Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Vein of Iron
Ellen Glasgow


Ellen Glasgow considered Vein of Iron, published in 1935, to be her best work. “No novel has ever meant quite so much to me, ” she wrote to a friend. The critics agreed; the book was favorably reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Book Review and outsold all but one other work of fiction in the year of its publication. Opening in the years just before the First World War and laid in the Valley of Virginia, the book traces the experience of a family with four generations of strong women. Faced with a crisis when the bread-winner, a philosopher-minister, is defrocked for his unorthodox views, the women provide the “vein of iron” which carries the family through removal to Richmond (Queensboro in the book), through war and depression until the final return to the mountains.

Paperback, 408pp
University of Virginia Press, 1995 (1935)
ISBN 9780813916361