In the end I couldn't wait the fifty-six days.
Fifty-six days before I laid hands on the UK Virago edition of Elaine Showalter's brilliant new magnum opus A Jury of Her Peers American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx ?
I don't think so.
So I trawled around and did some price comparisons for the US Knopf edition published in February and eventually The Book Depository came up as the cheapest option, though £17.79 still doesn't feel cheap for a book, but no matter I have it.
Nor did I do what I did with US edition of Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel and send not one but two copies back to Amazon as seconds because, can you believe the shoddiness, the pages edges were all ragged and uncut, missed the guillotine by a mile.
I wasn't having that.
Until of course it dawned with my third copy that this was the intentional and fashionable deckle-edged finish, though by this time Amazon had pulled their entire UK stock as seconds and probably sent the whole lot to a bonfire somewhere.
I felt bad about that for a while but quickly grew to love the quirky deckle-edge.
This the book mentioned by Elaine Showalter at her talk on Susan Glaspell and Dorothy Canfield Fisher which I travelled to London for back in November and finally the first definitive tome on American women writers for me to dip into and read and get ideas for more reading.
I've browsed through and read about the writers I know but my sum total is scant few in fact a bit of a book-famine when you look at the whole.
My old friends Susan and Dorothy of course and Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin, Louisa May Alcott, and Constance Fenimore Woolson discovered via Elizabeth Maguire's book The Open Door.
Plenty of twentieth century names too but surprisingly no Dawn Powell.
I guess Elaine Showalter's going to get fed up with this because inevitably there must have been some winnowing of the grain from the chaff but still I'm wondering why no Dawn Powell?
"Satire is people as they are; romanticism, people as they would like to be; realism, people as they seem with their insides left out."
That's our Dawn and The Bride's House one of those bleak Ethan Frome-like explorations of the mis-matched marriage as I recall, women's lives and what Tim Page describes as an 'inter-generational stream of consciousness.'
No matter, the introduction to A Jury of Her Peers offers a fine taster of what's to come with Elaine Showalter's eminently readable style and of course the admission that she has inevitably had to make selections, distinctions and judgements and specifically amongst other criteria
'how American women negotiated the act of writing professionally, how they were changed by committing themselves to writing as a vocation, how they reconciled their public selves with their private lives and how changes in the status of women affected their lives and careers'
There is an acknowledgement to the pressures on women to lead private rather than public lives which feels quite relevant to 'that' book I've read this week. Would a man writing about similar themes from a father's point of view have been quite so publically castigated?
I don't know, just a thought and slap me with that wet cod again for even suggesting it, but if Jonathan Myerson had penned The Lost Child might we have been viewing it in a different light ?