Biographies of Three Women Writers

By Rubin, Merle | The Christian Science Monitor, September 8, 1993 | Go to article overview

Biographies of Three Women Writers


Rubin, Merle, The Christian Science Monitor


The lives of three diverse women writers, all born in the early years of this century, are explored at full length for the first time in three recent biographies. All are highly intriguing subjects, but the treatment they receive is uneven.

IN EXTREMIS: THE LIFE OF LAURA RIDING, by Deborah Baker (Grove Press, 478 pp., $30). A brilliant and original poet who renounced poetry and who was also a wildly erratic woman, Laura Riding (1901-1991) may well be one of the most baffling figures of modern literature. The daughter of first-generation immigrants, Riding was the beneficiary of New York's then-great public school system. Her early poems impressed the group of Southern writers known as the "Fugitives," but before long, she left America and her first husband for an association with the English writer Robert Graves and his wife.

Graves and Riding had a tempestuous love affair: Rumor had it that she was his inspiration for the cunning, monstrous Livia in "I, Claudius" and for his concept of "The White Goddess." In 1940, following the publication of her "Collected Poems," her break with Graves, and marriage to Schuyler Jackson, Riding stopped writing poetry, declaring that the temptation to achieve verbal beauty and dramatic effects at the expense of accurate meaning made it incompatible with her deeper commitment to telling the truth. She and her husband spent years on a futile attempt to compile a completely accurate dictionary.

Unfortunately, the most conspicuous product of Riding's last years was an outpouring of convoluted letters-to-the-editor in which she settled old scores, claimed credit for ideas allegedly stolen from her, and endlessly "clarified" her position in a manner that was ever more confusing.

It is a pity that the first major biography of Riding will likely add to this confusion. First-time biographer Deborah Baker has a genuine feel for her subject and for the genius amid the megalomania. But she tells the story in such disorganized fashion - jumping ahead, then backing up to explain, losing the threads of chronology and logic alike - that it's nearly impossible to follow. So the best introduction to Riding is still Riding herself.

Several of her core works have been issued by Persea Books, including "First Awakenings: The Early Poems of Laura Riding," "Selected Poems: In Five Sets," and "The Word `Woman' and Other Related Writings.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Biographies of Three Women Writers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.