The Correspondence of Anthony Hecht and William L. MacDonald
Anthony Hecht and William L. MacDonald met for the first time in the fall of 1954, shortly after each had arrived in Rome, Hecht on a Guggenheim Fellowship, and MacDonald on a Rome Fellowship at the American Academy. Hecht was 31 years old, and MacDonald 33; both were recently married, and both were on their way to making names for themselves, Hecht as one of his era's most esteemed poets, and MacDonald as one its most accomplished architectural historians. Though neither man could have realized it at the time, this was to be the start of a friendship that would endure for the best part of four decades, a friendship which would generate a large body of correspondence, the character of which is likely to come as a surprise to anyone who only knew the men by their works. All but a handful of the 440 letters and postcards that have come down to us are now gathered in A Bountiful Harvest, a volume edited and with an introduction by Anthony Hecht's UK publisher Philip Hoy. The correspondence combines richness of anecdote with variety of topic, lightness of touch with great learning, a passion for high culture with a love of the down-to-earth and downright off-colour, concern for each other with undisguised rivalrousness. Above all, the exchanges are almost unceasingly funny, except towards the end, when things take an unexpected and deeply saddening turn.
Edited by Phillip Hoy, 2018, Hardcover, 544 Pages.