Working the Garden: American Writers and the Industrialization of Agriculture / Edition 1

Working the Garden: American Writers and the Industrialization of Agriculture / Edition 1

by William Conlogue
     
 

In 1860 farmers accounted for 60 percent of the American workforce; in 1910, 30.5 percent; by 1994, there were too few to warrant a separate census category. The changes wrought by the decline of family farming and the rise of industrial agribusiness typically have been viewed through historical, economic, and political lenses. But as William Conlogue demonstrates,… See more details below

Overview

In 1860 farmers accounted for 60 percent of the American workforce; in 1910, 30.5 percent; by 1994, there were too few to warrant a separate census category. The changes wrought by the decline of family farming and the rise of industrial agribusiness typically have been viewed through historical, economic, and political lenses. But as William Conlogue demonstrates, some of the most vital and incisive debates on the subject have occurred in a site that is perhaps less obvious -- literature.

Conlogue refutes the critical tendency to treat farm-centered texts as pastorals, arguing that such an approach overlooks the diverse ways these works explore human relationships to the land. His readings of works by Willa Cather, Ruth Comfort Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Luis Valdez, Ernest Gaines, Jane Smiley, Wendell Berry, and others reveal that, through agricultural narratives, authors have addressed such wide-ranging subjects as the impact of technology on people and land, changing gender roles, environmental destruction, and the exploitation of migrant workers. In short, Conlogue offers fresh perspectives on how writers confront issues whose site is the farm but whose impact reaches every corner of American society.

William Conlogue is assistant professor of English at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807826683
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
01/21/2002
Series:
Studies in Rural Culture
Edition description:
1
Pages:
230
Product dimensions:
6.82(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

William Conlogue is assistant professor of English at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction3
Ch. 1Bonanza!: Origins of the New Agriculture25
Ch. 2Challenging the Agrarian Myth: Women's Visibility in the New Agriculture63
Ch. 3Discipling the Farmer: Class and Agriculture in The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and Of Human Kindness (1940)95
Ch. 4Race and IndustriaI Farming: Actos (1965) and A Gathering of Old Men (1983)127
Ch. 5From A Thousand Acres (1991) to "The Farm" (1998)157
Postscript: Fixing Fence185
Notes201
Works Cited209
Index225

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >