Book - 1972
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Weeds was published by Harcourt Brace in 1923 and also brought out in England by Jonathan Cape. Despite favorable re­views 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 Fitz­gerald's Save Me the Waltz is in the opin­ion 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, drudg­ing 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 convinc­ing. 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 his­torical 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 de­velopment.


Aside from its probable worth as social history, Weeds is highly readable. Read­ers will find here plausible people in a beautifully-handled realistic setting. In­teresting 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 .

Publisher: Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, [1972, c1923]
ISBN: 9780809305872
Branch Call Number: FIC/KELLEY
Characteristics: xiii, 335 p. ; 22 cm.


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