The Sheltered Life
The Sheltered Life stands as one of the most stirring epitaphs to the romantic South in American literature. In the town of Queenborough, Virginia, ... Show synopsis The Sheltered Life stands as one of the most stirring epitaphs to the romantic South in American literature. In the town of Queenborough, Virginia, the Archbalds and the Birdsongs, the two remaining families on Washington Street, hold their ground and attempt to ignore the industrial invasion in the years before the first World War. Told from two perspectives - the wise outlook of elderly General Archbald, a civilized man in an uncivilized world, and the romantic vantage point of Jenny Blair, his impetuous grandchild - the story is a vivid parable of a society in decline. Unaware of the disaster unfolding around them, the two households cling blindly to a dream that has died, as the crumbling of their shelters - religion, convention, and social prejudice - gradually destroys the fragile order of their lives. First published in 1938, The Sheltered Life was hailed by Alfred Kazin as Ellen Glasgow's most moving and penetrating novel. Like Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, which it closely resembles in spirit, The Sheltered Life became a haunting study in social decomposition. A modern masterpiece, The Sheltered Life resonates with the charm, courage, vitality, and inevitable tragedy of a proud and vanishing age.