I'm looking for...



Happening:
Anytime
to
Near:
Anywhere
That is
Anything

The First Texas Author Enshrined by the Library of America


by Jerome Weeks 17 Nov 2008

It’s Katherine Anne Porter. San Antonio critic Steven Kellman reviews the Library of America’s collection of Porter’s work: Though Henry James occupies 14 Library of America volumes, Porter is contained in just one. She was long-lived but not long-winded, despite the trunkful of manuscripts she reported torching. It took her 20 years to complete Pale […]

CTA TBD

It’s Katherine Anne Porter. San Antonio critic Steven Kellman reviews the Library of America’s collection of Porter’s work:

Though Henry James occupies 14 Library of America volumes, Porter is contained in just one. She was long-lived but not long-winded, despite the trunkful of manuscripts she reported torching. It took her 20 years to complete Pale Horse, Pale Rider, 50 pages long, which works out to 2.5 pages per year. If Stephen Crane, who died at 28, had toiled with similar celerity, the Library of America volume devoted to his work would be barely a pamphlet. Porter never finished the biography of Cotton Mather she began in 1927, and she kept the pot boiling for 27 years before completing Ship of Fools and telling McCall’s Magazine, “I finished the thing; but I think I sprained my soul.”

Although that novel, an overwrought allegory about a microcosm of humanity sailing from Mexico to Germany in 1931, made her rich and famous, Porter’s strength was shorter fiction. She preferred the term “short novel” to “novella,” which she called “a slack, boneless, affected word that we do not need to describe anything.” Whatever the term, her literary legacy resides in a handful of works that can each be read in less than two hours.

SHARE