When Furze the Cruel (1907) first appeared, The Academy hailed it as "a great book - almost a masterpiece," while the Dundee Advertiser predicted that "it will rank in forefront of modern fiction," and The New York Times declared that its author John Trevena was "unquestionably one of the most notable of living writers." And yet Furze the Cruel has been out of print for almost a century and its author and his other nearly thirty books have been all but completely forgotten.
Furze the Cruel is the first of Trevena's trilogy of novels focusing on life in Dartmoor, a land peopled by strange and often grotesque characters and haunted by pixies and witchcraft. Taking as its theme the cruelty of God, Nature, and Man, the novel tells the intertwined stories of the inhabitants of a Devonshire village. By turns tragic and comic, and richly evocative in its prose and characterizations, Furze the Cruel is a moving and powerful novel that readers will not soon forget.
This new edition, featuring an introduction and notes by Professor Gerald C. Monsman of the University of Arizona, restores this rare text to modern readers and argues for a reconsideration of Trevena as an important novelist of the Edwardian period.