"An outstanding book which makes a genuine contribution to the study of women writers, South Carolina, the South, and the wellsprings of literary creativity. . . . An exceptional piece of work."
—Louis D. Rubin Jr.
"A well-researched account of Peterkin's life, almost as readable as a good novel."
"The documentation of this life is absolutely fascinating."
"Truly remarkable. I am bowled over both by Peterkin's life and by Williams' knowledge and skill in presenting it. This is a beautiful piece of work, as moving and tragic and as brimming with life and psychological insight as Peterkin's works themselves."
—Harlan Grene, author of What the Dead Remember
"In this subtle, complex, often brilliant study Williams delves into the life of Julia Peterkin with that same passionate thoroughness, critical wisdom, appetite for irony and subversion, and the sleuth's love for the search with which Peterkin herself explored the human condition in the South."
—Charles Joyner, author of Remember Me: Slave Life in Coastal Georgia
"[An] excellent study . . . Williams depicts Peterkin as a woman with talent, confidence, vision, and courage—attributes all carefully supported by data from archival and published sources. She coherently weaves Peterkin's life and writings into the contexts of people, place, and time. Peterkin's biography is a work to be read and remembered. Highly recommended."
"Superb . . . Fills a critical gap in southern studies . . . Williams opens a very valuable door onto this pivotal era."
“An important contribution in presenting a serious biography of Julia Peterkin that will arouse the public's attention . . . A writing style with precision, punch, and humor makes this book enjoyable reading; Williams's commentary is especially arresting and insightful.”
—Georgia Historical Quarterly
Peterkin's fiction chronicles the collapse of plantation agriculture on the Gullah coast of South Carolina. At the same time her writings are a thinly veiled autobiography of a southern white woman struggling to create something new out of the beauty and sorrow around her. Writing to her mentor H. L. Mencken in 1922, Peterkin declared, "These black friends of mine live more in one Saturday night than I do in five years. I envy them, and I guess as I cannot be them, I seek satisfaction in trying to record them."
The first full account of Peterkin's life, A Devil and a Good Woman, Too is an exemplary biography of a brilliant, enigmatic woman who defied convention, lived as she pleased, and wrote what she knew.
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