Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell and Their Circle

Richard Davenport-Hines at Literary Review:

‘Sometimes I think I am the enemy of womankind,’ Lowell told Hardwick. He hurt all three of his wives grievously, but he believed in their greatness as writers, enriched them creatively and improved their sense of self-worth. He gave the first, Jean Stafford, lifelong facial disfigurement after crashing the car they were in while drunk at the wheel, and later broke her nose during a drunken row in New Orleans. He also encouraged her during the writing of her first novel, Boston Adventure, which sold over 400,000 copies following its publication in 1944. The novel that Hardwick wrote after marrying Lowell, The Simple Truth, is a big improvement on its predecessor, and the novel she wrote as a response to The Dolphin after his death, Sleepless Nights, is her best. ‘Everything I know’, she attested, ‘I learned from him.’

more here.