"I desire to record, as simply as I may, the beginnings of a momentous military experiment, whose ultimate results were the reorganization of the whole American army and the remoulding of the relations of two races on this continent. . . . I can only hope that the importance of the subject may save me from that egotism which makes great things seem little and little things seem less in the narrating."
So wrote Thomas Wentworth Higginson about his role in one of the most compelling and fascinating episodes in the history of the United States. As the colonel of the first regiment of black men in the Union army during the Civil War, Higginson was an early, articulate, and powerful crusader for civil rights, and his journal and letters, collected for the first time in this volume, present some of the most extraordinary documents of the Civil War.
Higginson was a politically engaged intellectual at the forefront of radical antislavery, labor, and feminist causes. Born in 1823 to a formerly wealthy but still prominent Brahmin family, he became one of America's leading social activists and a prominent writer, minister, and reformer. With the publication in 1869 of his classic Army Life in a Black Regiment, which drew on this journal, Higginson became one of the most important chroniclers of the Civil War. The Complete Civil War Journal and Selected Letters of Thomas Wentworth Higginson is the first comprehensive edition of his journal. Sensitively and thoroughly annotated by Christopher Looby and supplemented by a large selection of Higginson's wartime letters, this volume offers the most vivid and intimate picture of the radical interracial solidarity brought about by the transformative experience of the army camp and of Civil War life.
"The immediacy of Higginson's reflections, as well as their sharp insights, make this journal both distinctive and enduringly compelling . . . . Higginson's vivid texts can once again educate, gratify and delight readers."—Publishers Weekly
"This volume will enrich our understanding of the transformations that emancipation and war wrought."—Library Journal
A Hero Perished tells Nile Kinnick's story. This grandson of an Iowa governor, the son of parents who disciplined him to strive for his measure of greatness, became a Heisman Trophy winner and national celebrity through a combination of talent and circumstance. Following his college successes, Kinnick began legal study to prepare for a political career, but with the approach of war he entered the Navy Air Corps to refashion himself as a fighter pilot. Assigned to the carrier USS Lexington on its premier cruise, he took off in a defective plane—and his death shocked a nation grown almost used to tragic loss.
For the first time, Kinnick tells his own tale through his engaging letters—all but one previously unpublished—and his diary, printed in its entirety for the first time. The result is a human, intimate look at the true person behind the myth, revealing both his foibles and his essential principles. A Hero Perished also includes a definitive text of Kinnick's moving Heisman Award acceptance speech and his impassioned commencement supper address, calling on the new Iowa graduates to achieve moral courage in a time of depression and war.
An illuminating comment on a time and attitude that have passed, A Hero Perished is of and about a football player, but it is not a football book—it is far more. This volume displays Kinnick—who was, despite his great gifts and achievements, a vulnerable and decent young man—in a time of great change and peril when a phase of our culture was passing away.
Eleanor Roosevelt called her one of the most influential women in America. Among the earliest and most assertive members of the Book-of-the-Month Club selection committee, Dorothy Canfield Fisher helped define literary taste in America for more than three decades. She helped shape the careers of such great writers as Pearl Buck, Isak Dinesen, and Richard Wright. A best-selling author herself, Fisher was also a deeply committed social activist. In Keeping Fires Night and Day, Mark J. Madigan collects much of Fisher's copious correspondence. With letters to Willa Cather, W.E.B. Du Bois, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Margaret Mead, James Thurber, and E.B. White, he documents Fisher's personal and professional life and career in a way that no biography could. Set against the American historical and cultural landscape from 1900 to 1958, these letters offer a firsthand account of one of the twentieth century's most remarkable women.
While Fisher's novels treated such conventional subjects as marriage and domestic life, her own life was anything but conventional. When her best-selling novels made her the chief breadwinner in her marriage, her husband, John Fisher, quietly assumed the role of secretary and editor of her work. Fluent in five languages, Dorothy Canfield Fisher founded a Braille press in France and introduced the educational methods of Dr. Maria Montessori to the United States. She became a pioneering advocate of adult education and served as the first woman on the Vermont Board of Education.
