My Introduction to Mary MacLane’s “My Friend Annabel Lee – Annotated”

( Petrarca Press – Kindle edition.)

Mary MacLane’s least-known book affords a completely different view of the writer being rediscovered as “the first blogger,” known even in her time as “the first of the Flappers.” Written in 1902-1903 after the international sensation of her 1902 proto-blog I Await the Devil’s Coming (published as The Story of Mary MacLane), the 21-year-old author threw critics and public a curve. Rather than try to top her first book’s fire and thunder, she turned around completely and wrote a book of tremulous sensitivity – and ruthless self-analysis. Set in the form of dialogues, with an exchange of letters near the end, MacLane splits herself in two and has the two sides meet in friendship and battle: the gnomic, ironic, declarative, unflappable Annabel Lee and the depressive, credulous, clingy narrator, “Mary MacLane.” Nature is almost non-existent in this tale: the setting hardly ever moves from their shared apartment, and then only to return to the scene of psychic tension. A close reading of its beauties and relentless focus on style discloses her most finished book and the purest exhibition of her incipient Surrealism. Detailed textual notes, drawn from the Petrarca anthology Human Days: A Mary MacLane Reader, make this edition – of the book she may have most written to, by and for herself – unique among all those currently on offer. With this publication, all of MacLane’s books become available in Petrarca Press annotated editions for Kindle.Mary MacLane’s least-known book affords a completely different view of the writer being rediscovered as “the first blogger,” known even in her time as “the first of the Flappers.” Written in 1902-1903 after the international sensation of her 1901 proto-blog I Await the Devil’s Coming (published in 1902 as “The Story of Mary MacLane”), the 21-year-old author threw critics and public a curve. Rather than try to top her first book’s fire and thunder, she turned around completely and wrote a book of tremulous sensitivity – and ruthless self-analysis. Set in the form of dialogues, with an exchange of letters near the end, MacLane splits herself in two and has the two sides meet in friendship and battle: the gnomic, ironic, declarative, unflappable Annabel Lee and the depressive, credulous, clingy narrator, “Mary MacLane.” Nature is almost non-existent in this tale: the setting hardly ever moves from their shared apartment, and then only to return to the scene of psychic tension. A close reading of its beauties and relentless focus on style discloses her most finished book and the purest exhibition of her incipient Surrealism. Detailed textual notes, drawn from the Petrarca anthology Human Days: A Mary MacLane Reader, make this edition – of the book she may have written to, by and for herself – unique among all those currently on offer. With this publication, all of MacLane books become available in Petrarca Press annotated editions for Kindle.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s