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Idomen, or The Vale of Yumuri

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By: (1794-1845)

Idomen (1843) is the creative-nonfiction memoir of the beautiful and brilliant American poetess Maria Gowen Brooks, who was compared in the 19th century to Byron and Swinburne. In it she tells the story of an ill-fated love affair she had twenty years earlier while traveling with her young son in Canada following the death of her much older husband. The traumatic breakup led to suicide attempts on her part, which romantic masochist Brooks byronically relates in full, albeit changing everybody's name. Herself she calls Idomen, which is apparently idiomatic Greek for "we shall see" – as indeed we shall!

(Incidentally, the well-traveled Brooks had inherited a plantation in Cuba upon the death of her brother from malaria and went back there to live after Idomen was published, only to die of the same disease herself not long after.)


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