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Book description

Elizabeth Bishop is increasingly recognised as one of the twentieth century's most original writers. Consisting of thirty-five ground-breaking essays by an international team of authors, including biographers, literary critics, poets and translators, this volume addresses the biographical and literary inception of Bishop's originality, from her formative upbringing in New England and Nova Scotia to long residences in New York, France, Florida and Brazil. Her poetry, prose, letters, translations and visual art are analysed in turn, followed by detailed studies of literary movements such as surrealism and modernism that influenced her artistic development. Bishop's encounters with nature, music, psychoanalysis and religion receive extended treatment, likewise her interest in dreams and humour. Essays also investigate the impact of twentieth-century history and politics on Bishop's life writing, and what it means to read Bishop via eco-criticism, postcolonial theory and queer studies.


‘With imagination and precision, this first-rate collection of essays explores the varied contexts – geographical, familial, historical, artistic, intellectual, social, cultural and political – that influenced Elizabeth Bishop's literary career.  Read in such diverse contexts, Bishop's work emerges as more complex, multi-faceted, and surprising than even long-term readers might expect. This book is a must-read for readers new to Bishop and for those that thought they knew her.'

Susan Rosenbaum - University of Georgia

'Like Bishop’s writing itself, this volume is a miracle of composition. Simultaneously intimate and vast, local and distant, formally precise and wildly inventive, Cleghorn and Ellis pull off a nearly impossible trick. Their collection really does provide a ‘context’ for one of the twentieth century’s most purposefully unsettled poetic voices. Framing and reframing Bishop’s work against dozens of different shifting backgrounds, the collection somehow manages to pull it ‘all together’ to make ‘just one’. I guarantee: anyone who has ever appreciated Bishop will appreciate this.'

Alexander MacLeod - Saint Mary's University

‘… is a groundbreaking, comprehensive collection of essays that penetrates and reveals numerous facts of Elizabeth Bishop's life and legacy …’

Tristan Beach Source: The Elizabeth Bishop Blog

‘Carefully edited with thoughtful consideration given to readability, this volume will be of great value to literary students and scholars … Recommended.’

R. M. Roberts Source: Choice Connect

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