Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan: The Yearling
(researched by Monica Nista)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Charles Scribner's Sons New York 1938

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?


3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

i-viii, ix-x, (blank page without number), 1-400, 401-404 202 leaves

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?


6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth: Jody and the Flutter Mill The Fight with Old Slewfoot Penny Tells the Story of the Bear Fight The Dance of the Whooping Cranes The Fight at Volusia The Vigil Jody Finds the Fawn The Burial of Fodder Wing The Storm Penny Teaches Jody his Sums The Forresters go to Town The Death of Old Slewfoot Jody and Flag Jody Lost

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The physical appearance is very handsome. The cover is dark green and shiny, it grabs your eye. It's written in Linotype Baskerville, and the font size is very large. This makes for easy reading.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

Yes the paper is holding up very well-very thick and rough at edges. The paper met the guidelines for permanence and durability of the committee on Production guidelines for Book Longevity of Council on Library Resources.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding is strong. There are groups of about 30 pages that were folded and sewn together.

12 Transcription of title page

The Yearling/ By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings/ with pictures by N.C. Wyeth/ picture of boy and deer/ Charles Scribner and Sons-New York (slash indicates next line)

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Major manuscripts include manuscripts and galleys for The Yearling which was first published in book form. The typed manuscript, notes, and drafts are held in 17 boxes at the University of Florida in their special collections department.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)


Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The original publishers Charles, Scribner's and Sons published five subsequent editions to the first one. Among these were limited, large type, reprint, deluxe, and second edition. The differences between them were in the illustrator. First it was N.C. Wyeth, and then it was Edward Shenton. The print was also smaller than what I found in the first edition. One of these editions was specified as a children's edition so it was a bigger book with bigger type.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

There are ten printings of the first edition.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Demco Media: 1938; William Heinemann, Ltd. 1938; Grosset and Dunlap, 1938; L.W. Singer and Co. 1942; Continental Book Co. 1945; Macmillan Library Reference, 1994. Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc: 1988 Buccaneer Books, Inc: 1991

6 Last date in print?

The last date in print was in 1994.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

I could not find this information. I looked in Publisher's Weekly and it told me the amount of sales sold in particular weeks, but I couldn't find the grand total anywhere. I also looked in the Saturday Review of Literature, 80 Years of Best Sellers, and finally Jusice's Bestseller Index

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

After the first two months of being published it sold 60,000 copies. After its first year it sold 240,000 copies.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

I found one big ad in the Saturday Review of Literature. At the top of the page it said "This is The Yearling's year." Then it had the title and the author's name centered. This was followed by a paragraph- long summary of the novel. Afterwards it mentioned that this was its seventh big printing. There is also a black and white sketch of the boy Jody with his deer. Finally at the bottom it mentions the publishers and advises you that the book is being sold at all bookstores. Vol 18, issued 1937-1938.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

Rawlings won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939, and later in 1963 she won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, both for The Yearling.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

The Yearling was made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman by Metro0Goldwin-
Mayer in 1946. A reading of The Yearling by David Wayne, Eileen Heckart, and Luke Yankee is available on record and cassette from Caedmon. Finally a musical play version of The Yearling was written by Herbert Martin, Lore Noto, and Michael Leonard and fir
st produced in New York City at the Alvin Theater in 1965.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

(Italian) Il cucciolo, romanzo. It was translated by Carlo Coardi and printed by Bompiani in Milan: 1939. (Spanish) El despertar. It was translated by L. de Caralt in Barcelona: 1953. (French) Jody et le faon. It was translated by Denise van Moppes, printed by A Michel in Paris: 1946. (Japanese)Kojika Monogatari. It was translated by Yoshida Kinetaro, printed by Koiso in Ryohei: 1951. (German) Jody und flag. It was translated by Georg Westermann and printed by Braunshweig: 1951. (German) Fruhling des Lebens. It was translated by M. von Schroder and printed in Hamburg: 1939. (Polish) Roczniak. Translated by Przeklad Adama Galisa, and printed in Warszawa, Ksiazka: 1947.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A

The only evidence of a serialization I found was in the Saturday Review of Literature they printed a brief portion of the novel before it was published. It was titled "The Bear Hunt." It said that it would give weekly previews of forthcoming books.

