Charlotte Mew and Her Friends (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Charlotte Mary Mew (1869-1928)—a poet now in the process of rediscovery—is one of those perplexing figures: a writer of great promise who produced a disappointingly small body of work. Her first published story appeared in 1894 in the second issue of The Yellow Book, at that time the most avant-garde journal for new writers and New Women of the 1890’s. A small collection of her poetry was printed as a Poetry Bookshop chapbook in 1916. Yet although Mew’s work was admired by such contemporaries as Walter de la Mare, John Masefield, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Hardy, and although other Yellow Book and Poetry Bookshop writers became significant figures in their respective generations, Mew published very little of significance aside from these two brilliant beginnings. Penelope Fitzgerald’s Charlotte Mew and Her Friends: With a Selection of Her Poems, working from biographical materials limited by Mew’s reticence and by the sometimes contradictory memoirs written by people she knew, presents what is known of her life and provides the data from which one can make guesses about Mew’s inability to bring forth a major body of work.
Tillie Olsen, in Silences (1978), movingly identified factors which cause the unnatural thwarting of creative powers: Writers may be silenced because they are born in the wrong class or sex, denied education, have unacceptable visions, are numbed by economic struggle, distracted by...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
The Atlantic. CCLXII, August, 1988, p. 80.
Booklist. LXXXIV, May 1,1988, p. 1471.
Kirkus Reviews. LVI, April 1, 1988, p. 511.
Library Journal. CXIII, May 15, 1988, p. 83.
Los Angeles Times. May 26,1988, V, p. 16.
The New Leader. LXXI, August 8, 1988, p. 17.
The New Republic. CXCIX, August 22, 1988, p. 36.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIII, August 7,1988, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, April 8, 1988, p. 82.
The Washington Post Book World. XVIII, June 26,1988, p. 9.
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