The Planter of Modern Life

July 23, 2020 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Join The Planter of Modern Life author Stephen Heyman for a presentation and conversation focused on Edith Wharton and Louis Bromfield’s unique friendship. Wharton and Bromfield developed a close friendship in the early 1930s rooted as Bromfield put it in the “very earth itself.”

A Pulitzer Prize–winner, Bromfield wrote 30 books, and all were best-sellers, yet he has been criminally overlooked since his death in 1956. Stephen Heyman captures all of the flair and drama of Bromfield’s productive life in his new biography The Planter of Modern Life. 

A lanky Midwestern farm boy dressed up like a Left Bank bohemian, Bromfield stood out in literary Paris for his lavish hospitality and his green thumb. He built a magnificent garden outside the city where he entertained aristocrats, movie stars, flower breeders, and writers of all stripes. Gertrude Stein enjoyed his food, Edith Wharton admired his roses, Ernest Hemingway boiled with jealousy over his critical acclaim. Millions savored his novels, which were turned into Broadway plays and Hollywood blockbusters, yet Bromfield’s greatest passion was the soil.

“In this delightful and exhilarating page-turner…Heyman does an impressive job of combining all of Bromfield’s interests into a cohesive narrative that captivates as both intriguing history and a significant look at early environmentalism.” – Booklist (starred review)


Stephen Heyman, a former features editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine, has written for The Times, Slate, Vogue and many other publications. In 2018, he was named a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar. He lives in Pittsburgh.


The Mount is a Massachusetts Cultural Council UP designated organization welcoming participants of all disabilities. Please contact The Mount at 413-551-5100 or by email,, to discuss accommodations needed to participate fully in this event.