Life in the Iron Mills

Read by Elizabeth Klett

(4.4 stars; 59 reviews)

This 1861 novella was the first published work by Rebecca Harding Davis: writer, social reformer, and pioneer of literary realism. It tells the story of Hugh Wolfe, a Welsh laborer in an iron mill who is also a talented sculptor, and of Deborah, the hunchbacked woman who unrequitedly loves him. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett) (1 hr 31 min)


Part 1 26:21 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 2 29:39 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 3 35:19 Read by Elizabeth Klett


(5 stars)

Excellent. Vividly described. Perfectly read. Beautifully depressing. Fascinating insight into the time, if romanticising poverty. I often listen to books to lull me to sleep. Elizabeth Klett is my favourite reader and this is the most beautiful and calming narration, despite the bleak topic.

Life in the Iron Mills

(5 stars)

<br />The 1861 novella <a href="" rel="nofollow"><i>Life in the Iron Mills</i></a> was the first American story to depict realistically the factory mill worker. It's about a Welsh pig iron worker in Wheeling, West Virgina who has little chance of escaping the fate of the working class - a short, brutal life. By showing the factory workers with sympathy and respect, Rebecca Harding Davis set out to reform social problems and popular misconceptions. She counters the notion, common at the time (and not uncommon today) that poverty is a genetic or even a personal failing, rather than a social one. She was one of the first in a long line of American authors who used realism (Theodore Dreiser), naturalism (Frank Norris) and later modernism (John Steinbeck) to describe the plight of the working class for the purpose of informing the reading public, the bourgeois, about the problems of the proletariat; indeed by the 1930s there was a whole genre of literature that sometimes goes by the name "proletariat literature". This is where it began. Read <a href="" rel="nofollow">via LibriVox</a>, narrated by Elizabeth Klett, whose Welsh accent during dialogue is remarkable. [STB|1124|04192011]

Life in the Iron Mills

(5 stars)

This is a brief but poignant story of a harsh life, of unrequited love, of wasted talent, and the brutality of justice. It is written and read with elegance and beauty!

Could have been called death in the iron mills

(5 stars)

Excellent reading by Ms Klett, haven't been disappointed by her narrative once. Shame author hasn't got any other works on this great site.

A sad tale

(4 stars)

Such a sad tale of life in the mills and how one decision could end such promise. Well read as always by Miz Klett


(3.5 stars)

Language moving but a little hard for me to follow, even with Elizabeth reading


(5 stars)

Both the reader and content are compelling. Highly recommended.

thank you Elizabeth Klett!

(5 stars)

wonderfully read... bittersweet ending