In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding

Deborah Baker, Author Grove/Atlantic $30 (478p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1364-1
Acknowledging the difficulty of accurately portraying a writer who continuously reinvented herself, Baker ( Making a Farm ) draws heavily on unpublished works to achieve some success in illuminating the life of Laura Riding (1901-1991). Riding's verse-- Collected Poems was published in 1938--was acclaimed for the precision of its language. From 1927-1936 she lived on the island of Majorca with British writer Robert Graves, with whom she established an avant-garde literary salon and founded the Seizin Press. In 1941 Riding left Graves, returned to America and, amidst scandal, married critic Schuyler B. Jackson. Renouncing poetry, she worked with Jackson on the never-published The Dictionary of Meanings and wrote several philosophical treatises, e.g., The Telling (1972). Temperamental and controversial, Riding carried on active correspondences with critics and academics until her death. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
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