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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Elizabeth Hardwick, writer and critic, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 27, 1916, to Eugene Allen and Mary (Ramsey) Hardwick. After obtaining both her B.A. (1938) and M.A. (1939) from the University of Kentucky , she received a fellowship offer from Louisiana State University, but decided at the last minute to apply to Columbia University in New York, where she did postgraduate work from 1939 to 1941. Deciding not to pursue a Ph.D., Hardwick turned to short story writing. Her first novel, The Ghostly Lover, was published in 1945, and a short time later she began writing regularly as a critic for Partisan Review.
In July of 1949, Hardwick married American poet Robert Lowell. Their only child, daughter Harriet Winslow, was born on January 4, 1957. Shortly after their marriage, Lowell entered New York's Payne Whitney Clinic, where he underwent three months' treatment for manic depression. Throughout their life together, Lowell's recurrent psychological difficulties put considerable pressure on Hardwick, yet she remained a productive and well-regarded writer. In 1955 she published her second novel, The Simple Truth, and in 1960 she edited The Selected Letters Of William James. In 1962, when her first collection of essays, A View Of My Own, was published, she was one of the founding editors of the New York Review Of Books. In 1967 she became the first woman recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism.
Hardwick's marriage to Lowell ended in divorce in October 1972. In the decade following, she published two more collections of essays, Seduction And Betrayal (1974) and Bartleby In Manhattan (1983), and the autobiographical novel Sleepless Nights (1979).
In his 1982 biography of Robert Lowell (to which Hardwick contributed many details), Ian Hamilton introduces Elizabeth Hardwick as "a Southerner from Kentucky... [who] had left the South in 1940 to do graduate work at Columbia University and had never properly returned." The Ghostly Lover and her early short stories led some critics to consider Hardwick a southern writer, but as she herself comments, in a 1984 Paris Review interview, "being a southern writer is a decision, not a fate" -- and she identifies her selection of Columbia rather than Louisiana State as "a critical, defining moment" in her life. But she goes on to say, "Naturally, I love the best southern writing," and to recall the Lexington of her first twenty-three years as "a very beautiful and interesting place."
ANTHONY O'KEEFFE, Entry Author
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Hardwick, E. (1983). Bartleby in Manhattan : And other essays (1st ed.). New York: Random House.
Young Library Books - 5th Floor PS3515.A5672 B3 1983
Hardwick, E. (1982). A view of my own : Essays on literature and society. New York: Ecco Press.
Special Collections Research Center Closed Stacks - Ask at desk on 2nd Floor for assistance PS121 .H25 1982
Hardwick, E. (1982). The ghostly lover. New York: Ecco Press.
Young Library Books - 5th Floor PS3515.A5672 G47