Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz
Edited by Sarah Greenough
Yale University Press

In this odd corner of the Internet I review books--not just texts but books--the physical things--how they look and feel--their confidences and auras--and so regarding this book I have to wonder--what were they thinking?

The letters--even 650 or so of them--of artist Georgia O'Keeffe and photographer/gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz are important and interesting in themselves--despite their mutual habit of punctuating with dashes--like telegraphic Emily Dickinsons--They offer a charming travelogue through the early 20th century as well as into their works and love affairs--

But--but really--this is an enormous volume--big as a Bible--with no illustrations--two of the most visual people of their times--and no pictures at all--in a book that requires assistance to hold--or even hold open--

Why not two volumes--or three--- illustrated--even modestly illustrated--books to curl up with--to savor the weathers, the opinions, the gossip--

But that must not be the point?--It must be for scholars--for libraries--although these days, well--it must be for digital--to be carried about on your Kindle--or peered at on the library computer screen---

I don't know--it's a dark Monday, and it's sad--because you can't believe a word--how can she be in a train station writing when I can hardly get the page to stay open--she'd need a porter to help her haul this around-

Well you get the point.--Publishing is becoming ever more a mystery--simple proofreading seems an antique idea--and books like this--all this work-- all these words--a misbegotten book--unless scholars are even more masochistic than I thought---I leave it to others to evaluate the contents--the text--but as a reader--I am puzzled and disappointed--     

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