By Barbara L. Bellows
Josephine Pinckney (1895--1957) used to be an award-winning, best-selling writer whose paintings critics usually in comparison to that of Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and Isak Dinesen. Her aptitude for storytelling and trenchant social observation came across expression in poetry, 5 novels -- 3 O'Clock Dinner used to be the main winning -- tales, essays, and studies. Pinckney belonged to a wonderful South Carolina family members and infrequently used Charleston as her atmosphere, writing within the culture of Ellen Glasgow through mixing social realism with irony, tragedy, and humor in chronicling the foibles of the South's declining higher classification. Barbara L. Bellows has produced the 1st biography of this very deepest girl and emotionally advanced author, whose lifestyles tale is additionally the heritage of a spot and time -- Charleston within the first half the 20th century.
In A expertise for residing, Pinckney's lifestyles unfolds like a unique as she struggles to flee aristocratic codes and the ensnaring bonds of southern ladyhood and to include glossy freedoms. In 1920, with DuBose Heyward and Hervey Allen, she based the Poetry Society of South Carolina, which helped spark the southern literary renaissance. Her domestic grew to become a middle of highbrow task with viewers comparable to the poet Amy Lowell, the charismatic presidential candidate Wendell Willkie, and the founding editor of theSaturday evaluation of Literature Henry Seidel Canby. subtle and cosmopolitan, she absorbed renowned modern affects, really that of Freudian psychology, at the same time she retained a virtually Gothic mind's eye formed in her adolescence by way of the haunting, tragic fantastic thing about the Low nation and its mystical Gullah culture.
A expert stylist, Pinckney excelled in growing memorable characters, yet she by no means scripted someone as attractive or fascinating as herself. Bellows bargains a desirable, exhaustively researched portrait of this onetime cultural icon and her well-concealed own life.
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Additional info for A Talent for Living: Josephine Pinckney and the Charleston Literary Tradition
When I was growing up,” she recollected, “family dinners were the chief form of entertainment in the South. ”6 Living as the only child in her forbidding house, and in such different circumstances from most of her playmates, left young Josephine with feelings of isolation and profound loneliness which haunted her all her life. ” Over time, the ivory tower would become her personal metaphor for the distance she always felt even from her closest friends. She believed that members of her social circle treated her differently, deferentially, with less familiarity and less candor, than they did one another.
The last of the Virginia belles, she was the ﬁrst southern girl to be invited north for the debutante season. Men of great fortunes—from well-born Princeton undergraduates to Gilded Age millionaires—fell at her feet. By the time Josephine was born, all of Virginia, and much of the nation, waited with bated breath to learn which proposal Irene Langhorne would accept of the sixty-nine she had received. She made a surprising choice. In a love match, she married New York illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, the well-known and popular artist who transformed the concept of the American beauty from round-cheeked and wan to slim and athletic.
22 As Josephine entered her teenaged years, she adopted the belle dame sans merci attitude suggested by the aloof Gibson Girl—not the pose of the jaded, worldly woman of the European Decadents’ fascination, but one of independence, innocence, and hopeful optimism. 23 With few models either in Charleston or Richmond, that matched her ambitions for herself, Josephine drew many of her ideas about life and love from magazines, such as the popular Philadelphia-based Ladies’ Home Journal. Wedged in between recipes for Jell-O salads and new fashions were subtle messages about the role of women in a changing world.
A Talent for Living: Josephine Pinckney and the Charleston Literary Tradition by Barbara L. Bellows