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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Willard Goodwin <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 16:01:33 -0500
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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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Pursuant to ubi sunt ...
About Sheri Martinelli, there is the engaging memoir by Anatole Broyard,
_Kafka Was the Rage: a Greenwich Village Memoir_. 1st ed. New York: Carol
Southern Books, an imprint of Crown Publishers, 1993, and now reprinted in
paperback, New York: Vintage Books, 1997. Broyard includes a long
description, about 90 pp., of his affair with one "Sheri Donatti," a
bohemian painter, in New York during the late forties. It's Sheri
Martinelli all right. Broyard's informative account makes for a funny, sad,
sexy, and interesting story. At that same time a rival, William Gaddis, was
also in love with Sheri, but Broyard prevailed. I believe Gaddis portrays
them in his first novel _The Recognitions_ (New York: Harcourt, Brace,
1955). I was alerted to all of this by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in a Life &
Letters piece about Broyard in _The New Yorker_ (17 June 1996).
A much older Sheri (weirdly veiled and mysterious, as witnessed in Orono
some years ago) is the model for a character in Larry McMurtry's _Dead
Man's Walk_ (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995). McMurtry's book is one of a
quartet of novels about nineteenth century Texas, a Great Western, begun in
1985 with the Pulitzer Prize winning _Lonesome Dove_. I once had the very
good fortune to ride with McMurtry over that Jornada del Muerta from Los
Angeles to Austin. I recognized him in the airport; we sat together on the
flight and talked about the novels, the subsequent TV mini-series, and
about the antiquarian book trade (McMurtry has been an antiquarian book
dealer for many years, proprietor of the Washington D.C. shop Booked-Up). I
must have mentioned Pound, because McMurtry then described to me how Sheri
arrived at his shop in Washington one day, in a Winnebago camper, wanting
to sell Pound manuscripts, letters, etc. Apparently she was rather
eccentric, covered in black veils and such; and that apparition stayed with
McMurtry until he reconstructed her in the character of Lady Carey, and
English noblewoman in _Dead Man's Walk_.
-Will Goodwin.