Cover image for Close connections : Caroline Gordon and the Southern renaissance
Title:
Close connections : Caroline Gordon and the Southern renaissance
Author:
Waldron, Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam, [1987]

©1987
Physical Description:
416 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
Genre:
ISBN:
9780399132285
Format :
Book

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PS3513.O5765 Z97 1987 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Waldron emphatically insists that American novelist and short-story writer Caroline Gordon ``had two obsessions: the writing of fiction and [her husband, poet] Allen Tate.'' Both Gordon's writing career and her marriage are examined here in grand detail though a little too prosaically. There is too much ``And then the next day . . . And then the day after that.'' Still, Gordon led an interesting life among literary types of her own kind, with lots of moving about and socializing but hard work, too. Her fiction deserves wider readership than it has received, and her life deserves the full-blown treatment Waldron accords it. Notes; to be indexed. BH. 813'.52 (B) Gordon, Caroline Biography / Novelists, American 20th century Biography / Southern States Intellectual life 1865- / Authors, American Southern States Biography / Southern States Biography [CIP] 87-6012


Library Journal Review

This unassuming, well-written biography of that often neglected ``Agrarian,'' Allen Tate's wife, yields unexpected dividends. Not only a distinguished fiction-writer and critic in her own right, on the basis of this engrossing portrait, she was a genuinely interesting woman. For some 30 years she was almost the nurturing center of that loose group of Southern writers and Catholic converts who figure largely in our literary history. A workaholic, superbly competent, and generous of her time and energy to a fault, she seems to have embraced wholly the ideal of submissive womanhood and mercilessly chastised herself for her failures to live up to it. Waldron has made extensive use of her letters and used them tellingly to suggest the passionate whiplash of her flawed but admirable personality. Earl Rovit, English Dept., City Coll., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

In the 34 years of their volatile marriage, no matter where novelist Caroline Gordon and poet Allen Tate resided and no matter how hand-to-mouth their existence, their home was inevitably a magnet to hordes of literati who came for a meal, an overnight stay, or visits of weeks and even months. Fugitive/Agrarians, from Robert Penn Warren to John Peale Bishop, rallied at their doorstep; T.S. Eliot, John Berryman, Richard Blackmur, Cleanth Brooks, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway passed through their circle; Edmund Wilson, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Lowell and Jean Stafford, Malcolm Cowley, and Mark Van Doren were frequent houseguests; Ford Madox Ford, Hart Crane, and Andrew Lytle combined lodgings with them; Peter Taylor and Eleanor Ross met, courted, and wed at their house. In between hosting chores, the Tates made time for a voluminous literary output of their own that made them luminaries of both the Southern Renaissance and the New Criticism. Though Waldron's journalistic narration at first seems bogged down in trivia, what eventually emerges is a vivid portrait not just of Caroline, but Allen, too, and the innumerable ``close connections'' that both stimulated and impeded their art. Weaker in critical analysis than Radcliffe Squires's Allen Tate: A Literary Biography (CH, Oct '71) or Rose Ann C. Fraistat's Caroline Gordon as Novelist and Woman of Letters (CH, Jan '85), Waldron nevertheless corrects numerous misconceptions and errors in previous studies and creates an interpretive context for the one published collection of Gordon letters (The Southern Mandarins, ed. by Sally Wood, CH, Oct '84). Full index; unnumbered endnotes (with some regrettable typos); no bibliography, but a list of letter collections used. For all libraries.-A.J. Griffith, Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio