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May Sarton

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Informationen zum Autor Margot Peters has been Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin and holds a Ph.D. in Victorian ... Lire la suite
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Informationen zum Autor Margot Peters has been Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin and holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature. She is the author of Charlotte Brontë: Style in the Novel, Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Brontë, Bernard Shaw and the Actresses, The House of Barrymore , and Mrs. Pat: The Life of Mrs. Patrick Campbell . She lives in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Klappentext From acclaimed writer Margot Peters comes the first! completely authorized biography of novelist! poet! and feminist May Sarton. Granted unprecedented access to personal papers and diaries! Peters gives us a compelling look at the woman who influenced a legion of readers with rich and intimate writings! and reveals the fascinating life that Sarton herself kept hidden. Beginning with a young Sarton largely ignored by her parents! Peters traces the compulsive quest for recognition and artistic inspiration that would characterize most of Sarton's life. We witness her at nineteen as she chooses a life in the theater! only to discover later her real passion: writing. As her literary career takes shape! we watch her personal and professional struggles for acceptance! her intense relationships with such learned friends as Muriel Rukeyser and Louise Bogan! and her secret turmoil over her sexuality. But ultimately! we see Sarton begin to create in her works the image of a strong! independent woman who lived peacefully with solitude--an image that often contradicted the reality of her life. CHAPTER 1 Wondelgem: 19111914 For May Sarton, the house in Belgium where she was born would always be a lost paradise. It stood in flat countryside about five kilometers north of the Flemish city of Ghent in the ancient village of Wondelgem, beautiful in its simplicity and harmony of line. A red tile roof overhung two stucco stories opened to the air and sun by large casements flanked by shutters. Glass entrance doors sheltered a roofed porch with benches inside, English church style. Green lattices enticed climbing roses and vines. Inside, the house blended utility and art. A large kitchen with red-tiled floor, a generous laundry room, a large master bedroom, and sturdy dumbwaiters satisfied practicality. But it was the exquisitely stitched muslin curtains and linen tablecloths, the hand-crafted and -painted cupboards, beds, and tables of bird's-eye maple and walnut, the heavy, dark Flemish bahut, the books lining the walls, and the vases of bright flowers perfuming the air that lent the house its distinctive charm. Secluded from the cobbled streets, the grounds too combined art and utility. Oaks made a park of the long sweep of green lawn; formal beds bloomed with columbine, sweet peas, poppies, peonies, and larkspur. Behind the house a small orchard yielded plums and apples for pies and preserves; there were strawberry beds and gooseberry bushes, cold frames for lettuces and cucumbers, and a large potager bursting with leeks, turnips, beans, radishes, and Brussels sprouts. In the house lived George Sarton, a young scholar intent on making an international name as a historian of science. The sale of his father's wine cellar had made possible the purchase and remodeling of the Wondelgem house, which did not much interest him. Mabel Elwes Sarton, his wife, was six years older, a willowy Englishwoman with wistful blue eyes. She was an artist of nervous sensibility, neurotically plagued by illnesses both real and imagined, frustrated both by her own ambitions and by her husband's blind absorption in his work. In the beautiful house these two made each other tolerably miserableperhaps because they loved each other intensely. George Sarton had grown up solitary in his father's gloomy house in Ghent, never knowing his mother, who died half a year after his birth on August 30, 1884. His father, Alfred, did not speak of Léonie: he closed up her pian...

Auteur
Margot Peters has been Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin and holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature. She is the author of Charlotte Brontë: Style in the Novel, Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Brontë, Bernard Shaw and the Actresses, The House of Barrymore, and Mrs. Pat: The Life of Mrs. Patrick Campbell. She lives in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

Texte du rabat

From acclaimed writer Margot Peters comes the first, completely authorized biography of novelist, poet, and feminist May Sarton. Granted unprecedented access to personal papers and diaries, Peters gives us a compelling look at the woman who influenced a legion of readers with rich and intimate writings, and reveals the fascinating life that Sarton herself kept hidden.

