Pity is Not Enough

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University of Illinois Press, 1933 - Fiction - 358 pages
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I'd rather fail in story writing than succeed in anything else, Josephine Herbst declared in 1913.The Iowa native's Trexler family trilogy, with Pity Is Not Enough as its first volume, shows clearly that Herbst in fact succeeded at story-telling. The book draws loosely on Herbst's family history, using Reconstruction's demise in Georgia to link the advance of free market capitalism to the North's abandonment of its commitment to racial justice. The protagonists -- Catherine Trexler and her brother Joe, a carpetbagger embroiled in railroad scandals -- are ripped apart financially and psychologically by competing codes of domesticity, Southern manners, and capitalism.In her introduction to the book, Mary Ann Rasmussen argues that Herbst was unlike many other 1930s Leftists in that she refused the essentialist notions of gender difference that confounded radical men and women of her generation.Herbst's first two novels, published in the late 1920s, were praised by both Katherine Anne Porter and Ernest Hemingway, but the writer gained greater fame with the proletarian fiction and leftist journalism she wrote during the next decade. Though never a member of the Communist Party, Herbst was ostracized as a sympathizer and dismissed from a government job in 1942. Because she never repudiated her radical beliefs and lifestyle, her literary reputation suffered.
 

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User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

The author was born on Mar 5, 1892, in Sioux City and is the subject of an excellent biography by Elinor Lnager , which I read with much appreciation on May 25, 1985. But this is the first book of ... Read full review

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Contents

Oxtail 1905
1
BONES OF THE SAINTS
5
TWO BROTHERS AND OLD MULE
10
THE EARLY WORM
21
THE BITCH GODDESS SUCCESS
57
CHARMED LIVES
87
Oxtail
95
THE AX FALLS
97
THE BADLANDS LEAD TO DEADWOOD
226
Oxtail
237
THE DEAD AND GONE
239
PRISONERS ALL
240
BANKER IN EMBRYO
244
TWO SISTERS
254
THARS GOLD
263
SNARE AND DELUSION
269

BIG FROG EVIDENCE
104
TWO SISTERS
121
FALL GUY
126
Oxtail
136
FUGITIVE OR SHORT YEARS
138
TWO SISTERS
162
MRS FERROL DISPOSSESSED
164
CATHERINE DISPOSSESSED
174
Oxtail
196
W C R R
198
BALL AND CHAIN
200
LITTLE TRADER WALKS OUT
283
THE BANKER AS A YOUNG MAN
295
TWO BROTHERS AND THE BLACK GAMBLER
300
Oxtail
310
THE STUFFED MOCKING BIRD
313
Seattle 1918
340
DEATH CLUTCHES ME BY THE EAR
344
IN DAVIDS HOUSE
352
JOSEPHS COAT
355
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About the author (1933)

Herbst's numerous literary works include the recently republished "Trexler Trilogy".

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