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On Moving: A Writer's Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again Hardcover – March 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582345813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582345819
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Percy Blythe Shelley's ultimately fatal moving habits to Elizabeth Bishop's endless search for a true home, author and professor DeSalvo chronicles the writer's quest for the perfect home in this memoir-slash-literary history. A noted Virginia Woolf biographer, DeSalvo devotes a hefty portion of the book to Woolf's journey from home to home, and her insight into the poet's turmoil and hope is fascinating. The most compelling parts of the book, however, are DeSalvo's own, both in the particulars and the big picture: "Most of my ancestors' moves, until my parents' and my generation... seem to have been caused by climate change... populations reaching critical levels, or by cataclysmic natural or historical events." Still, DeSalvo's story doesn't feel quite complete; she never adequately resolve her seeming inability to move with the fact of doing so. Early on, she remarks that, like many, she was "blindsided by moving's almost inevitable consequences," and by the book's end she seems not much closer to illumination. Still, her narrative is thought-provoking, and should interest lit fans struggling with a recent or impending move.
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About the Author

Louise DeSalvo is a writer, professor, lecturer, and scholar who lives in New Jersey. Her many books include the memoirs Crazy in the Kitchen, Vertigo, Breathless, and Adultery; the acclaimed biography Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on her Life and Work; and Writing as a Way of Healing. Recently, she moved.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn DeMario on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a voice that is both elegantly literary and deeply personal, Louise DeSalvo explains how well she understands the spirit of place. We all have places that remain in memory no matter how many years have passed, but more than that, we also have places that call to us in very mysterious ways. Professor DeSalvo understands how we are both shaped and altered by place. She saves most of her personal experience until the last chapter, but by then, we are highly receptive to her insights because she has elucidated the place experiences of Virginia Woolf, Henry Miller, D.H lawrence, Mark Doty, Elizabeth Bishop and others in a way that recognizes the impact of place on the human spirit. An important book for anyone who wonders where they are.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started reading this book just as my next-door neighbors began to pack up and move; he had lived there for 11 years, his wife for 3, but now the owner has put the building up for sale. So I was already thinking of moving when I picked up the book to discover I've already moved more times in my lifetime than average -- 14 moves, across countries and continents, back and forth, since the age of 8 months.

For DeSalvo, whose personal experience of uprooting herself after decades in the same house prompts the thoughts that led to this book, moving involves changing a house; her physical surroundings -- it also has come to symbolize life changes, as she marries, has children and becomes an empty-nester. I couldn't always relate to that, as for me, moving has usually meant leaving behind not only a house but also a city, a community, a circle of friends and, most often a country as well. (Indeed, in enumerating my own moves, I'm not even counting moves from one house to another in the same city...) But this book managed to transcend these differences in experience, as she draws on an array of fascinating examples of moving by very diverse literary figures, from Shelley in the early 18th century, to Virgina Woolf, D.H. Lawrence and Sigmund Freud in the 20th century. Some of them had very definite roots and connections to places, like Woolf and Freud; others, like Lawrence and Shelley, were essentially drifters, defined by their constant movements more than by the places they stayed. DeSalvo makes fascinating links between creativity and moving, pointing out that having her own "room of her own" unleashed Woolf's creativity, while Lawrence drew on the wildly varied landscapes through which he traveled as settings for his novels and stories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Linda Leahy on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Louise DeSalvo never disappoints. This book is not only about her own moves, but also about the moves of some literary and intellectual giants, Viginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung--

Soon I'll be moving and this book has offered interesting insights, and even a bit of comfort.

Many thanks to the author.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carol Newman on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Louise DeSalvo is a meticulous and impassioned writer. ON MOVING
shares intimate feelings as well as detailed scholarly research.
This reader finds Louise DeSalvo's personal reflections entirely engrossing, especially
frequent references to her father and hopes future works will engage us more in the life
of this interesting man.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was not only interesting, it was therapeutic. I have moved many times and am still reeling from my last move--which was seven years ago now! DeSalvo validates how attached some of us can be to the homes and communities in which we have been happy and productive, and particularly to the places where we raised children, and where we grew up ourselves. I really enjoyed, and was helped by, this book.
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