Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley edit Woody Guthrie’s lost novel HOUSE OF EARTH for publication next spring

Leave it to Johnny Depp to find a fitting way to honor the 100th birthday of legendary folk singer, composer, and American public conscience Woody Guthrie (on July 14th); Johnny and historian Douglas Brinkley are teaming up to edit Guthrie’s long-lost novel House of Earth for publication next spring. According to the New York Times, House of Earth, which Guthrie finished in 1947 but never published, “follows a West Texas couple who, in their effort to build adobe homes as protection against treacherous weather, fight against banks and lumber companies.”

In a New York Times essay entitled “This Land Was His Land: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Novel,” Brinkley and Depp explain that Guthrie’s House of Earth “was written as a direct response to the Dust Bowl.” The novel reveals that the great musician was also “a brilliant and distinctive prose stylist, whose writing is distinguished by a homespun authenticity, deep-seated purpose and remarkable ear for dialect. [. . .] Pitched somewhere between rural realism and proletarian protest, somewhat static in terms of narrative drive, House of Earth nonetheless offers a searing portrait of the Panhandle and its marginalized Great Depression residents,” they write. “Guthrie successfully mixes Steinbeck’s narrative verve with D. H. Lawrence’s openness to erotic exploration. [. . .] At heart, House of Earth 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.”

Guthrie’s vision sounds perfectly attuned to these times, and will be a welcome addition to our bookshelves and his legacy. Congratulations to Johnny and Douglas Brinkley for bringing House of Earth to publication.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read more about House of Earth on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Brinkley-Depp New York Times essay is available HERE.

Introducing a new section in the Johnny Depp Zone Archives–Movie Lore!

We’re celebrating the 8th birthday of the Johnny Depp Zone at this site with a gift for Deppheads everywhere. We have added a new section to the Johnny Depp Zone Archives: Movie Lore!

The Movie Lore Archive contains articles about Johnny Depp’s films. Although these are not interviews with Johnny himself, these pieces offer fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of how some of our favorite movies were made. In Movie Lore, you will find interviews with directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, designers and fellow actors, as well as more general articles on “the making of” a particular film.

What we are showing you today is only the beginning — have many more articles waiting in the wings and we’ll add them to Movie Lore as our time and resources permit. You can access Movie Lore HERE or via the JDZ Archives button above.

Many thanks to Theresa, who designed the Movie Lore Archive, and to all the Zoners who have donated material to it. It’s always a pleasure to learn more about the process -— part art, part serendipity — of moviemaking.