Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney

The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

edited by Darryl Pinckney

NYRB, $34.99 pb, 629 pp, 9781681371542

Elizabeth Hardwick is, unfairly, better known outside of New York as Robert Lowell’s second wife, who heroically endured twenty-three years of tumultuous and tortuous marriage. She inspired his finest love poetry:

All night I’ve held your hand,
as if you had
a fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad –
its hackneyed speech, its homicidal eye –
and dragged me home alive …
Sleepless, you hold
your pillow to your hollows like a child,
your old-fashioned tirade –
loving, rapid, merciless –
breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head,

 

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Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey is former Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut, and the Yale Center for British Art. His most recent book is Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters (2014). His other works include Voyage and Landfall: The Art of Jan Senbergs (2006). He also edited Bert & Ned: The Correspondence of Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan (2006). He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and Australian Book Review. He lives and works on the banks of the Quinnipiac River in New Haven.

Published in April 2018, no. 400

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