B E Y O N D   D A R K   H I L L S
E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City, New York, 1938. 399 pp.
  Beyond Dark Hills  
  The manuscript for this book was written as a term paper assignment for an autobiographical story. Stuart drew upon his experiences growing up in W-Hollow. When Stuart handed it to Edwin Mims, his professor, he hefted the large bundle of pages and grumbled about its length.  A week later Stuart encountered Mims on campus, who said, “I have been teaching school for forty years and I have never read anything so crudely written and yet so beautiful, tremendous, and powerful as that term paper you have written” (Richardson, Jesse, p. 157). Stuart never intended it to be published, but relented when E. P. Dutton prevailed upon him.

Beyond Dark Hills: A Personal Story was issued on April 18, 1938, by E. P. Dutton, and simultaneously published in Great Britain by Hutchinson & Company; Stuart’s first book published overseas. Copies of the two editions are in the Jesse Stuart Collection--both signed by Stuart. 

While on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Europe during 1937-38, Stuart received several letters from a woman who  simply them signed “Nancy Astor.” Not realizing that it was Lady Astor, he ignore them, until he received one, demanding when he was coming to see her. Upon inquiring among some friends, it was only then that he realized who the writer was. He responded immediately and accept an invitation to spend his last two weeks in England at the home of Lord and Lady Astor. Upon his return to Kentucky he sent them a copy of Beyond Dark Hills (now in the Jesse Stuart Collection) and included  an inscription, with a brief statement of how it came to be published.


  Special Collection logo