Parrish, Anne: The Perennial Bachelor
(researched by Douglas Svor)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Parrish, Anne. The Perennial Bachelor . USA: Harper & Brothers, 1925. The copyright indicates only that the book was published in the United States of America in 1925 by Harper & Brothers, who hold the copyright. But the title page indicates that the book was published in New York and London . Edward Zempel and Linda A. Verkel's First Editions: A Guide to Identification notes that in all first editions from Harper & Brothers, the words "first" and "edition" appear simultaneously followed by 2 letters. In this copy, the letters are "GZ," which Zimpel and Verkler translate as indicating a publication date of July 1925. It appears the printing was only in hardback, but that subsequent domestic and internation editions were in both hardback and paperback. Sources: 1st edition of the book, Zempel and Verkler's First Editions: A Guide to Identification , NCUMA: Seach thread: Title(The Perennial Bachelor) and Author (Anne Parrish), RLIN: Seach thread: Title(The Perennial Bachelor" and Author (Anne Parrish)
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition is published in a hard cardboard.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
175 leaves, pp. [12] 1-334 [4]. Source: Gaskell: A New Introduction to Bibliography .
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The work is not edited nor introduced, but is dedicated to Francis Brinckle Lerbety.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The work contains no illustrations.
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 presentation of the text is both attractive and readable. The text is of a good size, and the print quality has held up nicely, showing no signs of smudging. The size of the type is quite large, measuring 97R. The font is set in serif type and the the title is presented in a larger font and more elaborate typeface than the text and chapter headings. Source: Gaskell: A New Introduction to Bibliography (1993, 331).
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?)
All leaves are white with a smooth surface. The top edge of each leaf is straight, while the other edges are deckled. Surpisingly, there is very little if any discoloration. The preservation state of this copy is outstanding, with no tears or stains of any kind. Source: Gaskell: A New Introduction to Bibliography.
11 Description of binding(s)
The grain type appears to be straight grain morocco, the texture being almost leathery. The hue is reddish while the lightness is red. The spine of the copy is "backed" with five "shoulders." The text on the spine is inscribed horiztonally in gold stamping, recounting from top to bottom the title, author, and publisher. Two endpapers front the front and back covers, and are in a brownish color. Source: Gaskell: A New Introduction to Bibliography (1993:241).
12 Transcription of title page
|The| |Perennial Bachelor| |By Anne Parrish| |Author Of| |A Pocketful of poses, Semi-Attached, etc| |Harper & Brothers, Publishers| |New York and London| |1925|. Source: Gaskell: A New Introduction to Bibliography (1993:332.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
I have been unable yet to locate the manuscript holdings of the work, or even able to confirm that they exist. Searches of Worldcat, RLIN, and the National Union Catalog of American Manuscripts has revealed that Parrish's letters reside in special collections at various universities including Northwestern, the Ohio State University, and The Smithsonian Institution. However, none of those collections including manunscripts. Source: Worldcat:Seach thread: Title(The Perennial Bachelor" and Author (Anne Parrish), NUCMA: Seach thread: Title(The Perennial Bacehlor" and Author (Anne Parrish), RLIN: Seach thread: Title(The Perennial Bachelor" and Author (Anne Parrish)
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Of greatest interest to me is the fact that this copy evidently belonged to the autor herself. In a ahndwritten note facing the titlepage, the author writes: This the only first edition I have of any of my books,it is grandly dressed only because it is a gift to me. I send it with heart-felt good wishes and hopes for all the exiled writers. Anne Parrish Jan 21,1941." This partly explains the excellent condition of the copy, and the World War II reference will be looked at within the context of subsequent assignments.
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
Yes. Searches on Worldcat and Eureka revealed that Harper Brothers re-released The Perennial Bachelor in 1926 as part of its Harper Prize Novel Collection. The edition featured 4 new pages of advertisements bringing the total page count to 338. It was also noted in the edition that the book was a prize winner in the Harper Brothers Novel Collection.
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?
