The Unideal Rural

Andrew Wyeth
Christina’s World, 1948
Egg tempera on gessoed panel

I recently read an article that, astoundingly, asserted that the work of Wendell Berry created unsustainable fantasies regarding the goodness of rural life. Such a claim surprised me. To assert that Berry’s fictions are, well, fictions would not have been surprising (albeit, uninteresting); but to assert that his fictions are misleading, that they somehow idealize the rural, is shocking. Au contraire!

Continue reading “The Unideal Rural”


Returning Home

Pieter the Elder
The Return of the Herd, 1565
Oil on panel

In March of this year, lawyer and memoirist J.D. Vance announced that he would be returning home. Vance, the author of the best-selling Hillbilly Elegy, has some practical reasons he’s returning to Ohio, of course — he’s starting a nonprofit to address the opioid epidemic — but there are also some, as he calls them, civic reasons too. In his article from The New York Times, Vance writes:

I realized that we often frame civic responsibility in terms of government taxes and transfer payments, so that our society’s least fortunate families are able to provide basic necessities. But this focus can miss something important: that what many communities need most is not just financial support, but talent and energy and committed citizens to build viable businesses and other civic institutions. Continue reading “Returning Home”