15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born in Washington D.C. on August 8, 1896 of Frank Kinnan and Ida May Traphagen. Rawling's heritage includes a mixture of predominantly Dutch, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and English genes. While Kinnan was making a living as a patent attorney, his wife was maintaining the household in turn-of-the-century Washington, D.C., where Marjorie would be born. At a young age Marjorie was already on her way to becoming a writer. Her mother encouraged her daughter's apparent talent and one could find her earliest works in children's sections of local newspapers. At just eleven years old she won her first writing contest. When Marjorie was four, her brother Arthur Houston was born. One of the things that Marjorie loved best was spending summers on family farms. Her father's love of the countryside rubbed off on Marjorie and her fascination with the land would make good settings for most of her novels. Marjorie's happy childhood came to an end with the death of her father in 1914; she was only a senior in high school. Before he died, Arthur Kinnan had encouraged his children to attend the University of Wisconsin. Consequently, as soon as Marjorie graduated from high school, Ida Kinnan decided to move to Madison, as she too wished her children to receive a college education. In September 1914 Marjorie entered the University of Wisconsin as an English major, where she also devoted much of her time to the theater. She won many prestigious honors and in her junior year she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The constant support of the faculty, the success she experienced with the yearbook staff and writing classes she took confirmed her future as a famous writer. It was in her position as the associate editor of the Wisconsin Literary Magazine that she met future husband Charles Rawlings. She immediately fell for his blond good looks and charm. Upon graduating, Marjorie was eager to begin her career in writing and she moved to New York City. Charles followed her and they both wrote for newspapers, trying to publish their fiction on the side. In the spring of 1919 they were married. Rawlings was quick to grow unhappy with her life in New York and out of efforts to save their marriage, the couple moved to Cross Creek, Florida in 1928. The move did not help the relationship at all, yet Marjorie adopted to the Floridian lifestyle and found new inspiration to write. "We need above all, I think, a certain remoteness from urban confusion, and while this can be found in other places, Cross Creek offers it with such beauty..."(Rawlings 3). Marjorie's marriage to Charles ended and she still decided to remain on the farm. She wrote and managed the citrus grove. In 1930, a little over a year after her move to Cross Creek, Marjorie sent some sketches of her new friends and neighbors to an editor at Scribner's Magazine. She called them "Cracker Chidlings," and they appeared in the February issue of the magazine. Her stories were taken from real life and she even used real names. In 1932, Marjorie had completed a draft of her first book South Moon Under . She decided to deliver it personally to her agent and editor in New York, Alfred Dashiell and Max Perkins respectively. Scribner published it. She was thirty-six years old at the time. In the following year of 1933 her and Charles were divorced. Shortly after South Moon Under was published Perkins encouraged her to write more. Golden Apples was published in 1935. It was not well received. By 1936, she had begun to write the story of a boy and his pet deer, which would be published in 1938. This novel won her a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in the following year. The story was meant to be an adult book but it was quickly adopted for children to read as well. The story takes place in Florida where the Baxters live a life of simplicity on a farm. The boy Jody finds comfort and companionship in a deer, and when he is forced to kill it because of its appetite for the family's crops, he comes to terms with "growing up" and becoming an adult. Marjorie continued to write short stories and poetry. She remarried Norton Sanford Baskin, a hotel owner in 1941. A year later Marjorie's other notable book Cross Creekwas published in 1942. It is an autobiographical work of her life in Florida. She mentioned a friend's name in the novel and the woman sued her for $100,000. The case draggged on for five years and eventually she was found guilty. The woman got one dollar. From this point on Marjorie's work declined(Tobias 2). Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings died with no children at the age of 57. She had smoked Lucky Strikes (five packs a day) while writing and this would ultimately cause her health to deteriorate. On December 14, 1953 she died of a cerebral hemorrhage in St. Augustine, Florida and she is buried in Antioch Cemetery. Though she has been gone for a long time now, the people of Cross Creek maintain her house and her property, to the extent that they clean her sheets frequently. Her house is a local tourist attraction today with 20,000 people finding her cottage every year.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