As of October 2002, evidence is inconclusive as to exactly how many first editions were printed. Worldcat and Eureka show that the book was re-issued in June of 1925 by Grosset & Dunlap, and that company notes that its 20th printing of their edition occurred in March of 1926.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
The book was re-issued immediately in 1925 by Grosset and Dunlap as the first installment of their $1 bestselling fiction series, a calculated departure from their previous 75 cent bestseller series. These editions were noted for their superior cloth binding, better paper, stained tops, and two-color title pages. In 1926, a British edition of the book was released by W Heinemann publishing. The Popular Library re-issued an edition of the book in 1953. Source: Tebbel, A History of Book Publishing in the United States , Volume III
6 Last date in print?
Amazon.com lists the book as out of print. Searches of Eureka and Worldcat both revealed a 1953 Popular Library Edition, and as of October 2002 nothing newer has been found.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
The only concrete information gathered is from Hackett's 80 Years of Bestsellers , indicating that in 1925 the #1 Bestseller, A. Hamilton Gibbs' Soundings , sold slightly less than 100,000 copies, thus it can be inferred that The Perennial Bachelor as the #8 bestseller was somewhere under this number.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No reliable sales figures by year have been established as of October 2002.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Searches of Publishers' Weekly and Harper's did not turn up any print advertisements of the book. This may be possibly explained by the fact that since this was Parrish's first novel, Harper Brothers were not particularly concerned with advertisments as sales expectations may not have been substantial.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Worldcat and Eureka show that the book was promoted in Life in America , a novel by Gladys Eliot Mansir. The book promoted various works of fiction for Harper Brothers under the umbrella of "Passages from modern American novels." The dust jacket was reproduced in a black and white illustration and a biography and picture of the author accompanied Parrish's entry.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
No performance of any kind for the book was found in any form of media as of October 2002.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Worldcat and Eureka show that the book was translated into Russian in 1927. Vechnyi kholosteak . Leningrad: 1927. (No publisher given)
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
The book was not serialized.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
As of October 2002, no prequel or sequel has been located.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Anne Parrish was born into an artistically thriving family on November 11, 1888 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Anne's father, Maxfield Parrish, was an accomplished artist and illustrator. Her mother, Anne Lodge Parrish, was a renowned portrait painter. In an towards the end of her literary career, Anne confessed that her real home "was her grandmother's house" in Claymont, Delaware. Dislocation was a reality of life for Anne due to the occupation of her parents. Thus her formal education occurred in various parts of the country, mainly in Colorado Springs and Delaware. Anne went on to study art in Philadelphia at the School of Design for Women. She said that the reasons for this were not so much a desire to study art, but instead the logical consequence of growing up with artists as parents. Anne dropped out of the school in favor pursuing writing as a career, a truly bold move for a woman in early twentieth century America. After dropping out of school, Anne decided that the best place for her to accomplish her goal of professional writing was New York City. It was in New York City that Anne met future husband Joseph Titzell, a writer, poet, and critic. Titzell wrote under the pseudonym Frederick Lambeck. Lambeck's everyday job was as an associate editor of Publisher's Weekly, and it apparently was he who strongly encouraged Anne to publish. In 1923 at the age of thirty-five, Anne published A Pocketful Full of Posies, a children's novel illustrated by her brother Dilwyn. Following in the family's artistic traditions, Dilwyn was an accomplished illustrator in his own right and eventually married the writer Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher. During the years between the two world wars, Parrish was prolific, writing fifteen novels. Writing for both children and adults, the hallmarks of the Parrish style seemed to be a "biting wit and hard-heartedness" as one critic notes. This style is best exemplified by The Perennial Bachelor, a 1925 bestseller and Harper prize winner that told the tale of a burgeoning, wealthy bachelor and the decadence of the elite society which he represented. Published by the famous Harper Brothers press, this novel not only brought her financial and critical success but also the eyes of a large audience, and she went on to write more bestselling novels throughout the 1920s. Although her novels were generally well received by her contemporaries, Parrish's works often were criticized for a "lack of