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Elinor Wylie

(1885—1928)


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(1885–1928),

born in New Jersey, published her first collection of poems in England, the anonymous, privately issued Incidental Numbers (1912). Her brilliant though brief literary career began with the publication of Nets To Catch the Wind (1921), highly polished verse influenced by the metaphysical poets, whose emotion has been described as “a passion frozen at its source.” This was followed by a similar collection, Black Armour (1923). Her four novels are distinguished by very mannered craftmanship and a juxtaposition of artificial formality and fantasy like that of her verse. Jennifer Lorn (1923), subtitled “A Sedate Extravaganza,” deals with 18th-century aristocrats in England and colonial India. The Venetian Glass Nephew (1925) has the same delicate color and fragility, which caused Cabell to characterize the author as a “Dresden china shepherdess.” The Orphan Angel (1926), which appeared in England as Mortal Image (1927), is an imaginative story of Shelley, who, instead of being drowned, is picked up by a Yankee ship and brought to America, where his character is contrasted with the pioneer environment. Mr. Hodge & Mr. Hazard (1928) is a more realistic tale of English life during the 1830s, after the departure of such romantic figures as Byron and Shelley, whose spirits hover over the prosaic period. One Person (1928), a passionately intense sonnet sequence, was republished in Angels and Earthly Creatures (1929). Trivial Breath (1928) is a final selection of the poems after Black Armour which she wished to preserve. Her Collected Poems (1932) and Collected Prose (1933) were edited by her husband William Rose Benét, and Last Poems appeared in 1943

Subjects: Literature.


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