Tag Archives: Rebecca West

“That is no country for old men.” — William Butler Yeats

“I thought we might bring the halves together if we had a national literature that made Ireland beautiful in the memory, and yet had been freed of provincialism by an exacting criticism, a European pose.” — W.B. Yeats William Butler … Continue reading

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2023 Books Read

I think I might have read more books by non-American authors than American this year. Countries represented below: Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, Ireland, France, Russia, Colombia. I revisited some old favorites, which I will continue to do in … Continue reading

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“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their debt to her. Robert Kaplan is the most open about it (his Balkan Ghosts, which launched his career, has him … Continue reading

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“I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals.” — poet/writer/hater Jonathan Swift

“[He is] the most vigorous hater we’ve ever had in our literature.” — Edgell Rickword We’re not supposed to “hate”. “Hate” calls to mind tiki torches. Or “hate crimes.” But there is a productive kind of hate. A galvanizing hate. … Continue reading

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“Sunlight on a broken column.” It’s T.S. Eliot’s birthday.

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write. His language and influence had that strong a pull. Too much pull. His … Continue reading

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“I am better able to imagine hell than heaven; it is my inheritance, I suppose.” — poet Elinor Wylie

She was born on this day. I am not familiar with the full scope of Elinor Wylie’s work, but what I do know really strikes my fancy. I wonder if A.S. Byatt used Wylie’s poetry as some of the inspiration … Continue reading

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June 28, 1914: “But if ever a man went anywhere of his own free will, Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo.”

June 28, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie – setting out in their motorcade in Sarajevo that fateful morning, as the assassins, unseen, move into position. Here are two excerpts from Rebecca West’s towering Black Lamb and Grey … Continue reading

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For International Women’s Day: Ladies I Love

These women inspire, entertain, challenge, comfort, provoke, or were “there” in my formative years as an inspiration. The list is huge. Below the jump.

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Happy birthday music hall star Gaby Deslys, with her famous swan bed and controversial cleavage

Born in Marseilles, Marie-Elise-Gabrielle Caire eventually changed her name to Gaby Deslys. She moved to Paris, determined to be an actress or a dancer. She started out in the chorus line, and gradually got bit parts here and there. She … Continue reading

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“All creative art must rise out of a specific soil and flicker with the spirit of place.” — D.H. Lawrence

“Whoever reads me will be in the thick of the scrimmage, and if he doesn’t like it – if he wants a safe seat in the audience – let him read somebody else.” — D.H. Lawrence, 1925 D.H. Lawrence was … Continue reading

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