The Laura (Riding) Jackson Reader

A Mannered Grace

The Laura (Riding) Jackson Reader

Edited and with an introduction by Elizabeth Friedmann

Published by Persea Books, Inc. 2005.
"A Karen and Michael Braziller book"

ISBN 0-89255-263-8 (paperback)

From the back cover

Laura (Riding) Jackson, the important American poet and thinker, emerged as a powerful literary voice in the 1920s with the publication of her earliest poems, stories, and criticism. Writers such as Ted Hughes, John Ashbery, Susan Sontag, and Paul Auster have acknowledged her influence as a modernist poet and storyteller. Yet however influential this aspect of her work remains, it represents only half of her long literary career. In 1941, at the height of her fame as a poet, Laura (Riding) Jackson turned her attention exclusively to prose writings about language, sexuality, morality, and other subjects of general human concern.

Finally, here in one portable volume are the key texts from the full range of this eminent author's work. Included from the early writings are a generous selection of the poems, chapters from such major works as A Survey of Modernist Poetry (with Robert Graves, 1927), Anarchism Is Not Enough (1928), and The Word "Woman" (and Other Related Writings) (1993), along with four complete stories from Progress of Stories (1935) and the striking preface to her 1938 Collected Poems. The editor has also compiled an ample and representative selection of Laura (Riding) Jackson's later writings, including the provocative essay "Poetry and the Good," the chapter "Truth" from Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words (1997), and a substantial, previously unpublished piece entitled "Body & Mind And the Linguistic Ultimate." A final section presents The Telling(1972) - the remarkable spiritual testament (Riding) Jackson called her "personal evangel."

Modernist and critic of modernism, feminist and critic of feminism, poet and renouncer of poetry, Laura (Riding) Jackson is a writer whose extensive and challenging work reaches beyond the twentieth century. She wrote more than forty books of poetry, criticism, and story. Just months before her death (1991), she was awarded the Bollingen Prize in Poetry from Yale University.

Elizabeth Friedmann is co-editor of a number of books by Laura (Riding) Jackson, including First Awakenings: The Early Poems of Laura Riding, and she is the author of the definitive biography A Mannered Grace: The Life of Laura (Riding) Jackson. Friedmann lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Cover photos: Laura Riding, 1927, from the Laura (Riding) Jackson and Schuyler B. Jackson Collection, courtesy of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library; Laura (Riding) Jackson , 1970s, from the collection of Elizabeth Friedmann, used by permission.