Kay Boyle, forgotten political voice of the Lost Generation

Kay Boyle

When I was setting up all the profile pages about Lost Generation writers for this site, I was familiar in varying degrees with almost every one of them. And most of the ones that I had not heard of generally produced very few works and it seemed reasonable that they hadn’t crossed my path yet. One notable exception to this was Kay Boyle, who was completely unfamiliar to me.

Boyle was a novelist, short story writer, educator, and political activist. And notably, she wrote a ton. When I start to learn about someone new one of the things I often like to do is try to find footage of them in order to see their mannerisms, hear their voice, and then bring that voice into my head when I’m reading their actual words.

To that end, today I went in search of Kay Boyle on YouTube. Honestly, I didn’t find all that much, but there were a couple videos, and it was great to connect static bibliographies and the like with an actual person, and I’d like to share those clips below because for so prolific an author, she seems to be generally forgotten.

The first clip I found was her accepting an Honorary Doctorate at Bowling Green State University in 1985, in which she talks about The Revolution of The Word in the 1920s. Check it out:

Next, I found this compilation of clips which includes her, her son and daughter, and other writers. It’s a great little intro to this woman, who seems like she led a fascinating life and definitely seems to deserve more recognition.

Both clips were uploaded by Kelley Baker, who calls himself “The Angry Filmmaker.” Apparently he has been working on a documentary about Boyle for many years now, but as far as I can tell, it still remains unfinished. Hopefully she will be able to finish it up because it’s definitely something that I would love to watch.

Has anyone read any of Boyle’s works? If so what would you recommended I start with?

I love finding out how little I actually know about this time period, even though I’ve been greatly attracted to it for a long time. Here’s to finding out more and more!

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