Robert Morgan

Robert Morgan, Kappa Alpha professor of English at Cornell University, is the author of numerous volumes of poetry and fiction, including the novel Gap Creek and short story collection The Balm of Gilead Tree. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, Atlantic Monthly, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He has received the James B. Hanes Poetry Prize, the North Carolina Award in Literature, and Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships for his works, which explore the culture and history of his native North Carolina mountains.
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Robert Morgan
Ginny, who marries Tom at the turn of the century after her family has given up on her ever marrying, narrates THE TRUEST PLEASURE--the story of their life together on her father's farm in the western North Carolina mountains. They have a lot in common--love of the land and fathers who fought in the Civil War. Tom's father died in the war, but Ginny's father came back to western North Carolina to hold on to the farm and turn a profit. Ginny's was a childhood of relative security, Tom's one of landlessness. Truth be known--and they both know it--their marriage is mutually beneficial in purely practical terms. Tom wants land to call his own. Ginny knows she can't manage her aging father's farm by herself. But there is also mutual attraction, and indeed their "loving" is deeply gratifying. What keeps getting in the way of it, though, are their obsessions. Tom Powell's obsession is easy to understand. He's a workaholic who hoards time and money. Ginny is obsessed by Pentecostal preaching. That she loses control of her dignity, that she speaks "in tongues," that she is "saved," seem to her a blessing and to Tom a disgrace. It's not until Tom lies unconscious and at the mercy of a disease for which the mountain doctor has no cure that Ginny realizes her truest pleasure is her love for her husband. Like COLD MOUNTAIN, the time and place of THE TRUEST PLEASURE are remote from contemporary American life, but its rendering of the nature of marriage is timeless and universal. Praise for THE TRUEST PLEASURE: "Marvelously vivid imagery. . . . a quietly audacious book."--The New York Times Book Review; "Morgan deeply understands these people and their world, and he writes about them with an authority usually associated with the great novelists of the last century. . . . the book is astonishing."--The Boston Book Review;
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