This is fascinating; I don't know her work, but now I will read it.
Interestingly, one admirable quality Eliot did have was his willingness to
publish people with whom he disagreed. He admired and published Djuna
Barnes when others would not because it depicts homosexuality,
degradation, and crossdressing (though he later sort of repudiated her other
work, to her distress, and he also edited out parts of _Nightwood_) and he
published Hugh MacDiarmid in the Criterion when others would not touch
MacDiarmid because of his Communism or Nationalism or both.
What is the name and publisher of your work?
Date sent: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 10:31:45 -0700
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From: rfoy <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: Re: Definition of art
In response to comments on Eliot and his view of women's writing, he also
found the work of Mary Butts (1890-1937) worth publishing. He was in
negotiations with her agent to publish a collection of her stories when
she died suddenly in 1937. He had initiated the request because he knew
her work, which, by the way, paralleled his in an odd sort of way. He
disliked her personally, or so she thought (she was addicted to opium, did
heroin and cocaine and lived an extremely wild life), but he managed to
rise above her lifestyle and recognize her ability, which many others
could not do. Her work is now coming back into modernist thinking.
Penguin-UK this summer published one of her novels as a Penguin classic.
All her novels and most of her stories have been reissued in the past
decade. Her only child only two years ago released her journals (21
years) and papers to the Beinecke, her biography appeared in 1998, and
last year I published the first full-length study of her work. The
quality of her writing was recognized by Pound, McAlmon, Marianne Moore,
H.D., Bryher, and, of course, Eliot.
Univ. of New Orleans
Nancy Gish wrote:
> In fact, Lily never thinks that she paints because she is not beautiful
> enough; she paints because she wants to paint, and she does not believe
> the young man. Her painting is the triumphant last image of the book.
> And Woolf presents the idea that women cannot paint as an offensive
> prejudice though one that can damage women and sap their confidence--as
> it does Lily's though she never lets it stop her. Read Woolf's prose on
> women writers and artists. There is no place in all of Woolf where that
> notion is treated as anything but ignorant.
> And women have in fact written brilliantly. The 20th century in America
> was a great movement of women's poetry. And Eliot, as it happens,
> considered MM to be one of the major poets of her time--not just someone
> who was just "not bad": "My conviction, for what it is worth, has
> remained unchanged for the last fourteen years: that Miss Moore's poems
> form part of the small body of durable poetry written in our time; of
> that small body of writings, among what passes for poety, in which an
> original sensibility and alert intelligence and deep feeling have been
> engaged in maintaining the life of the English language." (Eliot,
> "Introduction" to Moore's _Selected Poems_, 1934) You need not, of
> course, agree with Eliot on this, but its about the highest praise he
> ever gave.
> It is an absurd generalization to say women have not written well. It
> would amaze all the readers of Austen, G. Eliot, the Brontes, Dickinson,
> Moore, H. D., Woolf, Barnes (whom Eliot also praised and published),
> Stein, Rhys, Morrison--I only mention obvious ones; I won't go back to
> Hildegarde or Lady Mary Wortley Montague. Nancy
> Date sent: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 22:11:15 EDT
> Send reply to: [log in to unmask]
> From: [log in to unmask]
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Definition of art
> In a message dated 8/15/01 8:01:33 PM !!!First Boot!!!,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> > Eliot, by the way, had his own answers, mainly that women could not
> > really write and poetry should not be "feminized," though he very much
> > admired and excepted Marianne Moore.
> In "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolfe, this very sentiment, that
> women can't write, was expressed by one the characters, a young,
> scholarly man who was intent on his dissertation and who angered Lily,
> the single, woman painter who possessed not beauty or allure and so
> lived to paint, but this same man said that women can't paint either,
> which scared her. I mean, she thought, I'm not beautiful and amusing
> enough, or rich enough, to catch myself a decent husband; now I'm told
> I'm not telented enough to do real art, so what do I have?
> To be honest, albeit politically incorrect, women have not written that
> well . . . certainly not in the poetry genre. Marianne Moore was not
> bad, not exceptional, which is as positive as one can be on the subject.
> I actually have a theory on this situation. Because women are able to
> express emotion and thought in their "real" lives, there is not that
> 'thing' inside haunting them. That thing of course may generate great
> art if put down on paper.