Lost American Fiction

In 1972, Vernon Sternberg, the founding director of the Southern Illinois University Press, decided to reprint Weeds, a novel by Edith Summers Kelley he greated admired that had long been forgotten since its first publication in 1923. The reprinting sold well for a title from a small university press and garnered some favorable critical relooks at Kelley’s work, and encouraged Sternberg to continue the initiative.

Over the course of the next seven years, with the editorial support of Matthew J. Bruccoli, SIU Press released a total of 29 titles in this series, and a dozen or so of these received even wider distribution through the release of paperback editions by Avon Press.

Bruccoli was able to enlist the help of a number of noteworthy authors, including Eudora Welty, James Michener, and Kay Boyle, to write afterwords for the books. In a few cases, the author him/herself to reflect on the book’s origin and subsequent fate.

Aleck Maury, Sportsman, Caroline Gordon, afterword by the author
Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South, Pauline E. Hopkins, afterword by Gwendolyn Brooks
Delilah, Marcus Goodrich, afterword by James A. Michener
The Devil’s Hand, Edith Summers Kelley, afterword by Matthew J. Bruccoli
Dry Martini: A Gentleman Turns to Love, John Thomas, afterword by Morrill Cody
Fast One, Paul Cain (pseudonym of George Carrol Sims), afterword by Irvin Faust
A Hasty Bunch, Robert McAlmon, introduced by Kay Boyle
Flesh is Heir: An Historical Romance, Lincoln Kirstein, afterword by the author
The Great Big Doorstep: A Delty Comedy, E.P. O’Donnell, afterword by Eudora Welty
Infants of the Spring, Wallace Thurman, afterword by John A. Williams
Inn of That Journey, Emerson Price, afterword by the author
Landsmen, Peter Martin, afterword by Wallace Markfield
The Cubical City, Janet Flanner, afterword by the author
Mr. and Mrs. Haddock Abroad, Donald Ogden Stewart, afterword by the author
Plastic Age, Percy Marks, afterword by R.V. Cassill
The Professors Like Vodka, Harold Loeb, afterword by Harold Loeb
Predestined: A Novel of New York Life, Stephen French Whitman, afterword by Alden Whitman
Queer People, Carroll and Garrett Graham, afterword by Budd Schulberg
Rain on the Just, Kathleen Morehouse, afterword by the author
The Red Napoleon, Floyd Gibbons, afterword by John Gardner
Salt: Or, the Education of Griffith Adams, Charles G. Norris, afterword by Louis Auchincloss
The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton, Mark Clifton, ed. by Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg
Single Lady, John Monk Saunders, afterword by Stephen Longstreet
Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise, David Graham Phillips, afterword by Elizabeth Janeway
They Don’t Dance Much, James Ross, afterword by George V. Higgins
Through the Wheat, Thomas Boyd, afterword by James Dickey
The Wedding, Grace Lumpkin, afterword by Lillian Barnard Gilkes
Weeds, Edith Summers Kelley, afterword by Matthew Bruccoli
Yesterday’s Burdens, Robert M. Coates, afterword by Malcolm Cowley

Leave a Comment