In letters to friends, fans, and colleagues, Fisher discussed her homelife, her work, and the world around her. Her passions and concerns-revealed in her correspondence with wit and poignancy-include the "New Woman' and the suffrage movement, racial discrimination and the emergence of the NAACP, the development of the national education system, two world wars, the depression, and the influence of book clubs in the literary market-place.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher "helped twentieth-century American literature to come of age," writes Clifton Fadimon in his Foreward. Yet lasting recognition has eluded her. In Keeping Fires Night and Day the distinctive voice of this gifted, intelligent and spirited woman is heard once again.
A Life of Solitude is a biography of Polish playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska (1901-35). One of the finest plays about the French Revolution, The Danton Case, was written by this unknown Polish woman living in obscurity in the free city of Danzig. The illegitimate daughter of writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski, she became a writer against long odds and at the cost of her health, her sanity, and eventually her life. A Life of Solitude shows how she chose her vocation, examine her ideas about writing, and reveal her struggle with material existence. Tragically, she came to substitute creativity for life and clung to her sense of calling with a stubbornness that dulled the instinct for self-preservation and led to her death from morphine and malnutrition at age thirty-four.
"The publication of Porter's letters marks an occasion for a renewed celebration of his painting and an appreciation of his quirky, indeed ornery, personality. Porter was a feisty correspondent, who fearlessly entered the intellectual discourse of his time."
---From the introduction by David Lehman
"In this lifetime of letters, Fairfield Porter reveals the complexity and passion of a protagonist in a novel by Dostoevsky or Henry James."
Fairfield Porter (1907-75) has been called by poet John Ashbery "perhaps the major American artist of the century." He was also known as a gifted art critic.
Beyond shedding light on his personal views, this collection of Fairfield Porter's letters demonstrates his profound contribution to American art and literature and displays his acumen as a political critic. The letters tell the story of a reserved artist and intellectual, torn between the tensions and pressures he felt among politics, family life, and painting-a man who forged a painting style outside the politically correct artistic perceptions of both left and right.
The collection includes letters from Porter's early travels to the Soviet Union, including a description of an interview with Trotsky, as well as some of his later letters to close friends, including Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, Rod Padgett, Larry Rivers, and James Schuyler, among others. While the letters reveal many sides of the brilliant and independent-minded Porter, they also provide a cultural context for the time period and the circle of artists and poets with whom Porter associated. The letters not only tell a story of the artist himself but are also valuable documents of the political and artistic upheavals of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
This rich collection is introduced by poet and critic David Lehman and includes notes by Justin Spring, author of Porter's biography.
Poems and Selected Letters
Veronica Franco University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress PQ4623.F6A613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 851.4
Veronica Franco (whose life is featured in the motion picture Dangerous Beauty) was a sixteenth-century Venetian beauty, poet, and protofeminist. This collection captures the frank eroticism and impressive eloquence that set her apart from the chaste, silent woman prescribed by Renaissance gender ideology.
As an "honored courtesan", Franco made her living by arranging to have sexual relations, for a high fee, with the elite of Venice and the many travelers—merchants, ambassadors, even kings—who passed through the city. Courtesans needed to be beautiful, sophisticated in their dress and manners, and elegant, cultivated conversationalists. Exempt from many of the social and educational restrictions placed on women of the Venetian patrician class, Franco used her position to recast "virtue" as "intellectual integrity," offering wit and refinement in return for patronage and a place in public life.
Franco became a writer by allying herself with distinguished men at the center of her city's culture, particularly in the informal meetings of a literary salon at the home of Domenico Venier, the oldest member of a noble family and a former Venetian senator. Through Venier's protection and her own determination, Franco published work in which she defended her fellow courtesans, speaking out against their mistreatment by men and criticizing the subordination of women in general. Venier also provided literary counsel when she responded to insulting attacks written by the male Venetian poet Maffio Venier.
Franco's insight into the power conflicts between men and women and her awareness of the threat she posed to her male contemporaries make her life and work pertinent today.
Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405-1464, elected Pope Pius II in 1458) was an important and enigmatic figure of the Renaissance as well as one of the most prolific writers and gifted stylists ever to occupy the papacy
The enfant terrible of French letters, Jean-Nicholas-Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) was a defiant and precocious youth who wrote some of the most remarkable prose and poetry of the nineteenth century, all before leaving the world of verse by the age of twenty-one. More than a century after his death, the young rebel-poet continues to appeal to modern readers as much for his turbulent life as for his poetry; his stormy affair with fellow poet Paul Verlaine and his nomadic adventures in eastern Africa are as iconic as his hallucinatory poems and symbolist prose.
The first translation of the poet's complete works when it was published in 1966, Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters introduced a new generation of Americans to the alienated genius—among them the Doors's lead singer Jim Morrison, who wrote to translator Wallace Fowlie to thank him for rendering the poems accessible to those who "don't read French that easily." Forty years later, the book remains the only side-by-side bilingual edition of Rimbaud's complete poetic works.
Thoroughly revising Fowlie's edition, Seth Whidden has made changes on virtually every page, correcting errors, reordering poems, adding previously omitted versions of poems and some letters, and updating the text to reflect current scholarship; left in place are Fowlie's literal and respectful translations of Rimbaud's complex and nontraditional verse. Whidden also provides a foreword that considers the heritage of Fowlie's edition and adds a bibliography that acknowledges relevant books that have appeared since the original publication. On its fortieth anniversary, Rimbaud remains the most authoritative—and now, completely up-to-date—edition of the young master's entire poetic ouvre.
The author of The Desert, the book that made the American landscape accessible to the mainstream mind, was much less like his fellow environmental prophets John Muir and Henry David Thoreau than he would have had us believe. Van Dyke claimed to have wandered "alone on horseback for thousands of miles through the American Southwest and northern Mexico," as readers of The Desert—now in the millions since the book was published in 1901—were told. He did not. In The Secret Life of John C. Van Dyke, Teague and Wild unmask the desert saint with Van Dyke’s own recently discovered letters. These letters depict a privileged, patrician, and pampered member of the upper-class. His incriminating correspondence reveals that he saw most of the desert from plush railroad cars and grand hotel rooms. In the introduction, the editors clear up many misconceptions scholars currently hold about Van Dyke’s ecological principles, about his outdoorsmanship, and about his trip through the desert itself. As the centennial of the publication of The Desert approaches, this lively collection of letters helps set the record straight. The John C. Van Dyke unveiled in The Secret Life is a more varied character than we had supposed—still worthy of much admiration for his remarkable accomplishments, but still mysterious, and not the man we thought him to be.
Bernard DeVoto (1897–1955) was a historian, critic, editor, professor, political commentator, and conservationist, and above all a writer of comprehensive skill. As a contributor for more than thirty years to Harper’s and other magazines, he was known for his forceful opinions. His essays were often brash and opinionated and kept him in the public limelight. One stinging essay even led the FBI to create a file on him. His five serious novels are forgotten today, but his magazine short stories and the well-paid potboilers that he wrote under a pseudonym (John August) subsidized the first of the significant works of American history that brought DeVoto lasting fame. Four of his historical works, all still in print, are The Year of Decision: 1846, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in 1943; Across the Wide Missouri, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1948; 1953 National Book Award–winning The Course of Empire; and his popular abridged edition of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, which also appeared in 1953.
A busy man with a busy life, DeVoto found time to write and answer letters in abundance. In 1933 he received a fan letter from Katharine Sterne, a young woman hospitalized with tuberculosis; his reply touched off an extraordinary eleven-year correspondence. Sterne had graduated with honors from Wellesley College in 1928 and had served as an assistant art critic at the New York Times before her illness. Despite her enforced invalidism she maintained an active intellectual life. Sterne and DeVoto wrote to each other until her death in 1944, sometimes in many pages and as often as twice a week, exchanging opinions about life, literature, art, current events, family news, gossip, and their innermost feelings. DeVoto’s biographer, Wallace Stegner, states that in these letters DeVoto “expressed himself more intimately than in any other writings.” Although their correspondence amounted to more than 868 letters (and is virtually complete on both sides), DeVoto and Sterne never met, both of them doubtless realizing that physical remoteness permitted a psychological proximity that was deeply nourishing.
