Selected Stories

by

Rowland E. Robinson

Edited

by

David Budbill

with an Introduction by

Hayden Carruth

* * *

University Press of New England

A Hardscrabble Classic

1995

5.5 x 8.5, 256 pages

hardbound

ISBN: 0-87451-718-4

University Press of New England/Hardscrabble Books:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/acad-inst/upne/hs1.html

* * *

From their initial publication in 1887 until fading from the popular consciousness in the 1930s, Rowland Robinson’s enormously popular stories were a staple of Vermont households and classrooms. His tales were treasured as honest and accurate portraits of the life, times and speech of pre-Civil War Vermont. In recent years Robinson has been an inspiration to writers such as Hayden Carruth, David Budbill, Howard Frank Mosher and Annie Proulx.

 

This Hardscrabble edition of DANVIS TALES presents the best of Robinson’s original six volumes and reestablishes Rowland Robinson (1833 -1900) as a serious and thoughtful, funny and loving chronicler of people’s lives and the natural world.

 

DANVIS TALES creates an engaging story of intertwined lives. There’s Sam Lovel who would rather be in the woods hunting fox than tending to the farm, and whose wild wanderings are only slightly domesticated by Hudlah Purrington the woman he woos and marries. There is Uncle Lisha Peggs, the sometime cobbler, whose shop is the stage for serious story telling. There is Pelatiah Gove, who, jilted in love, turns to rum, but is saved from a life of alcoholism through the tough and loving care of Uncle Lisha. And there is the outrageous and wonderful French-Canadian butcher of the English language, Antoine Bassette, the biggest and best liar in a pack of liars.

 

The people of Danvis are inextricably bound to the natural world. In their often thoughtless and sometimes wanton misuse of nature they give us a paradigm for ourselves. Robinson, one of America’s first conservationists, saw clearly the coming ecological crisis and warned that “He who loses all love for our common mother is, indeed, a wretched being, poorer than the beasts.”

 

With graceful and melodic prose, and an ability to write about the natural world with unsurpassed precision and detail, Rowland Robinson fashions an elegiac tribute to a complex and real people and a beautiful and threatened landscape.


 

Robinson, a well-loved voice of 19th-Century Vermont, is rescued here from obscurity by poet/playwright Budbill in this intriguing collection. . . .

 

Kirkus Reviews


 

David Budbill’s thoughtfully and meticulously edited collection of Robinson’s work . . . conveys the rhapsodic poetry of his nature writing, his uncanny ear for the way people truly spoke along the spine of the Green Mountains, and the unfailing love Robinson felt for the rapidly disappearing Vermont wilderness.

 

Chris Bohjalian

Vermont Life Magazine


 

[Robinson’s] contribution . . . is crucial to us, because it tells us what we as Americans and New Englanders are: our character, our heritage, our predicament.

from the Introduction by Hayden Carruth


This fascinating volume is long overdue. David Budbill’s careful editing and insightful introduction brings the core of Robinson’s best writing back to us in an intelligent, manageable edition. Hayden Carruth’s brilliant essay places Robinson in his 19th century context and points out his literary significance, as well as his links to Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, and –stunning insight–Thomas Hardy!

Thomas Slayton, Editor, Vermont Life


 

 

I find [Robinson] more exciting than Thoreau, and in reproduction of dialect more adroit than Thomas hardy . . . . If a great many of us hadn’t been literary snobs for the past 50 years, we would have canonized this simple man many moons ago.

John Farrar, late of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, writing in 1934


 

 

Documents, with keenness, subtlety, and compassion, the lifestyles and people who lived and worked in Vermont. His evocative descriptions of nature are balanced by a rollicking, heavily apostrophized dialect that captures the quirky nature of New England speech and the characters who mouth it.

Seven Days


 

There is a unique joy in championing the rediscovery of a forgotten writer. It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I welcome you to Danvis and to the lives of the people in this particular place on the western slopes of the Green Mountains and down into the broad valley that stretches to he shores of Lake Champlain, this particular place fully real yet also fully within the imagination of Rowland E. Robinson.

from the Editor’s Preface by David Budbill

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by

Mildred Walker

With an Introduction

by

David Budbill

 

 

* * *

Bison Books

University of Nebraska Press

1996

5.25 x 8, 269 pages

paperback

ISBN: 0-8032-9782-3

University of Nebraska Press

http://nebraskapress.unl.edu/searchmain.html

search: “walker”

* * *

Dr. Norton’s Wife was praised for its quiet honesty and artistic integrity when it was first published in 1938. It stands up firmly as a portrait of a marriage subjected to the strain of unexpected invalidism. As a doctor’s wife, Sue Norton is no stranger to matters of life and death. But medical shoptalk screens her from the realities of illness until she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Never clinical, Walker, herself the wife of a doctor, accurately describes the disease’s progress and the adjustments necessary to cope with it. The result is a tender story of “the marriage of true minds.”


 

 

An honest, straightforward little novel. . . . The author has a precise feeling for the atmosphere, the personalities, and the intrigues of a small medical college.”

The New Yorker


 

[A] disturbing book. . . . For those who are interested in the world of unuttered thoughts, Dr. Norton’s Wife will prove an absorbing study.

 

The New York Times.

Read More...

by

Mildred Walker

With an Introduction

by

David Budbill

 

* * *

Bison Books

University of Nebraska Press

1996

5.25 x 8, 441 pages

paperback

ISBN: 0-8032-9786-6

University of Nebraska Press

http://nebraskapress.unl.edu/searchmain.html

search: “walker”

* * *

 

Little Sara Bolster loved the great shining horses that drew the Henkel brewery wagon through the streets of Detroit in the 1880s. Those horses came to signify her fate, for she married the Henkel son and later, as a widow, took over the business. Sara’s struggle against the intolerance and hypocrisy of family and friends who disapproved of a woman running a brewery and opening a beer garden makes her a standout among the characters of Mildred Walker. The Brewers’ Big Horses recreates the manners and traditions of Germans in America as Prohibition gets up steam. Mildred Walker, chronicler of the modern American West and New England, is gaining new admirers with Bison Books reprints of such novels as Winter Wheat and The Southwest Corner.


 

 

[The Brewers’ Big Horses] has suspense and gripping interest. . . . The story is told quietly, with balance and realism and with the subtlety which is itself the effortless effect of restraint. The characters are drawn with few strokes, but increasingly they take on intimacy as well as significance in the reader’s mind. . . . Mildred Walker has drawn upon assimilated knowledge and searching individual thought, and the story has substance and vitality, convincing and unstrained.

 

The New York Times

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