The Millions

A Sense of Sensibility: On ‘The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick’

A review of is almost obliged to begin with the following facts: (1) she was born in Kentucky in 1916 and moved to Manhattan in the early 1940s with the self-declared aim of becoming a “New York Jewish intellectual;” (2) in 1963, along with and , she helped found (3) for more than two decades she was married to the famous—and famously “confessional”—poet . Notable though these facts may be, however, they are hardly the reasons why Hardwick’s writing continues to be read. As the 55 essays gathered in the new make clear, Hardwick was one of the most penetrating literary critics of her time. Whether she was writing about or , or , “every assignment got Hardwick at full sail,” as says in his introduction. She was a “writer’s writer” without question—a prose stylist

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