There is a new (February, 2016) review of Me & My Mom, on Neglected Books. Excellent review, and I must own up to being the person who is working on the Hauser Wikipedia article, and it’s slow going! Me & My Mom is out of print but easy to get. I’ve found it in used bookstores in New York. (The Strand, I think).
Alice S. Morris was one of Marianne Hauser’s closest personal friends, and she was also a vitally important professional friend. Morris was the literary editor at Harper’s Bazaar from 1951-1968 and she published many of Hauser’s stories, as well as excerpts from her novel Prince Ishmael. In 1965 she edited The Uncommon Reader, a collection of Harper’s Bazaar stories which includes Hauser’s The Abduction, an hallucinatory journey into exile taken by a Hungarian composer. It is based largely on the life of Erno Dohnanyi, whom she knew in the 1950’s, in Tallahassee, where he was teaching and where Fred Kirchberger got his PhD. Morris died at age 90 in 1993. Alice S. Morris was one of several adventurous mid-century editors at fashion magazines. These women’s magazines became a market for serious literary fiction. She was preceded by George Davis, who was at Harper’s Bazaar from 1936-1941, who then moved to Mademoiselle until 1949. Betsy Blackwell was the editor and chief of Mademoiselle from 1937-1971. Mademoiselle was a Conde Nast publication, which for a time was a partner of McBride’s, where Coby Gilman worked editing Travel. Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Jean Stafford, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Jane Bowles, Paul Bowles, and Tennessee Williams are some of the many authors published by these fashion magazines early in their careers. When Hauser published Dark Dominion her friend Marguerite Young reviewed it in Vogue alongside McCullers’ A Member of the Wedding and Capote’s short stories.
Morris was married to Harvey Breit, a novelist and editor who reviewed books for the Times in the 40’s (his Times obit gives different dates than the Wikipedia article for his NYT tenure). When she died, Hauser wrote this about her old friend:
Dark Dominion is Marianne Hauser’s first English language novel, published in 1947 by Random House. She had been living in the United States for about ten years. It was described at the time as a Gothic novel. It is a novel of hallucination, memory and dreams, about a Swiss woman who comes to America and marries her psychiatrist. Narrated by her brother, who hopes to persuade her to return to Switzerland, it is indeed dark and perverse, a witty satire of psychoanalysis, and a serious meditation on the perils of repressed desire and illusion. It received mixed reviews at the time.
Hauser wrote Dark Dominion at the suggestion of her editor and friend Coby Gilman, a brilliant, erudite alcoholic who was legendary in 1930’s literary circles. He is now only known through the diaries and letters of his close friend, Dawn Powell. She wrote it mostly while traveling with her husband, Fred Kirchberger, through the American south, where he was stationed during World War 2 as a German language specialist. Kirchberger fled Germany in 1938 when he was unable to perform a recital in Berlin, due to his mother being Jewish. Hauser wrote articles, book reviews and short stories, and lectured to church groups about the rise of Hitler and threat of fascism. Her son, Michael Kirchberger, was born in 1945. Marguerite Young, author of Miss Macintosh My Darling and a number of other works, was his godmother. At this time she also met Ruth Stephan, Mari Sandoz and Anais Nin, all of whom were in New York from the late thirties or early forties.