Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burgess the romantic

This post is simply to counteract the impression that Burgess's earliest writing was all in the "boy adventure" vein. In fact, Burgess was a versatile writer who explored a variety of genres (I have even come across an apparently unpublished pulp science fiction piece in his archives at BU). His writing could be quite sentimental, though rarely gushy (the Yankee reserve in his makeup, no doubt). Here is a story first appearing in the New England Homestead in 1902, later reprinted in the Locomotive Engineers Journal (1907).

[UPDATE: Note that the trailing arbutus, or mayflower, was Burgess's favorite flower and he would work to preserve it and other wildflowers when it appeared to be disappearing from New England.]

My favorite in this mode is an 1899 New England Homestead story by "Waldo," "A Thanksgiving Romance." It is too long to post here, but it is essentially an extremely improbable tale of long separated lovers miraculously reunited during a holiday feast. The boy adventure was a specialty, for sure, but Burgess could write a soap opera when he wanted to.

Tomorrow: Burgess is hired to write about nature.

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