The Letters of Willa Cather.

The New York Times reports on publication (finally) of The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, the first time much of her correspondence will be available publicly: For scholars it’s a major literary event, a chance at last to flesh out the understanding of a writer often seen as a remote bluestocking in big skirts and […]

Marilynne Robinson on “Main-Travelled Roads.”

Sitting for the New York Times‘ excellent weekly feature, By the Book, Marilynne Robinson discusses her own reading (“I tend to think of the reading of any book as preparation for the next reading of it”), including a nice reference to Hamlin Garland’s Main-Travelled Roads. Garland’s short story collection, to Robinson, is one of those books […]

What Denis Johnson and Hamlin Garland Have in Common

What do Denis Johnson and Hamlin Garland—two writers seemingly otherwise unrelated—have in common? Johnson is the lit-famous author of  Tree of Smoke: A Novel and Jesus’ Son: Stories. Hamlin Garland used to be quite famous, but now rarely appears outside of footnotes in anthologies. Johnson’s Train Dreams: A Novella was a Pulitzer finalist this year; Garland […]

Essay on “Main-Travelled Roads” at The Millions.

My essay on the under-appreciated author Hamlin Garland is now live over at The Millions. It opens: In 1887, Hamlin Garland, then a 27-year-old aspiring writer, traveled by train from Boston back to his family’s farm in Ordway, South Dakota. Having spent most of his life in the Midwest, and shuttling around the Dakotas, Iowa, and […]