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Main-Travelled Roads by Hamlin Garland

With a new introduction by Brianne Jaquette 

Main-Travelled Roads collects 11 short stories, originally published in 1891, set in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, or what Hamlin Garland called the “Middle Border.” Depicting an agrarian life of exploitation, misogyny, and poverty, Garland's radical, realist stories refute romantic conceptions of the rural Midwest. Unrelenting yet strangely hopeful in its view of how things ought to be, this collection is gripping, hard-hitting, and surprisingly beautiful.

Praise for Main-Travelled Roads:

"The animating power of Main-Travelled Roads lies in its ability to balance heartbreaking depiction of rural hardship with endearing testimony to the small joys and bonds of community that persist in spite of it.... Main-Travelled Roads testifies to the proverbial middleness that continues to characterize the Midwest. Garland’s characters acutely experience the push and pull of departure and return, the compromise between individual aspiration and communal obligation, the attempt to find meaning in the tension between the beauty of the landscape and the banality of labor." --Alex Zweber Leslie, Cleveland Review of Books

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Brianne Jaquette is a teacher and writer originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has a PhD in English from the University of Missouri and is interested in the nineteenth century, regionalism, and literature.

Belt Revivals is a series of reprints of unjustly forgotten, newly resonant works from the American Midwest. You can subscribe to the whole series here