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The Art of the Epigraph. The present selection of unexpurgated letters, written to seventy-four different persons, begins with a letter written from a tuberculosis sanatorium in Texas and ends with a letter dictated to an unnamed nursing-home attendant in Maryland. Different from any previous selection, this body of letters does not omit Porter's frank criticism of fellow writers and spans her entire life. Within that circumscription is the chronicle of Porter, a twentieth-century woman searching for love while she struggles to become the writer she is sure she can be.
Porter's letters vividly showcase the twentieth century as the writer observes it from her historical vantage points-- tuberculosis sanatoria and the influenza pandemic of ; the leftist community in Greenwich Village in the s; the Mexican cultural revolution of the s and early s; the expatriate community in Paris in the s; the rise of Nazism in Europe between the World Wars; the Second World War and its concomitant suppression of civil liberties; Hollywood and the university circuit as a haven for financially strapped writers in the s and s; the Cold War and its competition for supremacy in space; the Women's Rights and the Civil Rights movements; and the evolution and demise of literary modernism.
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Letters of Katherine A. Porter
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