Meanderings

"There is no other life that can be this one again." -W.S. Merwin

All biographers act on the hunch that their subject’s lives are worth the effort, but the biographers who focus on obscure subjects act with the romantic faith of the idealistic entrepreneur. Being the first person to take on an unproven subject is both a risk and an investment; you are the entire cottage industry. If your hunch is correct, being there first can bring rewards—no one had written the story of Zelda Fitzgerald when Nancy Milford took it on as a young graduate student; now “Zelda” is a cornerstone of both Fitzgerald and feminist studies. Had Milford been in a position to purchase Zelda’s papers or art work early on she may have found herself in an even more enviable position.

The danger of investing in Dawn Powell, as Page has discovered, is that sheer will alone cannot spark a literary resurgence.

—Rachel Syme considers why the diaries of the masterful writer Dawn Powell won’t sell: http://nyr.kr/PKUmdc

Home is far away for Powell’s diaries. Too bad. She is superb.

(via newyorker)

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