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Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It Paperback – September 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
In this first full-length biography of Bishop (1911-1979) Millier provides readers with fresh insights as she traces Bishop's development as a poet from her childhood in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia. Bishop's father's death when she was eight months old was a double cataclysm: as well as taking her father from her, it damaged the mental health of her mother, who was institutionalized for most of the rest of her life. Millier, a professor of American literature and civilization at Middlebury College, stresses how Bishop's virtual orphanhood affected her later life and led her to develop a painful rootlessness. The story of Bishop's early career--her coming-of-age at Vassar College and the mentorship of Marianne Moore--is extraordinarily interesting, as are her better-known relationships with such literary figures as Robert Lowell. Millier neglects neither the tragic aspects of Bishop's life--most notably her alcoholism--nor the most personal, her homosexuality, approaching such subjects with compassion and respect. Although Millier acknowledges that "we cannot know what Bishop thought," Millier's own psychological speculations creep in, and they are the weakest part of her work. This biography is, however, a major contribution to our understanding of Bishop. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
"Unlike Lowell and other poets of her time, Bishop disdained the confessional but Millier's authoritative reading of her poems suggests how they allude glancingly, through ironic veils of fable and allegory, to her homosexuality, her alcoholism, and her paralyzing depression. This biography will act as a powerful corrective to the impression of serene perfection engendered by the greatest of Bishop's poems; they were in no way as easy to write as their author made them seem." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Her constant and forever travels. Her illnesses, her struggles. She was an amazing and complex woman.
This biography is well written and through it you gain an understanding of the soil from which her exquisite poems
Enlarge your vocabulary of being alive and know this woman. The author explicates her writing with aplomb.