Cover: Elizabeth Bishop in PAPERBACK

Elizabeth Bishop

Questions of Mastery

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$34.00 • £27.95 • €30.50

ISBN 9780674246904

Publication Date: 03/15/1993


280 pages

2 halftones


Essential reading for anyone interested in Elizabeth Bishop’s life and art… Bishop’s struggle as an heir to modernism comes alive in Costello’s precise prose.Women’s Review of Books

Elizabeth Bishop: Questions of Mastery explores the connection between the poet’s descriptive passion and her ecphrastic imagination. Costello is interested in…stratagems of design to which Bishop resorts in a desire for mastery over world and self… The connections Costello makes between modern art and modern poetry are valuable, imaginative, and licit.—Judith Farr, Belles Lettres

Costello traces Bishop’s progress toward her quite clear rejection of ‘the magisterial claims of art’ in a series of dazzlingly close readings of the poems, including a handful that have rarely been discussed… I have been reading Bishop for ten years, and it seems to me that until I read Costello’s explications of ‘Over 2000 Illustrations and a Complete Concordance,’ ‘Roosters,’ and ‘Pink Dog,’ I had not read them at all.—Brett Miller, Harvard Review

A guide to Bishop’s poetry and an appreciation of her unique qualities as an observer. The generous quotations from letters, drafts, journals, and occasional prose sketches both deepen and confirm the analysis here, and make the result a work of criticism that has some of the suggestive power of biography.—David Bromwich

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