Jesse: The Biography of an American Writer, Jesse Hilton Stuart

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9780070623071: Jesse: The Biography of an American Writer, Jesse Hilton Stuart

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Jesse Stuart may have been the most original of twentieth-century writers, and the only one to have achieved so much in so many genres: poetry; the short story; the novel; the essay.

Writing poetry "with muscle," he burst upon the national literary scene in 1934 with Man with a Bull-Tongue Plow, and was promptly hailed as "a modern American Robert Burns." Especially prolific in the short story, Stuart early distinguished himself by winning the Academy of Arts and Science Awards for his collection Men of the Mountains.

There followed countless essays, biography, children's books, novels, autobiography, contributions to newspapers and magazines. Most astonishing of all, perhaps, is that he averaged publishing a book a year for more than half a century of literary production.

The emphasis in this book is on Jesse Stuart's life, with authentic, sometimes surprisingly intimate insights into his thoughts and attitudes toward his family, growing up, schooldays, work experiences, college life and friendships, the days of hunger and learning at Vanderbilt, the W-Hollow nights filled with starlight and poetic fire. Through his revelations you sense how he felt about his sudden rise to fame, his encounters with New York City which made him love the hills and hollows of his home all the more.

Love and marriage, the World War II years, his literary successes and the first of seven heart attacks are described thought Stuart's eyes and words. here, too, is the twilight of his life - his first paralyzing stroke and then the second, which left him semi-conscious until his death on Feb. 17, 1984, at the age of seventy-seven.

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