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A Swallow Press Book

The Wife of Martin Guerre

By Janet Lewis
Introduction by Kevin Haworth
Afterword by Larry McMurtry

“One of the most significant short novels in English.”

Atlantic Monthly

“Lewis wrote her vibrant novella in 1941 as the first in her Cases of Circumstantial Evidence trilogy, which Swallow Press has brought back into print. The mystery here is not Martin’s identity, but why Janet Lewis remains obscure.”

NewPages

“Flaubertian in the elegance of its form and the gravity of its style.”

The New Yorker

“Ohio University Press/Swallow Press is reissuing all three novels in Lewis’s Cases of Circumstantial Evidence series in new editions with fancy new covers. They’re gorgeous.”

The Book Haven

In this new edition of Janet Lewis’s classic short novel, The Wife of Martin Guerre, Swallow Press executive editor Kevin Haworth writes that Lewis’s story is “a short novel of astonishing depth and resonance, a sharply drawn historical tale that asks contemporary questions about identity and belonging, about men and women, and about an individual’s capacity to act within an inflexible system.” Originally published in 1941, The Wife of Martin Guerre has earned the respect and admiration of critics and readers for over sixty years.

Based on a notorious trial in sixteenth-century France, this story of Bertrande de Rols is the first of three novels making up Lewis’s Cases of Circumstantial Evidence suite (the other two are The Trial of Sören Qvist and The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron).

Swallow Press is delighted and honored to offer readers beautiful new editions of all three Cases of Circumstantial Evidence novels, each featuring a new introduction by Kevin Haworth.

Janet Lewis was a novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose literary career spanned almost the entire twentieth century. The New York Times has praised her novels as “some of the 20th century’s most vividly imagined and finely wrought literature.” Born and educated in Chicago, she lived in California for most of her adult life and taught at both Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her works include The Wife of Martin Guerre (1941), The Trial of Sören Qvist (1947), The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron (1959), Good-Bye, Son and Other Stories (1946), and Poems Old and New (1982).

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Table of Contents, Introduction by Kevin Haworth, and Beginning of Chapter 1: “Artigues”
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Cover of The Wife of Martin Guerre

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Paperback
978-0-8040-1143-3
Retail price: $11.95, T.
Release date: July 2013
112 pages · 5¼ × 8 in.
Rights: World except United Kingdom

Electronic
978-0-8040-4053-2
Release date: July 2013
112 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for The Wife of Martin Guerre

“One of (the short novel’s) most perfect examples is Janet Lewis’s The Wife of Martin Guerre.”

Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“When the literary history of the second millennium is written at the end of the third, in the category of dazzling American short fiction (Janet Lewis’s) Wife of Martin Guerre will be regarded as the 20th century's Billy Budd and Janet Lewis will be ranked with Herman Melville.”

New York Times

“A relentless and draining novel sans merci, all the way to its ruthless end.”

The Book Haven

The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis is one of the most resonant short novels I can remember. I greatly like two other books she wrote: The Trial of Soren Qvist and The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron. She never got the attention she deserved.”

Evan S. Connell, Jr.

“Lewis skillfully builds up Bertrande's growing conviction: it has a quality of a horror story, a stranger in her bed. Is she crazy? Is she sinning? She determines that she cannot continue in this way.”

Meredith Sue Willis’s Books for Readers

“One of the last century’s great novels.”

A Commonplace Blog

"Janet Lewis brings the haunting qualities of fable to this novella, based on a legal case that attracted wide attention in 16th-century France and has continued to fascinate down through the years."

Ron Hansen, Wall Street Journal

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The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis
By Janet Lewis
· Edited by R. L. Barth

Since the appearance in print of her early poems over seventy-five years ago, the poetry of Janet Lewis has grown in quiet acclaim and popularity. Although she is better known as a novelist of historical fiction, her first and last writings were poems. With the publication of her selected poems, Swallow Press celebrates the distinguished career of one of its most cherished authors.

Poetry · Women Poets · American Literature · Literary Studies

Cover of 'Good Bye, Son and Other Stories'

Good Bye, Son and Other Stories
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Good-bye, Son, Lewis’ only collection of short fiction, was originally published in 1946, but it remains as quietly haunting today as it was then. Set in small communities of the upper Midwest and northern California in the '30s and '40s, these stories focus on the imperceptible processes, or cycles, connecting youth with age, despair and hope, life and death. Through a variety of characters (mostly female) at various stages of life, we glimpse the motion of these cycles.

Literary Fiction · Literary Studies · Short Stories (single author) · American Literature · Women Authors

Cover of 'Poems Old and New, 1918-1978'

Poems Old and New, 1918-1978
By Janet Lewis

Kenneth Rexroth wrote: “Janet Lewis uses reason to veil and adorn the flesh of feeling and intuition. This is the way the greatest poetry has always been written.” The poems in this collection range over a period of 60 years. The style is spare, direct, cutting to the core of subject. Richness of intelligence and a concern for the human has also characterized every phase of Lewis’ development.

Poetry · Women Poets · Literary Studies

Cover of 'The Trial of Sören Qvist'

The Trial of Sören Qvist
By Janet Lewis
· Introduction by Kevin Haworth

Originally published in 1947, The Trial of Sören Qvist has been praised by a number of critics for its intriguing plot and Janet Lewis’s powerful writing. And in the introduction to this new edition, Swallow Press executive editor and author Kevin Haworth calls attention to the contemporary feeling of the story—despite its having been written more than fifty years ago and set several hundred years in the past.

Women Authors · Literary Fiction · American Literature · Historical Fiction · Literary Studies