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The Starched Blue Sky of Spain and Other Memoirs: Memoirs of a Woman's Literary and Political Life Between the Wars

The Starched Blue Sky of Spain and Other Memoirs: Memoirs of a Woman's Literary and Political Life Between the Wars

by Josephine Herbst

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Herbst, whose novels (the Trexler trilogy) and nonfiction were praised in the 1930s, was virtually ignored as a writer in her later years and after her death at age 77 in 1969. Even such formerly admiring ``friends'' as Katherine Anne Porter came to belittle Herbst at the end of her life. But during that period she prevailed over poverty and loneliness to write the four incomparable essays reprinted here. The title piece evokes the internecine Spanish war and Herbst's experiences among fellow correspondents Hemingway and Dos Passos and with the country's suffering people. Insight and unstudied elegance are displayed in memoirs of the Midwest and of Germany as the Nazi threat loomed during the 1920s. Her recollections of a 1930 writers' conference in Russia leaves an indelible impression of the era that saw a worldwide revolution in politics and art. Courageous as she was, Herbst never revealed her lesbian affairs although the first one ended her marriage to John Herrmann, whom she truly loved and always regretted losing. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In four engaging essays written in her sixties about her life between ages six and 51, Herbst easily re-creates the artistic climate of the Twenties and Thirties, as well as the passion for art, conversation, and travel that drew many talented Midwesterners to New York and Europe. Her simple yet sensual prose evokes past moments and milieus, but she is equally effective when articulating the sociopolitical concerns that motivated many writers then--concerns that sent her to the USSR in 1930 and to Spain in 1936. Though her essay on the Soviet Union is perhaps more pertinent today than her Spanish Civil War reminiscences, overall she offers a compelling portrait of a woman writer living boldly. Herbst was persecuted in the Fifties for her political sentiments, and until recently she has been neglected. Her new work provides ballast from the woman's perspective when considered with books like Hemingway's The Movable Feast , and together with Diane Johnson's fine introduction illuminates a past era. Recommended for academic and large public collections.-- Judy Hogan, Durham P.L., N.C.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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