Erskine Caldwell


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Caldwell, Erskine

(kôld`wəl), 1903–87, American author, b. White Oak, Ga. His realistic and earthy novels of the rural South include Tobacco Road (1933), God's Little Acre (1933), This Very Earth (1948), and Summertime Island (1969). Among his volumes of short stories are Jackpot (1940) and Gulf Coast Stories (1956). With his second wife, Margaret Bourke-WhiteBourke-White, Margaret
, 1904–71, American photo-journalist, b. New York City. One of the original staff photographers at Fortune, Life, and Time magazines, Bourke-White was noted for her coverage of World War II, particularly of the invasion of Russia and
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, he published You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), about Southern sharecroppers.

Bibliography

See E. T. Arnold, ed., Conversations with Erskine Caldwell (1988); biography by D. B. Miller (1995); study by J. E. Devlin (1984).

Caldwell, Erskine

 

Born Dec. 17, 1903, in White Oak, Ga. American writer. Son of a minister.

Caldwell tried several professions in his youth. He made his writing debut with the short-story collection American Earth (1931). The theme of the provincial US South, with its racism, cruelty, and violence, was intensified in Caldwell’s subsequent short-story collections and the novels Tobacco Road (1932; Russian translation, 1938) and God’s Little Acre (1933).

From June to September, 1941, Caldwell was a correspondent in Moscow. He wrote journalistic accounts (Moscow Under Fire, 1942, and All-out on the Road to Smolensk, 1942) and the novel All Night Long (1942) about guerrilla warfare during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). He visited the USSR again in 1959 and in 1963.

Caldwell’s writing was revitalized in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s—for example, the antiracist passion of the novels Jenny by Nature (1961) and Close to Home (1962). In the second half of the 1960’s, Caldwell began working in a journalistic documentary genre: both Writing in America (1967) and Deep South: Reminiscences and Reflections (1968) were concerned with the growth of self-knowledge among the “colored” in the most backward corners of the South. Caldwell’s realistic writing style is marked by humor, a sense of the grotesque, and the use of folklore.

WORKS

The Complete Stories. Toronto, 1953.
The Weather Shelter. London, 1970.
In Russian translation:
Povesti i rasskazy. Moscow, 1956.
Dzhenni, Blizhe k domu. Moscow, 1963.
“Vdol’ i poperek Ameriki.” Neva, 1965, no. 6.

REFERENCES

Iatsenko, V. I. Erskin Kolduell. Irkutsk, 1967.
Kashkin, I. Dlia chitatelia-sovremennika. Moscow, 1968. Pages 127–39.

B. A. GILENSON

Caldwell, Erskine (Preston)

(1903–87) writer; born in Moreland, Ga. In his early years he was a Hollywood screenwriter and foreign correspondent. His first novels, Tobacco Road (1932) and God's Little Acre (1933), were widely banned for obscenity, but they created an enduring portrait of "white trash" and stimulated others to write frankly about the South they knew. He produced 50 volumes of fiction, travel writing, and memoirs, but his literary reputation declined with later works. He collaborated on several books with his wife, photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
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What is significant about the essay in relation to Erskine Caldwell's writings and different from the standard family study is that the elder Caldwell consistently argues against many poor-white stereotypes and against a hereditarian explanation for the state of the Bunglers.
(16) A 1938 broadside advertisement for Uncle Tom's Children and Erskine Caldwell's and Margaret Bourke-White's You Have Seen Their Faces (which was published in paperback by Modern Age) provides evidence of another connection between Wright and the publisher.
Tobacco Road, a play written by Jack Kirkland from the novel by Erskine Caldwell, opened in New York City.
As the leader, I have taken considerable lumps for having placed on the list God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell, The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, and Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.
Mix Brigitte Bardot in "And God Created Woman" with Carroll Baker in "Baby Doll," sex it up times 10 and you have a notion of the effect of Christina Ricci in "Black Snake Moan." Part sleazy Southern exploitation pic about a wild firecat that would have made Erskine Caldwell blush, part blues-infused "Pygmation" story about the tramp's reformation at the hands of an older black man, Craig Brewer's follow-up to his 2005 Sundance winner "Hustle & Flow" probably will find its most eager audience among college-age guys hot to ogle the young star in some very raw action.
It c learly resembles the Erskine Caldwell South, an allegory broad enough to attract readers across the country" (Klein 269-70).
Erskine Caldwell: Selected Letters, 1929-1955, edited by Robert L.
Miller's Erskine Caldwell: The Journey from Tobacco Road is an honest and moving biography of one of the twentieth century's most popular, and once most critically acclaimed, authors.
Other writers whom Perkins discovered or assisted in their early careers included Erskine Caldwell, Edmund Wilson, John P.
This is a welcome book--the best single authored, comprehensive study to date of Erskine Caldwell, a significant and neglected author.
She is known for the books done in collaboration with writer <IR> ERSKINE CALDWELL </IR> , her former husband: You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), one of the first books successfully to combine the techniques of journalism and photography; North of the Danube (1939); and Say!