Mary Butts The Complete Stories

ISBN 13: 9781620540091

The Complete Stories

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9781620540091: The Complete Stories
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The short stories of Mary Butts (1890-1937) possess an intriguing relation to the present moment. They both embody their time (the Lost Generation during the '20s and '30s) and possess a stylistic freshness and intellectual breadth that feels very akin to our present day. As John Ashbery remarks in his preface, "After reading Butts one is left with an impression of dazzle, of magic, but what made it is hard to pin down...One keeps getting the feeling that these stories were written yesterday." Now, for the first time in a single volume, all three of her story collections have been gathered, and seven uncollected stories have been added (including two pieces never before published). The power of hidden things and things of hidden power preoccupy these distinctive tales of love and betrayal, magic and mummery, belief and folly. Here, in the realm of active imagination, the veil between natural and supernatural may be rent apart in an instant, and just as quickly restored. The novelist and poet Glenway Wescott declared Mary Butts s first collection of stories, Speed the Plough, "the announcement of a new intellect, acute and passionate, to scrutinize experience with an unfamiliar penetration," which he then went on to compare with James Joyce's Dubliners. Marianne Moore, Evelyn Waugh, HD, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and Virgil Thomson all championed her work, and during her tragically brief lifetime Mary Butts's reputation rivaled Katherine Mansfield's and Virginia Woolf's. Her style is swift, elliptical and emotionally charged, exactly matched to the free-wheeling lives of her characters in Paris and London during an explosive era.

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About the Author:

She drank with the Fitzgeralds at Les Deux Magots; Virgil Thompson courted her; among her best friends she counted H.D. and Bryher and corresponded at length with Charles Williams, but Virginia Woolf couldn't stand her perfume. She lived more outrageously than Jean Rhys and was considered a better writer than Katherine Mansfield. She was published in Ford Madox Ford's Transatlantic Review and Ezra Pound's Little Review; Robert McAlmon's Contact Editions issued her first novel. ... And yet, though hailed in her time for adventurous originality, because of her untimely death her greatest works have remained "lost" for fifty years. Fortunately, the flame of Mary Butts (1890-1937) has been kept alive over time by Kenneth Rexroth, Virgil Thomson, Robert Duncan, John Ashbery, Kenneth Irby, Gerrit Lansing, Robert Kelly and many others.

Review:

"Mary Butts's stories...are bright and amazingly contemporary about social issues we may think of as belonging to the '90s: homosexuality, alcoholism, suicide, divorce... Some of the stories are hilarious...All have a knifesharp awareness of social inequities... Reading Mary Butts is a lot like visiting an amusement park. Every ride is a new sensation, and even though some make you a little dizzy, there is a magical dazzle in them all." --New Letters

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