Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

A Girl of the Limberlost
Gene Stratton-Porter


This novel by Gene Stratton-Porter. An immediate bestseller, A Girl of the Limberlost – her fourth novel – established Stratton-Porter’s reputation as a leading naturalist and writer of the American Midwest. Written for children and adults alike, A Girl of the Limberlost is a classic tale of struggle and survival set in one of Indiana’s iconic wilderness regions. Elnora Comstock has always felt different. Raised on the edge of the vast Limberlost Swamp, her life is forever associated with the death of her father, who drowned in quicksand while her mother Katharine was going into labor. Despite this tragedy, her mother has maintained a reverence for the swamp, refusing to sell their land for timber or mineral rights like most of her neighbors have done. Now a teenager, Elnora struggles to connect with other high schoolers, most of whom are unaccustomed to the rhythms of the natural world. Mired in poverty, she refuses to give up, soon excelling in her classes and becoming an accomplished violinist. Nevertheless, she still feels she must prove herself to her mother, who remains stuck in the past.

Paperback, 298pp
Mint Editions, 2021 (1909)
ISBN 9781513283050


GENE STRATTON-PORTER (1863-1924) was an American author, photographer, and naturalist. Born in Indiana, she was raised in a family of eleven children. In 1874, she moved with her parents to Wabash, Indiana, where her mother would die in 1875. When she wasn’t studying literature, music, and art at school and with tutors, Stratton-Porter developed her interest in nature by spending much of her time outdoors. In 1885, after a year-long courtship, she became engaged to druggist Charles Dorwin Porter, with whom she would have a daughter. She soon grew tired of traditional family life, however, and dedicated herself to writing by 1895. At their cabin in Indiana, she conducted lengthy studies of the natural world, focusing on birds and ecology. She published her stories, essays, and photographs in OutingMetropolitan, and Good Housekeeping before embarking on a career as a novelist. Freckles (1904) and A Girl of the Limberlost (1909) were both immediate bestsellers, entertaining countless readers with their stories of youth, romance, and survival. Much of her works, fiction and nonfiction, are set in Indiana’s Limberlost Swamp, a vital wetland connected to the Wabash River. As the twentieth century progressed, the swamp was drained and cultivated as farmland, making Stratton-Porter’s depictions a vital resource for remembering and celebrating the region. Over the past several decades, however, thousands of acres of the wetland have been restored, marking the return of countless species to the Limberlost, which for Stratton-Porter was always “a word with which to conjure; a spot wherein to revel.”