A Sacred Quest : Essays on the Life and Writings of Mary Butts
Clothbound, sewn, jacketed, 297 pages, 5.5 x 8.5", 1995, 0-929701-45-3
Multiple authors. Edited by Christopher Wagstaff
She drank with Hemingway and prowled with Jean Cocteau, who did several portraits of her. She was courted by Virgil Thomson; counted H.D. and Djuna Barnes among her friends; was photographed by Man Ray. Virginia Woolf hated her perfume. Everyone noted her bright red hair. She experimented with drugs and explored "magick" with Aleister Crowley. Somehow, despite her mad life she found time to write; her stories appeared in Ford Madox Ford's Transatlantic Review and Ezra Pound's Little Review, and her first published novel was issued by Robert McAlmon's famous Contact Editions. Hailed at the time for their daring originality and stylistic panache, her novels, stories and poetry remained "lost" for fifty years after her premature death in 1937. Until we published Nathalie Blondel's fine biography (see Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life) accounts of Mary Butts appeared mainly in the memoirs of more famous contemporaries, including Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, Peggy Guggenheim and Elsa Lanchester.
Now that Mary Butts's writings are largely back in print after long neglect, Christopher Wagstaff's indispensible sourcebook, A Sacred Quest: The Life and Writings of Mary Butts, gathers essays from writers who knew Mary Butts and her work in the '20s and '30s, and from writers today who have reappraised her. There is a representative selection of Mary Butts's own poetry, fiction, journal entries, letters and literary criticism, as well as new interviews with Quentin Bell, Virgil Thomson, Hugh Ross Williamson and Eugene MacCown, along with up-to-date bibliographical information. Combining the personal dimensions of literary biography with original source materials and first-rate criticism, A Sacred Quest provides a valuable key to a major modern author whose importance is only now being understood in the history of Modernism, feminism and the avant-garde.
Table of Contents (Partial)
About the Editor
GLENWAY WESCOTT: The First Book of Mary Butts
HUGH ROSS WILLIAMSON: Who is Mary Butts?
DAVID HOPE: Mary Butts, Fire-Bearer
LOUIS ADEANE: An Appriasal of Mary Butts
ROBERT DUNCAN: Re Mary Butts
ROBIN BLASER: 'Here Lies the Woodpecker Who Was Zeus'
ROBERT H. BYINGTON: Chronology