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Miss MacIntosh, My Darling: Chapter 80: About Esther Longtree, the Infanticide, Ruth Ford



Ruth Ford (1911-2008) reads from Chapter 80 “About Esther Longtree, the Infanticide” of Miss MacIntosh, My Darling by Marguerite Young. Ford was a model and actress, but was best known as a muse for authors and playwrights. She was a member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater; its director helped her secure a number of contracts with Hollywood studios. Her apartment in the Dakota in Manhattan functioned as a salon for creative types and intellectuals. Truman Capote and Tennesee Williams were among her many visitors.

In this chapter Esther Longtree continues to contemplate her life decisions and why she is perpetually pregnant. She wonders what sort of void she is inadvertently trying to fill with her pregnancies. This time, she dwells upon Walter, the one child that she did give birth to. But where is he? Did she kill him? Even Esther wonders about whether or not her first born ever existed.

Often compared to James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, Young's novel resonates with unique and poignant observations of American culture, in an epic and surrealist poetic prose. It took the under-recognized, enigmatic, and iconoclastic author eighteen years of work to complete this dense, two volume novel.

In 1976-77, Charles Ruas produced a series of WBAI radio programs focused on literature and radio performance, called The Reading Experiment. As part of this series, Miss MacIntosh, My Darling was read over a year-long period by Marguerite Young’s contemporaries from the New York City literature, music, and theater communities. All readings are underscored with soundscapes and music by artist Rob Wynne.

This program has been restored by The Clocktower Radio; with the assistance of Charles Ruas; and by agreement with The Yale Beinecke Library, home to the Marguerite Young Papers. Special thanks to Dr. Contance Eichenlaub for her passion and generosity.
 

RELATED PROGRAMS

Marguerite Young: Miss Macintosh, My Darling

RADIO SERIES

In 1976-77, Charles Ruas produced a series of WBAI radio programs focused on literature and radio performance, called "The Reading Experiment". As part of this series, Miss MacIntosh, My Darling was read over a year-long period by Marguerite Young’s contemporaries from the New York City literature, music, and theater communities. All readings are underscored with soundscapes and music by artist Rob Wynne. The readings in the their entirety can be listened to here, as part of the Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas. This program has been restored by The Clocktower Radio; with the assistance of Charles Ruas; and by agreement with The Yale Beinecke Library, home to the Marguerite Young Papers. Special thanks to Dr. Contance Eichenlaub for her passion and generosity.
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