Robert Lowell in Love in London Review of Books

8/3/2016

"Why did they go along with it?" asks reviewer Anne Diebel who discusses all she discovered from Jeffrey Meyers's Robert Lowell in Love inThe London Review of Books.

Diebel writes:

"Robert Lowell in Love examines Lowell’s three marriages and nine of his affairs. Jeffrey Meyers criticises Lowell’s selfishness and cruelty towards these women, but maintains that they suffered for a noble cause – poetry! His wives, all writers, were, Meyers also claims, ‘driven by the snobbish appeal of his great name’ and ‘the formidable connections that would advance their careers’. Meyers is especially critical of Hardwick, whom he portrays as a less pretty, less talented, more status-obsessed Mary McCarthy, but sympathetic to the girlfriends and mistresses, whose encounters with Lowell make good material for easy sermonising. ‘His women,’ Meyers argues, ‘were drawn to his genius and madness … and became the sacrificial muses who inspired his poetry.’"

She is not the only one fascinated by this aspect of Robert Lowell's life. 

Choice Magazine highly recommends the book, saying "This well-informed, carefully researched study is also a page-turner."

The Spectator said: "Meyers has done sterling work in tracking down Lowell's mistresses and combing the creative output of his wives for variously refracted images of 'Cal.'"

The Washington Free Beacon wrote: "The poet lived a messy, mad, and ill-mannered life, injuring those around him with a profligacy made even clearer by the new facts Jeffrey Meyers has uncovered."

Book Page called the book "compelling and insightful."

If you want a bit of what our reviewer called a "guilty, cathartic kind of schadenfreude," please see https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/robert-lowell-love