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The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs [Paperback]

By Bryher
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Item description for The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs by Bryher...

"A work so rich in interest, so direct, revealing, and, above all, thought-provoking that this reader found it the most consistently exciting book of its kind to appear in many years."-The New York Times

Bryher (1894-1985)-adventurer, novelist, publisher-flees Victorian Britain for the raucous streets of Cairo and sultry Parisian cafes. Amidst the intellectual circles of the twenties and thirties, she develops relationships with Marianne Moore, Freud, Paul Robeson, her longtime partner H.D., Stein, and others. This compelling memoir reveals Bryher's exotic childhood, her impact on modernism, and her sense of social justice-helping over 100 people escape from the Nazis.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   374
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2006
Publisher   Paris Press
ISBN  1930464088  
ISBN13  9781930464087  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bryher

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman) was a poet, novelist, critic, patron, and editor of the film journal Close Up and the literary magazine Life and Letters Today.

Bryher was born in 1894.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Authors
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > General
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
5Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Social Scientists & Psychologists

Reviews - What do customers think about The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs?

A blatant editing error!  May 14, 2007
I love reading this book, but reader beware - Bryher frequently talks about the influence of "Henry" on her reading life. Actually that would be "Henty", as in G. A. Henty. I can't believe the editing staff made such a huge error! Don't let this stop you from reading this fine memoir.
It Ends at the Blitz  Oct 30, 2006
Her family had heaps of money, and some said her father was the richest man in England, though this is not immediately apparent in Bryher's account of her midddle-class childhood and upbringing. Money couldn't save her from the old ennui, however, and she soon found, at age four, that the world seemed more real in books--books like her early favorite, Johann Wyss' SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, with its Romantic reimagining of the nuclear family shipwrecked on a desert island yet still managing to maintain a happy structure. She was brought outside as a baby to watch the dark night sky light up for once during the diamond jubilee of Victoria. And yet she managed to throw herself into life and rubbing elbows with many of the modernist bigwigs, from Freud to Havelock Ellis. She married improvident men twice, and made her life with the poet H.D., who must have recently died when Bryher began her memoir, for much of the book's second half seems like an extended elegy to H.D.'s American elegance and sex appeal. For the times (first published in 1963) THE HEART TO ARTEMIS is surprisingly frank about the relationship between herself and H.D.

The only weakness I see in the book is perhaps a fault only to the bourgeois; she literally tells about and neglects to show us--to use workshop jargon that she bwould have abhorred--how stifling it was to be a young woman in the pre-war period. It's funny because she makes so many other things vivid and alive; the book is filled with specific smells, noises, colors and the feel of fabric. But the utter restraint she so often moans about, and probably to good reason, remains uninhabited. Perhaps that's tied up with what it was: an absence. She has one funny part where she describes how even landscape gardening had its strict codes, and one of them was the absolute insistence on decoration, what would strike us now as an absurd number of plantings. "Everything at that time had to curl," she writes. "There ought to be some special term to describe the horror a blank space evoked in 1900."

Those of you puzzled by the title will find an explanation on page 111 in which, at age nine, she gave her heart to Artemis, her body to exploration. Social restrictions irked her; she despaired of succeeding as a novelist, for example, because "social taboos have cut me off from much of the material that I should have liked to use." She cites the case of a lumberman whose earthy chitchat she will never be able to overhear unguarded. At the same time, she is almost mystic about the power of the artist. "I have a profound contempt for the writer who speaks of making his work intelligible to the masses," she says. "He is not serving them but betraying their trust. Our job is to feel the movement of time as its direction is about to change and there can be no reward but the vision itself. It is natural that we should be both disliked and ignored."
A fascinating memoir!  Sep 21, 2006
I was interested in reading The Heart to Artemis because I heard that Bryher was interested in psychoanalysis, and that she knew Freud. What an amazing life she led! And what a great writer she is. This memoir is unlike any I have ever read. Bryher vividly writes about her experience with Freud (who only wanted to talk about Bryher's experience flying in an airplane). And she writes about her relationship with H.D. She describes her Victorian childhood - the severe restrictions and expectations imposed on her, as well as the extensive travels with her unmarried parents and her first camel ride. I was intrigued that Bryher knew personally so many of the writers I've long admired: Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Marianne Moore. With all this socializing - I identified with her quiet reserve. She also describes so graphically the impact of WWI on the young and old and she observed the events leading up to WWII. Her emphasis on social responsibility seems most important to me. This is an amazing book that is interesting on many levels. I highly recommend it!

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