Cunard and Eliot knew one another socially, a meeting Cunard would have finagled, in part, because, "Nancy fell in love with Eliot when she first read 'Prufrock'" in , according to Cunard's biographer Lois Gordon The two were well-acquainted by the time Eliot published The Waste Land, and Cunard forthrightly yet playfully took issue with his perception of the world gone barren following the first World War.
The two poets read the mood of civilization differently. Nearly half a century after her death, scholars of modernism are rediscovering the poetry of Nancy Cunard, and I argue here that Parallax is a direct challenge to The Waste Land. I believe it is Cunard's strongest work and her best contribution to discussions of her modernist aesthetic.
In short, Parallax should. Because both the American and British literary traditions have claimed Eliot as their own, Eliot has become a truly transnational modernist. His work is anthologized and taught in both survey courses, while Cunard, a British citizen, has chiefly been represented through the work of writers she influenced.
Nancy Cunard was an admirable poet, publisher, journalist, and human-rights advocate, as well as a prominent European socialite who, nonetheless, died alone in the charity ward of Hopital Cochin in Paris just six days after her 69th birthday in The privileged only offspring of shipping heir Baronet Sir Bache Cunard and his American wife Maud later, Emerald Burke, Nancy was both proud and embarrassed by her aristocratic advantages.
She grew up on the family estate, Neville Holt, where her mother's paramour, Irish novelist George Moore, often tutored her, but she ultimately rejected nobility. When Nancy was a teenager, Lady Cunard separated from Sir Bache to abscond from bucolic life to London where she gained her reputation as a legendary hostesses and an authority on opera. In the city, Nancy became a popular socialite and a serious poet. Nancy Cunard was eighteen years old when the Great War began.
She was swept into a social milieu fueled by alcohol and sexual freedom and became a regular at the Vorticist hangout, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.
An unknown error has occurred. It also fits aptly into my Summer of Somerville, at least in its historical setting.
Whose fault is that? Anyway, I remember various class trips to the Museum of Vancouver or the B. Well, better late than never, right? Why, the British force that captured Washington and burned the White House was sent from the naval base in Halifax! You can strike, or you can not strike, and if you choose to hold back the blow, you can still feel inside you the resonance of the omitted thing.
- Theres a Demon in My Butt!?
- Friends To Go.
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall. What could she be doing that would make any difference? That this time his duty to his king coincides with his own longstanding grudges—against those who destroyed and then mocked his fallen mentor, Cardinal Wolsey—makes his job just that much sweeter. Wily, sophistical, manipulative, relentless, he twists both their words and their silences into the shapes that serve his single-minded purpose.
It is one or the other. You will damn me if I say nothing at all, taking my silence for agreement. I hope you were surprised. Though the morals of you gentlemen astonish me. Any man you name, I will say nothing against him and nothing for him. I have no opinion on George Boleyn. If you take it so quietly and without objection, I am forced to conjecture there may be truth in it. How can you believe such an abomination? Is it a ploy to lead me away from your own guilt? He looks at Norris with admiration. He needs guilty men. So he has found men who are guilty.
Though perhaps not guilty as charged. The men must be found guilty of adultery and treason whatever the facts of their relations with the queen, but as they are at any rate guilty of something else, their deaths are deserved and no moral harm is done. Mantel plays her hand deftly, though: Cromwell himself recoils just enough from his own cruelties to keep him on the right side of unforgivable. Is it the truth he fears?
Why, if it will legitimize the accusations, the sentences, the deaths that are already inevitable? To save Weston, perhaps, from denouncing his friends and then living — dying — with that betrayal? Or perhaps he just needed air. Let us say you are in a chamber, the windows sealed, you are conscious of the proximity of other bodies, of the declining light.
In the room you put cases, you play games, you move your personnel around each other: notional bodies, hard as ivory, black as ebony, pushed on their paths across the squares. In this matter, cause has been preceded by effect. What you dreamed has enacted itself. You reach for a blade but the blood is already shed. The lambs have butchered and eaten themselves. They have brought knives to the table, carved themselves, and picked their own bones clean.
The horror is manageable as long as the unreality predominates. Of Anne, especially, Cromwell prefers not to know too much, not to come too close. When he thinks she is about to speak to him sincerely, confessionally, he is momentarily touched with both compassion and unease:. She is on her feet, detaining him, timidly touching his arm; as if it is not her release she wants, so much as his good opinion.
I know in your heart you do not, Cremuel? It is a long moment. He feels himself on the edge of something unwelcome: superfluous knowledge, useless information. He turns, hesitates, and reaches out, tentative. But then she raises her hands and clasps them at her breast, in the gesture Lady Rochford had showed him. Ah, Queen Esther, he thinks.
She is not innocent; she can only mimic innocence. His hand drops to his side. He turns away.
Besides, what is sure is the necessity of the judgment against her: it was shockingly irrelevant whether the accused men were in fact her lovers, whether she did in fact commit incest with her brother. Her trial was never really about that, and so from that perspective Mantel is right to keep our attention on the process, the political and, we might say, genealogical forces arrayed against her.
This focus, in turn, keeps our attention on Cromwell, on his successes and failures, and on the moral equivocations of his ultimately triumphant plot against her, given both the difficulty and the irrelevance of making the actual case. A guilty Anne is a weak opponent; an innocent Anne is a martyr. He believes he understands Anne, as Wriothesley does not. One thing she has set out to do, this side of salvation: get Henry and keep him. She has lost him to Jane Seymour, and no court of law will judge her more harshly than she judges herself.
She knows adultery is a sin and treason a crime, but to be on the losing side is a greater fault than these. We shall have no trouble with her now.