Allen Tate: A Recollection

Walter Sullivan, Author Louisiana State University Press $19.95 (117p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1481-0
Scanning the more than 30 years of his friendship with Tate, Southern novelist and critic Sullivanonce a teenaged disciple of Tatefixes a clear eye on the poet's public persona and private life but neglects many periods and people that comprised it, offering a slim and selective portrait. Among the highlights: the story of Tate's marriage (his fourth) to Helen Heinz, a nun who married him unaware of his reputation as a womanizer, and his often troubled literary friendships with Robert Penn Warren and others. Tate's decline from literary power to power-monger is particularly well observed, as are his sexual changes of face from philanderer to celibate. His inner contradictionshe was a rebellious romanticare also exposed. But the process of Tate's psychological development is not, since Sullivan's intimacy with his mentor was sporadic. And because the author makes no attempt to enrich personal with literary analysis, his scope is small. In a book that spans but does not scrutinize 30 years, a chronology would have been more helpful than the list, provided here, of well-known literary figures in Tate's life. Photos not seen by PW . (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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