Woody guthrie johnny depp

Johnny Depp Co-Editing Lost Woody Guthrie Novel

Johnny Depp is co-editing the lost Woody Guthrie novel House of Earth alongside author Douglas Brinkley, with the book set for publication sometime next year, the New York Times reports.

As noted in an essay penned by the pair that appeared in the Times, House of Earth was inspired by Guthries own experiences living through the Dust Bowl, as well as his reading of John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath and Guthries own writing of This Land Is Your Land. Perhaps the key source of inspiration, however, came when Guthrie saw the sturdy adobe haciendas while he busked in New Mexico he was amazed by the weatherproof structures that could withstand the worst the Dust Bowl threw at them.

The novel tells the story of two West Texas farmers, Tike and Ella May Hamlin, who despite an intense connection with the land they live on cant keep their house safe from damage in the dust storms, until Tike decides to build a new home out of adobe. But since Tike and Ellas home is on land owned by a big bank in cahoots with a lumber company, the project is forbidden.

As Depp and Brinkely write: In Guthries fierce proletarian worldview, the rural poor are thereby shafted by the iron boot heel of capitalist greed merchants, and he finger-points everyone from bankers to lumbermen to termite-like real estate brokers, enemies of the little guy. At a key juncture, Tike rails against the sheep mentality of honest folks in Texas and Oklahoma who let the capitalist vultures steal from them.

Encouraged by Library of Congress folklorist Alan Lomax (who wrote of the book, It was quite simply the best material Id ever seen written about that section of the country), Guthrie finished House of Earth in 1947, put it away, and focused on songwriting. Its possible, as Depp and Brinkely note, that he was aware the book might not get published due to its content (both passe and ahead of its time) as well as Guthries fertility cycle prose and use of an overdrawn hillbilly dialogue.

When Depp and Brinkley shared the whole novel with Bob Dylan, the musician said he was surprised by the genius of the prose.

This seems like an apt time for publication. The duo writes that the book is a meditation about how poor people search for love and meaning in a corrupt world, one in which the rich have lost their moral compasses. Even though the backdrop is the washed-out agricultural fields of Texas, the novel could just as easily be set in a refugee camp in Sudan or a shantytown in Haiti.

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Johnny Depp Read A Woody Guthrie Novel

Yes, Woody Guthrie (pictured) wrote a novel, and its just been published with an intro by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp. (What? Not James Franco?) Larry McMurtry considers the book in the New York Review of Books: House of Earth was completed in 1947 but discovered only recently. It is a novel about farming; there arent many such. The one great one, Edith Summers Kelleys Weeds, was reprinted not long ago by the persistent professor Matthew J. Bruccoli, who was given it by an astute bookseller. Its a great book, and House of Earth isnt, though it is powerful. Its a serious effort to dramatize the struggles of a young couple, Tike and Ella May Hamlin, who try to make a living as farm laborers in the most unforgiving years of an equally unforgiving place: the Texas Panhandle in the 1930s.

by Brendan Lemon | 4/10/13 | Leave a comment |
Tags: Johnny Depp, Larry McMurtry, Woody Guthrie

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Johnny Depp Editing Woody Guthrie's Last Novel

Actor Johnny Depp has turned editor in an effort to aid the release of one of folk singer Woody Guthrie's last novels.
The late musician's daughter Nora Guthrie stumbled upon her father's previously unpublished work, House of Earth, last autumn (11) and now The Pirates of the Caribbean star has teamed up with author Douglas Brinkley to revise the book in celebration of the centennial of the singer's birth, which will be celebrated on Saturday (14Jul12).
The manuscript, completed by the icon in 1947, chronicles a West Texas couple's struggle to build a clay home. It is scheduled for release next spring (13), 46 years after Guthrie's death.
This isn't the first time the actor has worked with Brinkley - the two co-wrote the Grammy Award-nominated liner notes for the soundtrack to Gonzo, a documentary about their late journalist pal Hunter S. Thompson.

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