[lit-ideas] Lowelliana: In search of the Vice-Admiral

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:14:46 -0800

Lawrence, in quest of a character in Robert Lowell's, '91 Revere Street,
writes,

'I attempted to find this hero of World War II Vice-Admiral Billy
Harkness using
Google and failed.  Wouldn't someone
 like that have an article written about him some place?  Could Lowell have
made him up?'

At <
http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-achievement-of-Robert-Lowell-1611>,
one finds

Part Two [of *Life Stories*] is a twenty-five-page prose piece, “91 Revere
Street,” which provides background and many details

that could not easily be conveyed in verse. This piece has its comic and
satirical moments—a side of Lowell not

previously revealed in his writing—and has one purely fictional character,
Billy Harkness, supposedly an Annapolis

classmate of Lowell’s father.


Robert Paul

In search of lost characters

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