About Wendell Berry: Port William Novels & Stories: The Civil War to World War II
Library of America inaugurates its edition of the complete fiction of one of America’s most beloved living writers
Port William, Kentucky, is one of the most fully realized settings in American literature. For more than fifty years, in novels and stories that combine a Faulknerian sense of place with the wry characterization of Mark Twain, Wendell Berry has told its history from the Civil War to the present day. This agrarian world is populated with memorable characters collectively known as the Port William Membership, women and men whose stories evoke a time when farming, faith, and family were the anchors of community and the ligaments that bound generation to generation. Now, for the first time, in an edition prepared in consultation with the author, Library of America is presenting the complete story of Port William in the order of narrative chronology. This first volume contains twenty-three stories and four novels that span from 1864 to 1945, as a town that sees itself as rooted in its past faces the forces of mechanization and the looming possibility of its own disappearance. Throughout, the stories that Port William tells of itself, repeated between friends and among fellow workers, turn wit and gossip into proverbial wisdom. All the stories reveal the ways that ordinary men and women strive to achieve right relationship with themselves, with Creator and Creation, through small acts that combine, over time, to foster a sustainable community imbued with hope and wonder.