Conversations with Erskine Caldwell

Edited by Edwin T. Arnold

312 pp.

9780878053445 Paper $25.00D

Paper, $25.00


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Conversations with Erskine Caldwell contains thirty-two interviews with this major writer, who during his long career enjoyed both the celebrity and the controversy that his books generated. These collected interviews include what is apparently his first, given in 1929 before the publication of The Bastard, to one of the very last, given only weeks before his death in April 1987.

Caldwell was a lifelong outspoken opponent of censorship and an early advocate of racial equality. His ideas were reflected in a number of important interviews and portraits, often in newspapers or small journals not easily obtained today. In his later years he became a kind of elder statesman, celebrated as the last of that extraordinary generation of American writers which included Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Wolfe, and Steinbeck and which changed the face of American literature.

The interviews in this collection reveal Caldwell's attitudes toward the profession of writing. He describes his early years of struggle, his determination to prove himself as a writer, and his tremendous success as the author of Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre, two American classics. He explains his attitude toward the South and his desire to bring about social reform through his writings. He is also candid about his own personal trials, his doubts and beliefs, and the state of his critical reputation.

312 pp.