The Voice of Small-town America: The Selected Writings of Robert Quillen, 1920-1948

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This work is a sampling of the popular wit and insights of the Garrison Keillor of his era. Deemed ""the Sage of Fountain Inn"" by Alexander Woollcott, newspaper publisher and editor Robert Quillen (1887-1948) used the forum of the ""Fountain Inn Tribune"" to bring his anecdotes and opinions from small-town upstate South Carolina to an international audience. The Mark Twain or Garrison Keillor of his day, Quillen developed a reputation as an authentic voice of small-town life, and his words were reprinted in Collier's, the ""Saturday Evening Post"", ""Literary Digest"", and other publications. At the height of his syndication, Quillen's writings could be found in more than four hundred newspapers in North America and Europe with a combined circulation above twelve million. The essays, editorials, one-liners, fables, and random comments collected in this volume return to print Quillen's wit and insights after a decades-long hiatus. A native of Kansas, Quillen became a converted southerner over time, and his conservative opinions - especially concerning national politics, Depression-era reforms, and the war effort - reflect those circumstances. Presented in chronological order, the previously published and unpublished pieces collected in this volume include Quillen's rants against noisy neighbors, barking dogs, cats, birds, litter, bootleggers, lynching, sordid county politics, and the encroachment of the federal government. Here, too, are his most famous hometown characters, Willie Willis and Aunt Het, as well as ""Letters to Louise,"" his comic public messages to his teenage daughter that proved wildly popular with everyone but the addressee. In addition to Quillen's pieces, Moore also provides a brief biography and overview of his subject's career and literary aspirations beyond the venue of newsprint.

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University of South Carolina Press
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