cover image Home-Concealed Woman

Home-Concealed Woman

Magnolia Wynn Le Guin. University of Georgia Press, $49.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-8203-1236-1

In an existence that pinned her indoors, foiled by hardship and weariness, Magnolia Le Guin (1869-1947) could still find a sure faith in God, taking joy in her children or in the cooling weather of October which each year restored her energy and her hope. Here is a record of the inner life of the Georgia farmwife, written in the margins of her husband's account books and on scraps of paper. With a deliberate repetition that mirrors the tedium of one decade, Le Guin tells of difficult childbirths, gnawing fears of illness in the members of her ever-increasing family, the toil required to feed and clothe the brood, the stream of company that taxed her precarious health. Hers was the typical lot of the agrarian poor, but because she needed to ``scribble'' as others needed to breathe, Le Guin has left behind an inspiring account of her ability to survive not only with fortitude but with dignity. The diaries are edited by her grandson, a professor of history at Portland State University and the husband of noted science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin, who supplies a foreword. (Dec.)