Literary Musings

Mina Loy and the “Crowd” — Modernists in 1920s Paris

Though not as well known today, Mina Loy was well entrenched in the modernist circles that included leading figures of arts and letters of the 1920s. This musing on Mina Loy and the “Crowd” is excerpted from Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde by Francis Booth. Reprinted by permission.

Mina Loy (1882 – 1966), who practiced both as a writer and visual artist, was a vital member of the group of creatives that launched the modernist movement. Born in Hampstead, London, she was a painter, poet, novelist, and playwright, and also achieved some renown as a lamp designer. Read More→

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Wild Places Without a Man: H.D. and Bryher

Towards the end of World War I, the American expatriate writer and poet Hilda Doolittle, H.D. met Annie Winifred Ellerman, known as Bryher. H.D. and Breyher became lovers and would remain intimate for the rest of H.D.’s life, supporting and sustaining each other and sharing the responsibility of parenting H.D.’s daughter Perdita.

However, theirs was not an exclusive partnership. Both took other lovers, and in 1921 Bryher entered into a marriage of convenience with the American writer and publisher Robert McAlmon. This arrangement enabled Bryher to keep her traditional family at arm’s length, and allowed McAlmon to use her wealth to set up his own press.

This excerpt, detailing the complex relationships of a circle of modernist literary figures, is from Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde by Francis Booth. Reprinted by permission. Read More→

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The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne du Maurier

The three Brontë sisters — Charlotte, Emily, and Anne — cherished literary ambitions from an early age, and despite lives cut short by illness, earned a prominent place in the English literary canon. The same can’t be said for their brother, Branwell Brontë (1817 – 1848), whose dissipated life ended at age thirty-one, with little to show for his early talent other than thwarted ambition.

The children of Maria Branwell Brontë and Reverend Patrick Brontë, the Brontë siblings grew up in Haworth, England, located in Yorkshire. Maria Branwell Brontë died while the children were still very young, and the two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of illness before reaching adolescence. Read More→

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9 Classic Pakistani Women Novelists And Poets to Discover

Discover some of the best-known classic women Pakistani  novelists and poets who challenged society’s norms and made invaluable contributions to literature.

Many classic Pakistani women authors were born before the partition and lived through the horrors of migration. They had to adjust to a new life in the new country, and these extraordinary life experiences seep into their writings.  (Pictured here, Fahmida Riaz.)

With their fiery words, they bent social norms and challenged patriarchy and debauchery long before the concept of feminism or human rights became a part of living room discussions. Read More→

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Solitude vs Self-Isolation: Women Authors and the Sacred Inner Space

Most artists and writers keep their inner space sacred and inviolate. It’s the core from where their creativity springs. Some keep their inner world more private than others. 

While plenty of male writers have suffered from (or have preferred) isolation, this musing will focus on well known female writers. Confinement periods can be an advantage for women writers, as their extra-curricular activities may  slow down.

Seeking solitude doesn’t make a writer antisocial. Perhaps periods of quarantines made it easier for writers to carve out specific periods of time where they can work in blissful solitude. A brief look at women authors of the past shows that self-imposed sequestration isn’t such a crazy thing to do, after all. Read More→

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