Bernice Kelly Harris: A Good Life Was Writing

Overview

The seven novels of North Carolina writer Bernice Kelly Harris (1894—1973) were published to international acclaim in the 1940s, and her plays were produced on television in the 1950s. Yet, despite her success at midlife, she spent her last years struggling to make ends meet and was virtually unknown by the time of her death. In this compelling biography — the first full-scale life of Harris since 1955 and the first to utilize unpublished autobiographical writings and confidential letters — Valerie Raleigh Yow ...

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Overview

The seven novels of North Carolina writer Bernice Kelly Harris (1894—1973) were published to international acclaim in the 1940s, and her plays were produced on television in the 1950s. Yet, despite her success at midlife, she spent her last years struggling to make ends meet and was virtually unknown by the time of her death. In this compelling biography — the first full-scale life of Harris since 1955 and the first to utilize unpublished autobiographical writings and confidential letters — Valerie Raleigh Yow brings Harris back into the spotlight, revealing an extraordinary woman who thrived artistically while living a quite ordinary life. Yow's intimate portrait of Harris shows her responding to society's strictures by exploring in fiction the paths not open to her in real life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807131565
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/21/2006
  • Series: Southern Biography Ser.
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Valerie Raleigh Yow, a history professor for many years, is an independent scholar and a counselor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is the author of several books, including Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences and The History of Hera: A Woman's Art Cooperative.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Note on Citations of Major Collections
1 A Narrow Road to Heaven: Growing Up on a North Carolina Farm 1
2 No Flowery Bed of Ease: Miss Kelly, Teacher 20
3 Shamelessly Just Married Before the World 32
4 Northampton County Produces Cotton, Peanuts, and Plays 48
5 Farm Girl Compelled to Write: Purslane 60
6 Haunting Work: The Federal Writers' Project 87
7 Taking Risks: Portulaca 102
8 Friendships and Sweet Beulah Land 113
9 Wartime and Peach Trees in Bloom: Sage Quarter 129
10 Against the Grain: Janey Jeems 145
11 Community Denied: Hearthstones 158
12 The Troubled Late 1940s 180
13 A Solitary Life: Wild Cherry Tree Road 189
14 A Writers' Community 208
15 Struggling to Be Both Writer and Person 225
16 Looking Back at a Good Decade to Live In 242
17 Miss Kelly, Teacher Again 255
18 The Last Garden 274
Notes 289
Index 327
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