Brosman, Catharine Savage 1934–
Brosman, Catharine Savage 1934–
PERSONAL: Born June 7, 1934, in Denver, CO; daughter of Paul Victor (a scholar) and Della Leota (Stanforth) Hill; married Patric Savage, April 7, 1955 (divorced July, 1964); married Paul W. Brosman, Jr. (a professor), August 21, 1970 (divorced May, 1993); children: (second marriage) Katherine Elliott. Education: Rice University, B.A., 1955, M.A., 1957, Ph.D., 1960; University of Grenoble, additional study, 1957–58.
CAREER: Writer and educator. Rice University, Houston, TX, instructor in French, 1960–62; Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA, assistant professor of French, 1962–63; University of Florida, Gainesville, assistant professor of French, 1963–66; Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, associate professor of French, 1966–68; Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, associate professor, 1968–72, professor of French, 1972–92, Andréw W. Mellon professor, 1990, Kathryn B. Gore professor of French, 1992–96, professor emerita of French, 1997–. Visiting associate professor at University of Waterloo, summer, 1970; De Velling and Willis Visiting Research Professor, University of Sheffield, 1996.
MEMBER: Association des amis d'André Gide, National Association of Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright scholarship, University of Grenoble, 1957–58; grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, 1962, 1984, Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1967, Tulane Research Committee grants, 1969, 1983, South Central Modern Language Association, 1981, and American Philosophical Society, 1983; Distinguished Alumna, Rice University, 2000; Shortlisted for Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2005.
(As Catharine Savage) André Gide: l'evolution de sa pensee religieuse (title means "André Gide: The Evolution of His Religious Thought"), Nizet (Paris, France), 1962.
(As Catharine Savage) Malraux, Sartre, and Aragon as Political Novelists, University of Florida Press (Gainesville, FL), 1964.
Watering (poems), University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1972.
(With others) Studies in French in Honor of André Bourgeois, Rice University (Houston, TX), 1973.
Abiding Winter (poems), Robert Barth, 1983.
Jules Roy, CELFAN, 1988.
(Editor) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 65: French Novelists, 1900–1930, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988.
(Editor and contributor) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 72: French Novelists, 1930–1960, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988.
(Editor and contributor) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 83: French Novelists since 1960, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.
Art as Testimony: The Work of Jules Roy, University of Florida Press (Gainesville, FL), 1989.
An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism on André Gide, 1973–1988, Garland (New York, NY), 1990.
Journeying from Canyon de Chelly (poems), Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1990.
Simone de Beauvoir Revisited, Twayne (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 119: Nineteenth-Century French Fiction Writers, 1800–1860: Romantics and Realists, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
(Editor and contributor) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 123: Nineteenth-Century French Fiction Writers, 1860–1900: Naturalists and Beyond, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
The Shimmering Maya and Other Essays, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1994.
(Editor and contributor) Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture: French Culture, 1900–1975, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.
Passages: Poems, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1996.
(Editor) Retour aux "Nourritures terresteres": Actes du colloque de Sheffield 20-22 mars 1997, Rodopi, 1997.
Visions of War in France: Fiction, Art, Ideology, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1999.
Places in Mind: Poems, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2000.
Existential Fiction, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Albert Camus, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Finding Higher Ground: A Life of Travel (essays), University of Nevada Press (Reno, NV), 2003.
The Muscled Truce: Poems, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2003.
Contributor to several anthologies of poetry, including New Southern Poets, edited by Guy Owen and Mary C. Williams, University of North Carolina Press, 1974; Best Poems of 1973, Pacific Books, 1974; and Anthology of Magazine Verse, 1981, 1984. Contributor to numerous encyclopedias, including Encyclopedia of Peace, World Book Encyclopedia, and Reference Guide to World Literature. Contributor to language journals and to literary quarterlies, including French Forum, Southern Review, Southwest Review, and Sewanee Review. French Review, assistant editor, 1974–77, 1984–, managing editor, 1977–80.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Range of Light (poems) for Louisiana State University Press.
SIDELIGHTS: Many reviewers have acknowledged Catharine Savage Brosman's talent for writing about Southern living in an enduring and affectionate manner. Southern Review contributor Donald E. Stanford compared Brosman's attention to the natural world to the work of Emily Dickinson, "whose fascination with crickets and hummingbirds expresses a desire to admire the experience of a mode of being other than human, and the feeling of loss and regret that such an experience is impossible." In a review of the volume of poetry titled Watering, Prairie Schooner contributor James Healey remarked: "Brosman feels completely at home in her world of southern seascapes, marshes, pines, and savannahs. In Watering Brosman rarely ventures beyond the unspectacular, everyday occurrences in her 'only-too-familiar' world; grunion hunting, watering her garden, a lizard on her terrace, and a deserted port are sufficient occasions for poetry."
