The 15-Minute Pulitzer
With Bette Davis, no less. I’d be curious to see if the movie version of, In This Our Life, (Ellen Glasgow’s 1942 Pulitzer win) manages to capture the tactile desperation contained in the final pages of the novel. That desperation (rage, disillusionment, etc.) is interesting because at the end of the day, these are characters who come home to a servant preparing their meals for them. I think the servants are part of the reason the angst in the opening passages of the book rings hollow, but then, as one reads on, the depth of suffering does begin to make an impression (that is, to impress). At least at one point, the novel becomes a rather invigorating page turner, although, I confess, something like schadenfreude had a lot to do with that.
Glasgow is reputed to have once commented that “her best work was done when love was over.” That made me giggle. For me, it was a rather “sagacious” (the word I believe Glasgow would have used) comment, existing somewhere in the shadowland between Jaded and Mercenary. It also summed up a notion Glasgow’s novel had raised in me. The notion that she had, at least once in her life and all giggling aside, suffered greatly from love.
A highly-educated member of an eminent Virginia family, Glasgow never married, though she was engaged twice. I’m not convinced that those broken engagements mean she was pushed around and put off by men, though. In fact, I’m kind of leaning towards thinking of her as a semi-deliberate and intermittently brilliant heart-breaker. I don’t know. You gaze along her profile and into her prose and tell me what you think.