Elizabeth Smart: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

(1025 words)
  • Andrew Lesk (University of Toronto)

A much-acclaimed work, By Grand Central Station achieved a certain notoriety upon its appearance. Termed by one critic to be an “adroit piece of home-wrecking”, it nevertheless received resounding praise from all quarters. The early praise did not sustain the novel’s literary reputation, however, and it soon fell from public view. A semi-autobiographical prose work, poetic and allusive, the novel is concerned with the narrator’s love for a married man (paralleling Smart’s affair with the married George Barker). The simple plot – a woman yearns for a man she has not yet met; meets him, and his wife; falls in love; follows him to Ottawa and New York; despairs – traverses little more than a hundred pages. The novel,…

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Lesk, Andrew. "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 April 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16763, accessed 27 September 2016.]