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Walden West

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Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

Among the state’s most luminous assets is August Derleth, the internationally famous author of more than 150 books, many celebrating the Midwest and its people. Walden West, reissued here for the first time since its original publication in 1961, is considered by many to be Derleth’s masterpiece.

    Derleth was a chronicler with his ear uniquely attuned to this  northern region. In his Sac Prairie Saga, of which Walden West is the crowning volume, he captures the essences of midwestern village life with his distinctive combination of narrative and prose-poetry.  The book is a seamless series of anecdotes, meditations, character sketches, evocations of the landscape, and celebrations of its human and animal life.  In sections such as “The choir of the frogs,” and “Oh, the smell of the grass,” and “Mrs. Opal Kralz” we meet, in all their small-town particularity, rich symbols of America’s rural origins and experience.  In other sections—“The voices of the wind are endless in their variety” and “If there is one winter voice informed with wildness”—we are treated to the music of the land.  And in others still—”Millie Pohlmann,” “Old Mrs. Block,” “The Buchenau Women”—we sample the inimitable melody the people bring to their places.  In all cases it is a feast.

    Derleth himself called Walden West “an exposition on three related themes: on the persistence of memory; on the sounds and odors of the country; of Thoreau—the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  But one also comes away from these pages with a sense of the comedy and lyricism of the American rural experience, of the rootedness of its people to their land, and of the miraculous, teeming variety of the land itself.  It is a gift to us all that the book is now available again.

About the Author

August Derleth (1909-1971) wrote more than 150 books in many genres—novels, prose-poetry, essays, mysteries, history, etc.  Walden West is among his finest.  He was a native of Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin, and is internationally known.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780299135942
Author:
Derleth, August
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Country life
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Regional Subjects - Midwest
Subject:
Derleth, august william, 1909-1971
Subject:
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
Subject:
Derleth, August William - Homes and haunts -
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
North Coast Books
Publication Date:
19920931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
8.00 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Business » Human Resource Management
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Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Walden West New Trade Paper
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Product details 280 pages University of Wisconsin Press - English 9780299135942 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Among the state’s most luminous assets is August Derleth, the internationally famous author of more than 150 books, many celebrating the Midwest and its people. Walden West, reissued here for the first time since its original publication in 1961, is considered by many to be Derleth’s masterpiece.

    Derleth was a chronicler with his ear uniquely attuned to this  northern region. In his Sac Prairie Saga, of which Walden West is the crowning volume, he captures the essences of midwestern village life with his distinctive combination of narrative and prose-poetry.  The book is a seamless series of anecdotes, meditations, character sketches, evocations of the landscape, and celebrations of its human and animal life.  In sections such as “The choir of the frogs,” and “Oh, the smell of the grass,” and “Mrs. Opal Kralz” we meet, in all their small-town particularity, rich symbols of America’s rural origins and experience.  In other sections—“The voices of the wind are endless in their variety” and “If there is one winter voice informed with wildness”—we are treated to the music of the land.  And in others still—”Millie Pohlmann,” “Old Mrs. Block,” “The Buchenau Women”—we sample the inimitable melody the people bring to their places.  In all cases it is a feast.

    Derleth himself called Walden West “an exposition on three related themes: on the persistence of memory; on the sounds and odors of the country; of Thoreau—the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  But one also comes away from these pages with a sense of the comedy and lyricism of the American rural experience, of the rootedness of its people to their land, and of the miraculous, teeming variety of the land itself.  It is a gift to us all that the book is now available again.

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