WeedsBook - 1972
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]
Branch Call Number: FIC/KELLEY
Characteristics: xiii, 335 p. ; 22 cm.
From the critics