A volume of essays on short story writer Raymond Carver, edited by Professor James Plath, has just been published. Critical Insights: Raymond Carver is part of the Critical Insights series put out by Salem Press. Jim not only edited the volume, but provided two essays for it, “On Raymond Carver,” on Carver’s career and influence, and a contextual essay, “The Carver Triangle: Lost in an Edward Hopper World.”
Professor Robert Bray was featured on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront last week. Taking the upcoming release of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as an occasion to consider Barack Obama’s reelection in historical context, interviewer Tom Foreman asked the nationally recognized Lincoln scholar what advice Lincoln might have had for Obama as he moves into a second term. Bob suggested that Lincoln might have offered three lessons to Obama:
- “Make your enemies into friends.” Lincoln was adept at changing the minds of his political opponents. ”He was able to keep his eye on the prize,” Bob says, “which means he was able to disassociate himself from personal attacks.”
- “Be mild but firm.” Lincoln could exert political pressure to accomplish the goals he considered important for the nation, but he could do so without riling the opposition. ”He could talk without heat to his political opponents.”
- “Take the long view.” Lincoln looked beyond the Civil War to consider the long-term implications of the end of slavery, and he tried to shape the political discourse of the day to serve long-term ends. ”He believed firmly, I think, that if we put our heads to it and we put our wills to it, the American people could be the shining example of equality for the world.”
A recording of the segment and a parallel print article are posted on the CNN site.
After a busy sabbatical, Professor James Plath has four new publications either out or on their way.
His article “Shaping Graces: John Updike, Middleness, and the American Experience” appears in Critical Insights: John Updike, edited by Bernard F. Rodgers, Jr. (Salem Press, 2011), while his “Barking at Death: Hemingway, Africa, and the Stages of Dying” has come out in Hemingway and Africa, edited by Miriam Mandel (Camden House, 2011). Still another article, “Photos and Portraits,” will be published later this year in Hemingway in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Meanwhile, his poem “Plattdeutsch” has appeared in City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry, edited by Ryan G. Van Cleave (University of Iowa Press, 2012).
Congratulations, Jim, on an exceptionally productive year!
Professor Alison Sainsbury’s will present her Faculty Colloquium talk, titled “Women’s Domestic Humor and ‘The Problem That Has No Name,’ or, How My Aunt Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Home,” this Friday, November 4, at 4 PM in CNS 101.
In her talk, Dr. Sainsbury will speak about her aunt, Kay Nelson, a writer of domestic humor who was a regular contributor to magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, Look, and Good Housekeeping in the same era in which Betty Friedan published her groundbreaking feminist book The Feminine Mystique. A piece by her aunt appeared, in fact, in the same issue of Good Housekeeping in which Friedan published the first excerpt of The Feminine Mystique.
“Even had my aunt’s work not so neatly overlapped in that issue of Good Housekeeping with Friedan’s challenge to assumptions about women’s so-called natural role and place in the home,” says Dr. Sainsbury, “my aunt’s time as a working writing and the subject and genre of her writing–the foibles of life in just such middle-class suburban households as Friedan anatomizes in her book–would still place her and her work squarely into this gathering energy of second-wave feminism….My contention is that looking at my aunt’s work and her correspondence with her editor leads us to a more nuanced and complex reading of both the literary genre of women’s domestic humor and the issues at play in Friedan’s book.”
The event is free and open to the public. Please come join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk.
“The Literary Lincoln: Discovering what Abraham Lincoln read offers important clues about who he was, according to a new book by English professor Robert Bray,” by Rachel Hatch and Tim Obermiller, deftly summarizes Bob’s most recent book, Reading with Lincoln, which is available at the IWU Bookstore and online at Amazon.com. The book, which explores the relationship between Lincoln’s reading and his speeches, writings, and political policies, is this year’s selection for the Sigma Tau Delta Book Club.
Professor Robert Bray, author of Reading with Lincoln, will appear on a live webcast from the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, 357 W. Chicago Avenue, in Chicago. The bookstore, which has been the leading source of Lincolniana in the United States since 1938, will broadcast an interview with Bob at noon on Saturday, October 23. He’ll discuss the new book and what Lincoln’s reading tells us about one of America’s most successful presidents. To access the webcast, go to www.virtualbooksigning.net.
Professor Mike Theune has two new publications: “Trust the Turn” (in Poets on Teaching, edited by Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010) and “The Quarrelsome Poem” (in Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets, edited by Blas Falconer, Helena Mesa, and Beth Martinelli, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).
Professor Dan Terkla will chair sessions at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries in Santa Fe, N.M., September 12-14, and will present a paper at the 2010 Annual Meeting of The American Folklore Society, Nashville, Tenn., October 14-17.
And yours truly, as president of The John Updike Society, will head for Reading, Pa. October 1-3 to preside over the Society’s first conference, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rabbit, Run. I’ll also moderate a panel featuring members of the Updike family, present a paper on “More than Just Looking: John Updike’s Personal and Poetic Relationship with Art,” and conduct a pedagogy session for high school teachers. The conference has attracted 101 Updike scholars and aficionados from eight different countries.
New Research on the Bayeux Tapestry: The Proceedings of a Conference at the British Museum, edited by Dan Terkla with two colleagues, will be published by Oxbow Books on December 31, 2010. The collection features 19 of 26 papers delivered at a July 2008 conference which was also chaired by Terkla, Michael J. Lewis, and Gale R. Owen-Crocker.
All papers focus on the Bayeux Tapestry, one of the most famous medieval artworks, which tells the story of the Norman invasion of England. The 230-foot long embroidered artifact is on display in Bayeux, Normandy. The papers cover a wide range, including current research and conservation, the social history of the tapestry, and pictographic studies.
December still seems far away, but you know it’s getting close when Amazon.com lists the book.