James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony

Overview

This story of James Jones and the Handy Colony is a popular account of one of the most unusual writing colonies ever established in the United States.

Between his Army enlistment in 1939 and the wound that sent him to a Memphis hospital in 1943, James Jones suffered the loss of both his mother and his father, a victim of suicide. Psychologically precarious, Jones drank heavily, often brawling in bars. Concerned about his erratic behavior, his aunt took Jones to meet Lowney ...

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Overview

This story of James Jones and the Handy Colony is a popular account of one of the most unusual writing colonies ever established in the United States.

Between his Army enlistment in 1939 and the wound that sent him to a Memphis hospital in 1943, James Jones suffered the loss of both his mother and his father, a victim of suicide. Psychologically precarious, Jones drank heavily, often brawling in bars. Concerned about his erratic behavior, his aunt took Jones to meet Lowney Handy, who took virtual control of his life, securing his discharge from the army and, with her husband Harry, inviting him into their home. Lowney became Jones’s writing teacher—and his lover.

            

An aspiring but unpublished writer when she began the Handy Writers’ Colony in Marshall, Illinois, Lowney Handy developed a reputation as an inspirational teacher of writing. Her husband, an oil refinery executive from nearby Robinson, supported her in this endeavor, which proved quite successful. The Handy colony achieved national attention through the success of Jones, its most celebrated member and the author of From Here to Eternity and Some Came Running.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The Handy Colony, formally chartered in Marshall, IL, in 1951, but operating informally since 1943, reflected the unique philosophy and forceful personality of Lowney Handy, a rebellious housewife married to an oil engineer who believed she could teach anyone to write. The colony achieved national attention largely through the success of Jones, who wrote after Handy became his teacher and lover. This history traces the complex relationships that informed the workings of the colony, which was both extravagantly praised and fiercely derided. A sprinkling of b&w photos shows some of the people and places concerned. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809323708
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 4/25/2001
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

George Hendrick, who served as first president of the James Jones Literary Society, edited To Reach Eternity: The Letters of James Jones.

 

Helen Howe taught American literature, composition, and creative writing at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois, before retirement. Her husband, Tinks, was a childhood friend of James Jones. 

 

Don Sackrider, a retired airline captain, was born in Robinson, Illinois, and became the second student in the Handy Colony after James Jones.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Lowney, Harry, Jim, and the Colony 1
1 Lowney Turner Handy: The Early Life of a "Literary Angel" 6
2 James Jones: The Early Years of a Returning Soldier Who "Wants to Write" 19
3 The Beginnings of From Here to Eternity and of the Handy Colony 30
4 Planning for the Colony Compound and Completing From Here to Eternity 49
5 The Colony Gets Under Way in Marshall, Illinois 65
6 Real Life and Fiction at the Colony 84
7 Colonists Get Published and Jim Leaves for New York 103
8 Jim's Marriage and its Consequences for the Colony 110
9 The Final Years 120
Epilogue 137
Notes 143
Bibliography 147
Index 151
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