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To the Boathouse: A Memoir

Overview

The southern landscape forms a lush backdrop in this memoir by Mary Ann Caws in which she recounts a life of passionate engagement. She sketches her early years in North Carolina, where she makes her debut and begins to struggle with accepted social values of the time and region. She recounts the tangled relationships of her family and her ties to her sister, parents, and the grandmother--a painter--who served as her role model.

Caws describes her education at Bryn Mawr, in ...

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Overview

The southern landscape forms a lush backdrop in this memoir by Mary Ann Caws in which she recounts a life of passionate engagement. She sketches her early years in North Carolina, where she makes her debut and begins to struggle with accepted social values of the time and region. She recounts the tangled relationships of her family and her ties to her sister, parents, and the grandmother--a painter--who served as her role model.

Caws describes her education at Bryn Mawr, in Paris, and at Yale?where she weds a professor of philosophy. She details the joys, small and large, of a complicated marriage that ends in divorce, after which she strives toward self-sufficiency and self-understanding. Finally, Caws relates her deep passion for writing, teaching, art, and poetry; her friendships with the writers, artists, and intellectuals who provided sanctuary for her mind and heart; and the many light-filled summers spent with her children at their field house in Provence.

To the Boathouse is the account of a southern girl and her maturing sense of self as she grows to become one of the most prolific and accomplished writers and critics of our day.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A southern female contemporary version of The Education of Henry Adams. . . . The author lets us inside the narrator: we see a complex and sympathetic woman. . . . I especially admired every passage dealing with food and intellectual issues."

&#151Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife

"Caws traces a continuum of relish and regret encompassing emotional states such as joy, fear, angst, and anger, but at the same time acknowledges the power of imagination in shaping her personal and professional life. [She] traces the process whereby she acquired her personal and academic voice despite an emotionally absent father, a husband who considered his career more important than hers, and a stiflingly sexist southern society"
--ANQ

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817354961
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature in the Graduate School of City University of New York.  She has held Guggenheim, Rockefeller, N.E.H., and Getty Foundation fellowships and is the author of Picasso‚Äôs Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar, Marcel Proust, Surprised in Translation and Virginia Woolf.

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