The novel Two Men continues as rumor spreads of a Parke family heir’s affair with a biracial woman. The compressed, elliptical and sometimes satiric style of American contrarian Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) expresses the tensions and anxieties of the Civil War era in its themes of race, family bloodlines, class, sectarian religion, gender roles, and regional and national identity. This complex of issues underlies the romantic saga of a family who are seen as “originals” in their quirky individuality while subjected to Stoddard’s unsentimental portrayal.
Two Men is read by Shayne Laughter. Sarah Torbeck reads the letters of Elizabeth Stoddard throughout the series. Heather Perry hosts, with announcer Jack Hanek. This episode was produced, written, and edited by Cynthia Wolfe, with assistance from Heather Perry, Sarah Torbeck, and Jack Hanek.
Special music for Two Men comes from the album MacDowell: Second Modern Suite / Étude de Concert / Twelve Études (Naxos, 1999), performed by James Barbagallo (1952–1996). The American composer Edward MacDowell, born in 1860, wrote these works for piano in the 1880s, around the time Two Men was reissued. Gull sound effects from Freesound.org created by users soundmary and m.newlove.
Executive producer: Joe Crawford
Theme music: The Impossible Shapes