Louis Bromfield

Franklin Library Louis Bromfield books

Early Autumn - Library of Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1977


Author Louis Bromfield

Louis Bromfield, born on December 27, 1896, in Mansfield, Ohio, was an American author and conservationist known for his literary contributions and his dedication to sustainable agriculture. His life and work spanned the first half of the 20th century, and he achieved recognition as a prolific writer and a proponent of rural life. Bromfield's early education took place at various institutions, including Columbia University and Cornell University. He served as an ambulance driver in World War I, an experience that influenced his later writings. After the war, Bromfield worked as a journalist in New York and Europe.

Malabar Farm

Malabar Farm played a significant role in his life and legacy. Located in Lucas, Ohio, Malabar Farm became not only the backdrop for many of his writings but also a real-world embodiment of his commitment to sustainable agriculture and land conservation. Bromfield purchased the farm in 1939 and transformed it into a model for innovative and organic farming practices. He implemented contour plowing, crop rotation, and other conservation techniques to prevent soil erosion and maintain soil fertility. His efforts at Malabar Farm were pioneering in the field of sustainable agriculture, and the farm became a showcase for visitors interested in learning about these practices. Malabar Farm was not just an agricultural endeavor; it also served as a haven for Bromfield's creative work. The author penned numerous novels, essays, and articles while residing at the farm. The rural setting and his experiences as a farmer greatly influenced his writing, giving his works an authentic connection to the land.

One of Bromfield's most famous books, Pleasant Valley (1945), is set at Malabar Farm and captures the essence of rural life and the challenges faced by farmers during that time. His writings often celebrated the beauty of the countryside and emphasized the importance of sustainable farming practices. After Louis Bromfield's death in 1956, Malabar Farm continued to be a place of inspiration for future generations. In 1976, it was designated a historical landmark, and today, it operates as a state park and educational center. Visitors to Malabar Farm can explore the historic Big House, tour the farm's buildings and gardens, and learn about the principles of sustainable agriculture that Bromfield championed.

His literary career gained momentum with the publication of his first novel, The Green Bay Tree (1924), but it was the success of Early Autumn (1926) that earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1927. Over the years, Bromfield continued to write novels, essays, and plays, exploring themes of rural life, family, and societal changes. In the early 1930s, Louis Bromfield purchased Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, where he implemented innovative and sustainable farming practices. Malabar Farm became a model for conservation and agricultural development, attracting attention for its success in soil conservation and organic farming. Bromfield's commitment to these principles earned him the designation of "the farmer-writer" and a reputation as a pioneer in sustainable agriculture.

Bromfield's passion for the land extended beyond his writings. He was actively involved in promoting soil conservation and sustainable farming practices, and he served as an advisor to various government agencies. His work in this field earned him the Soil Conservation Award in 1952. Louis Bromfield's literary output included over 30 books, and his influence extended to Hollywood, where some of his works were adapted into films. Despite facing financial challenges later in life, his contributions to literature and agriculture left a lasting legacy. Louis Bromfield passed away on March 18, 1956, but his impact on literature and sustainable farming practices continues to be recognized and celebrated.


Early Autumn - A Story of a Lady

Sabine Callendar had fled from the stifling propriety of Durham, New England twenty years ago. With a failed marriage behind her and an eighteen year old daughter to present to society, everyone is surprised to find that Sabine has returned, not as the pitiable and broken creature they expected, but as a strong and assured individual with an uncanny ability to see through the postures and pretenses of the society that oppressed her as a girl. With her bold independence and forthright nature, Sabine challenges the social order and becomes a catalyst for changes in the lives of the people around her.

Bromfield's startling depth of insight into the characters of this novel and his brilliant portrayal of the challenges to old New England society earned him national recognition. Bromfield was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Early Autumn.

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