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Additional info for Elmer Kelton and West Texas: A Literary Relationship (Texas Writers Series, Vol 1)

Sample text

Kelton says he learned to read his first word from that carton: F-OL-G-E-R-S. Her schoolteacher habits strong, his mother taught him the alphabet and how to read while they lived at the Mayfield Place, often reading aloud to him. The family moved again in 1931 when Buck Kelton was made foreman of the McElroy Ranch. They Page 7 went to the headquarters, a small community made up of the ranch office, the bunkhouse, and several homes, including one that had formerly been a schoolhouse and which still contained desks, blackboards, and a few books.

Schreiner who was one of the most educated on the ranch and considered to be a man of the world. Schreiner had once worked in the hotel where O. Henry lived and told of having to sober him up to meet a deadline. Warming to his subject, he went on to tell of other newspapermen and writers he had known, all dissolute. " Buck Kelton relented after a while, and when Elmer, thinking he was reaching too far in wanting to go to the university in Austin, suggested that Texas Tech had a journalism department, his father said, "No, you'll go to the University of Texas.

Unlike many others, Kelton has had the wisdom never to stray from his own pasture, never to experiment with other settings, other voices. He staked his claim in the short stories and has worked it for more than forty years. Kelton has written one novelHanging Judge (1969)not set in Texas. It is, as the title would suggest, set in Fort Smith, Page 33 Arkansas, revolving around the so-called Hanging Judge, Isaac Parker. Even the major novels can be traced back, in a line of descent, to "There's Always a Second Chance" and the lessons learned during an apprenticeship in the pulps.

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