To the Life of the Silver Harbor
Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy on Cape Cod
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University Press of New England
Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece
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First and foremost, Bowden Broadwater and Michael Macdonald were indispensable sources of in-depth information on my parent’s lives and times. The following people, some now unfortunately deceased, have given me substantial help: Richard Bailey, Bing Bingam,...
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Both of my parents, Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy, present a formidable challenge to biographers and critics. The oeuvre of each encompasses literary criticism, fiction, autobiography, political journalism, the travelogue— and, in...
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1 | The Background
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With its crystal-clear light and water, its heady salt air, and striking palette of primary colors, Cape Cod has a special mystique that has intrigued many generations of visitors, some of whom became permanent residents. Surrounded by water, and looking toward Europe, the Cape (as it is commonly known) seems remote and exotic, despite its relative proximity to the East Coast urban centers of Boston and New York. During the...
2 | Edmund Wilson's Provincetown in the Twenties and Thirties
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Wilson’s first documented visit to Cape Cod took place in the summer of 1920, when he visited Edna St. Vincent Millay and her family in Truro. He had met the poet earlier that year in New York. Already a devoted admirer of her work, he was instantly smitten by her persona. They became friends and soon lovers. The friendship way outlasted...
3 | Edmund Wilson's Wellfleet, 1941-1972
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By 1939 Wilson had decided to buy a house on Cape Cod, and he enlisted his old friends Charles ( Charley) and Adelaide Walker to help him find one. Charley and Wilson had known each other since college, when the former worked on the Yale Literary Magazine and the latter wrote for the Nassau Literary Magazine at Princeton. They both joined the army...
4 | Edmund Wilson's Cape Cod Poetry
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My father enjoyed writing poetry, and he practiced the art with great technical expertise. He can best be described as a gifted amateur who wrote poetry, mostly occasional, over the span of his lifetime. Much of his serious...
5 | Mary McCarthy on Cape Cod: The Post-Wilson Years, from the Unfinished "Lost Week" to A Charmed Life
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In January 194 Mary McCarthy definitively left Wilson and the house he was renting at Henderson Place, off East Eighty-seventh Street, by the East River in Manhattan. She took me with her, and we led something of a gypsy life over the next few months in the city. The divorce would be finalized in October of the same year....
6 | Remembering My Parents and Cape Cod
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Mearliest memories revolve around a handsome white house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Built around 1840 by Richard (“Rich”) Freeman, it fronts on to Route 6, the main north-south artery of Cape Cod. Resting midway down a low-lying rise called Money Hill, it once boasted...
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When Helen Wilson, my half sister and neighbor in the big house next door, and I, and those who still remember Edmund Wilson are gone, I wonder how much of him will remain here. Not much, I suspect. The only literary tourists who come to Wellfleet these days are writers who...
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 30 illus.
Publication Year: 2008