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Claire Messud | Jane Bowles

Dec
2

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Online

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Claire Messud | Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies

Two Serious Ladies is the only novel by Jane Bowles, the marvelous and idiosyncratic mid-twentieth century writer also of stories and the play In the Summer House. The novel—a rare American existentialist fiction by a woman writer—tells the stories of Mrs. Copperfield and Miss Goering, two women seeking to live authentically and to find happiness. Compelled by Bowles's particular combination of humor and pathos, we follow their separate journeys as they stray ever further from home.

You can purchase your copy through our bookstore partners, Seminary Co-Op in Chicago and Loyalty Bookstore in Washington, DC.

Reading Schedule
Day 1 (December 3) | Chapter 1, p. 1-18 (through “She was not sure that she did not find him a bit too familiar.”)

Day 2 (December 4) | Finish Chapter 1

Day 3 (December 5) | Chapter 2, p. 37-62 (through “The other two women looked across the street and they all watched him disappear.”)

Day 4 (December 6) | : Chapter 2, pp. 63-83 (through “Oh, I’d love to Pacifica,” said Mrs. Copperfield, running out of the room.”)

Day 5 (December 7) | Chapter 2, pp. 83-102 (from “When Mrs. Copperfield arrived in Mrs. Quill’s room" through “Mrs. Quill was dignified and remote and did not give her the lavish thanks which she had been expecting.”

Day 6 (December 8) | Finish Chapter 2, pp. 102-121 (from “Early the next morning Mrs. Copperfield and Pacifica were together in Pacifica’s bedroom" through “Listen, your pal’s been out of the room two whole minutes already. She’s gone to look for Pacifica.")

Day 7 (December 9) | Chapter 3, pp. 123-142 (through “She held her hand over her heart and smiled to herself.”)

Day 8 (December 10) | Chapter 3, pp 142-158 (from “When she arrived at the tip of the island" through “something would happen to interfere with her departure.”

Day 9 (December 11) | Chapter 3, pp. 159-176 (from “She noticed with a faint hear” through “shortly she fell into a deep sleep.”)

Day 10 (December 12) | Chapter 3, pp. 176-196 (from “At about five thirty on the following afternoon" through “Then all three of them politely bade good-by to Andy’s back and left the room.”

Day 11 (December 13) | Chapter 3, pp. 196-210 (from “Arnold’s father had been sitting in the ice-cream parlor" through “He’s never going to listen to me,” Miss Goering said to herself.")

Day 12 (December 14) | Finish Chapter 3, pp. 211-End


Claire Messud

is the author of six works of fiction. A recipient of a Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.


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