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Vintage Reading

June 4, 2010

To celebrate submitting my application to Goddard last fall, I went to a batting cage.

To celebrate completing my first semester at Goddard last week, I…read some fiction.

But not just any fiction!  This gorgeous copy of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, a 1946 edition: older than my own mother.

Isn’t she handsome? And I love the candor of the text on the back cover:

Born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1917, Carson McCullers has been writing since she was sixteen. For several years before that her main interest had been in music and her ambition to be a concert pianist. When she was seventeen she went to New York with the intention of studying at Columbia and Julliard. However, on the second day she lost her tuition money on the subway. Thereafter she was hired and fired from a variety of jobs, and went to school at night. “But the city and the snow (I had never seen snow before) so overwhelmed me that I did no studying at all.” The year after that Story bought two of her short stories and she settled down to writing in earnest. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940 and Reflections in a Golden Eye in 1941. The critics were amazed that works of such maturity should have been written by a twenty-two-year-old girl. Concerning the first book, Richard Wright remarked on “the astonishing humanity that enables a white writer, for the first time in Southern fiction, to handle Negro character [sic] with as much ease and justice as those of her own race.” Of the second book Louis Untermeyer said: “no literary ancestors, although there will be those who see in the powerful situations something of D. H. Lawrence and something of Dostoievsky.”

I’m only five chapters in or so, partly because McCullers’ prose is so marvelously simple and vivid and penetrating that it makes me want to close the book and go meditate.

Speaking of which, time to sit and go to sleep!  Night y’all, see you next week.

One Comment leave one →
  1. nathan permalink
    June 5, 2010 9:26 am

    Way cool! I’ve loved Carson McCullers for years. A great writer of compassion.

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