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Reading Elizabeth Bishop

An Edinburgh Companion

Edited by Jonathan Ellis

Hardback (Forthcoming)

A comprehensive and original guide to Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry and other writing, including literary criticism and prose fiction

Celebrating Elizabeth Bishop as an international writer with allegiances to various countries and national traditions, this collection of essays explores how Bishop moves between literal geographies like Nova Scotia, New England, Key West and Brazil and more philosophical categories like home and elsewhere, human and animal, insider and outsider.

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Introduction: Incompatible Bishops?, Jonathan Ellis


1. Disturbances of the Archive: Repetition and Memory in Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetry, Linda Anderson

2. ‘Manuelzinho’, Brazil, and Identity Politics, Vidyan Ravinthiran

3. Elizabeth Bishop’s Immersion in ‘The Riverman’, Melissa Zeiger

4. ‘The Colour of the World Altogether’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Diffraction Patterns, Amy Waite


5. ‘I Take Off My Hat’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Comedy of Self-Revelation, Rachel Trousdale

6. ‘This heaped-up autobiography’: The Role of Religion in Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetry, Marcel Inhoff

7. Elizabeth Bishop: Life Change and Poetic Transformation, Angelica Nuzzo

8. ‘Swerving as I swerve’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Fugitive Empathy, Sarah Kennedy

9. Repetition and Poetic Process: Bishop’s Nagging Thoughts, Deryn Rees-Jones


10. ‘Solid Cuteness’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of Simplicity, Jess Cotton

11. Elizabeth Bishop and ‘a bad case of the Threes’, Katrina Mayson

12. The Case of the Falling S: Elizabeth Bishop, Visual Poetry, and the International Avant-Garde, Susan Rosenbaum

13. ‘The Moose’ as Movie: Elizabeth Bishop as Screenwriter, J T Welsch


14. Migrating Letters, Sophie Baldock

15. Patterns of Time and the Maternal in the Short Stories of Elizabeth Bishop and Katherine Mansfield, Laura Helyer

16. ‘Thinking with One’s Feelings’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Literary Criticism, Michael O’Neill


17. ‘Private faces in public places’: Bishop’s Triptych of Cold War Washington, Heather Treseler

18. Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetics of Islandology, James McCorkle

19. Elizabeth Bishop and Audre Lorde: Two Views of ‘Florida’ in the Global South Atlantic, Marvin Campbell

20. Innocents Abroad? Elizabeth Bishop and James Merrill Overseas, Ben Leubner

21. Elizabeth Bishop in Ireland: From Seamus Heaney to Colm Tóibín, Jonathan Ellis

22. Elizabeth Bishop at the End of the Rainbow, Stephanie Burt


About the Author

Jonathan Ellis is Reader in American Literature at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of Art and Memory in the Work of Elizabeth Bishop (Ashgate, 2006). His articles and essays on twentieth-century poetry have appeared in various journals, including English, The Journal of Modern Literature, Mosaic, PN Review and Poetry Ireland Review. He is co-editor (with Angus Cleghorn) of The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop (2014).


Perhaps you thought you knew Elizabeth Bishop’s work: I did. This book proves me gloriously wrong. These essays present a Bishop brilliantly and subtly dynamised for the twenty-first century—a funnier, sharper, messier, more mysterious and more profound poet than even her longtime admirers might have thought. Informed by recent archival discoveries, ongoing editorial work and critical élan, Jonathan Ellis and his contributors powerfully and variously re-open "the case of Bishop", with ramifying implications for poetics more generally.

- Maureen N. McLane, New York University

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