‘A Poet Reading’

William May

in Stevie Smith and Authorship

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583379
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723193 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘A Poet Reading’

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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This chapter explores Smith's own reading practice to help explain her playful and often hostile relationship with tradition. It focuses on her troubled relationship with her sister, an English literature scholar, and considers its impact on both her attitudes to reading and her literary tastes. It traces this sibling antagonism through to her 1920s reading notebooks and eventually to her own book reviews, which often served as defensive gestures towards her projected reading public. It concludes by noting Smith's deliberate concealment of her own literary influences in essays, interviews, and public appearances.

Keywords: literary biography; book reviewing; sisters; reading practices; reader-response theory

Chapter.  12520 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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