Laura (Riding) Jackson (1901-91) is being rediscovered with a vengeance: Within 18 months of her death, her early unpublished poems, her selected poems, a biography, and this collection of prose pieces (most previously unpublished) will have appeared. The central essays here, ``The Word `Woman,' '' takes up over half the volume. Written in Mallorca in the mid-1930's, the manuscript was abandoned there with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and returned to Jackson only in the 1970's. In the essay, she proposes to ``extricate'' woman from male mythological and historical perceptions of her, to examine the differences between the sexes to explain ``not only woman herself, but man as well,'' and to ``establish, finally, the unity of all being.'' Jackson is an arch dogmatist, proceeding by sweeping knowledge, uncorrupted by the historical realities, and her conclusion (``To be a woman finally is to be truth'') falls a little flat on a late-20th- century ear. But the essay does provide insight into her struggle as a woman writer against the effort of her long-time companion, Robert Graves, to capture her as his ``muse.'' Written decades after their breakup, her 1975 essay on Graves's treatise The White Goddess betrays the persistence of her effort to ``extricate'' her imagination from Graves's equally persistent mythologizing of ``woman.'' Also included here are an affected and unsatisfying short story, ``Woman as People''; a brisk parable, ``Eve's Side of It''; and a forbiddingly abstract 1974 piece entitled ``The Sex Factor in Social Progress.'' Unlike previous reprints of her stories and poetry, this collection exhibits neither the wit nor the genius that Jackson always claimed for herself, and that many others claim for her. For the cognoscenti only.

Pub Date: May 3, 1993

ISBN: 0-89255-184-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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