psychological depth." One biographer notes that only forty years after her death, Parrish is studied only by those concerned with "the history of popular fiction." Parrish died on September 5, 1957, the result of a cerebral hemorrhage. Unfortunately, it appears that the biographer is right. Parrish's legacy is largely established within the genre of bestselling twentieth century authors. *Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Virgo other databases. Search thread: Anne Parrish. *Contemporary Authors. Virgo Other Databases. Search thread: Anne Parrish. *Current Biography. October 1960. H.W. Wilson press. NY:1960. . *Oxford Companion to American Literature. Hart, J.D. Oxford Press. NY:1995. *Publisher's Weekly. September 16, 1957. *World Authors 1900-1950. Volume III. Seymour-Smith, Martin and Kimmens Andrew. H.W. Wilson Press. NY:1996.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The contemporary reception of Anne Parrish's The Perennial Bachelor is interestingly a very diverse body of work. Some critics hailed the book as a landmark work of pre-Depression era social critique, aptly exposing the decay of many high society families. However, many critics have chastised the work for a lack of depth, pointing out Parrish's illogical penchant for describing the aesthetics of affluent New England life. The only thing critics seem to agree on is the polished, rhythmical nature of Parrish's prose. The New York Times, one of the earliest periodicals to review Parrish's work, also was its most influential. Before landing on Henry Logan Stuart's desk, the book had already received the Harper prize for fiction. However, Stuart did not succumb to any feeling of "anticipatory distaste" for award winning novels. Instead, Stuart went on to thoroughly analyze the book, particularly its portrayal of the role of family structure. Arguing that is a "Robert Frost study in New England degeneracy," Stuart sees the greatness of the novel in its ability to portray the values of the Campion family as "the very seed of degeneracy." He reads this "degeneracy" as especially potent in the character of Victor, the novel's protagonist whose selfish, maniacal pathologies are the ultimate ruin of his family. After spending his column immersed in Parrish's text, he emerges at last to render his ultimate assessment of the novel: Miss Parrish has written a very fine and very poignant study of decadence and the tragedy that often lurks under the stoical front failure keeps for the world. What is especially remarkable in so young a writer is her sense, not alone of old days and ways, but of the actual processes by which the present becomes the past. Many critics echoed Stuart's praise for the novel. The New Republic called the novel "delightful" while the Atlantic Bookshelf said that is was "no wonder" she was awarded the Harper Prize. Perhaps the International Book Review went the furthest, arguing that the year would not produce a "more honest and engaging piece of work." However, many critics saw in the novel a literary shallowness that they were not reticent to point out. D.L. Mann of the Boston Transcript thought that Parrish "buried the true significances of her novel" and overall thought the work an "ironic failure." A critic of the New York Tribune thought it "better suited to the feminine tastes." By far the most scathing review of the novel was done by the Literary Review. Its reviewer, Achmed Abdullah, asserts that Given such a theme, Anne Parrish might have clouted it into a poignant and unforgettable tragedy, had it not been for her desire to be charming and whimsical at all costs and for the fact that, doubtless, before starting upon her work, she surrounded herself with a library of reference books on what are called American antiques. The book, gilt cover, double-barreled academic endorsement and all, simply screams for the more refined hammock and porch trade. Thus Parrish's novel was essentially troubling to critics. Whereas one group saw Parrish's work as a fresh and profound example of bitter social critique, another group looked at the same text and saw a dull, overly stylized piece of lowbrow entertainment. *Book Review Digest. H.W. Wilson Co. NY:1925. *Book Review Index. Gale Research Co. Detroit: 2002. *New York Times Book Review. NY Times Co. NY: 1925-1927.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The contemporary reception of Anne Parrish's The Perennial Bachelor is interestingly a very diverse body of work. Some critics hailed the book as a landmark work of pre-Depression era social critique, aptly exposing the decay of many high society families. However, many critics have chastised the work for a lack of depth, pointing out Parrish's illogical penchant for describing the aesthetics of affluent New England life. The only thing critics seem to agree on is the polished, rhythmical nature of Parrish's prose. The New York Times, one of the earliest periodicals to review Parrish's work, also was its most influential. Before landing on Henry Logan Stuart's desk, the book had already received the Harper prize for fiction. However, Stuart did not succumb to any feeling of "anticipatory distaste" for award winning novels. Instead, Stuart went on to thoroughly analyze the book, particularly its portrayal of the role of family structure. Arguing that is a "Robert Frost study in New England degeneracy," Stuart