"The most intellectually exhilarating work published in 2018 . . . A lasting treasure." -Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Hugh Kenner (1923-2003) and Guy Davenport (1927-2005) first met in September 1953 when each gave a paper on Ezra Pound at Columbia University. They met again in the fall of 1957, and their correspondence begins with Kenner's letter of March 7, 1958. In the next forty-four years, they exchanged over one thousand letters. An extraordinary document of a literary friendship that lasted half a century, the letters represent one of the great and-with the dawn of the age of text and Twitter-one of the last major epistolary exchanges of its kind. Students and lovers of modernism will find, in the letters, matchless engagements with Eliot, Joyce, Beckett, Basil Bunting, Charles Tomlinson, R. Buckminster Fuller, Stan Brakhage, Jonathan Williams, and the American modernists William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Louis Zukofsky. The correspondence ends with Kenner's letter of August 9, 2002, lamenting how they had drifted apart.
The extensive notes and cross-referencing of archival sources in Questioning Minds are a major contribution to the study of literary modernism. The letters contained within explore how new works were conceived and developed by both writers. They record faithfully, and with candor, the urgency that each brought to his intellectual and creative pursuits. Here is a singular opportunity to follow the development of their unique fictions and essays.