As her publisher Max Perkins worked on the final proofs of The Yearling, he became increasingly spellbound by the book. Toward the end of January 1938, he wrote to her: "I'll tell you what The Yearling has done for me. You know how much there is to worry about when one goes to bed these nights. But my mind often goes to The Yearling-the country, people, and the hunts-and then all is good and happy. Now that's a test of how good a book is" (Silverthorne 145). This opinion of the novel would represent the general reception of her book. It was enormously well-received. Taking place in the northern Florida shortly after the Civil War, The Yearling presents several episodes in the life of the Baxter family. According to William Soskin of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review(1938) the novel "is an education in life that is far removed from our dreary urban formulas...[This] story of a boy and an animal becomes one of the most exquisite I have ever read." The Saturday Review of Literature (1933) said, "Mrs. Rawlings has written a wise and moving book informed with a love of all living kind." The Philadelphia Enquirer (1933) called it "truly American and deeply human." William Soskin of the New York Herald Tribune(1938)said, "With Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn well in mind it is quite possible to maintain that Jody Baxter...is the most charming boy in the entire national gallery." Time(1938) said the book "stands a good chance, when adults have finished with it, of finding a permanent place in adolescent libraries." Some comments that were a little less encouraging were found in the New Yorker(1938) in an article by Clifton Fadiman, who advised his readers to "take note of The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who writes the kind of regional novel that makes sense." Edward Weeks, editor of the Atlantic Monthly(1938), called The Yearling the "best and most endearing" book of the year and the London Times said the book was "bound to please everybody"(Silverthorne 150-152).
Silverthorne, Elizabeth. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The Overlook Press, New York: 1988.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Lloyd Morris of the North American Review(1980) says Rawlings "plunges us deeply into the hearts and the perceptions of a child, a wise man, and a brave woman. It recreates for us those fundamental attitudes of the human spirit which make life endurable, and those inalienable experiences of love and beauty which enable us to live it without shame. With the Yearling, Mrs. Rawlings rightfully takes her place among our most accomplished writers of fiction. Agnes Regan Perkins of the Saturday Evening Post(1946) says "while the author's legacy to children's literature essentially consists of just one book, it will even after fifty years still live through its strong characters, its telling metaphor, and its vivid scenes. The Yearling has a kind of mythical quality which repays each successive reading" (Telgen 3). Samuel Bellman asserted in his biography Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings that The Yearling "elevates the writer to the rank of those special authors who at least once in their lives are capable of giving us dreams to dream by and words to shape those dreams"(Bellman 124). Jody's adventures and his friendship with the fawn make the novel appealing to children, yet at the same time equally attractive to adults. Christine McDonnell of Horn Book(1977) remembers that it was a "tear-jerker, with lots of action: hunting, fighting, natural disasters." She adds, "But as an adult reader, these are not the ingredients that interest me. Instead, I was fascinated, shocked actually, by the view of life that Rawlings reveals in this story, a view so strong, bleak, but reassuring, that I am surprised to find it in a book that has deeply affected so many children." In Gordon E. Bigelow's book Frontier Eden, which documents the literary career of Rawlings, he states that through her tale the author "reveals herself..., her philosophy of life and her mystical feeling for the land and nature. The Yearling has helped make for Rawlings a secure and lasting place in American literature." He concludes, "In a time when it was fashionable to be negative and despairing, [Rawlings's] books were affirmative. In a time of great social and economic distress, of moral confusion and uncertainty, her stories quietly reasserted a familiar American ethic" (Bigelow 223).
Bellman, Samuel. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Twayne Publishers: New York, 1974. Bigelow, Gordon. Frontier Eden: The Literary Career of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville: 1966. Telgen, Diane. "Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings," from galenet.com