Beginning with a young Sarton largely ignored by her parents, Peters traces the compulsive quest for recognition and artistic inspiration that would characterize most of Sarton's life. We witness her at nineteen as she chooses a life in the theater, only to discover later her real passion: writing. As her literary career takes shape, we watch her personal and professional struggles for acceptance, her intense relationships with such learned friends as Muriel Rukeyser and Louise Bogan, and her secret turmoil over her sexuality. But ultimately, we see Sarton begin to create in her works the image of a strong, independent woman who lived peacefully with solitude--an image that often contradicted the reality of her life.



Échantillon de lecture
CHAPTER 1
Wondelgem: 1911–1914
 
For May Sarton, the house in Belgium where she was born would always be a lost paradise.
 
It stood in flat countryside about five kilometers north of the Flemish city of Ghent in the ancient village of Wondelgem, beautiful in its simplicity and harmony of line. A red tile roof overhung two stucco stories opened to the air and sun by large casements flanked by shutters. Glass entrance doors sheltered a roofed porch with benches inside, English church style. Green lattices enticed climbing roses and vines.
 
Inside, the house blended utility and art. A large kitchen with red-tiled floor, a generous laundry room, a large master bedroom, and sturdy dumbwaiters satisfied practicality. But it was the exquisitely stitched muslin curtains and linen tablecloths, the hand-crafted and -painted cupboards, beds, and tables of bird’s-eye maple and walnut, the heavy, dark Flemish bahut, the books lining the walls, and the vases of bright flowers perfuming the air that lent the house its distinctive charm.
 
Secluded from the cobbled streets, the grounds too combined art and utility. Oaks made a park of the long sweep of green lawn; formal beds bloomed with columbine, sweet peas, poppies, peonies, and larkspur. Behind the house a small orchard yielded plums and apples for pies and preserves; there were strawberry beds and gooseberry bushes, cold frames for lettuces and cucumbers, and a large potager bursting with leeks, turnips, beans, radishes, and Brussels sprouts.
 
In the house lived George Sarton, a young scholar intent on making an international name as a historian of science. The sale of his father’s wine cellar had made possible the purchase and remodeling of the Wondelgem house, which did not much interest him. Mabel Elwes Sarton, his wife, was six years older, a willowy Englishwoman with wistful blue eyes. She was an artist of nervous sensibility, neurotically plagued by illnesses both real and imagined, frustrated both by her own ambitions and by her husband’s blind absorption in his work. In the beautiful house these two made each other tolerably miserable—perhaps because they loved each other intensely.
 
George Sarton had grown up solitary in his father’s gloomy house in Ghent, never knowing his mother, who died half a year after his birth on August 30, 1884. His father, Alfred, did not speak of Léonie: he closed up her piano and continued to travel on business as a director and chief engineer of the Belgian State Railways. George was raised by kind but ignorant Flemish servants trained to remove him from the dinner table when he made too much noise. His father paid him little attention; yet George felt he loved him “exceedingly” in his distant way. Alternately ignored and indulged, he was shy, eccentric, arrogant. He was a stocky young man just over five feet seven, with brilliant eyes that could beam or quickly fill with sentimental tears behind rimless spectacles. He had a radiant smile.
 
Mabel Elwes had stronger ties to Belgium than to England. From early childhood she and her brother, Hugh, had been farmed out to caretakers while her mother, Nellie, accompanied her civil-engineer husband, Richard Gervase Elwes, on bridge-building expeditions abroad. In her teens, Mabel was sent to the Institut de Kerchove in Ghent to learn French, which she eventually spoke without accent. When her father was ruined in a South African mine failure, Mabel returned to the Institut de Kerchove as a lowly surveillante. She had no gift for controlling unruly girls, as Céline Dangotte, a pupil, observed. Céline persuaded Mabel to live with her family and initiated her into their interior design business, La Maison Dangotte. In 1903, her father’s temporary prosperity drew Mabel back to England, but a year later she returned permanently to Ghent to make her home with the Dangottes.
 
