Ritual, Myth, and Mysticism in the Work of Mary Butts: Between Feminism and Modernism
by FOY ROSLYN and Roslyn Foy
University of Arkansas Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-1-55728-581-2 | eISBN: 978-1-61075-348-7
Library of Congress Classification PR6003.U7Z66 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 823.912

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Mary Butts wrote and lived among notable modernist writers such as T.S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, Jean Cocteau, H.D., and Ezra Pound, and was on her way to becoming one of the most respected British female writers of the twentieth century. Yet, after her death in 1937 at the age of forty-six, her reputation suffered a decline. Butt's idiosyncratic spirituality did not lend itself to easy critical examination, modernism was generally considered a masculine endeavor, and her papers were not made public for over fifty years. The recent acquisition of those papers by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, however, has brought about a resurgence of interest in her unique writings. Mary Butts confronts and reinterprets reality in extraordinary ways, and her modernist vision recalls the natural origins and powers of the female divine. Her intense dedication to ancient rites and myth, and her dabbling in the occult, became embedded in her fiction and led to her own brand of mysticism. Indeed, the Butts heroine is at once, healer, sacred priestess, earth goddess, lover, and daimon/demon. In presenting her characters this way, Butts valorizes what she calls "the soul living at its fullest capacity." Roslyn Reso Foy gives us the first sustained critical study of Butts, exploring the signficance of feminism, mysticism, and magic in her life and writings. Foy's thoughtful analysis, combining scholarship with straightforward discussion, will serve as an introduction to, and foundation for, further critical studies of this remarkable female modernist whose work coincides with contemporary concerns and who can no longer be ignored.

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