Poems Thekla Clark Wystan and Chester

ISBN 13: 9780231107068

Wystan and Chester

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( 12 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780231107068: Wystan and Chester

The first nuanced, personal portrait of Auden and Kallman's relationship of more than thirty years, Wystan and Chester opens a window on a central aspect of Auden's life that has been overlooked by most biographies and critical studies. In a series of witty, poignant, and occasionally disturbing vignettes, Clark recounts the artists at work and at play: the raucous, Bacchanalian dinner parties on Ischia and the quiet mornings of writing on the porch of their house in Kirchstetten, Austria. She chronicles the early years of their friendship, when Auden and Kallman became her young daughter Lisa's constant companions, and when their nurturing partnership helped to foster unparalleled creative output for both. Remembering also Kallman's steady decline in his later years, Clark paints a sympathetic picture of the talented and troubled artist and of Auden's abiding love for him. Clark's story is generously sprinkled with glimpses of Auden's eccentricities. She recollects his fascination with female anatomy and with the process of birth; his unusual mix of moral seriousness and intellectual frivolity; his love for church ritual and his conviction that homosexuality was wrong.

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Review:

Though Thekla Clark turned down a marriage proposal from W.H. Auden in the early 1950s, she remained close to the poet and his companion Chester Kallman until Auden's death in 1973. In memoir, Clark follows the lives of this unconventional couple, recalling their home on the Italian island of Ischia, their romps through Europe, and the more troubling times Auden spent in New York. While Kallman embraced his homosexuality and was campily outrageous, Auden was uncomfortable in his and became conservative and conventional. Despite their differences, or maybe because of them, their relationship endured--they met in 1939 and Kallman died less than two years after Auden, seemingly of a broken heart.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A fond but not uncritical backward glance at one of this century's most important poets and his companion. Clark, who set sail as a young Oklahoman in 1951 for a blithely reckless expatriate existence in Europe, first came to know the English Auden and his once and future sweetheart, American-born Kallman, first on the Italian island of Ischia. They remained fast friends. The satisfaction of Clark's brief but eventful reminiscence is twofold: She captures the unsteady, even giddy rhythms typical of many close friendships; and she offers an unabashedly opinionated double portrait of her two inimitable sidekicks. Some indulgently self-conscious nattering does creep into the writing (``Had they been halcyon days?'' Clark asks at one point). And she may enjoy describing herself too much: ``I was still wearing cotton gloves and was overly ware of the attention I was causing.'' Yet she is generally a vivid writer and a quick study. She follows the sometimes tormented progress of Auden and Kallman's long intimacy. Loyal to both in her ferreting, she seems able to present each man in enough detail to sidestep or thwart the legends and stereotypes that have sprung from them or been imposed on them. Both emerge as magnetic figures, crisscrossed by idiosyncrasy as if by wrinkles. Maybe it is the impromptu charm of the author that most buoys her story, unmarked by literary criticism, and alive with quoted conversation. ``Wystan was fascinated by female anatomy and the whole process of birth,'' she reports. `' `You are so fortunate to have all your reproductive organs inside you' he said, `not these ridiculous things I find attached to me as an afterthought.' He and I had long and detailed gynecological discussions, but we forbore from having them at table after one night Chester screamed, `Mercy!' '' A sweet, smart, witty character sketch. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 1996. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The first nuanced, personal portrait of Auden and Kallman s relationship of more than thirty years, Wystan and Chester opens a window on a central aspect of Auden s life that has been overlooked by most biographies and critical studies. In a series of witty, poignant, and occasionally disturbing vignettes, Clark recounts the artists at work and at play: the raucous, Bacchanalian dinner parties on Ischia and the quiet mornings of writing on the porch of their house in Kirchstetten, Austria. She chronicles the early years of their friendship, when Auden and Kallman became her young daughter Lisa s constant companions, and when their nurturing partnership helped to foster unparalleled creative output for both. Remembering also Kallman s steady decline in his later years, Clark paints a sympathetic picture of the talented and troubled artist and of Auden s abiding love for him. Clark s story is generously sprinkled with glimpses of Auden s eccentricities. She recollects his fascination with female anatomy and with the process of birth; his unusual mix of moral seriousness and intellectual frivolity; his love for church ritual and his conviction that homosexuality was wrong. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780231107068

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Book Description 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. ? Robert Craft, "New York Review of Books" The first nuanced, personal portrait of Auden and Kallman's relationship of more than thirty years, Wystan and .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 130 pages. 0.367. Bookseller Inventory # 9780231107068

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