By John Sedgwick
While engaged on his moment novel, John Sedgwick spiraled right into a melancholy so profound that it practically ended in suicide. An writer acclaimed for his intimate literary tours into the rarified, moneyed enclave of Brahmin Boston, he made up our minds to look for the roots of his malaise within the background of his personal storied family—one of America's oldest and so much striking. Following a bloodline that travels from Theodore Sedgwick, compatriot of George Washington and John Adams, to Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol's tragic muse, John Sedgwick's very own trip of self-discovery turned anything a long way better: a spellbinding research of the evolution of a unprecedented American family.
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Additional resources for In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family
The dream’s repetition suggests lacerating guilt as much as it does longing. ” six AMONG THE RIVER GODS Theodore had had his eye on Pamela Dwight since she was twelve. Mark Hopkins, the legal mentor who had ﬁrst drawn Theodore to Great Barrington, was married to her much-older half sister Electa Sergeant, and little Pamma, as she was called then, often came to stay. She was a delicate child, prone to the febrile condition the colonists termed “ague,” and painfully shy. Her mother, the fearsome Abigail, complained that when she attended a Harvard commencement as a young teenager, she’d hardly spoken to a soul.
It had its roots in the balanced Georgian style that had ﬂourished in England since the time of King George I earlier in the century; with the addition of the Platonic geometry of the circle and the square to the conﬁguration of rooms, it had become the height of London fashion, the quintessence of urbane Englishness. As such, it was as suited to the hardscrabble Berkshires as Buckingham Palace. A world away from London, the Stockbridge house’s square rooms and ﬁnery had a dazzling formal purity—but also a potentially irritating aura of cultivation and superiority.
We are headed out and in. It’s an odd arrangement, no question. Perhaps even un-American. Isn’t ours a nation of pioneers, our eyes scanning the horizon, or the heavens, for the next frontier? —to ﬁnd better lives elsewhere? But we Sedgwicks are eternally drawn back to our beginnings here in this shady little hollow of the Berkshire hills, as if, following T. S. Eliot, our end is indeed our beginning. I examine the inscriptions on those early tombstones, greened with moss, the letters blurred by age and acid rain.