no firm barrier against the impression of Ocampo as just another leisured, wealthy patroness, agog at the artistic famous. (On a walk with Val‚ry, with the poet in a disagreeable humor, Ocampo reports: ""I wasn't going to allow Paul Val6ry to ruin Paul Val‚ry for me that morning."") Meyer, surely without meaning to, gives us a slightly silly, snobbish woman in defiance of all the facts of her generosity and courage. All this book probably needed was a crease--some indenting sense of Ocampo's personality rather than a litany of good works and testimonials. A few of Sra. Ocampo's fair and mild essays are included.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1979
Publisher: Braziller