That might have something to do with why writing "the perfect female epic" might seem so "daunting": if one’s life as an artist is a distraction, easily dispensed with, to evaluate one’s "real achievement" as a woman, how could a female epic, perfect or not, do much to absorb the shock of how little biographers care, fifty years later, about what one has written?I reviewed Carl Rollyson's American Isis at Entropy. As a text, the review has some siblings: my review of Mad Girl's Love Song at HTMLGIANT as well as my disgust with Terry Castle's review of both these books.
The publication of this review could not have been more well timed, since Ted Hughes' estate is currently sick with the idea that a prospective biographer of Hughes will write a "biography" instead of a "literary life." That is, they're worried a biographer might privilege the sordid facts of Hughes' life over his work as an artist. That is, they're worried that a biographer will write about Ted Hughes the way the majority of biographers write about Sylvia Plath.