sees the greatness of the novel in its ability to portray the values of the Campion family as "the very seed of degeneracy." He reads this "degeneracy" as especially potent in the character of Victor, the novel's protagonist whose selfish, maniacal pathologies are the ultimate ruin of his family. After spending his column immersed in Parrish's text, he emerges at last to render his ultimate assessment of the novel: Miss Parrish has written a very fine and very poignant study of decadence and the tragedy that often lurks under the stoical front failure keeps for the world. What is especially remarkable in so young a writer is her sense, not alone of old days and ways, but of the actual processes by which the present becomes the past. Many critics echoed Stuart's praise for the novel. The New Republic called the novel "delightful" while the Atlantic Bookshelf said that is was "no wonder" she was awarded the Harper Prize. Perhaps the International Book Review went the furthest, arguing that the year would not produce a "more honest and engaging piece of work." However, many critics saw in the novel a literary shallowness that they were not reticent to point out. D.L. Mann of the Boston Transcript thought that Parrish "buried the true significances of her novel" and overall thought the work an "ironic failure." A critic of the New York Tribune thought it "better suited to the feminine tastes." By far the most scathing review of the novel was done by the Literary Review. Its reviewer, Achmed Abdullah, asserts that Given such a theme, Anne Parrish might have clouted it into a poignant and unforgettable tragedy, had it not been for her desire to be charming and whimsical at all costs and for the fact that, doubtless, before starting upon her work, she surrounded herself with a library of reference books on what are called American antiques. The book, gilt cover, double-barreled academic endorsement and all, simply screams for the more refined hammock and porch trade. Thus Parrish's novel was essentially troubling to critics. Whereas one group saw Parrish's work as a fresh and profound example of bitter social critique, another group looked at the same text and saw a dull, overly stylized piece of lowbrow entertainment. *Book Review Digest. H.W. Wilson Co. NY:1925. *Book Review Index. Gale Research Co. Detroit: 2002. *New York Times Book Review. NY Times Co. NY: 1925-1927.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
The Crumbling Campions: Family, Gender, and Society in Anne Parrish's The Perennial Bachelor It is fitting that in the obituary of Anne Parrish, Publisher's Weekly spoke of a "biting wit" as the most pervasive characteristic of her fiction. Throughout the breadth of Parrish's voluminous body of work, in no place is this "biting" sensibility more evident than 1925's The Perennial Bachelor. The story of the beleaguered Campion family, Parrish painstakingly exposes the decadence and dislocation of early twentieth century high-culture. However, Parrish is not satisfied with using her novel as simply a vehicle for cultural criticism. Instead, her writing goes right to the paradoxical essence of the 1920s Jazz Age existence. Through her narrative, Parrish aims to reflect and question the changing social milieu of America, specifically its implications with regards to gender roles and the evolving family structure of the nation. It is not by accident that Parrish begins her novel by showing the reader a world of "looped back muslin curtains" and "potichomanie flagons" (1). Intimately concerned with old guard familial aristocracy, Parrish deliberately immerses her reader in the cultural minituae of New England high society. Aesthetically, it is impossible to come away from this text without a keen sense of the regalia that give meaning and significance to the Campion family. Throughout the breadth of the novel, the Campions are concerned and troubled by the chasm between appearance and reality. Upon the death of her husband, Margaret Campion fears that by giving up her lavish lifestyle, her family will surrender its hard-earned aura of gentility. Thus Margaret decides the matter emphatically, by exclaiming in Scarlett O'Hara fashion "I won't leave the Maples!" (36). The novel ends with Lily Campion lamenting that "there's no one in the world looks as nice in a silk hat as you" (334). The irony lies in the fact that while the Campions appear as models of gentility, the stark reality is that they are social outcasts because of their constantly dwindling wealth. This concern for aesthetics is not, as some critics have charged, a "lack of psychological depth." It instead serves effectively as the conceit from which Parrish's novel gains strength: the tension between formal appearance and underlying reality within an evolving aristocracy. The fact that the Campion's perceived wealth belies their ever fragmenting family establishes Parrish's subject; in essence, what she plans to explore thematically. Thus it is necessary to gain an understanding not only of the characters in the Campion family, but more importantly, the rigid hierarchy that defines their familial unit. The hallmark of this hierarchy is not complex: unquestioned gender patriarchy. Specifically, the narrative unfolds around the actions of two men: Victor Campion, and his son, the second Victor Campion. First, it is relevant to assess the