5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars


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Becky Roorda <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:37:50 -0500
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Hi Diane,

I'm so glad to hear of your ESS project. All the best with that, and I'll be eagerly looking forward to it.

To the List,

I hope I didn't give the wrong impression in my other post about Cather/Lowell. I said that they were "enemies"--and maybe that was too strong, and also it was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I don't have anything concrete to go on, except that they quite obviously had nothing to do with each other--that, and Cather turned down a 1910 submission of Lowell's at McClure's, and I can't imagine Lowell ever forgot it. Also, evidently Greenslet suggested to Cather that she write Lowell's biography (which comes under the category, "What was he thinking?!"), and Cather wrote in a 1928 letter to Mary Austin that she would just as soon think of writing a history of China as she would to write a biog of Amy Lowell. I've only seen a summary/paraphrase of that one on the Archives website, not the actual letter, but I'm thinking it must be a pip. I laughed out loud at just the summary.

Lowell is another one who absolutely deserves a good modern biographer (her dates, 1874-1925). I fell in love with Amy when I read a 1935 biography of her by S. Foster Damon--*Amy Lowell: A chronicle, with extracts from her correspondence.* I thought Damon's biography was very fair to her although somewhat hagiographic--but also very readable, considering it was 1935. He definitely lets her personality come through--and she's a wonder! When she was about five or six years old, the little school children used to shout at her on the playground, "Shut up, Amy Lowell!" and I don't think she ever did in her whole life--shut up, that is.  For anyone interested in Lowell, if you can find a copy of Damon, it's definitely worth the read (I found mine used at Amazon). One thing he said in the Introduction is that although he's been "frank about Miss Lowell," he was often "reticent about her opponents," probably because in 1935 many of those people were still living. There's a book out (2012, I think) called *Amy Lowell Among Her Contemporaries* by Carl Rollyson that I haven't yet seen.