headshot karen christensen london 2006 on train platformIt was startling when Bill (William H.) McNeill said he wanted to write my life story, interviewing me with surgical precision. This was a dramatic experience for both of us because of a strange intersection in our lives that took place years before we met. Having a famous historian (and biographer) examine my life was alarming, but ultimately transformative. The conversations brought us closer, and it was a relief to talk about my long-ago affair with Kirkpatrick Sale, since Bill had had his own encounter with the man. And seeing my life from Bill’s vantage point made me see patterns, and ask questions, that soon led me to take a fresh look at Sophia Mumford and Valerie Eliot’s relationships with their husbands. The short biography was printed with a small collection of profiles of friends and acquaintances, as Bill’s penultimate production. Three of the profiles, of well-known men Bill knew and worked with, are now included in A World View: Collected Essayspublished in 2024 by Berkshire Publishing. His profile of me is here.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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