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Innocent Bigamy and Other Stories by Olive Tilford Dargan

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Olive Tilford Dargan (1869-1968) - yes she died at the age of 99 - published this book in 1962 when she was 93, 58 years after she published her first book! Yes, not surprisingly there is a fascinating biography out about her - The Heart of Revolution: The Radical Life and Novels of Olive Dargan by Kathy Cantley Ackerman. The title is no accident. Dargan was on the left politically. She wrote three proletarian novels under the pen-name Fielding Burke. She was born in Western Kentucky, lived as a girl in the Missouri Ozarks and won a scholarship to Peabody University for getting the highest score in Arkansas on a competitive examination. While at Peabody she traveled to the North Carolina mountains and vowed to live there some day. She studied at Radcliffe where she met her husband, a Harvard student. In 1906 they bought a farm on the Nantahala River in Swain County, North Carolina, and she lived there off-and-on until she moved to Asheville in 1925. The stories in this book are very powerful, especially the one about the Copper Basin of Tennessee. When the late John Ehle was teaching a January term at Berea College as a favor for the late President John Stephenson who had rented at John's Chapel Hill home as a UNC student, John Ehle brought me a trunk-load of these books in his Mercedes on one of his trips from Winston-Salem to Berea.  

Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 1962. 261 pages. Hardbak in dust jacket.