nature of the Victor-Margaret relationship as it establishes the essential dynamic of the Campion family. Then, it is also imperative to analyze the ways in which the second Victor assumes the role of gendered masculine patriarch upon his father's death. Early on, Parrish establishes the superiority and dominance of Victor Campion. Victor falls in love with the young Margaret not out of romance, but of the perception of feminine weakness he desires in a potential wife. During their time of courtship, "it was the time of the bloomer agitation, and every paper you picked up was full of caricatures of ladies, with bonnets and ringlets, to be sure" (17). Victor had no need for the type of burgeoning, aggressive woman that began surfacing in the era of women's suffrage and changing gender norms. He desired Margaret "greatly because she was not strong-minded; and indeed Margaret was never what Miss Florence Nightingale called a female ink-bottle" (19). Thus the dynamic of the Campion family is fixed well before any of the children are born. Victor would provide Margaret with the "servants?carpets?..and delicious foods" she loved, but she would remain forever dependent upon his authority (23). Victor's death is thus problematic in the context of the narrative. Without Victor's authority, Margaret's identity, and that of her family, is ambiguous. In the wake of Victor's death, his patriarchal presence is still felt. Troubled by the financial situation left bequeathed by her husband, Margaret responds to all inquiries with "Dearest Victor wouldn't do that" or "Victor wouldn't want me to give up the conservatory, or the horses and carriages" (36-37). However, the family patriarchy does find a way to perpetuate itself. Although Margaret fulfilled her gender established role well, there was a problem. There was "one thing Victor didn't have that he wanted, and that was a son" (23). Thus the birth of the second Victor Campion is a means of sustaining the gender hierarchy even in the absence of a father. The driving force in the Campion family thus becomes not one of individual fulfillment, but instead an existence dependent upon providing for the young Victor. It is interesting to consider the religious imagery Parrish employs to describe Victor. At birth, Victor is portrayed as the "Baby who lay in the manger" and in Sunday school it is noticed that "Victor looked at the altar cross that, as he looked, blurred into a dazzle of light, came swimming out to him, then faded into darkness" (49). Again, Parrish employs the convention of establishing a phenomenon for the purposes of later exposing its emptiness. In this case, Victor early on as a blessed, spiritual baby, destined to bring Christ-like salvation to the Campion family. However by childhood, it is obvious that "darkness" is Victor's true hue, and his birth will bring about the Campions downfall. Victor thus becomes not only the Campion family's primary concern, but its foremost terrorized, largely responsible for his family's social squalor. Unable and unwilling to control Victor, his path towards family patriarch, in place of his deceased father, is not only condoned but sanctioned by his mother. It is particularly useful to assess Victor's role within the gendered hierarchy. Victor is a typical spoiled, self-centered child characteristic of many aristocratic families. But interestingly, his pathology is not particularly maniacal or evil. Instead, Victor will solidify his pre-ordained position as household master through subtle but powerful means: rejection of all males attempting to ingratiate themselves into the Campion household. Victor's own mother is the first victim of the family patriarchy. At the prospect of his mother's marriage to the wealthy Mr. Lacey, Victor instead opts to maintain his status at the household's de facto head. His mother "couldn't soothe him, she couldn't stop him" as he "burst out No!" when told of Margaret's impending marriage (105-106). Margaret is forced to Put Mr. Lacey's letter and one velvety dark gloxinia bell into her Bible, and for a long time she cried whenever she looked at them. She never saw Mr. Lacey again (107). To truly understand the thematic significance of this event, it is necessary to consider what Mr. Lacey would have returned to the family; wealth, reputation, and status. Victor thus not only prevents his mother's happiness, but his self-destructive nature prevents his family's possible return to its aristocratic roots. Far from ending with his mother, Victor's pathology continues within the realm of his sisters. The elder sister and mother after Margaret's death, Maggie takes up her mother's charge of caring and providing opportunity for Victor. However, she is romantically involved with the wealthy socialite Edward Post, "heavy with love for him as the yellow pears in the tree were heavy with sweetness" (128). Again, Victor will not allow a man to usurp the authority which he exercises over the Campion women. Maggie informs Edward however that she cannot go away with him if "Victor cannot come with us?I can't leave Victor, Edward?Oh Edward, you know May and Lily?I couldn't leave him with them" (157). Faced with the choice of "Victor or me [Edward]," Maggie chooses her brother, unable to break the bonds of patriarchy to which she is bound. Having acquiesced to her mother's request that "if anything should