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Wendell Berry thinks of himself as a storyteller. It's somewhat ironic then that he is better known as an essayist, a poet, and an advocate for small farmers. The essays in this collection consider the many facets of Berry's life and work, but they focus on his efforts as a novelist and story writer. Indeed, Berry had already published three novels before his seminal work of cultural criticism, The Unsettling of America, established him as an ardent defender of local communities and sustainable agriculture. And over the past fifty years, he has published eight novels and more than forty-eight short stories set in the imagined community of Port William. His exquisite rendering of this small Kentucky town challenges us to see the beauty of our own places and communities and to tend their health, threatened though it inevitably is. The twelve contributors to this collection approach Berry's fiction from a variety of perspectives--literary studies, journalism, theology, history, songwriting--to shed light on its remarkable ability to make a good life imaginable and compelling. The first collection devoted to Berry's fiction, this volume insists that any consideration of Berry's work must begin with his stories.
Jack R. Baker is an Associate Professor of English at Spring Arbor University. He and Jeffrey Bilbro have previously co-authored Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place (University Press of Kentucky, 2017). Jeffrey Bilbro is an Associate Professor of English at Spring Arbor University. He is the author of Loving God's Wildness: The Christian Roots of Ecological Ethics in American Literature (University of Alabama Press, 2015) and Virtues of Renewal: Wendell Berry's Sustainable Forms.