Time and the Town: A Provincetown Chronicle

Time and the Town: A Provincetown Chronicle

by Adele Heller
     
 


Time and the Town was the last of Mary Heaton Vorse's books. It is about many things--a town and its people, the author, a certain kind of idyllic life. As much as anything else, it is the biography of the house Vorse bought in 1907 and lived in, off and on, for the next thirty-six years. The moods of the house mirrored her own. "Our houses," she wrote, … See more details below

Overview


Time and the Town was the last of Mary Heaton Vorse's books. It is about many things--a town and its people, the author, a certain kind of idyllic life. As much as anything else, it is the biography of the house Vorse bought in 1907 and lived in, off and on, for the next thirty-six years. The moods of the house mirrored her own. "Our houses," she wrote, "are our biographies, the stories of our defeats and victories."

Tinged with nostalgia and disenchantment, the book describes a Provincetown that has changed, a place on the verge of modernity. It is no longer a major fishing port. It has become a place whose business is tourism. Contrasting the old and the new, Vorse celebrates the enduring character of the town itself. She tells stories that are engaging and charming, droll and fabulous. The wrinkled Mrs. Mary Mooncusser who, though drunk and stark naked, conducts herself with great decorum when Vorse pays her a call, might have stepped out of the pages of Sherwood Anderson or Eudora Welty. In another anecdote, the townspeople scour the beaches for cases of booze dumped into the sea by rumrunners and are briefly inflated with the spirit of ancestral smugglers and buccaneers.

Vorse herself remained something of an outsider in Provincetown, despite her evident affection for the place and its inhabitants. They surely regarded her as simply another of those artist-intellectuals--many of whom appear in the pages of this book. The "off-Cape" outsiders put the town in the national limelight but took no interest in local matters. Vorse here ponders local matters exclusively, almost, one suspects, as a way of forgetting the more complex matters that occupied her--her agonies of parental guilt, her resentment of domestic obligations, her third marriage, her depressions and breakdowns. The town is in that sense beyond time.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813517520
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
10/19/1991
Series:
Provincetown Classics in History, Literature Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
996,375
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword1
Part IAge of Innocence [1907-1911]
I.Provincetown9
II.The Cook Saga15
III.Kibbe Cook's House28
IV.Age of Innocence35
V.Old Customs and New45
VI.The Coast Guard52
VII.History62
Part IIThe Onion [1912-1916]
VIII.The Onion74
IX.Provincetown Houses87
X.Our House Grows94
XI.Clan Avellar104
XII.Old Wharves110
XIII.The Provincetown Players116
Part IIIWartime [1917-1921]
XIV.Wartime in Provincetown127
XV.Other Ports and Other Harbors138
XVI.Provincetown Harbor147
XVII.Postwar Years154
XVIII.The Portuguese of Provincetown160
XIX.The Fresh Fishermen167
XX.Great Fishing Captains175
Part IVDays of the Locust [1922-1926]
XXI.Days of the Locust182
XXII.The Back Country189
XXIII.The Two Theaters197
XXIV.The Painters of Provincetown204
XXV.Unsettled Days213
XXVI.Tired to Death219
Part VDepression [1927-1931]
XXVII.The S-4226
XXVIII.Eating the Arequipa235
XXIX.Dragging the Weirs242
XXX.The Firebug249
XXXI.Likker Ashore263
XXXII.More Likker Ashore272
XXXIII.The Eclipse281
Part VINew Deal [1932-1936]
XXXIV.Bank Holiday and Relief in Provincetown286
XXXV.The Changed Town293
XXXVI.How to Get to Provincetown300
XXXVII.The Changed Neighborhood304
XXXVIII.Beam Trawlers and Dorymen311
XXXIX.Wonders of the Deep317
XL.The Outside Shore324
Part VIIA World Ends [1937-1941]
XLI.The Hurricane329
XLII.A Provincetown Winter336
XLIII.Fish on Shore343
XLIV.The Beach, Garbage and Cesspools351
XLV.Summer Folk358
XLVI.A World Ends366

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