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Davis Grubb
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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (last edited Mar 01, 2012 03:05PM) (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Davis Grubb(July 23, 1919 - July 24, 1980) was born and raised in Moundsville, West Virginia. Both sides of his family lived there for almost two hundred years. His father was an architect. His mother worked for the Department of Public Assistance. He was a child of the Great Depression, seeing his father's career dry up as economic times grew worse, and hearing the stories of the impoverished people his mother served.

Davis began writing at the age of seven. He was also fascinated with drawing and painting. He spent a year at the Carnegie Mellon institute from 1938 to 1939. However, the would be painter was color blind. He would be a writer.

In 1940, Grubb moved to New York. He worked as a page at NBC. By 1941 he was righting copy for broadcast on NBC. In his spare time he devoted his efforts to writing fiction.

Through 1942 and 1943, Grubb wrote copy for radio stations in Florida and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He broke into the writers market, selling his first short story to "Good Housekeeping" for $500.00. Grubb continued to successfully sell short stories to well known magazines through the coming years.

Grubb's first two novels were never accepted for publication. However, in 1953, Harper Brothers accepted and published The Night of the Hunter. It was a critical and popular success. The Night of the Hunter was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1955. See my review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Grubb's first novel is based on the true story of Harry Powers, known as the "Lonely Hearts Killer," or "The Bluebeard of Clarke County." He was executed in the State Penitentiary at Moundsville, W. Virginia in 1932. Powers' crime? He murdered a widow, Asta Eicher, and her three children. Their bodies were discovered in his garage in Quiet Dell, West Virginia.

Charles Laughton purchased the film rights to The Night of the Hunter. It was Laughton's only film made as a director. It has become an American film classic, selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 1992. James Ageeserved as screen writer.

After the success of The Night of the Hunter, Grub continued to write both novels and short stories. He experimented with changes in genre, saying, "no one book should be like the others."

In 1955, Grubb's historical romance, A Dream Of Kings was published, New York, Charles Scribner's & Sons. The novel was not received as favorably as his prior work. Set during the Civil War, in Virginia, it is the story of Tom Christopher, who fights under the command of Stonewall Jackson. The "dream of kings," is the Confederacy. However, after Jackson's death at the battle of Chancellorsville, Christopher deserts and returns home to what is now West Virginia.

Grubb was continually frustrated by critical response to his works, saying, "They [the literary critics] seem to get very upset when you don't write the same thing." Grubb was undeterred, returning in 1961 with The Watchman.

Perhaps Grubb's most ambitious work was "The Voices of Glory." It doesn't even have a goodreads entry, as of yet. I'll be remedying that as a goodreads librarian. Clearly based on his mother's experience with the Department of Public Service, it tells the story of Mary Creslap, a Public Service Nurse inoculating the impoverished against tuberculosis. It is told through twenty-eight different characters. Not unusual at all, it has been said Grubb was influenced by Sherwood Anderson and his novel Winesburg, Ohio. The novel will also call to mind Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.

Fools Parade, one of my favorite Grubb novels, was also made into a movie, starring Jimmy Stewart, Strother Martin, George Kennedy,Anne Blythe, and others, comprising an excellent ensemble cast. Unfortunately, the film is not available. Following the death of Ann Blythe, the film rights remain the subject of a conflict over her estate. It is a shame. For it is another matchless portrayal of a most unusual set of underdog characters struggling to overcome corruption during the Great Depression.

Davis Grubb is almost lost to the reading public today. On being a writer, he said,

I can't remember when it first was that I said to myself, when I looked in a mirror over the washbasin, which was about to here on me, "You are a writer." I can't imagine ever not having been a writer. I wasn't a prodigy in any sense. I was, to all intents and purposes, a very stupid, mischievous, rather sad child. I made horrible grades in school, the worst. to the disappointment of my father and mother both. I'd come home with my report card just bristling with Fs or Ds...

A young writer once came to me years ago and said, "Why write anything? It's all been said." And I said, "Yes, but not by you." And I think unless you believe in the sacred individuality of everyone, then you don't believe in writing at all. Because no metaphor can have any real meaning unless, having originated in the mind of the poet, it finds soil to make its resurrection in the mind of somebody else.

Every day you don't create something is a sin. That's what sin is. Doing nothing. Or traveling along day after day in the same old rut, not feeling anything, not seeing anything. That's a sin."

Davis Grubb died in New York, New York, July 24, 1980. His companion was a Lhaso Apso named Rowdy Charlie.

References

"The Serial Killer of Clarke County," http://www.webcitation.org/62gVgIQbm
"Davis Grubb," Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, http://www.wvwc.edu/library/wv_authors/a...
"In Their Own Country, Davis Grubb," West Virginia Center For the Book, http://wvcenterforthebook.lib.wv.us/In%2...



message 2: by Judith (new)

Judith (jaydit) | 24 comments The Night of the Hunter is, if not my favorite story, one of my favorite films

I am so glad you have "something" regarding Davis Grubb..because I'm trying to track down the series IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY...that aired on West Virginia Public Radio...way back in the day. I owned a copy of this series..on CD..twice....but I gave them away, and now I regret those 'acts of kindness" because i can't find anyone who sells the damned set

by the way...your link, up top.....wvcenterforthebook...is dead

I think i've said enough and better book on outta here..i can be a real pain in the ass

;-}


message 3: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Judith wrote: "The Night of the Hunter is, if not my favorite story, one of my favorite films

I am so glad you have "something" regarding Davis Grubb..because I'm trying to track down the series IN..."


Hmmm...interesting that link was working the day I posted this. I must investigate!


message 4: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) I ordered Fool's Parade as second hand book from bookmooch. Thanks to Pulp Fiction group recommendation.

Sounded like a lot of fun, cant wait to read it.


message 5: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Judith wrote: "The Night of the Hunter is, if not my favorite story, one of my favorite films

I am so glad you have "something" regarding Davis Grubb..because I'm trying to track down the series IN..."


Well, Judith, it took me a while, but follow this link: http://wvcenterforthebook.lib.wv.us/I...

This will take you to "In their own country."

Lawyer Stevens


message 6: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Mohammed wrote: "I ordered Fool's Parade as second hand book from bookmooch. Thanks to Pulp Fiction group recommendation.

Sounded like a lot of fun, cant wait to read it."


Excellent! Let me know what you think of it!

Mike


message 7: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten (jkeeten) Sir Michael, Do you think Grubb is a candidate for Library of America?


message 8: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Jeffrey wrote: "Sir Michael, Do you think Grubb is a candidate for Library of America?"

Indeed I do. He'd make an excellent addition. His works are falling among the lost writers of America. They need to be preserved.

Mike


message 9: by Franky (new)

Franky | 321 comments I find it a shame that Grubb's works are so hard to find, out of print, etc, especially in a day and age when "anything" is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or online. Luckily, a local library had a copy of The Night of the Hunter, otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to read such a fine novel.


message 10: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Franky wrote: "I find it a shame that Grubb's works are so hard to find, out of print, etc, especially in a day and age when "anything" is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or online. Luckily, a local librar..."

Fortunately, it's relatively easy to find good reading copies of Grubb's works through dealers on http://www.abe.com for very reasonable prices. I definitely intend on reading more of his novels.

Mike
Lawyer Stevens


message 11: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Everitt wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Sir Michael, Do you think Grubb is a candidate for Library of America?"

Jeffrey, between this and your earlier comment on Lafcadio Hearn, I'm really wondering whether the LoA is in..."


Heck yeah.

Mike
Lawyer Stevens


message 12: by Franky (new)

Franky | 321 comments Thanks Mike. I'll check it out.


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