Mary Butts, The Crystal Cabinet

Andrew Radford (University of Glasgow)
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The Crystal Cabinet: My Childhood at Salterns, Mary Butts’ unfinished memoir, was published by Methuen in 1937. Early reviews in Time and Tide and The Listener were alert to the text’s generic sophistication and hybridity; how the sometimes-fragmentary design both reflected and disrupted traditions of formal autobiography, land-writing, reminiscence, elegy and swingeing social critique. The reference to William Blake’s poem of the same name in the book’s title proclaims what is for the author a crucial family link: Mary was the great-granddaughter of Blake’s close associate, correspondent, and principal patron Thomas Butts (1739-1845). This sense of connection to Blake’s visionary poetics, coupled with her vaunted derivation from “the most ancient blood in England” (CC, p.…

1618 words

Citation: Radford, Andrew. "The Crystal Cabinet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 September 2023 [, accessed 10 December 2023.]

41301 The Crystal Cabinet 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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