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Stephen Heyman
Unaffiliated independent scholar
A Life of Louis Bromfield (1896–1956), The Lost Generation Novelist Who Inspired America’s Organic Food Revolution

Research and writing leading to publication of a biography of Pulitzer-prize winning American author and pioneering organic farmer Louis Bromfield (1896-1956).

The Road to Malabar is the first major biography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and pioneering organic farmer Louis Bromfield (1896-1956). Bromfield rose to prominence in 1920s Paris among a set of legendary expatriates such as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. But after World War II, he radically changed course, investing his fame and fortune into the daring project of bringing sustainable agriculture to America. From his model farm in rural Ohio, Malabar, Bromfield sounded an early alarm about harmful pesticides and fought for an agriculture that would enrich the soil and protect the planet. Based on unpublished letters and memoirs, this book not only unearths a lost American icon, it also sheds light on the little-known origins of sustainable farming. By situating that movement in its cultural context, the book shows how organic agriculture was just as much a response to the shocks of the 20th century as the literary modernism of Bromfield’s Lost Generation peers.

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019