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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8) Erskine Caldwell, Deep South: Memory and Observation (New York: Weybright and Talley, 1968), p.
And in so doing, they may find that Erskine Caldwell is a far better writer than they have been told, more than "something like Faulkner's poorer, thinner, literary third cousin" (p.
The reviews of this section focus on Trouble in July (1940), All Night Long (1942), Georgia Boy (1943), Stories by Erskine Caldwell (1944), and Tragic Ground (1944).
The critical industry on Erskine Caldwell continued to grow significantly between 1940 and 1968, as critics and literary historians recognized that, because of the immensity of Caldwell's popularity, he deserved attention, even though many of the commentators whose pieces McDonald has collected here do not have an especially high regard for Caldwell's brand of writing.
His 1979 Pembroke Magazine essay, "Reasons for Reading, Studying, and Teaching Erskine Caldwell," sharply protests Caldwell's exclusion from the canon of modem American literature, calling it "one of the major embarrassments of recent literary history" (p.
Importantly, McDonald includes one critical piece, Guy Owen's "The Sacrilege of Alan Kent and the Apprenticeship of Erskine Caldwell," which focuses on one of Caldwell's least known books, and which provides a deftly argued analysis of Caldwell's themes and fictional techniques, materials that he would subsequently exploit in some of his later works.
Touted on the book jacket as a "major new biography" by the "first scholar to explore the entire (and voluminous) collection of Caldwell material at Dartmouth College Librarian" -- an assertion other toilers in the field might want to contest -- Erskine Caldwell.
Wayne Mixon, author of The People's Writer Erskine Caldwell and the South, isn't much interested in Caldwell's relationship with his mother or his affairs or his personal failings.
Wayne Mixon, author of The People's Writer: Erskine Caldwell and the South, isn't much interested in Caldwell's relationship with his mother or his affairs or his personal failings.
1) Erskine caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White, You Have seen Their Faces [YSF] (New York: Modern Age Books, 1937), pp.
Gray, "Southwestern Humor, Erskine Caldwell, and the Comedy of Frustration," in Critical Essays on Erskine Caldwell, ed.