The Wedding Dress: Meditations on Word and Life / Edition 1

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Overview

In times of great uncertainty, the urgency of the artist's task is only surpassed by its difficulty. Ours is such a time, and rising to the challenge, novelist and poet Fanny Howe suggests new and fruitful ways of thinking about both the artist's role and the condition of doubt. In these original meditations on bewilderment, motherhood, imagination, and art-making, Howe takes on conventional systems of belief and argues for another, brave way of proceeding. In the essays "Immanence" and "Work and Love" and those on writers such as Carmelite nun Edith Stein, French mystic Simone Weil, Thomas Hardy, and Ilona Karmel--who were particularly affected by political, philosophical, and existential events in the twentieth century--she directly engages questions of race, gender, religion, faith, language, and political thought and, in doing so, expands the field of the literary essay. A richly evocative memoir, "Seeing Is Believing," situates Howe's own domestic and political life in Boston in the late '60s and early '70s within the broader movement for survival and social justice in the face of that city's racism.

Whether discussing Weil, Stein, Meister Eckhart, Saint Teresa, Samuel Beckett, or Lady Wilde, Howe writes with consummate authority and grace, turning bewilderment into a lens and a light for finding our way.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This essay collection of meditations and thoughts by novelist and poet Howe (Gone: Poems) is an extraordinary joining of political, literary, religious, and personal ideas about imagination and the role of the artist. Howe's concepts of the future as time moving toward the present and emptiness as inward space and outward solitude illuminate many of the essays. "Catholic" and "After `Prologue'" discuss her Catholic faith, her deep personal emotions, and her difficult and harsh life in Boston in an interracial marriage; "Bewilderment" describes the artistic process as spiritual path; "Immanence" discusses the philosophic and religious writings of Edith Stein; "The Contemporary Logos" works through the modern search for religion. Some essays focus on a particular place, such as Ireland, Hardy's Wessex, Boston, and Los Angeles, while others are devoted to Edith Stein, Ilona Karmel, Thomas Hardy, and Simone Weil. Authors like Aquinas, Samuel Beckett, and William Blake and Jewish, Muslim, and Indian mystics are used as guideposts throughout the selections. Profound and finely written, this is highly recommended for most literature collections.-Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520238404
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/25/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 181
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Fanny Howe is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. Among her books of poems are Gone: Poems (California, 2003), Selected Poems (California, 2000), Forged (1999), Q (1998), One Crossed Out (1997), O'Clock (1995), and The End (1992). She is the winner of the Commonwealth Club Gold Medal for Poetry and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Selected Poems was also one of the Village Voice's Best Books of the Year and was nominated for the Griffin Trust Prize.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Bewilderment 5
Fairies 24
Immanence 39
White Lines 61
The Contemporary Logos 73
Incubus of the Forlorn 82
Purgatory & Other Places 99
Catholic 107
Work and Love 123
After "Prologue" 143
Bibliography 151
Acknowledgments 155
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