It’s back to Emily Dickenson today – the current New Yorker (August 4) has an enormous review, pages and pages, of the new book, “White Heat: the Friendship of Emily Dickenson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson” by Brenda Wineapple.
The reviewer seems to think, as the one who wrote in the Economist a week or so ago also did, that it is an original idea of Wineapple’s to write about Emily Dickenson by writing about Higginson: “Dickenson’s experience…has been so thoroughly archived, interpreted, and reimagined in every genre…that a contemporary scholar needs a good excuse to exhume the picked-over bones. In rehabilitating Higginson…Wineapple finds one…”
The point here, as constant readers will know, is that my mother did this 45 years ago, including the rehabilitation of Higginson, in her book “Dear Preceptor”. The New Yorker reviewed her book, too, at the time, very favourably but at considerably less length.
We learn from the current New Yorker that Wineapple is not a Dickenson scholar, as my mother was, but “an astute literary biographer with a feisty prose style”. My mother was a professional writer as well as an academic. I doubt whether her style qualifies as “feisty”, but it’s certainly readable.
If anybody has easy access to a big bookstore, I’d be terribly grateful if you’d mosey on in and have a look at this book. There are probably some introductory pages. Is my mother’s book mentioned, and if so, in what terms? (Her name was Anna Mary Wells.) She will certainly be included in the bibliography. What does it say there?
In the end, I suspect I’ll have to buy and – worse – read it. First I must finish “Dear Preceptor”.
I finished sewing the dinosaurs together and am well-embarked on the neckband. I see that there is meant to be a collar as well, knit separately and sewn in. I don’t think I included that when I knit this sweater for Thomas-the-Elder 20 years ago, and I don’t think I’ll do it this time. But I might double the neckband and fold it in. I think they look and wear better that way.
So I won’t be quite ready to try it on Fergus when he arrives this evening.
The new “Knitting” turned up yesterday. There’s a nice striped cardigan by Kaffe, and news of a new Rowan yarn, “Colourscape Chunky”, which changes colour as you go along and which was also designed by Kaffe. Just the thing for a Liesl…
Susan, I liked your story of the brown-paper shopping bags full of zucchini left on doorsteps under cover of night. This spring, the Spinning Fishwife gave me Elaine Borish’s book “What Will I Do With All Those Courgettes?”. In the introduction, it says that, in Iowa, you must be very careful to lock your car when you park it anywhere in the summer, or you will come back and find the back seat full of zucchini.
In my own garden at the moment, courgettes are doing nicely, but it’s the mange-tout peas that need picking every half-hour.