Arts: Bons Mots
The new Literary Charleston & the Lowcountry delivers works from 40 local and internationally renowned writers
What did author Henry James dub the “sweetest corner of Charleston” in the early 1900s? And why did a Holy City debutante invent the mini-skirt, according to Andy Warhol? Find the answers in Literary Charleston & the Lowcountry, a collection of fiction, poems, letters, and essays by a surprising array of authors who have put our poetic town into words.
The April release is the second edition of the book, first printed in 1996. This time, Charleston-bred editor Curtis Worthington says he sought to “spice things up” when compiling works from the 18th to 21st centuries. While retaining pieces by William Bartram, Pat Conroy, and other long-acknowledged talents, he added more contemporary writings and even an excerpt from Robert W. Marks’ racy The Trembling of a Leaf. “Many may not put this book in the category of great literature, but it captures the spirit of Charleston,” explains Worthington.
And that is the book’s intent: to offer—in short, beach-readable slices—views into the Lowcountry’s past and present. There’s the gossipy and salacious, the beautiful and insightful, the critical and portentous (try Albert Goldman’s 1977 Esquire essay on whether Spoleto would bring about “the awakening of that Sleeping Beauty of American cities: Charleston.”). In short, it’s a book you’ll revisit time and again, whether you’re pulling it from the shelf or calling a passage to mind during your rambles around town.