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Gloves, and: Summoning Shades, and: A Serpent’s Tooth

Gloves, and: Summoning Shades, and: A Serpent’s Tooth R. T. Smith poetr y "Reading Jean H. Baker's Mary Todd Lincoln, I discovered scores of fascinating things about Mary Todd Lincoln, but the ones that struck the most resonant chord involved her obsessive shopping, her immersion in spiritualism and her arrest on charges of insanity. For a spell I had no idea I would write about her, as I imagined myself finished with Civil War­era poems, but when my wife and I traveled to Gettysburg to see the new museum, I found that First Lady's image and personality stamped on displays everywhere I turned. "The bookshop there offered Catherine Clinton's Mrs. Lincoln, and in another month my sofa was covered with books on the same subject. I couldn't shake the image of her buying gloves for all occasions, dozens of pairs. Although I understood some of the Victorian woman's fashion concerns, the gloves struck me as metaphorical, a much more complicated, and more sympathetic, obsession than Lady Macbeth's hand-scrubbing. Beyond the numerous personal losses she experienced, I imagine Mrs. Lincoln kept a kind of national casualty count in her heart, but she tried to insulate herself from all that grief with the gloves and other purchases while http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Missouri Review University of Missouri

Gloves, and: Summoning Shades, and: A Serpent’s Tooth

The Missouri Review , Volume 35 (4) – Feb 16, 2012

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Publisher
University of Missouri
Copyright
Copyright © The Curators of the University of Missouri.
ISSN
1548-9930
Publisher site
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Abstract

R. T. Smith poetr y "Reading Jean H. Baker's Mary Todd Lincoln, I discovered scores of fascinating things about Mary Todd Lincoln, but the ones that struck the most resonant chord involved her obsessive shopping, her immersion in spiritualism and her arrest on charges of insanity. For a spell I had no idea I would write about her, as I imagined myself finished with Civil War­era poems, but when my wife and I traveled to Gettysburg to see the new museum, I found that First Lady's image and personality stamped on displays everywhere I turned. "The bookshop there offered Catherine Clinton's Mrs. Lincoln, and in another month my sofa was covered with books on the same subject. I couldn't shake the image of her buying gloves for all occasions, dozens of pairs. Although I understood some of the Victorian woman's fashion concerns, the gloves struck me as metaphorical, a much more complicated, and more sympathetic, obsession than Lady Macbeth's hand-scrubbing. Beyond the numerous personal losses she experienced, I imagine Mrs. Lincoln kept a kind of national casualty count in her heart, but she tried to insulate herself from all that grief with the gloves and other purchases while

Journal

The Missouri ReviewUniversity of Missouri

Published: Feb 16, 2012

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