“Patterns,” a poem by American imagist poet Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925, was published in Men, Women and Ghosts (1919). It exemplifies the imagery-dense free verse for which she was known.
Though Men, Women and Ghosts is a book of poems, Lowell begins her preface by writing that “This is a book of stories.” She goes on to say:
“For that reason I have excluded all purely lyrical poems. But the word ‘stories’ has been stretched to its fullest application. It includes both narrative poems, properly so called; tales divided into scenes; and a few pieces of less obvious storytelling import in which one might say that the dramatis personae are air, clouds, trees, houses, streets, and such like things. Read More→
“A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf was published in her first collection of short fiction, Monday or Tuesday (1921). It later appeared as the lead story another collection of the authors stories, A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (1944), after Woolf’s death. Here we present the text in full.
First, here are a pair of analyses of this classic short story.
Interesting Literature: “‘A Haunted House’ by Virginia Woolf both is and is not a ghost story. In less than two pages of prose, Woolf explores, summons, and subverts the conventions of the ghost story, offering a modernist take on the genre … In summary, the narrator describes the house where she and her partner live. Whenever you wake in the house, you hear noises: a door shutting, and the sound of a ‘ghostly couple’ wandering from room to room in the house.” Read More→
“Kew Gardens” is one of Virginia Woolf‘s earliest short stories, written around 1917 and published in her first collection of fiction, Monday or Tuesday (1921). It later appeared in another collection of the authors stories, A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (1944), after Woolf’s death.
“Kew Gardens” is titled after the famous gardens of London and takes place on a July day. It’s considered modernist, as it favors the capture of moments rather than revolving around a tight plot. Though it’s one of Woolf’s best known stories, and one of the most anthologized, it’s also one of her most elusive. Read More→
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos, subtitled The Intimate Diary or a Professional Lady, published in 1925, popularized the unfortunate tropes of “dumb blonde” and ruthless gold-digger in the character of Lorelei Lee.
We accompany the unflappable flapper around New York and Europe, where she dallies with the affections of hapless men. Maybe she’s not so dumb after all.
Anita Loos (1889 – 1991, who was by the time of the book’s publication already a successful screenwriter, claimed that the book’s inspiration came from a real-life incident. Read More→
Mary Hunter Austin (1868 – 1934) is no longer widely read, but during her lifetime, she traveled in vaunted literary circles. The Land of Little Rain (1903), a nonfiction compilation of connected essays, is her best-remembered work. From the publisher:
“The enduring appeal of the desert is strikingly portrayed in this poetic study, which has become a classic of the American Southwest. First published in 1903, it is the work of Mary Austin, a prolific novelist, poet, critic, and playwright, who was also an ardent early feminist and champion of Indians and Spanish-Americans.
She is best known today for this enchanting paean to the vast, arid, yet remarkably beautiful lands that lie east of the Sierra Nevadas, stretching south from Yosemite through Death Valley to the Mojave Desert. Read More→
In 1967, The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore was published to great acclaim, being the most thorough collection of this distinguished American poet up to that time.
For Marianne Moore, heartfelt and precise expression was the most important aspect of the written word. Most of her poems were written in syllabic verse.
About her own work, she commented “I tend to write in a patterned arrangement, with rhymes … to secure an effect of flowing continuity … there is a great amount of poetry in unconscious/fastidiousness.” Read More→
“Monday or Tuesday,” a 1921 short story by Virginia Woolf, appeared in the only collection of stories she published during her lifetime. The title of the collection was also Monday or Tuesday. It was later anthologized in A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (1944), which contained six of the eight original stories.
First published by Hogarth Press, the small publishing company run by Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Mr. Woolf deemed it the worst book ever printed due to a plethora of typographical errors. They were corrected in later editions.
English author (not the actress) Elizabeth Taylor (1912 – 1975) published seventeen books: four collections of stories, one children’s book, and twelve novels. If you’re just discovering this under-appreciated author and wondering where to begin or considering a reread, here is a glimpse of Elizabeth Taylor’s novels.
She’s “not like most novelists,” Elizabeth Jane Howard observes; she’s “one in a thousand: how deeply I envy any reader coming to her for the first time.”
In Contemporary Novelists, Elizabeth explained her process: “I write in scenes, rather than in narrative, which I find boring. I am pleased if the look of a page is interesting, broken by paragraphs or dialogue, not just one dense slab of print.”