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

(1026 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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
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 01 August 2014.]