In the collection of poems Journeying from Canyon de Chelly, Brosman adopts the persona of a restless traveler, on the move through remote sites in the American Southwest and in Europe. In Xavier Review, Landrum Banks described the feel of the book as that of "the traveler, rarely at home, always moving, engaging the landscape, confronting and absorbing it, seeing parallels between it and the (her) human perspective, learning from it or becoming a part of it." Similarly, Jennifer Horne observed in Southern Quarterly that within that central motif of the journey, "a constant tension exists in the poems in the ways in which human beings belong to the natural world and at the same time are estranged from it. In many of the poems, Brosman offers human creation as a way out of this dilemma." Horne compared Brosman's richness of language to Wallace Stevens's, and noted that, like Stevens, Brosman emphasizes "the role of the artist in relation to the possibility of redemption and the place of religion in the twentieth century." In 1994's The Shimmering Maya and Other Essays, Brosman continued displaying this gift for words with a series of thirteen autobiographical essays. New York Times Book Review contributor Sue Halpern found that, while two feminist essays showed signs of "peevishness," Brosman is "a woman with strong, often heretical views, who is not afraid to give them voice … [and] her most powerful words are her most lyrical, the ones that honor the land."
Brosman's 2003 book of poems, The Muscled Truce: Poems, presents a series of "dramatic monologues, genre portraits, and personal reflections," according to Booklist contributor Ray Olson, who went on to rank the author among the premier poets who write "from a Christian perspective." Brosman is also the author of Finding Higher Ground: A Life of Travel. In this series of essays, the author writes about various places that have been meaningful in her life, from her early life in the Colorado Rockies and her roots out West to her visits to Paris, France, to her adopted home of New Orleans. In the process she also discusses literature, society, and important aspects of her life, such as the need for solitude. Most of the essays were previously published in scholarly journals such as the Sewanee Review. Carol Haggas, writing in Booklist, commented that the writings are also about "the interior landscape of the mind and soul." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author's "lifelong dedication to French poetry and philosophy informs her essays to positive effect" and added that "her command of naturalistic detail is strong."
Brosman told CA: "I am something of a phenomenologist, concerned with the relationship of a subject to the world of phenomena—what and how we see and know." Brosman is concerned also with creating worlds that can appeal through their verbal beauty as well as their perceptual and philosophical qualities. Like André Gide and Paul Valéry—two authors whom she considers among her models—she strives for formal excellence, whatever the medium or poetic style, believing that rather than excluding human meaning, formal qualities enhance it. The poem is the perception, whose significance is identical to its verbal form in one sense, but paradoxically transcends it through the meanings or reconstructions readers bring to it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 9, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1978.
Booklist, March 1, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of Finding Higher Ground: A Life of Travel, p. 1136; December 1, 2003, Ray Olson, review of The Muscled Truce: Poems, p. 635.
Choice, December, 1995, A.H. Widder, review of Dictionary of Twentieth Century Culture: French Culture: 1900–1975, p. 592; May, 2000, S. Bailey, review of Visions of War in France: Fiction, Art, Ideology, p. 1713.
French Review, October, 1996, Allan H. Pasco, review of Dictionary of Twentieth Century Culture, p. 129.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003, review of Finding Higher Ground, p. 282.
New York Times Book Review, November 6, 1994, Sue Halpern, review of The Shimmering Maya and Other Essays.
Prairie Schooner, summer, 1974, James Healey, review of Watering, p. 182.
Sewanee Review, fall, 1995, Donald Schier, review of Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture, p. CIX; fall, 2000, Donald Schier, review of Visions of War in France, p. CVIII; winter, 2001, David Middleton, review of Places in Mind, p. XVIII.
Southern Quarterly, fall, 1992, Jennifer Horne, review of Journeying from Canyon de Chelly.
Southern Review, October, 1976, review of Watering, p. 879; summer, 1991, Donald E. Stanford, review of Journeying from Canyon de Chelly, p. 718.
Xavier Review, spring, 1992, Landrum Banks, review of Journeying from Canyon de Chelly.