In the first full-length biography of Moore (1887-1972), Molesworth ( The Fierce Embrace: A Study in Contemporary American Poetry ) conducts a conscientious scrutiny of her life and work, but operates with certain handicaps. Although given access to Moore's private papers, he was not allowed to quote from them--and thus his account is primarily literary and chronological, earnest but inhibited in its psychological insights. This is unfortunate, especially since Moore's persona and her work developed within the confines of an outwardly uneventful, even narrow life. Molesworth charts the growth of a major modernist through careful critical readings of her poetry and prose, her work as an editor of the Dial , and an examination of Moore as an active, social New York literary figure whose colleagues and admirers included T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Molesworth never loses sight of the poet as a member of a close-knit family whose artistic and moral contributions to her art were inestimable and unusual in breadth. Photos. (Aug.)
At long last a biography of this extremely important American poet! Molesworth provides a much-needed guide to the basic facts of Moore's personal and literary life, clarifying points previously misrepresented or partially misunderstood and revealing much that has not been publicly known. Popular in its lack of scholarly footnotes and reference to previous criticism, Molesworth's biography will nonetheless be useful to scholars because of its wealth of information about the poet's life and milieu. Well qualified by his extensive reading in the Moore archives and by his previous work on American culture and poetry, Molesworth has written a biography that will be indispensable to all readers interested in Moore.--Cristanne Miller, Pomona Coll., Claremont, Cal.