An arrow from the current book quiver

One of the books I’ve got going right now is Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s fifth and final volume of her diaries and letters, War Within and Without, first published in 1980, and concerning the late 1930s and early ’40s. Her books, highly personal and internal even when describing public events, are favorites of many women I know.

At one point very early in this volume, she travels to New York City from Long Island to collect Antoine Saint-Exupéry, and on the train back to Long Island, talks to him about their common craft. “He talks about the rhythm in writing,” she notes, “which he thinks is almost the most important thing in a book—as I understand it. That only the conscious gets across in words, the unconscious in the rhythm.”

Yowza. If it ain’t got that swing….

She also tells us that “[t]alking in French about ideas that are so deeply rooted in me in English, ideas that are barely communicable in your own language, to say them in a foreign language you are not the master of, was really a kind of anguish.”

I do think it’s endearing that she makes conversations between Saint-Exupéry and her husband, the two best-known male aviators of the era, sound extraordinarily…what? I hesitate to say ladylike. Artistic? Aesthetic? Something like that, anyway.

Then again, maybe they were.



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