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date: 14 June 2024

Glasgow, Ellenlocked

Glasgow, Ellenlocked

  • Susan Goodman


During Ellen Glasgow's lifetime, few critics would have disagreed with her own assessment that a handful of her books—Virginia (1913), Barren Ground (1925), The Romantic Comedians (1926), They Stooped to Folly (1929), The Sheltered Life (1932), and Vein of Iron (1935)—represented some of the best work in American fiction. A self-proclaimed historian of manners, Glasgow spent most of her career trying to unravel the mystery of a single state, her native Virginia. Her achievement—a novelistic meditation on the South from the decade before the Civil War to World War II—is perhaps unparalleled in American literature. The author of nineteen novels, she popularized distinguishing features of southern fiction such as the imperatives of time and place and the historical burden of the Civil War. Her recognition of the individual and integrated histories of white and black southerners led the way for the next generation of southern writers, including William Faulkner, who unchivalrously claimed not to give a damn for her or her books. Others obviously did, for when Glasgow received the Pulitzer Prize for her last novel, In This Our Life (1941), contemporary writers such as the poet and critic Allen Tate and Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind (1936), thought the award long overdue.


  • North American Literatures

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