Essays on Raintree County and Ross Lockridge, Jr.

(Including Collections, and Synopsis for further reading)

MYTH AS STRUCTURE IN RAINTREE COUNTY, By David Aline. "In his attempt to produce the Great American Novel, Ross Lockridge, Jr. employs myth as a structure for is novel, Raintree County, in order to teach Americans the true nature of their consciousness as a culture."

SEED OF THE RAINTREE: RAINTREE COUNTY AND POSTWAR ENVIRONMENTAL FICTION, 1945-1960, by Fred Waage, as presented at the Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), June 2007. "In my fifteen minutes here, I'd like to share with you the basic argument of the text I'm writing, whose working title is Seed of the Raintree: Raintree County and 1950's Environmental Writing, and offer an incentive to explore what I believe, although the claim may seem outrageous to some, to be the greatest U.S. environmental novel of the 20th century."

TAXES IN THE SHADE OF THE RAINTREE by J. Fred Giertz. No one should conclude that taxes drove Ross Lockridge Jr. to suicide. However, tax concerns were a source of his distress that was magnified by his depression.

THE RETURN TO RAINTREE COUNTY by David D. Anderson."If 'Raintree County' is not the fabled Great American Novel, it will do until that unlikely work appears."

RAINTREE COUNTY AND THE EPICISING POET IN AMERICAN FICTION, By Leonard Lutwack. "Perhaps Raintree County may appear a little more from behind the critical cloud that covers it if instead of being placed for adverse comparison beside Joyce's Ulysses it is considered among those American novels which present an epicising poet who fails to become another Homer and yet whose story in itself presumes to be an epic." This essay also considers the structure of the novel.

AUTHOR IN THE EPIC, by Larry Lockridge, From: SHADE OF THE RAINTREE. "A private person, [Ross] Lockridge wrote a novel in no way private, where he opened up to public view all he most valued, all he most feared. The novel takes us on a journey into an interior only hinted at in his earlier writings...."

BIOGRAPHY AND ENIGMA: THE CASE OF ROSS LOCKRIDGE, JR., by Larry Lockridge. "My aim here is to tell some of the story of writing Shade of the Raintree and to suggest how skepticism is better deployed in an intense seeking and weighing of evidence...."

RAINTREE COUNTY AND THE POWER OF PLACE, by Fred Erisman. "Like the environmental novels of the last (2) decade(s) [Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), A.B. Guthrie, Jr., Arfive (1971), and Jack Schaefer, Mavericks (1967)], Raintree County calls, ultimately, for a perception of space and place that is neither national nor social, but rather is ecological--the perception that person and place, space and time, are interdependent and one. It is an ecological novel written before its time, and its time has finally come."

THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST IN THE HEARTLAND: RAINTREE COUNTY REVISITED, By Joel M. Jones. " its singularity Raintree County is not simply a historical novel.... A strong case could be made for this work as an example of each one of Northrop Frye's five modes--from the mythical to the ironic."

ROSS LOCKRIDGE, RAINTREE COUNTY, AND THE EPIC OF IRONY, By Gerald C. Nemanic. "Much care is taken to recreate the artifacts, tenor, and style of life in nineteenth century Indiana. These "antiquities" are evoked with deep feeling for that fading fabric of life. They delight, and are their own reason for being. And yet, for Lockridge this is hardly enough. He is bent on discovering the principles of American development, the foundation of American character."

BLURRED BOUNDARIES AND THE DESIRE FOR NATIONALISM IN ROSS LOCKRIDGE'S RAINTREE COUNTY by Dean Rehberger. ". . .Lockridge's Raintree County is one of the fullest expressions in novel form of the ideology of nationalism. However, by expressing nationalism, its contradictions and gaps, the novel calls into question the very possibility of imagining the nation as complete and whole."

THE SOUTHERN MYTH IN ROSS LOCKRIDGE, JR.'S RAINTREE COUNTY , by Patricia Ward Julius. "In the mid-nineteenth century, as we all know, the nature of the South and the institution of slavery impinged on the consciousness of the United States as no other issue has, before or since. However, most fictional treatments of this traumatic period in our history examine one side or the other and virtually none acknowledge the myths that surround and define that period. In his vast and panoramic novel, Raintree County, however, Ross Lockridge addresses that issue and dissects the myths that, in many ways, perpetuated it."


Collections -- other Essays on-line

MYTH, MEMORY, AND THE AMERICAN EARTH: THE DURABILITY OF RAINTREE COUNTY, A Collection of Critical Essays, Edited by David D. Anderson.. Preface & Contents. "With its re-publication, reviewers and critics of 1994 echo the reviewers and critics of 1948 as they reiterate its greatness, its complexity, its universality, its timelessness, even, in some cases asserting that its true audience was not the mid-century America of its publication but that of the last years of this century...."

MIDWESTERN MISCELLANY XXVI (Spring 1998). "Fittingly, this new direction in the publications of the Society [SSML] is inaugurated by this issue, in which six members of the Society discuss Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s Raintree County, a magnificent interpretation of the Midwest and its people, on the novel's fiftieth anniversary . . . dedicated to Toni Morrison ." Here also are Larry Lockridge's informal responses to these papers.


A BRIEF SYNOPSIS ON ROSS LOCKRIDGE, JR., (Biography, Significance, Selected Works, Further Reading) from the Dictionary of Midwestern Literature (DML).

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