Fiction. Edited and with an introduction by George Fragopoulos. Originally published under the pseudonym Madeleine Vara in 1936 by Laura Riding's and Robert Graves's Seizen Press, CONVALESCENT CONVERSATIONS is one of Riding's least known works, and one of her most wonderfully idiosyncratic. A novel unfolding almost entirely in dialogue form, CONVALESCENT CONVERSATIONS tells the story of Adam and Eleanor, two patients recovering from unknown maladies in a nondescript sanitarium. Through a series of increasingly esoteric philosophical conversations regarding topics such as God, love, and the meaning of illness, Adam and Eleanor come to tell the stories of who they are and what they are suffering from. While not strictly an allegorical work, it is difficult to not see historical parallels between the suffering of the protagonists and the state of the world in the late 1930s. 1936 was also the year Riding and Robert Graves had to flee Mallorca, Spain following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
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Laura Riding was a poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and publisher. While primarily known for the critical works that she co-authored with Robert Graves—A Pamphlet Against Anthologies and A Survey of Modernist Poetry—Riding also left behind an incredibly powerful body of poetry and prose works that, regrettably, remain little read today. These include The Close Chaplet, The Lives of Wives, and The Progress of Stories. Famously rejecting poetry early in her career, she spent the last decades of her life co-writing a theoretical work on linguistics, Rational Meaning, with her husband Schuyler Jackson. She was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1991, the very same year she died.Author City: SEBASTIAN, FL USA