The Eleventh House is a remarkable memoir by an influential critic, teacher, world traveler, and raconteur whose sheer exuberance helped to form a network of literary friendships unparalleled in twentieth-century arts and letters. Hudson Strode—writer, gardener, gourmet, and world traveler—proceeds from his childhood home in Alabama to the international literary scene of the 1920s and 1930s, recounting meetings with Eugene O’Neill, H. L. Mencken, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, H. G. Wells, the Prince of Wales, and the King of Sweden.

Hudson Strode with F. Scott Fitzgerald: His ideal, he said, was to live the life of a hedonist. He argued that pleasure is the sole or chief good in life and that moral duty is fulfilled in the gratification of pleasure-seeking instincts. “We shall get all the joy out of life we can,” he said. “And then when I reach thirty-five I shall do away with myself. There is no sense in growing old.”

Hudson Strode with Ernest Hemingway: I rose to go, wishing him luck on Winner Take Nothing. “What the artist must do,” he said, “is to capture the thing on the printed page so truly that the magnification will endure. That is the difference between journalism and literature. There is really very little literature.”

Hudson Strode with Isak Dinesen: “Whenever I get out of touch with humanity,” she said with a merry look in her eyes, “I get on my bike and ride in the throng …. It makes all men brothers …. There is a kind of snobbish class distinction among motorcars, but with bicycles the model counts for nothing, nor the age, nor even the sex.”

Hudson Strode with H. G. Wells: “Strode,” he said in his squeaky voice, “I may never see you again, but I want you to remember carefully the words I want incised on my tombstone: ‘You damn fools, I told you so!’ And with an exclamation mark, please.”

Hudson Strode
(1892-1976), renowned author of a three-volume biography of Jefferson Davis, also wrote a number of widely acclaimed books on his world travels, among them Sweden: Model for a World, Ultimates in the Far East: Travels in the Orient and India, Timeless Mexico, and The Story of Bermuda. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a professor of English at the University of Alabama, where he made a lasting mark on generations of students and taught many noteworthy young writers who would go on to achieve national acclaim.

336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8173-5890-7 Paper