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Thread: I have seen the wicked "Like a Green Bay Tree"

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    I have seen the wicked "Like a Green Bay Tree"

    As a child in the 1950's, I remember a novel on my parents' shelves with a title that spoke of "The Green Bay Tree." More I cannot remember. I became curious and began to search just now.

    I also remember one or two books by Daphne du Maurie (spelling?)

    I guess it is attractive to an author to make reference to "the green bay tree" since it only occurs once in the Bible, and connotes wickedness.

    The green bay tree is only mentioned once in the bible. The following information is from the Easton's Bible Dictionary.

    Bay Tree is named only in Psalms 37:35, Authorized Version. The Hebrew word so rendered is ereh , which simply means "native born", i.e., a tree not transplanted, but growing on its native soil, and therefore luxuriantly. If the psalmist intended by this word to denote any particular tree, it may have been the evergreen bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), which is a native of Palestine. Instead of "like a green bay tree" in the Authorized Version, the Revised Version has, "like a green tree in its native soil."

    Psalms 37: 34-40

    34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

    35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and
    spreading himself like a green bay tree.

    36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

    AHA! Suddenly I remember! The author was Louis Bromfield!

    Louis Bromfield was a Midwestern-American writer and farmer whose wide-ranging career, straddling the literary, the commercial, and the agricultural, spanned over four decades from 1920-1956. Despite his early promise, gaining accolades such as the Pulitzer Prize (1927), the O Henry Memorial Short Story Award (1927), nomination to Vanity Fair’s Hall of Fame (1927), and membership to America’s National Institute of Arts and Letters (1928), Bromfield started to lose critical favour in the 1930s. He continued to write prolifically, in both fiction and non-fiction, commanding a large readership and best-selling status; however, critically Bromfield became increasingly neglected. This neglect was due, in part, to scathing reviews such as Edmund Wilson’s “What Became of Louis Bromfield” for The New Yorker in 1944.

    In October 1921 he married Mary Appleton Wood; they had three daughters. In addition to his various media jobs Bromfield also found the time to work on his own fiction. In 1924 he published his first novel, The Green Bay Tree (Frederick A. Stokes), to great critical acclaim. His popular success allowed him to write full time. The Green Bay Tree became the first of a tetralogy known as “Escape”. As his foreword explained, the series, including Possession (1925), the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Early Autumn (1926), and A Good Woman (1927), was a collection of “panel novels [. . .] all interrelated and each giving a certain phase of the ungainly, swarming, glittering spectacle of American Life”. Proving to be some of his major works, these texts represented concerns informed by the experiences of his early life that were to reoccur throughout career: a belief in Jeffersonian ideals of the pastoral and disgust at encroaching industrialism; the literary influence of epic, Victorian authors like Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and John Galsworthy; depictions of strong independent heroines; the horror of war; and an admiration of Europe, particularly France.
    Last edited by Sitaram; 01-24-2005 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Suddenly, I remember! Louis Bromfield

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