Mabel loved her adventurous father, and he, at a distance, loved her. She did not love her mother, whose indifference blighted her childhood.
 
George and Mabel had met in 1906 through a newspaper ad. He was a student at the University of Ghent, a novelist, and the founder of an idealistic group of young men calling themselves Reiner Leven (Purer Living). She was a designer for La Maison Dangotte and a member of the Flinken (the Bold Ones), a group of emancipated working women. When Reiner Leven advertised in a Ghent paper for new members, the Flinken unexpectedly answered. They discovered they were all more or less intellectuals, socialists, vegetarians, teetotallers, and women’s rightists. Surrounded by women for the first time in his lonely life, George Sarton promptly fell in love with pretty Melanie Lorrein, but turned for advice in the matter to a pair of close Flinken friends, Céline Dangotte and Mabel Elwes.
 
Eventually Mabel proved more interesting than Mélanie, and George began to open his heart in letters. “Sarton,” Mabel replied in 1907 to one of these confessions, “thank you for your letter, thank you for trusting me enough to choose me when you need to talk to someone at times.… Oh, Sarton, Sarton, there is something in you that I like so much—I seem to be always arguing and disagreeing with you, but indeed in spite of that I feel that you are not such a horrible long way off from me as almost every-one is from every-one else.”
 
But there were obstacles to winning Mabel: George’s self-absorption, his doubts about marriage, his determination “that in no way will I undertake the support of [a] wife,” and Mabel’s equal determination to have a career and independence, as well as her fear of sex. “Je vous aime de toute mon âme—mais sans passion,” she confessed. The turmoil caused by George’s sexual desire coupled with her desire for a career and fear of marriage caused a nervous collapse. She had to give up the miniature portraits for which she was beginning to win commissions and escape to Zurich to learn bookbinding at the Kunstgewerbeschule.
 
They tortured each other with dozens of soul-searching letters: “Oh, I want you, I want you—more than you believe.” He did not believe in her love, he replied. She replied that she knew the absence of her body, which she could not give, tortured him.
 
Mabel returned to Ghent and La Maison Dangotte. She found her fears confirmed. There was a difference between the way she kissed George and the way he kissed her. She realized that embracing her made him suffer in strange masculine ways. Women, she decided, never could love like men. “I feel that in spite of the sympathy and affection that exists between us, that I am not the fit woman to be your wife.” Friends told her she was torturing him unmercifully. She withdrew.
 
Then one night, she and George unexpectedly caught sight of each other at a concert. Frisson. The next day she came to his study in the ancient Dominican monastery. George was waiting to be asked: his father’s death in 1909 had freed him financially; he had begun his doctoral dissertation. On March 21, 1910, they became officially engaged.
 
Still there were doubts. George brooded on “the sadness and waywardness” of his youth. Mabel assured him she forgave his trespasses. But would he forgive hers? Sending for her birth certificate, she discovered that she had been born out of wedlock; she sobbed all night. Then they had a terrible fight over how, if marriage proved intolerable, they would divorce. She signed herself “Your Wild Bird,” hinting at the ferocity of her nature. Yet they were driven inexorably toward marriage. In May 1911 George received his doctorate magna cum laude from the University of Ghent in physics and mathematics, and on June 21 they were married at the town hall. “Though I loved her passionately,” said George, “I did not hesitate to tell her that my work was more important than herself.”

Informations sur le produit

Titre: May Sarton
Sous-titre: Biography
Auteur:
Code EAN: 9780449907986
ISBN: 978-0-449-90798-6
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Linguistique et sciences de la littérature
nombre de pages: 496
Poids: 691g
Taille: H233mm x B154mm x T28mm
Année: 1998