That Great Sanity: Critical Essays on May Sarton
This collection of original essays represents the first book-length consideration of May Sarton's contributions to American literature and culture. ... Show synopsis This collection of original essays represents the first book-length consideration of May Sarton's contributions to American literature and culture. In the course of her long and prolific career, Sarton has published nearly fifty books, yet has largely been ignored by book reviewers and others in the critical establishment. Although she is primarily known as a novelist and poet, it is probably her journals (including At Seventy, House by the Sea, Journal of a Solitude, Recovering) that have received the most praise and are responsible for Sarton's position as an increasingly important cultural figure, especially among women readers of the last two decades. As Carolyn Heilbrun observed in her book Writing a Woman's Life, May Sarton's fame at age seventy-five was greater than it had ever been. The twelve essays in That Great Sanity work together to provide theoretical and critical contexts that make possible a more judicious assessment of Sarton's achievement than has been available previously. Maureen McCarthy's introduction traces the history of Sarton criticism over the past fifty years, including the recent surge of interest in her work. Also included in the volume is a selection of letters representing the remarkable correspondence between the young May Sarton and the woman she considered her mentor, poet Louise Bogan. Nancy Weyant's bibliography of Sarton criticism brings previous bibliographies up to date. The remaining essays provide a variety of perspectives, including feminist, literary/historical, reader-response, lesbian, and archetypal, that reveal Sarton's very significant contributions to contemporary literature and culture.