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Landscapes of the heart : a memoir
Spencer, Elizabeth
Adult Nonfiction PS3537.P4454Z47 1998

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Growing up in a snobbish, straitlaced, Mississippi town in the 1930s, novelist and story writer Spencer, who was born in 1921, rebelled against an old-fashioned Southern way of life that she mockingly calls "as rigidly bounded as a high-security prison." Her fiction, exploring such themes as racial equality, sex, love and expatriates' perilous inner journeys, widened the rift between her and her rigid, wealthy, controlling father. Her mother, a piano teacher, shared his strict Presbyterian outlook. This witty, charming memoir is most involving when Spencer recounts her outwardly idyllic girlhood, her break with her family and her peripatetic adventures. After working briefly as a reporter in Nashville and teaching literature at the University of Mississippi, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship that took her to Italy in 1953, where she met her future husband, an Englishman and a language instructor. They moved to Canada in 1958, but Spencer returned to her Southern roots with their relocation to North Carolina in 1986. She relates her friendships or encounters with the likes of Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, John Cheever, Walker Percy, William Faulkner and others in her spirited tale of her evolution as a writer. Photos. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Novelist and short story writer Spencer grew up surrounded by the rich literary traditions of the Mississippi hill country, came of age during the renaissance of Southern literature as a genre, and attended Vanderbilt University under the tenure of Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, and Donald Davidson of the New Criticism movement. After the 1948 publication of her first novel, Fire in the Morning, she left for Europe. For the next several decades, she lived in voluntary exile from her native South‘mostly in Italy and, after her marriage, in Canada‘and finally returned to her roots to teach creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this gracefully written, sympathetic, yet honest memoir, written in the languid style of Southern storytelling, Spencer appraises life as she lived it, with all its surprise turns, satisfactions, ambitions, frustrations, and regrets. She is best at capturing the complex nature of the places and people that filled her life and influenced her writing. Recommended for comprehensive literature collections and where Spencer has a following.‘Denise S. Sticha, Seton Hill Coll. Lib., Greensburg, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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