The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
* NOTE. Mr. Vernon Watkins wrote me a pleasant letter about this, saying Dylan enjoyed telling stories about the hardships of his childhood, family ignorance, and so on. They were certainly not rich, and they were religious enough, but not illiterates—educated, respectable people, and most loving and tender parents. N.B. I sent this letter to The New York Times to be published. The editor did not return the letter, and published it changed to appear that the letter had been written to The Times instead of to me.
* “His Phoenix.” It was later collected in the volume The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) and appears as follows:
There is a Queen in China, or maybe it’s in Spain,
And birthdays and holidays such praises can be heard
Of her unblemished lineaments, a whiteness with no stain,
That she might be that sprightly girl trodden by a bird.
* She did write that letter, which was misplaced for a number of years—a very good letter, which I found when going over my papers for the University of Maryland. The line I remembered was this marvel of composure in the face of Death itself and her own death.
* These are short hand notes taken of a lecture I made before the American Women’s Club in Paris, 1934.—K.A.P.
* In France.
* “Living Water” by S. Sergeev-Tzensky, The Dial, July, 1929.
* At the time this was written it was clear enough that I was opposed to every form of authoritarian, totalitarian government or religion, under whatever name in whatever country. I still am.
* This was written on June 21, 1940, seven days after the fall of France.
* In 1790, the Queen’s lover, Count Fersen, wrote to his sister: “She is an angel of courage, of conduct, of sensibility: no one ever knew how to love as she does.” He had known her since they were both eighteen years old, and had been her lover for more than five years. He had himself all the qualities he found in her, and more.
* That was then!
* See preceding. So much for memory.
* NOTE. July, 1952: I lived there just thirteen months.
* AUTHOR’S NOTE: In this retelling of the Circe episode I have followed the old Butcher-Arnold translation, the first I ever knew, and it still has for me the wonder of early love and true poetry. I believe I have every translation into English of the Odyssey but I preferred this for my Defense.
* Lineal descendant of Christopher Columbus.
* Note and read again, December Second, 1969—K. A. P. in Memoriam.
* Fall, 1952. The hydrogen bomb has just been exploded, very successfully, to the satisfaction of the criminals who caused it to be made.
* I heard this again years later from Germans in Berlin when Hitler was beginning to infect the local mind like a medieval plague.
* Edmund Wilson, The American Earthquake, page 573, chapter called “Postscript of 1957.”
* They seem to have it and are getting on with it—1976.
* He died long after this was written.
* Loaned me by Bertram D. Wolfe, of Mexico City.
Katherine Anne Porter, The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter