Bethany Hicok, "Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive" (Lever Press, 2020)


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What more can we learn about legendary American writer Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), dubbed by Bethany Hicok “the most stunning poet of the twentieth century”, by exploring the wonderful archives of her life and work at Vassar? Why are literary archives coming back into vogue? How do new techniques in digital humanities create novel possibilities for archival-based research and publication? And how can we develop collaborative methods of studying and teaching in literary archives?

In this lively, well-crafted podcast, leading Bishop scholar Bethany Hicok of Williams College completely fails to control her infectious enthusiasm for Elizabeth Bishop’s writings. She explains to Duncan McCargo why Bishop has become for her the poet of the pandemic, and above all what happened when she spent three weeks embedded in the Vassar archives with sixteen other scholars and poets – a project that resulted in this beautifully produced and copiously illustrated edited volume.

Since Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive is an Open Access publication, you can and should download it (free of charge), so you can read along here.

Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist and literature buff: his day job is directing the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

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