Worker-Writer in America: Jack Conroy and the Tradition of Midwestern Literary Radicalism, 1898-1990
Conroy, a coal miner's son who apprenticed at age thirteen in a railroad shop, later migrated to factory cities and experienced the privation and ... Show synopsis Conroy, a coal miner's son who apprenticed at age thirteen in a railroad shop, later migrated to factory cities and experienced the privation and labor struggles of the 1930s. As worker and writer he composed The Disinherited, one of the most important working-class novels of the thirties. As editor of a radical literary journal, The Anvil, he nurtured the early careers of Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Meridel LeSueur before his own literary work was eclipsed in the cold war years. Douglas Wixson draws upon a wealth of letters and manuscripts made available to him as Conroy's literary executor, as well as numerous interviews with Conroy and his former contributors and colleagues. Wixson explores the origins and development of worker-writing and the numerous "little magazines" it generated. He examines the differences between the midwestern and East Coast literary worlds and the milieu in which Conroy and others like him worked - the Depression, job layoffs, factory closings, homelessness, and migration.