From Altar to Chimney-piece -- Selected Stories (cloth)
  • Author: Butts, Mary
  • Binding: Clothbound
  • Pages: 256
  • Size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/2"
  • Pub. Year: 1992
  • ISBN: 0-929701-19-4
  • In Stock: Yes
Price: $22.00

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Preface by John Ashbery.

Readers of Isak Dineson, Saki and Anne Rice will find themselves in familiar territory in the short stories of Mary Butts. The powers of hidden things and the things of hidden powers preoccupy these fifteen tales of love and betrayal, magic and myth, trust and folly. Mary Butts's stories all take place in a world where the veil between the natural and supernatural can be rent apart in an instant from either side, and where the Sacred and Profane often walk hand in hand. "Her stories are permeated with the inevitable, often terrifying justice of the uncanny, as well as with the disturbing beauty of nature," writes Butts scholar Barbara Wagstaff: "Her work commemorates the occurrences that show where to look for God." This edition is significantly different from the recent Carcanet hardcover edition [London], and has seven stories not seen since at least 1937.

"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 Book Reviewer

She drank with Hemingway 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 hated her perfume. She lived more outrageously than Jean Rhys and was considered a better writer than Katherine Mansfield...


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