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Hermione Lee, 17 November 1983

Bartleby in Manhattan, and Other Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 297 78357 2
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... Elizabeth Hardwick’s terms for the mind at work are revealing. In an essay called ‘Domestic Manners’ which begins with the question ‘How do we live today?’ she reminds us of the duplicity and elusiveness of styles. Just as they seem to ‘the defining imagination’ to look like solid historical facts, they shift and collapse ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have vented about Robert Lowell. To interview all the exes of Philip Rahv would be an undertaking from which the most committed Boswellian might recoil. (Though it’s fascinating to speculate what might have happened if Rahv and Mary McCarthy had made ...

Wobble in My Mind

Colm Tóibín: Lizzie, Cal and Caroline, 7 May 2020

The Dolphin Letters, 1970-79: Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell and Their Circle 
edited by Saskia Hamilton.
Faber, 560 pp., £35, January, 978 0 571 35741 3
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The Dolphin: Two Versions, 1972-73 
by Robert Lowell, edited by Saskia Hamilton.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., £11.99, December 2019, 978 0 374 53827 9
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... In April​ 1970, Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick – both aged 53, married for 21 years – had just been on holiday together in Italy with their 13-year-old daughter, Harriet. Hardwick and Harriet had come home to New York, where Hardwick taught at Barnard College; Lowell had gone to Oxford to take up a fellowship at All Souls ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again, 10 August 2016

Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... and helpless to fix the damage. He was married three times: to Jean Stafford from 1940 to 1948, to Elizabeth Hardwick from 1949 to 1972 and to Caroline Blackwood from 1972 to his death in 1977. With Hardwick he had a daughter, Harriet, and with Blackwood a son, Sheridan; he was also stepfather to Blackwood’s three ...

Ashamed of the Planet

Ian Hamilton, 2 March 2000

No Other Book: Selected Essays 
by Randall Jarrell, edited by Brad Leithauser.
HarperCollins, 376 pp., $27.50, June 1999, 0 06 118012 2
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Remembering Randall: A Memoir of Poet, Critic and Teacher Randall Jarrell 
by Mary von Schrader Jarrell.
HarperCollins, 173 pp., $22, June 1999, 0 06 118011 4
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... Lowell – during a bout of mania – announced to the world that he was about to leave his wife, Elizabeth Hardwick, in order to marry a young Italian he had fallen for. He quite often made announcements of this kind, when mad, but this time he decided to deliver the good news in person to Jarrell. Of the encounter that ensued, Jarrell’s widow has ...

A Resonance for William Styron

Gabriele Annan, 7 November 1985

Savage Grace 
by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson.
Gollancz, 473 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 575 03738 5
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... that is – or perhaps one should say as reading matter. Reviewing Peter Manso’s Mailer, Elizabeth Hardwick went into the question, moral and aesthetic, of the taped book. The genre, with Mayhew as its godfather, began with the best intentions. ‘The sequential interviewer is likely to reign over the text in the benevolent and more or less ...

On Robert Silvers

Andrew O’Hagan: Remembering Robert Silvers, 19 April 2017

... and before I even read the piece I felt victorious, because the issue opened with an essay by Elizabeth Hardwick. The glamour of the moment was helped when Barbara Epstein came to my party at the Old Town Bar. She walked in clutching a copy of the paper and proceeded to smoke all my cigarettes, speaking about Lizzie and Wystan and how a good piece ...

Proudly Reptilian

Nicole Flattery: Kevin Barry, 12 September 2019

Night Boat to Tangier 
by Kevin Barry.
Canongate, 224 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 78211 617 2
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... the novel, that Maurice is tying a large brick to himself and preparing to walk into the sea. As Elizabeth Hardwick wrote, ‘Novels that are profoundly about illicit fornication have a way of ending on accidents, illness or death.’ Night Boat to Tangier is no different. Maurice, like his father before him, ends up in a mental institution that he ...

The South

Colm Tóibín, 4 August 1994

One Art: The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Bishop 
Chatto, 668 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 7011 6195 7Show More
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... Flamingo Park and went out some days to swim at Copacabana. It was that time between the death of Elizabeth Bishop and the appearance of the first biography and this volume of letters, when the ordinary reader on this side of the Atlantic knew very little about her. I did not know that for 15 years she stayed in an apartment overlooking the beach. ‘It is ...

Some Names for Robert Lowell

Karl Miller, 19 May 1983

Robert Lowell: A Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 527 pp., £12.50, May 1983, 0 571 13045 3
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... where he ran amok, insulting generals and riding the equestrian statues. His second marriage, to Elizabeth Hardwick, was essentially an enduring one, and her devotion and intelligence illuminate and support this biography. Other women promised a new leaf, and eventually there was the romance of a departure for England: ‘a new alliance’, as he put ...

Lying doggo

Christopher Reid, 14 June 1990

Becoming a poet 
by David Kalstone, edited by Robert Hemenway.
Hogarth, 299 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7012 0900 3
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... Among her admirers, who tend to be wholehearted and fervent, the feeling is that Elizabeth Bishop has not yet received anything like her critical due. Things are improving – in the United States more rapidly than over here, where admission to the Pantheon seems as slow and grudging a process, and as prone to archaic shibboleths and mysterious blackballings, as election to a Pall Mall club ...

In Coleridge’s Bed

Ange Mlinko: Dead Poets Road Trip, 19 April 2017

Deaths of the Poets 
by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
Cape, 414 pp., £14.99, February 2017, 978 0 224 09754 3
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... did); William Carlos Williams’s Rutherford home (where the famous icebox was, they point out); Elizabeth Bishop’s last residence on Boston Harbor; the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, which reassembled Marianne Moore’s Brooklyn living space on its own third floor. I’m pretty sure I can tell which poets the authors are really keen on ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: Michael Wolff’s Book Party, 8 February 2018

... was it because, by getting inside the White House, he had exposed them for failing to do the same? Elizabeth Drew in the New Republic dismissed Fire and Fury: ‘better books’, she said, would be published soon. Better books? She mentioned David Frum’s Trumpocracy as an example, with its less than thrilling subtitle ‘The Corruption of the American ...

Promises

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 10 November 1988

The Faber Book of Seductions 
edited by Jenny Newman.
Faber, 366 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 571 15110 8
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Journeys to the Underworld 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 226 pp., £10, October 1988, 9780701132231
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... are a thing of the past. ‘You cannot seduce anyone when innocence is not a value,’ Elizabeth Hardwick said in ‘Seduction and Betrayal’, with the clear implication that it is not a value now. In fact, the only innocence about which we still obviously care is the innocence of children: and there is no doubt that, unlike adults, children ...

Long live the codex

John Sutherland: The future of books, 5 July 2001

Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future 
by Jason Epstein.
Norton, 188 pp., £16.95, March 2001, 0 393 04984 1
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... then wife, Barbara, and an editor at Harper’s, Robert Silvers, plus Robert Lowell and his wife, Elizabeth Hardwick, Epstein launched the New York Review of Books. Like Anchor Books (and everything Epstein has invested himself in), the New York Review made a conscious attempt to raise the intellectual tone of American cultural life (to raise it, at ...

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