Weeds by Edith S. Kelley


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SKU: 1134902135301530

“Weeds “was published by Harcourt Brace in 1923 and also brought out in England by Jonathan Cape. Despite favorable re-views by well-regarded critics the book made no impact, and Edith Summers Kelley never published another novel. Its reprinting here in this innovative series which brought back Zelda Fitz-gerald’s “Save Me the Waltz “is in the opin-ion of the publishers a literary event of great magnitude–perhaps equal to the rediscovery of Henry Roth’s “Call It Sleep.””” “Weeds “portrays the monotonous, drudg-ing life of the small tenant farmer of the tobacco fields of Kentucky. The story centers around Judith Pippinger, who has spirit, beauty, and a restless seeking for a purpose in life, but who is brutalized by farm life. It is not a dramatic novel, as Matthew Bruccoli notes in his Introduction to this neglected masterpiece. But it is convinc-ing. The people live. On two counts this book is important. It is a perfectly controlled work of fiction, and therefore has the automatic worth that any superior piece of literature has. Also, it has his-torical value as a peak achievement in the revolt-from-the-farm school of naturalistic American fiction. Edith Summers Kelley was the last writer in the Hamlin Garland, E. W. Howe, Joseph Kirkland line of de-velopment. Aside from its probable worth as social history, “Weeds “is highly readable. Read-ers will find here plausible people in a beautifully-handled realistic setting. In-teresting to note, the novel’s strongest supporter heretofore was Sinclair Lewis, who was engaged to the author. In the opinion of Professor Bruccoli, “Weeds “is as good as “Main Street”.””


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