Monday, April 18, 2011

True or False? #2

Janet Frame was on hugging terms with Norman Mailer.

True or False?


Pamela Gordon said...


In 1986 Janet Frame was made an honorary foreign member of the American Academy and Institute of of Arts and Letters.

She attended the ceremony in New York and at lunch she sat with Norman Mailer and John Updike.

She was sponsored by JK Galbraith at the mid-afternoon presentation ceremony.

cindy said...

John Kenneth Gablraith the economist? Funny, I argue in one of my essais that Milly Galbraith represents a positive kind of mathematician and that her name may have been a ref. to JKB :-)

Pamela Gordon said...

What a fascinating insight Cindy! I guess we'll never know whether Frame intended that link between Milly and Galbraith to be made, but there are certainly numerous cases of Frame "name checking" people in her books.
I suppose you know her poem about a mathematician: 'Words speak to Jakow Trachtenberg' from The Goose Bath?

cindy said...

Hi Pamela,

I don't remember well the poem you mention but will have a look at it when I'm back from Istanbul. I'm attending the eaclals conference (and presenting a paper). And to get in the mood, I'm reading "the bastard of Istanbul", quite nice I must say

cindy said...

I, may I quote your answer to your question?

Pamela Gordon said...

Better to quote Michael King from Chapter 28 p 475:

"In New York on 21 May Frame attended the American Academy’s lunch and ceremony at its headquarters on Broadway, overlooking the Hudson River. In the absence of John Money, who had other commitments, Frame was accompanied by his sister and niece, Joyce and Sally Hopkins. At lunch she sat at the same table as Norman Mailer and John Updike, and was girlishly pleased to be hugged by the former. At the mid-afternoon presentation ceremony she was escorted by John Kenneth Galbraith and given a citation that read:
'Janet Frame’s writing is quite singular in directness of tone and assumptions of shared mental experience. Concentration of observation in the author is returned to the readers with match-ing precision and power and her writing sets off small explosions in the mind and imagination. As the body of her work has enlarged, one comes to under-stand it not just as a series of extraordinary insights into suffering and thought, but as a mighty exploration of human consciousness and its context in the natural world.' [In an endnote King cites his source as: New Zealand Update, August 1986, published by the New Zealand Embassy, Washington.]

The only thing I would wince at in the above is King's patronising characterisation of Frame as 'girlishly' pleased to be hugged by Norman Mailer, for heaven's sake! Oh and Joyce and Sally Hopkins were friends of Janet's not just standins for John Money - you can see the biogrpaher's usual condescending bias operating in his interpretations and characterisations of Frame as having only a few male mentors and any other friends she has are only bestowed by them temporarily and she is not accorded the status of having her own relationships. It really is a hell of a stich-up.
But King's actual facts are usually pretty well sourced, if all you are looking ofr is the connection with Galbraith. (NB Milly Galbraith predated the meeting with JK by many years, but janet will have known his work of course.)

Pamela Gordon said...

Spelling! I meant to say: "It really is a hell of a stitch-up". (And you can quote me on that - but Maria Wikse has said it better!)