Between the Flowers: A Novel
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3501.R64B47 1999 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Between the Flowers is Harriette Simpson Arnow's second novel. Written in the late 1930s, but unpublished until 1997, this early work shows the development of social and cultural themes that would continue in Arnow's later work: the appeal of wandering and of modern life, the countervailing desire to stay within a traditional community, and the difficulties of communication between men and women in such a community. Between the Flowers goes far beyond categories of "local color," literary regionalism, or the agrarian novel, to the heart of human relationships in a modernized world. Arnow, who went on to write Hunter's Horn (1949) and The Dollmaker (1952)—her two most famous works—has continually been overlooked by critics as a regional writer. Ironically, it is her stinging realism that is seen as evidence of her realism, evidence that she is of the Cumberland—an area somehow more "regional" than others.
Beginning with an edition of critical essays on her work in 1991 and a complete original edition of Hunter's Horn in 1997, the Michigan State University Press is pleased to continue its effort to make available the timeless insight of Arnow's work with the posthumous publication of Between the Flowers.
Harriette Simpson Arnow is an American treasure. Of the twenty-five stories in this collection, fifteen were previously unpublished. Until now, the short fiction of Arnow has remained relatively obscure despite the literary acclaim given to her novels The Dollmaker and Hunter’s Horn. These stories, written early in her career for the most part, reveal an artistic vision and narrative skill and serve as harbingers for her later work. They echo her interest in both agrarian and urban communities, the sharpening of her social conscience, and her commitment to creating credible and complex characters. This collection is organized against the backdrop of her life, from Kentucky in the 1920s to Ohio and Kentucky in the 1930s and to Michigan in the 1940s. As Arnow fans read these early gems, they will be led from gravel roads to city pavement and open layers of Arnow’s development as a novelist to expose the full range of her contributions to American literature.
In 1938, Esquire purchased "The Hunters," which was eventually published as "The Two Hunters," a chilling story of a seventeen-year- old boy’s confrontation with a deputy sheriff. At the time, Esquire did not accept submissions from women, and its editors had no idea that writer H. L. Simpson was not a man. Years later, she admitted in an interview, "it worried me a little, that big lie, but I thought if they wanted a story, let them have it." Esquire paid her $125 for this story. The contributor’s notes at the back of the magazine include a photo of "H.L.Simpson," actually a photo of one of her brothers-in-law. It was her little joke on a publisher that discriminated against women....
—from the Introduction
Flowering of the Cumberland
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress F442.2.A69 2013 | Dewey Decimal 976.85
Harriette Arnow’s search for truth as early American settlers knew it began as a child—the old songs, handed-down stories, and proverbs that colored her world compelled her on a journey that informs her depiction of the Cumberland River Valley in Kentucky and Tennessee. Arnow drew from court records, wills, inventories, early newspapers, and unpublished manuscripts to write Seedtime on the Cumberland, which chronicles the movement of settlers away from the coast, as well as their continual refinement of the “art of pioneering.” A companion piece, this evocative history covers the same era, 1780–1803, from the first settlement in what was known as “Middle Tennessee” to the Louisiana Purchase. When Middle Tennessee was the American frontier, the men and women who settled there struggled for survival, land, and human dignity. The society they built in their new home reflected these accomplishments, vulnerabilities, and ambitions, at a time when America was experiencing great political, industrial, and social upheaval.
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PS3501.R64H86 1997 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Michigan State University Press is proud to announce the re-release of Harriette Simpson Arnow's 1949 novel Hunter's Horn, a work that Joyce Carol Oates called "our most unpretentious American masterpiece."
In Hunter's Horn, Arnow has written the quintessential account of Kentucky hill people—the quintessential novel of Southern Appalachian farmers, foxhunters, foxhounds, women, and children. New York Times reviewer Hirschel Brickell declared that Arnow "writes...as effortlessly as a bird sings, and the warmth, beauty, the sadness and the ache of life itself are not even once absent from her pages."
Arnow writes about Kentucky in the way that William Faulkner writes about Mississippi, that Flannery O'Connor writes about Georgia, or that Willa Cather writes about Nebraska—with studied realism, with landscapes and characters that take on mythic proportions, with humor, and with memorable and remarkable attention to details of the human heart that motivate literature.
A gripping portrait of life in the hard-bitten wilderness of Revolutionary Kentucky, Harriette Simpson Arnow’s The Kentucky Trace follows surveyor William David Leslie Collins as he struggles to survive. Collins finds his fellow settlers to be almost as inscrutable as the weather—at times, they are allies, and at others, they are adversaries. Collins battles nature, bad luck, and the quickly shifting political tides to make his way in a changing world. Showcasing Arnow’s ear for dialogue and offering a wealth of historical detail, The Kentucky Trace is a masterful work of fiction by a preeminent Appalachian writer.
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 2012
Masterfully wrought and keenly observed, Mountain Path draws on Harriette Simpson Arnow’s experiences as a schoolteacher in downtrodden Pulaski County, Kentucky, deep in the heart of Appalachia, prior to WWII. Far from a quaint portrait of rural life, Arnow’s novel documents hardships, poverty, illiteracy, and struggles. She also recognizes a fragile cultural richness, one characterized by “those who like open fires, hounds, children, human talk and song instead of TV and radio, the wisdom of the old who had seen all of life from birth to death,” and which has since been eroded by the advent of highways and industry. In Mountain Path, Arnow exquisitely captures the voices, faces, and ways of a people she cared for deeply, and who evoked in her a deep respect and admiration.
Seedtime on the Cumberland
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress F442.2.A7 2013 | Dewey Decimal 976.85
Harriette Arnow’s roots ran deep into the Cumberland River country of Kentucky and Tennessee, and out of her closeness to that land and its people comes this remarkable history. The first of two companion volumes, Seedtime on the Cumberland captures the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life on the frontier, a place where the land both promised and demanded much. In the years between 1780 and 1803, this part of the country presented tremendous opportunity to those who endeavored to make a new life there. Drawing on an extensive body of primary sources—including family journals, court records, and personal inventories—Arnow paints a stirring portrait of these intrepid people. Like the midden at some ancient archaeological site, these accumulated items become a treasure awaiting the insight and organization of an interpreter. Arnow also draws on a medium she believed in unerringly—oral history, the rich tradition that shaped so much of her own family and regional experience. A classic study of the Old Southwest, Seedtime on the Cumberland documents with stirring perceptiveness the opening of the Appalachian frontier, the intersection of settlers and Native Americans, and the harsh conditions of life in the borderlands.
As compelling as it is turbulent, The Weedkiller’s Daughter captures a family at the center of the rapidly changing society of midcentury Detroit. Fifteen-year-old Susie greets this new era with a sense of curiosity, while her father rages against it, approaching anything and everything foreign, unconventional, or unfortunate as he does the weeds he perpetually removes from his garden. As Susie seeks escape from her parents’ increasingly restrictive world of order and monotony, she ventures deeper and deeper into a dangerously new territory. The Weedkiller’s Daughter is a gripping psychological exploration of a generation on the brink of indelible—and irreversible—transformation.