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

By 1936, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings had begun her story of a boy Jody and his pet deer. It was published in 1938 and became an immediate and widespread success. Fourteen days after publication The Yearling was on most lists of bestsellers. It quickly
moved upward and reached the top of the lists, where it remained for ninety-three weeks. It has been read in translation all the way round the world. At home it seems to be comfortably established in the literature of America, partly for its contribution
to our knowledge of our own country, but most of all as a heartwarming story of the struggles Jody encounters growing up and losing his best friend, a pet deer. Taking place in northern Florida shortly after the Civil War, The Yearling presents se
veral episodes in the life of the Baxter family as they carry out their daily lives of farming their small portion of land, hunting, and visiting their neighbors in the Florida woodlands known as the Big Scrub. Today we are still fascinated by the story o
f lost innocence and youth, and that is what has kept it at the heart of American literary tradition.
It is important to remember the times during which this novel was written. In 1938, the twenties were in the distant past; yet the Age of the Modern American Woman that had sprung from them was still in its developing stages. The feminist movement that pr
eceded it gave rise to self-esteem, assertiveness, and great expectations- all traits that Rawlings possessed. Her invasion of the workplace was a small victory; and her Pulitzer Prize in 1939 was of larger scale.
While The Yearling was written towards the end of the women's struggle for equal rights, it was also available to the public three short years before the onset of World War II. During the 1940s, adults (and children) could venture into the past an
d experience Florida in the late nineteenth century as though they were vicariously a part of the Baxter family and its peaceful setting. During the course of a year, Jody Baxter participates in a bear hunt, survives a terrible flood, sees a close friend
die, and helps nurse his father back from a life-threatening rattlesnake bite. He also experiences the beauty of his surroundings in the Florida backwoods, witnesses the dance of a whooping crane, and befriends an orphaned fawn, which he names Flag. Jody
is an only child who craves companionship and ultimately finds it in Flag . The death of Flag at the end of the novel brings much pain; yet Jody tries to accept this as a step in his increasing responsibilities as an adult. "In the beginning of his sleep
, he cried out, 'Flag!' It was not his own voice that called. It was a boy's voice. Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever" (Rawlings 428).
When Rawlings received the Pulitzer Prize in 1939, she became an instant celebrity and she was in constant demand. The story of the deer and his friend Jody is timeless. Set in the Florida backwoods, its theme is universal. Children of all ages find love
in animals (real or stuffed) and even objects like dolls and action figures. Without spoken words shared in conversation, children can expand their imaginations which are an integral part of childhood. Jody can relate to his pet friend better than his par
ents, and their closeness is defined by the fun filled times they share together: "He knew that the same restlessness came to the fawn that came to him. Flag merely felt the need of stretching his legs and exploring the world about him. They understood ea
ch other perfectly" (Rawlings 276). Jody feels an emotional tie to the deer, one that is lacking from his family relationships.
Rawlings possesses in The Yearling a talent for drama. "She was aware of her audience always, as she learned how to develop the most action, how to pause, and how to end a story." Gordon Bigelow describes her as a "raconteur, a teller of tales," ve
ry much in the tradition of Mark Twain( Bigelow 27). She uses sentiment without apology. She appeals to the heart and the soul of her reader. The more configuration of her stories is intentional; she writes with a message. Rawlings's joy in her work is s
hown through the vitality of the characters and the empathy one feels for their hard and dangerous lives. There is much hardship and sorrow and tragedy in The Yearling; but she has conveyed the quality of these people of the Florida backwoods. They
have stimulated her sympathies with their gallantry, their grace of spirit, and the joy in living that they find in lives which appear to the audience to be bitter struggles for survival.
The Yearling received an abundance of rave reviews. Critics felt that her novel was a direct reflection of the love she shared for all living kind. Rawlings grew up visiting relatives on their farms, and her love and knowledge of the countryside ma
de for realistic and authentic descriptive narratives. The public cherished the book for its exotic nature depictions, its humor, and its poetic quality. The critics focused primarily on the message of the book that is delivered by Penny when he tells his
son: "Ever' man wants life to be a fine thing, and a easy...Life knocks a man down and he gits up and knocks him down again...What's he got to do then? What's he to do when he gits knocked down? Why, take it for his share and go on" (Rawlings 426). Th
is underlying theme of becoming a man can be understood by all generations, and this is what continues to attract readers young and old.
While the majority of praise was gratifying, there were some comments that were a little less appreciated by Rawlings. Clifton Fadiman of the New Yorker encouraged his readers to notice her book as a "regional novel that makes sense" (Silverthorne
150). Rawlings did not like to hear the word "regional"; it came as a harsh insult to her work. The term was misleading and limiting. It ignored the fact that it takes an artist to transform a place of one's personal upbringing into something universal.
These sort of arguments were few, and they were quickly taken back by Edith Wharton of the New York Times: "The Yearling-and this is the best tribute one can pay it-is nothing so narrowly limited as a 'local color' novel. Rather, it recasts with