happen, promise you'll always take care of Victory," the Campion women continually perpetuate their own gender-based servitude. It is interesting to contrast the way in which Maggie sacrifices her happiness with regards to marriage with that of her sister May. Unable to live only for Victor, May Campion lashes out at her sister: You always have been jealous of everyone who has ever been in love with me. You stole Edward from me?you did, you did! He came to see me, and you stole him, but you couldn't keep him! Well, I hope you're satisfied, you and Victor! (277). When Maggie replies that Victor "never harmed" anyone in the family, May retorts: Didn't he? Didn't he? He kept me from marrying Wadsworth Robinson. Oh yes, he did; if it hadn't been for Victor I'd have been happily married today?Wadsworth loved me, and I'd have been happy with him, if Victor hadn't shown me how silly he was, laughing and making fun of him. And he kept Mamma from marrying Mr. Lacey, he kept you from marrying Edward?he's done nothing but harm, all his life?Oh Maggie, I'm so unhappy?I wish I could die" (277). Certainly the cathartic moment of the novel, May at last exposes Victor's pathological destruction of his mother and sister. However, close attention to May's language is crucial. May subtly indicts herself, noting how Victor had "shown her" the inadequacies of her potential husband. Thus may cuts right to the core of Victor's complex pathology. Undoubtedly, his effect on the Campion women is denigrating and enslaving. Yet simultaneously, the women themselves do nothing to challenge him, instead choosing to simply surrender to his patriarchal authority. For Victor, his character ironically becomes the "perennial bachelor" through his inability to control women outside his family. Emotionally committed to Lucy Hawthorn, Victor's courtship is ultimately rejected in an epistolary series by which Lucy informs him that "I am going to marry the son?of one of Mamma's great friends, and I am very happy. You and I were only children, weren't we Victor?" (214). A woman that is happy?the only such occurrence in the novel. Siding with her brother of course, Maggie brands Lucy a "nasty little flirt" and is unable to appreciate a woman in control of her own destiny. The character of Daisy Blow further complicates the relationship amongst the Campion girls and outside women. As the object of another of Victor's relentless courtships, Daisy "dominated everything" (252). Therefore she is rejected by the Campion women, who consider her "cheap and silly" (253). As with Lucy, the girls are glad to see Daisy dismissed from Victor's attention. Yet the case of Victor's two love interests reveals more about his sisters than they do about him. The Campion women thus follow the tradition of female servitude begun by their mother. Not only do they choose to ignore the family patriarchy, they consider independent and socially mobile women a threat, especially those who threaten to become attached to Victor. The Campion women guard Victor for the purposes of protecting the patriarchy of their family; without Victor and the need to serve him, their identity becomes problematic. It is not difficult to imagine the chord struck by the publication of this novel. Released in the summer of 1925, the social dynamic of America, like that of the campion family, was in a period of tumult. In the literary world, 1925 was the year of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, of Alaine Locke's The New Negro. In the legal world, John T. Scopes was tried in court for teaching Darwinism in a high school science class. Al Capone's organized crime rings controlled much of the illegal alcohol in America, and the Jazz Age was in full bloom. In essence, America was undergoing vast changes socially, politically, and culturally. Women were enjoying the right to vote, and minorities were beginning their march for equal rights. People were considering themselves and their peers in ways never before considered; no institution was free of questioning. Into this shifting societal tapestry Anne Parrish published what would become her seminal work of fiction. Thematically, the issues of change, dislocation, and loss are central to The Perennial Bachelor. It is easy to envision reader using the novel as a marker of past times, as an example of where they had been and where they were going. The oppressive gender patriarchy, degeneracy, and uncontrollable transformation of the Campion family was likely a phenomenon familiar to many fiction readers of 1925. In an autobiographical sketch from the Contemporary Authors series, the writer speaks of Parrish's work as unfortunate "period pieces." In the case of this The Perennial Bachelor, this claim should not be regarded as malicious. In the novel, readers found plausible characters dealing with the incongruous and often troubling existence of a constantly shifting early twentieth century society. This is the power of Anne Parrish's prose, and the reason thousands of American readers found solace in it. Thus The Perennial Bachelor's status as a 1925 bestseller is certainly not a serendipitous occurrence. *Contemporary Authors. Virgo Other Databases. Search thread: Anne Parrish. *Parrish, Anne. The Perennial Bachelor . USA: Harper & Brothers, 1925. *Publisher's Weekly. September 16, 1957.
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