24 April 2011

Maeve Brennan: The Visitor (2000)

Maeve Brennan (1917-93) was born in Dublin, Ireland, and moved with her family to New York in 1934.  In the 1940s she was a fashion copyist for Harpers Bazaar, then wrote as 'The Long-Winded Lady' for the New Yorker, where she later often slept in the restroom as a result of alcoholism and mental illness.

She wrote short stories and her novella The Visitor, written in the 1940s, was published posthumously (Washington DC: Counterpoint Press, 2000). The UK edition (London: Atlantic Books, 2001) contains a Foreword by Clare Boylan, in which she says:

'Brennan doesn't just write about loneliness. She inhabits it. She exhibits it. She elevates it to an art form. The shy, the dispossessed, the dominated, are seen not in the world but teetering on some perilous rim of it, from where they cannot possibly keep their balance but have a unique view.'

There have been suggestions that Maeve Brennan was the principal model for the main character - Holly Golightly - in Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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