unusual beauty the old, timeless story of youth's growth to maturity." Likewise writers of the North American Review thought the label "regional" shrouded the importance of her work.
The Yearling carries the reader into an unknown but beautiful countryside and into a way of life that was reminiscent of an earlier period in American life. It is rich in details of animals and birds, of bear hunts in the wilderness, of rafting alo
ng the rivers; it had such wide appeal that by the early forties she had become something of a national celebrity and something of a legend. She was represented in magazines as an outdoors woman in boots, breeches, and a slouch hat. Her perceived passions
when she was not hunting quail were cooking up swamp cabbage and roasting alligator tail or other forest delicacy in her kitchen. This image was true in a way, but it was only part of the reality of Rawlings's personality. By birth she was a northern ci
ty woman, and until she moved to Florida she knew little of the outdoors: "All this strenuous outdoor stuff is new to me since coming to Florida," she writes "I've taken to it naturally, but my chief claim to capability in such matters lies only in being
game for anything" (Bigelow 3). One can see at once in her person an extraordinary individual: warm and vital and generous. Her achievements are greatly due to her talent and intelligence, as well as her own ambitions and independence of spirit.
After the success of The Yearling, Rawlings continued to write, only this time she attempted short stories. They were not as well received. She tried to hold her readers with the novel of South Moon Under and while cordially received by cr
itics, it was not especially popular with the public. Her readers wanted more of the portraits from The Yearling. The immense popularity and fame she won left her with a difficult decision. She debated writing a sequel to capitalize on the story;
yet she felt that this might jeopardize the art of the original work. Instead, Carl Brandt sold the movie rights for The Yearling for $30,000. It was made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1946. Though in a
sense Hollywood exploited her talents, it was a box-office sensation. Her popularity remained relatively undiminished. For the first time in her life Rawlings was concerned about receiving too much income.
One is left to wonder how Rawlings's popularity would have been affected if it had come out the same year as Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Other winners of the Pulitzer Prize for the year of 1938 included Carl Van Doren's biography of Benjam
in Franklin and Robert E. Sherwood's play Abe Lincoln in Illinois. While she enjoyed the honor and the accolades she received, she said it was impossible for her to take "any of those things too much to heart" (Silverthorne 162). She claimed that
the competition had not been great. It included Kenneth Robert's Northwest Passage, Louis Brombfield's , Esther Forbes's The General's Lady, and Sinclair Lewis's The Prodigal Parents.
Most of Rawlings's fiction uses Florida as a backdrop and was written after she moved there in 1928. Since her death, Rawlings's place in fiction has steadily declined. She is at present known principally for The Yearling, which continues to sell
briskly, though primarily as a children's book. She joins the likes of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mark Twain, who became the epitome of children's literature. In the planning stages for this novel, Rawlings and her publisher Maxwell P
erkins agreed that The Yearling was to be written for adults but in the spirit of what would appeal to children. One critic William Lyons Phelps of Time that I is "tremendously interesting and wholly charming," and that it "stands a good cha
nce, when adults have finished with it, of finding a permanent place in adolescent libraries" (Silverthorne 149). Rawlings was forever proud that children loved The Yearling, yet she was altogether not happy that her other works seemed of little im
portance in the aftermath of its success. Accepting the praise and endless fan mail of her young readers, and at the same time realizing that such adulation made it harder for her to be accepted by adult readers put her in a difficult situation.
Rawlings had a theory that she expressed in The Yearling, along with many of her other works that human happiness relates directly to place. Places, like her Florida home, have character, and as there is people have an attraction to certain people,
one can be attracted and attached to a place. She was at ease in Cross Creek, Florida, and this is what she shared with her readers, so we could experience the same sense of harmony and peace that she was raised with. Margaret Mitchell, winner of the 193
6 Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind wrote an admiring letter to Rawlings that said the following: "There have been all too few writers like you in the past. Yours is truly an American gift" (Tarr 25). Such compliments were typical of the opinio
ns and the respect Rawlings held from her contemporaries. They admired her for her inspiration and writing talent. The best of her writing as seen in The Yearling, is close to the land and to those who she had a connection with. Through them she ha
s earned her place in American literature, and the American people in turn have been granted the fortune of her achievements as an outstanding writer.
Bigelow, Gordon, ed. Selected Letters of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville: 1983.
Bigham, Julia Scribner, ed. The Marjorie Rawlings Reader. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York: 1956.
Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan. The Yearling. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York: 1938.
Silverthorne, Elizabeth. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Overlook Press, New York: 1988.
Tarr, Rodger, ed. Short Stories by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. University Press of Florida, Orlando: 1994.

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