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‘Still all air and nerve’

The joyously quotable Elizabeth Hardwick
by
September 2022, no. 446

The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick edited by Alex Andriesse

New York Review Books, US$18.95 pb, 295 pp

‘Still all air and nerve’

The joyously quotable Elizabeth Hardwick
by
September 2022, no. 446
Elizabeth Hardwick, 1967 (Everett Collection Historical/Alamy)
Elizabeth Hardwick, 1967 (Everett Collection Historical/Alamy)

The American poet Robert Lowell (1917–77), I don’t suppose, intended to eclipse his contemporaries, competitors, rivals, wives, any more than in one of his poems the new esplanade along the Charles River intended to stamp down ‘grass and growth’, as he rather vaguely puts it, with ‘square stone shoes’, but it’s what he did. Now, in the almost half a century since his passing, and the end of ‘the age of Lowell’, as one critic christened it back in the 1960s, his largely unintended oppression has unbent; as in the Grimms fairy tale called ‘The Frog King’, one hears the succession of hoops giving way.

Michael Hofmann reviews 'The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Alex Andriesse

The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

edited by Alex Andriesse

New York Review Books, US$18.95 pb, 295 pp

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