Issue 120, Fall 1991
This portfolio of photographs and text is taken from Wright Morris's 1948 novel, The Home Place, to illustrate the profound influence of photography on his work. The pictures appear on every other page of the novel, carefully arranged to correspond to the text opposite. Though the fragments excerpted on these fourteen pages are self-contained, the text of the novel is a continuous narrative. Many of the photographs seem to illustrate directly the images or action occurring on the facing pages, but they always go beyond mere exposition, and are as much a part of the fabric of the novel as the text. Others relate more obliquely, establishing a mood or visual backdrop.
Morris begins The Home Place with an epigraph from Henry James's The American Scene:
To be at all critically, or as we have been fond of calling it, analytically minded—over and beyond the inherent love of the general many-colored picture of things—is to be subject to the superstition that objects and places, coherently g…