Laura Riding (1901-1991)

A selective list of literary criticism and analysis for the American poet and editor Laura Riding, favoring signed, peer-reviewed articles and books


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introduction & biography

On Laura Riding's criticism and poetry, with (very brief) excerpts of literary analysis from leading academic authorities on Laura Riding, including David Perkins, Barbara Adams, Jerome McGann, and Joyce Piell Wexler. Contents: "A Prophecy or a Plea," "Helen's Burning," about Helen of Troy, "Elegy in a Spider's Web," Laura Riding and The Fugitive, selected Laura Riding poetry in The Fugitive, Laura Riding and Robert Graves. Also includes a list of critical studies of her writing. Edited by Prof. Kathyrn N. Benzel, Univ. of Nebraska. Modern American Poetry at Univ. of Illinois [free].

"Laura Riding." A short introduction to Laura Riding from the Academy of American Poets [free].

Baker, Deborah. Reviews of In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding (Grove 1993). The biography was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. A review by Jenny Turner in the London Review of Books, 10 March 1994. A review by Will Eaves in the Times Literary Supplement, 29 Oct. 1993. A review by Carol Muske in the New York Times, 28 Nov. 1993 [free].

Friedmann, Elizabeth. Publisher's blurb for A Mannered Grace: The Life of Laura (Riding) Jackson (Persea Books 2005) [free].

Entry on "The Fugitives." By Prof. Mark G. Malvasi, Randolph-Macon College. On the group of Southern poets associated with John Crowe Ransom and Vanderbilt University, who called themselves the Fugitives, and Laura Riding's connection with them. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture [free].

"Robert Creeley on Divers Press." Creeley talks about the influence of Laura Riding and Robert Graves's Seizin press on his later publishing ventures in Majorca. Interview with Creeley by Alastair Johnston in Poltroon Press, 1986 [free].


literary criticism

Adams, Barbara. "Laura Riding's Autobiographical Poetry: 'My Muse Is I'.” On Laura Riding's techniques for handling autobiographical material in poetry, comparison with Sylvia Plath. Concerning Poetry 15, 2 (Fall 1982) [Bookrags subscription service].

Bernstein, Charles. "Riding's reason: An introduction to Laura (Riding) Jackson and Schuyler Jackson's Rational Meaning: Toward a New Foundation of Words." A leading LANGUAGE poet and professor, Charles Bernstein, on Laura Riding's life and ideas. College Literature, Oct. 1997 [Questia subscription service].

Carson, Luke. "'Your Majesty's Self Is But a Ceremony': Laura (Riding) Jackson, Emerson, and the Conduct of Life." [literature and morals, compared to Ralph Waldo Emerson]. Texas Studies in Literature and Language 52, 1 (Spring 2010) [preview of article only].

Carson, Luke. "'This is Something Unlosable': Laura Riding's 'Compacting Sense.'" Texas Studies in Literature and Language 37 (1995) [preview of article only].

Esdale, Logan. "Gertrude Stein, Laura Riding and The Space of Letters." On the connection between Stein's Everybody's Autobiography and Laura Riding's Everybody's Letters. Journal of Modern Literature 29, 4 (2006) [summary of article only].

Fromm, Harold. "Myths and Mishegaas: Robert Graves and Laura Riding." Hudson Review 44, 2 (Summer 1991) [free].

Hamilton, Jeff. "Wrath Moves In the Music: Robert Duncan, Laura Riding, Craft and Force in Cold War Poetics." An extended article in the ever-excellent Jacket magazine about the influence upon poet Robert Duncan of "probably the least genteel poet" of her generation, Laura Riding. Jacket 26 (Oct. 2004) [free].

Heuving, Jeanne. "Laura (Riding) Jackson's 'Really New' Poem." Heuving contends that a crucial element in Laura Riding's utopian vision of a new human universality is her gender critique. In Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and Their Readers, edited by Margaret Dickie and Thomas Travisano (1996) [Enotes subscription service].

McGann, Jerome J. "Laura (Riding) Jackson and the Literal Truth." Critical Inquiry 18, 3 (Spring 1992) [Enotes subscription service, additional peer-reviewed essays available].

Perloff, Marjorie. "The Witch of Truth." Professor Perloff examines, and largely dismisses, Charles Bernstein's claims for Laura Riding as a language poet in his introduction to a new edition of Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words. Orig. pub. in Parnassus 23, 1 (1998) [free].

Rowland, Philip. "Celebration of Failure: The Influence of Laura Riding on John Ashbery." Rowland begins, "In the 1960's, John Ashbery named Laura Riding as one of the 'three writers who most formed my language as a poet,' the other two being 'the early Auden' and 'Wallace Stevens.'" But Rowland notes that Ashbery has not much elaborated on the connection. In this essay, he attempts to fill that gap. Flashpoint magazine [free].

Temes, Peter S. "Code of Silence: Laura (Riding) Jackson and the Refusal to Speak." Temes contends that Laura Riding's poetic silence is a form of resistance to patriarchal culture. PMLA 109, 1 (1994) [Enotes subscription service].

Wallace, Jo-Ann. "Laura Riding and the Politics of Decanonization." Wallace considers the critical neglect of Laura Riding and broader questions in the matter of canon formation. American Literature 1, 64 (March 1992) [first page of article only].

Wexler, Joyce Piell. Laura Riding's Pursuit of Truth (Ohio UP 1979). Not online but highly recommended.

Burke, Carolyn. Some notes on Laura (Riding) Jackson's "defection from poetry." How(ever) 1, 2 (Oct. 1983) [removed].


web sites

"The Poems of Laura Riding." Extensive selections from Laura Riding's poetry, grouped under her headings of Poems of Mythical Occasion, Poems of Immediate Occasion, Poems of Final Occasion, and Poems Continual; Also excerpts from twelve titles recently printed or reprinted by Carcanet and other publishers related to Laura Riding, and much more. From the Laura (Riding) Jackson Board of Literary Management, Nottingham Trent Univ. [free].

"Laura (Riding) Jackson and the Promise of Language," a 1998 exhibition at Cornell Univ.; and "Laura (Riding) Jackson in the Twenty-First Century," a 2010 conference at Cornell. Also "Guide to the The Laura (Riding) Jackson and Schuyler B. Jackson Collection." Cornell Univ. Library [free].

Web site for the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation in Vero Beach, FL. The Foundation is dedicated to preserving Laura (Riding) Jackson's Wabasso, FL, house and promoting literary activity in the community [free].

"The Cracker home of Laura Riding Jackson." A blogger muses on the similarities of the simple house and rural Florida lifestyle of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in Cross Creek and that of Laura (Riding) Jackson in Wabasso, where she spent the last 40 years of her life. Includes photos of her house [free].

Six (testy) letters to the New York Review of Books. In her later years Laura (Riding) Jackson took pains to answer her reviewers, in writing. These six letters--the last of which was written when she was 88 years old--give the flavor of those exchanges [free].

On Robert Graves and Laura Riding in Majorca. A web site for the tourist to Majorca, with photos [free].


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