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Kinship with the Land: Regionalist Thought in Iowa, 1894-1942 written by E. Bradford Burns

 

Kinship with the Land: Regionalist Thought in Iowa, 1894-1942 written by E. Bradford Burns

Overview:

Pioneers moving into Iowa in the nineteenth century created a distinctly rural culture: family, farm, church, and school were its dominant institutions. After decades of settlement, however, several lively and perceptive generations interpreted their political, economic, and cultural environment - their Iowa - much more imaginatively; they offered such an abundant insight, understanding, meaning, and mission that they mentally and spiritually recreated Iowa. In Kinship with the Land historian Brad Burns celebrates this intense period of intellectual and cultural development. Through their novels, short stories, poems, essays, drawings, and paintings, Iowa's regionalists expressed a rich abstraction of people and place. They conferred meaning, imparted understanding, defined the soil and the folk, conveyed a sense of place. Grant Wood in his overalls - the quintessential symbol of sophisticated talent and rural values - clearly represented regionalism's spiritual solidarity with the land and the people who worked it. Burns lets these Iowans speak for themselves, then interprets their distinctive voices to present a cogent case for and an understanding of the rural in an overwhelmingly urban America. Kinship with the Land emphasizes the importance of Iowa's intellectual and cultural history and reaffirms the state's identity at the very moment that standardization threatens to eradicate it. By endowing Iowa with vibrant, independent art and literature, regionalists made refreshing sense of their environment. Readers from every state will appreciate their generous legacy.

Synopsis:

Pioneers moving into Iowa in the nineteenth century created a distinctly rural culture: family, farm, church, and school were its dominant institutions.  After decades of settlement, however, several lively and perceptive generations interpreted their political, economic, and cultural environment—their Iowa—much more imaginatively; they offered such abundant insight, understanding, meaning and mission that they mentally and spiritually recreated Iowa.  In Kinship with the Land historian Brad Burns celebrates this intense period of intellectual and cultural development.

Booknews

Native Iowan Burns (history, U. of California, Los Angeles) does a great service for a sorely neglected group of artists and writers<-->the Midwesterners. He celebrates both the place of Iowa as a distinctly rural culture, and its "perception" through the remarkable poetry, novels, and artwork of the region during the period between 1894 and 1942. Grant Wood is probably the most familiar name among the many mentioned in this history, but the lack of recognition doesn't diminish the power of the quotations that Burns liberally employs to make his point about the valuable and sophisticated contributions made by Iowan artists e.g. these lines from "Prairie Spring" by Marguerite E. Hoffman, "I, who am prairie-born, remember this:/That summer noon possesses unearthly glare." Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Title: Kinship with the Land: Regionalist Thought in Iowa, 1894-1942

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