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11.07.05 Heyward, Dubose, Porgy, published in 1925

Notes Concerning the Author

Edwin DuBose Heyward (1885 – 1940) was a Southern author best known for his 1925 novel, Porgy, which was very successful.  Two years later his wife adapted the novel into a play, also called Porgy.  Then, in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, the play was made into an opera, called Porgy and Bess.  Continuing the success of this masterpiece of literature, the opera was made into a 1959 movie, also called Porgy and Bess.  Heyward also wrote poetry and other novels and plays, as well as the children’s book The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (1939).

Heyward was born in 1885 in Charleston, South Carolina.  By the way, he was a descendant of Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr., a South Carolina signer of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

As a child and young man, Heyward was frequently ill.  Although he described himself as ” a miserable student” who was uninterested in learning, and dropped out of high school in his first year at age fourteen, he had a lifelong and serious interest in literature. He passed the time in his sickbed writing verses and stories.  From this not-so-illustrious background came a masterpiece in Southern literature, which enjoyed amazing success.


Heyward’s novel takes place over one summer when Porgy begins his  romance with Bess and defeats her man, the violent stevedore Crown, only  to lose her at the end of the novel.  The story is set mostly in Charleston’s Catfish Row, a run-down tenement building that was once a stately mansion; Heyward based it on the real-life Cabbage Row, which he would pass every day on his way to and from work.

Availability of this Book

Porgy, the novel, is available as a used book and a paperback reprint as well as a Kindle e-book.  We suggest Amazon.