Sunday, March 20, 2011

Postscript to Hamlin Garland

Green Forest is in the north of Arkansas.  She was a teacher.
I have now finished reading A Son of the Middle Border, and I am in no way disappointed.  The section we were assigned to read in class in the late 1940s was from his boyhood; the book takes us through the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.  I'll see if I can find some more of his work, but that this book is a classic, and not only for midwesterners and not only for Americans, there can be, I think, no doubt.
For right now, tomorrow I need to get back to the essays on coins in my Opera Nobilia blog, but I have also downloaded a famous American I have, until now, only read about, William Dean Howells (1837-1920), who was a role model and a friend to Hamlin Garland (and to many others): 15 books for $3.99 for the Kindle.  Older than Garland, who was born in 1860.  These authors who fall between, say, Hawthorne and Henry James, are the ones I've never read.
What attracts me personally, beyond Garland's literary value, is his interest in how America scattered families far and wide in the space of a generation and his keen observation of everything.
I used to have a snapshot of one maternal great grandmother, Sarah Frances Trewblood, who was born in 1856, but it is lost now.  The earliest one I have is from the year that my paternal grandparents, Franklin Lafayette Lawrence and Mary Ferguson, were married, and I have posted it at the top of this.
Here they are in 1935 with myself, probably in Oxnard, CA