Diary of Helena Morley

Elizabeth Bishop


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5 June 2008
ISBN: 9781844084937
352 pages

From the publisher

‘No wonder Bishop fell in love with this book . . . No adult writer, however skilful . . . could write with the nonchalant vivacity and ease that she unwittingly commanded’ Diana Athill

From Elizabeth Bishop’s introduction:
‘When I first came to Brazil, in 1952, I asked my Brazilian friends which Brazilian books I should begin reading … They frequently recommended this little book, “Minha Vida de Menina” … In English the title means “My Life as a Little Girl” or “Young Girl”, and that is exactly what the book is about, but it is not reminiscences; it is a diary, the diary actually kept by a little girl between the ages of 12 and 15, in the far-off town of Diamantina, in 1893-1895 … The more I read the book the better I liked it. The scenes and events it described were odd, remote, and long ago, and yet fresh, sad, funny and eternally true. The longer I stayed on in Brazil the more Brazilian the book seemed, yet much of it could have happened in any small provincial town or village, and at almost any period of history – at least before the arrival of the automobile and the moving-picture theatre