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Randall Jarrell's Letters

An Autobiographical and Literary Selection
Mary Jarrell. Edited by Mary Jarrell

BUY Paper · 576 pp. · 6.13 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813921532 · $30.00 · Jan 2003

In this expanded edition of Randall Jarrell's letters, his widow, Mary, has added letters from Jarrell to Peter Taylor, publication of which was withheld during Taylor's lifetime. Taylor was, along with Robert Lowell, Jarrell's oldest and closest friend, and the inclusion of these incomparable letters adds another dimension of friendship, artistry, and intellect to a collection already noted for its behind-the-scenes glimpse of twentieth-century American literary history in the making.


Witty, often brilliantly perceptive, often touching, usually funny, [these letters] have many of the best qualities of Randall Jarrell's criticism and his comic novel, Pictures from an Institution. They bristle with ideas while they also show great freshness and openness to experience.... Of recent collections of letters, only Flannery O'Connor's seem to me to rival these in their consistently high level of interest and entertainment.

Washington Post Book World

Randall Jarrell—poet, critic, daimon—was an Enthusiast. Wedding an intense devotion to Old World culture with the frequent exhibition of glad American anarchy, he was Matthew Arnold at the wheel of an MG, tach up, top down, the wind in his literary hair.

Boston Globe

Mary Jarrell... has written witty and observant connecting passages that shape the book into a rounded narrative and... has unveiled Randall Jarrell's final enduring literary work. And in doing so, she has created her own.

Charlotte Observer

About the Author(s): 

Mary Jarrell is the author of a memoir, Remembering Randall, which was a New York Times Notable Book of 1999.

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