Belt Publisher launches new Revival series to spotlight historic books

January 5, 2018 GMT

Belt Publisher launches new Revival series to spotlight historic books

CLEVELAND, Ohio – This year, Cleveland-based Belt Publishing is bringing attention to past literature with its Belt Revivals book series.

The series’ mission is to reintroduce readers to underappreciated novels that involve Midwestern culture. Though the books were written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they’re still relevant today, said Belt publisher Anne Trubek.

“We wanted to find works that had some particular contemporary resonance,” she said. “I was just going through the huge list, titles we thought would read well, that are interesting to read, that people in 2017 that aren’t graduate students would find absorbing and interesting.”

Currently, the series consists of five books: “Poor White” by Sherwood Anderson, “The Damnation of Theron Ware” by Harold Frederic, “The History of the Standard Oil Company” by Ida Tarbell, “Main-Travelled Roads” by Hamlin Garland and “Stories of Ohio” by William Dean Howells.

All of the books were written by authors based in the Midwest, or are connected to Midwestern U.S. issues. “There’s this newfound interest in the Midwest, so that was part of it,” said Trubek. “We’ve been thinking about doing reprints in the back of our head for a while. When we thought about doing them as Midwestern novels that people should know better, it all seemed to make a ton of sense.”

The look for Belt Revivals was inspired by similar Penguin and Modern Library collections: simple, vibrant colors and single-subject illustrations. Each book features original cover art by Northeast Ohio illustrator David Wilson.

In the back of each Belt Revivals book, there will be a checklist that includes all other books in the series. A subscription is also available.

Belt plans to add future works to the series, depending on the success of its current collection.

Trubek’s inspiration for Belt Revivals stems from her work as a graduate student at Temple University. She got an English PHD in American literature and taught at Oberlin College for the next 18 years before starting Belt Magazine.

“It’s my past life,” she said. “Those were the novels that I studied. This is all the stuff I read for my dissertation, so it was so exciting for me.”