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First Look at the Sealed Collection of Letters from T S Eliot to Emily Hale

Note: At Berkshire Bookworld, you'll find my interview with Sara Fitzgerald recorded 10 days after the opening of the collection. Click here to get the podcast. I first heard about the Emily Hale letters from Valerie Eliot herself, in 1986 or 1987. Valerie led me to believe that Hale had been a hanger-on whom T. S. Eliot had had to push away, who had exaggerated her relationship with him and placed the letters Eliot had written to her at Princeton against his wishes. I believed what she said, [...]

January 4th, 2020|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , , |

The article I wrote for Valerie Eliot about novelist Djuna Barnes

Valerie Eliot agonized about writing anything. It drove me crazy. There was, for example, a footnote about a reference to “charflappers” in a letter from T. S. Eliot (TSE) to his American publisher Scofield Thayer that she rewrote, or rather we rewrote, dozens of times. I’d think we had put that question to bed, and a day or two later she would say, “Remember that footnote, dear, the one about charflappers?” I don’t think I ever showed my impatience, but that kind of fussing was definitely one of the reasons [...]

July 26th, 2016|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , |

The Mysterious Mr. Thayer

Once upon a time, an author looking for information had to advertise in the paper. She or he would place a notice in the New York Review of Books or the Times Literary Supplement, saying that he or she was working on biography of so-and-so and would like to speak to anyone who knew him or her. I tried to get a notice like that printed when Sophie Mumford was 96 and we were starting to put her notes and memories together for a book. It was 1996 and I [...]