This volume contains 140 of their letters. They have been selected by DeVoto’s son Mark, who has also provided detailed notes clarifying ambiguities and obscure references. Readers will enjoy these letters for their wit and literary flair, but they will also gain insight into the cultural and historical crosscurrents of the 1930s and ’40s while taking an intimate and engaging look at a friendship forged entirely through words.
Undeniably one of the modern world's greatest literary figures, Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) left behind a correspondence documenting in intimate detail a life as intense in its extremes as his poetry. This extensive selection of his letters—many translated for the first time into English—depicts a poet divided between despair and elation, thoughts of suicide and intimations of immortality; a man who could write to his mother, "We're obviously destined to love one another, to end our lives as honestly and gently as possible," and say in the next sentence, "I'm convinced that one of us will kill the other"; who courted and then suffered the controversy provoked by his masterpiece, Les Fleurs du mal; who struggled throughout his life with syphilis contracted in his youth, near-intolerable financial restrictions imposed by his stepfather, and conflicting feelings of failure and revolt dating from his school days.
Writing to family, friends, and lovers, Baudelaire reveals the incidents and passions that went into his poetry. In letters to editors, idols, and peers—Hugo, Flaubert, Vigny, Wagner, Cladel, among others—he elucidates the methods and concerns of his own art and criticism and comments tellingly on the arts and politics of his day. In all, ranging from childhood to days shortly before his death, these letters comprise a complex and moving portrait of the quintessential poet and his time.
Edmund Burke (1729-97) was a British statesman, a political philosopher, a literary critic, the grandfather of modern conservatism, and an elegant, prolific letter writer and prose stylist. His most important letters, filled with sparkling prose and profound insights, are gathered here for the first time in one volume. Arranged topically, the letters bring alive Burke's passionate views on such issues as party politics, reform and revolution, British relations with America, India, and Ireland, toleration and religion, and literary and philosophical concerns.
In response to the resurgence of interest in American novelist, poet, short-story writer, and newspaper correspondent Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), whose best-known work is The Morgesons (1862), Jennifer Putzi and Elizabeth Stockton spent years locating, reading, and sorting through more than 700 letters scattered across eighteen different archives, finally choosing eighty-four letters to annotate and include in this collection. By presenting complete, annotated transcripts, The Selected Letters provides a fascinating introduction to this compelling writer, while at the same time complicating earlier representations of her as either a literary handmaiden to her at-the-time more famous husband, the poet Richard Henry Stoddard, or worse, as the “Pythoness” whose difficult personality made her a fickle and unreasonable friend.
The Stoddards belonged to New York's vibrant, close-knit literary and artistic circles. Among their correspondents were both family members and friends including writers and editors such as Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr, Rufus Griswold, James Russell Lowell, Caroline Healey Dall, Julian Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Helen Hunt Jackson, Edmund Clarence Stedman, and Margaret Sweat.
An innovative and unique writer, Stoddard eschewed the popular sentimentality of her time even while exploring the emotional territory of relations between the sexes. Her writing—in both her published fiction and her personal letters—is surprisingly modern and psychologically dense. The letters are highly readable, lively, and revealing, even to readers who know little of her literary output or her life.
As scholars of epistolarity have recently argued, letters provide more than just a biographical narrative; they also should be understood as aesthetic performances themselves. The correspondence provides a sense of Stoddard as someone who understood letter writing as a distinct and important literary genre, making this collection particularly well suited for new conceptualizations of the epistolary genre.
This volume provides a first-hand survey of the arts and literature during a crucial period in modern culture, 1915–1924. Pound was then associated with such germinal magazines as BLAST, The Little Review, The Egoist, and Poetry; he was discovering or publicizing writers such as Robert Frost, Hilda Doolittle, T. S. Eliot, and James Joyce; and he was championing the painters Wyndham Lewis and William Wadsworth as well as the sculptors Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and Constantin Brancusi. Pound wrote to John Quinn—a New York lawyer, an expert in business law, and a collector of unusual taste and discrimination—about these artists and many more, urging him to support their journals, collect their manuscripts, and buy and exhibit their paintings and sculptures. Quinn at one time owned manuscripts of Ulysses and The Waste Land, Brancusi’s sculpture Mlle. Pogany, and Picasso’s painting Three Musicians. Yet he was often skeptical about the value of new schools of art, such as Vorticism, and disturbed by the outspokenness of authors such as Joyce. Pound’s letters are unusually tactful when he counters Quinn’s doubts and explains the premises of experimental art. Pound’s letters to Quinn are touched with his characteristic humor and wordplay and are especially notable for their lucidity of expression, engendered by Pound’s deep respect for Quinn.
