Introduction to Edna St. Vincent Millay Bibliography

by Judith Nierman and John J. Patton

The resurgence of interest in Edna St. Vincent Millay beginning in the 1970s is evidenced by a large body of published materials and a series of seminars held at Skidmore College. The last of three Millay seminars held at Skidmore in the course of six years took place in 1992. More than a dozen papers dealing with the significance of the poet and her work were presented . These papers as well as others prompted by a feminist interpretation of her work and reconsiderations of her place in American literature make obvious the need for an up-to-date bibliography of criticism and commentary about Millay's life and work. The latest bibliography appeared in 1977. It is Judith Nierman's , published by G. K. Hall. It is an annotated bibliography and contains over one thousand entries from 1918 through 1973. It is indispensable to Millay studies. The present bibliography, also annotated, provides a continuation of Nierman's Guide. Together these two bibliographies offer a total of nearly 1,500 items, sure testimony, if such is needed, that Millay should be considered a major fixture in modern American poetry.

In the course of her career, Millay was loaded with honors of every kind including the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923, the first ever awarded to a woman. The appearance of each of her slender volumes of poetry was a major publishing event which received widespread critical attention nationally. Ironically, Millay's popular success made her suspect to many critics who doubted her stature as a serious poet in part because of the attention given to her work. Her popular success as well as her turn to propaganda work during World War II resulted in a decline of scholarly and critical interest, and by the time of her death in 1950, Millay studies were in decline.

The tide in opinion turned with the publication of Norman Brittin's 1967 full-length study1 and James Gray's pamphlet in the same year.2 The first reputable full-length biography, Jean Gould's The Poet and Her Book3 appeared in 1969. Millay also figured prominently in books by Rosanne Sprague4 and Joan Dash.5 Feminist critics and scholars in particular have contributed a sizeable body of work offering, in many instances, a reassessment of Millay's place among twentieth-century American poets. Two recent collections--Millay at 1006 and Critical Essays on Edna St. Vincent Millay7--are evidence of new and original perspectives on Millay's achievement. It is our hope that this bibliography will help in making clear Millay's importance to American poetry.

Judith Nierman
John J. Patton

1 Edna St. Vincent Millay (Twayne, 1967).
2 Edna St. Vincent Millay (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1967).
3 The Poet and Her Book (Dodd, Mead, 1969).
4 Imaginary Gardens (Chilton, 1969).
5 A Life of One's Own (Harper & Row, 1973).
6 Ed. William B. Thesing (G. K. Hall, 1993).
7 Ed. Diane P. Freedman (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1995).

A Note on Method

The bibliography is divided into two parts. The first part contains citations from the twenty years following the time frame covered by the Nierman bibliography, that is, 1973-1992. The Supplement contains citations from the time frame of the Nierman bibliography that do not appear in that bibliography. References in the annotations to original sources for reprints refer back to the Nierman bibliography. Original publications may be located there under the year date and author's name.

The bibliographical forms shown in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 4th ed., are used throughout the bibliography with one exception. When provided by the source, the day and month, not just the year, and also the volume number are given for all periodicals. Because of the expense and often the difficulty of accessing dissertations, they have been annotated from Dissertation Abstracts. In the interest of avoiding needless repetition, Millay is identified simply by the initial letter "M," except for direct quotations or titles in which her name appears. The titles of published volumes are identified by initials, as shown in the key below. The titles of individual poems are provided in full. We have tried to make the cross-referencing as plain as possible. A reference in the main part of the bibliography to an "S" number, for example, refers to an entry in the Supplement.

AC: Aria da Capo
BS: The Buck in the Snow
CL: Collected Lyrics
CP: Collected Poems
CS: Collected Sonnets
CM: Conversation at Midnight
DD: Distressing Dialogues
FE: Flowers of Evil, from the French of Charles Baudelaire, with George Dillon
FI: Fatal Interview
FFT: A Few Figs from Thistles
HW: The Harp Weaver
HHQ: Huntsman,What Quarry?
KH: The King's Henchman
LB: The Lamp and the Bell
MBA: Make Bright the Arrows
MH: Mine the Harvest
ML: The Murder of Lidice
PMP: The Princess Marries the Page
RN: Renascence
SA: Second April
SP: Selected Poems
WFG: Wine from These Grapes

Acknowledgments

John J. Patton:
I am happy to acknowledge the generous assistance of Grant Wilinski, Reference Librarian of the William J. Spangler Library at Atlantic Community College, Mays Landing, N.J., for his unstinting efforts both to locate and to obtain all the source materials that I requested for this bibliography. I also want to thank Paul Rigby, Director of the Library, for support of the project since I first began my research.

Judith Nierman:
I am grateful to the vastly knowledgeable reference librarians at the Library of Congress who answered my reference questions and solved my computer dilemmas.

Copyright

We have chosen to publish this bibliography on the Internet in the hopes of furthering Millay studies. However, the authors retain all rights conferred on copyright owners under Title 17, Sec. 106, of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. With the exception of brief quotations used in a scholarly or educational context, reproduction is prohibited. For information about rights and permissions, contact enierman@erols.com.

1996 Judith Nierman and John J. Patton

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