Objectivist poet George Oppen (1908–1984), along with his contemporaries Lorine Niedecker, Charles Reznikoff, and Carl Rakoski, provide an important bridge between the vanguard modernist American poets and the later works of poets such as Robert Creeley. In work often compounded by the populist urbanity of city lives, the Objectivists explored the social statements poetry can make. Because Oppen wrote only one essay and one essay-review, his correspondence, in effect, constitutes his essays. Oppen is emerging as one of the major poets of the postwar era; he was the recipient of an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the PEN/West Rediscovery Award, and a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His collection Of Being Numerous received the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. These working papers include a rich correspondence, letters which provide access to the sustained, perceptive body of critical and aesthetic thinking of Oppen’s poetic career. Provocative and witty comments on poetry and poetics, especially interesting for the development of an Objectivist aesthetics, and shrewd, deeply felt assessments about the politics of the twentieth century and its moral dilemmas are some of the issues attended to. This edition offers primary documentation about an influential poetics, a little-known movement, and its active figures. Given the aggressive studies of the politics of canon-formation, the interest in describing a historical context for individual literary achievement, and current debates about mainstream poetry, the rethinking of the Objectivist movement, and the collection of documents contributing to its poetics, is an important achievement in literary scholarship.
The 220 letters selected for this book offer a fresh and intimate encounter with Juanita Brooks, one of the most influential historians of Utah and the Mormons. Born and raised in the small and remote agricultural village of Bunkerville, Nevada, Brooks lived most most of her life in St. George Utah and rose to prominence following the 1950 publication of her landmark book The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Her unwavering commitment to honest scholarship continues to inspire younger generations laboring to produce excellent objective history.
The letters in this volume, written from 1941 to 1978, trace Brooks’s development from fledgling historian to recognized authority. Serving as a biography of her interactions with her contemporaries, this selection of letters provides a new perspective on Brooks’s personality and growth as a scholar. Richly detailed, chatty, and covering a wide array of subjects, the letters afford an important glimpse into Brooks’s struggles, concerns, and interests.
It is the reading world's good fortune that Stéphane Mallarmé's letters survived, allowing later generations an intimate look at the inner life of one of Europe's most important poets. Mallarmé (1842-98), often called the father of the Symbolists, has had an immense influence on the development of modern European poetry. It was his ambition to create a poetry pure of quotidian reality—autonomous, concentrated, linguistically inventive. His correspondence documents the evolution of this aim, the crafting of a poetics out of a life inescapably "real" in its pains and charms.
There has never been an edition of the selected letters of Walt Whitman, a remarkable fact considering how accustomed we are to becoming acquainted with major writers through their letters. Now Edwin Haviland Miller, editor of the six-volume collected writings of Whitman, has used his intimate knowledge of the "good gray poet's" correspondence to produce this revealing selection of 250 letters, introduced and annotated concisely and evocatively. Whitman in these letters is simple, direct, colloquial, adding a counterpoint to his artistic voice and persona as a poet.
Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701) was the most popular novelist in her time, read in French in volume installments all over Europe and translated into English, German, Italian, and even Arabic. But she was also a charismatic figure in French salon culture, a woman who supported herself through her writing and defended women's education. She was the first woman to be honored by the French Academy, and she earned a pension from Louis XIV for her writing.
Selected Letters, Orations, and Rhetorical Dialogues is a careful selection of Scudéry's shorter writings, emphasizing her abilities as a rhetorical theorist, orator, essayist, and letter writer. It provides the first English translations of some of Scudéry's Amorous Letters, only recently identified as her work, as well as selections from her Famous Women, or Heroic Speeches, and her series of Conversations. The book will be of great interest to scholars of the history of rhetoric, French literature, and women's studies.