Bray sheds light on Lincoln’s reading

Southern Illinois University Press has just published Reading with Lincoln, by our own Robert Bray, Colwell Professor of American Literature. Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life, wrote, “In this subtle, insightful study, Robert Bray offers the first scholarly account of Lincoln’s reading. A professor of English, Bray has a keen literary sensibility and broad culture that enable him to shed bright light on the development of Lincoln’s taste and on the ways in which the books he read influenced his thinking and writing.”

“Robert Bray has not only discovered every book and text and poem and treatise and humorous sketch and Shakespeare play that Lincoln read,” William Lee Miller, author of President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman, wrote in a review. “He has also read them himself, and he takes the reader inside those readings—and therefore inside Lincoln’s mind—in this excellent book.” The book contains five chapters an an appendix detailing the books that Abraham Lincoln read.

“Abraham Lincoln’s reading, like almost everything else about him, was quite distinctive,” wrote Douglas L. Wilson (Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words). “Robert Bray’s approach to this important aspect of Lincoln’s development is both original and provocative . . . .”

The book is available online at

Diaz wins first-book prize

Professor Joanne Diaz has been announced as the winner of the 2009 Gerald Cable Book Award for a first book of poetry. The annual award of $1000 and publication is sponsored by Silverfish Review Press. Diaz, who is on leave fall semester and spending September at an artist’s residency in Spain, won for her manuscript Violin. Here’s the announcement of recent winners from Poets & Writers Magazine.

MUSE conference to be held September 25

IWU’s Alpha Eta Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta has announced that their annual MUSE: An Undergraduate Literature Conference will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at Illinois Wesleyan University. In addition to a keynote speaker, MUSE will host multiple sessions of student paper presentations throughout the day.

Each paper session will contain three presenters, and each presenter will be given a maximum of 20 minutes to speak. Fifteen minutes will be allotted after the three presenters for Q&A. Papers should be around 8-10 pages long.

To present at the conference, interested students should submit an abstract to no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, September 3.  The abstract should be approximately 150-200 words and summarize the paper’s thesis and main points (and critics used, if applicable). You need not submit the entire paper in order to present at the conference.

Along with the abstract, include your name, current address and phone number, email address, fall contact information, institutional affiliation (students from outside IWU also attend), a working title for the paper, and any audio/visual needs you may have. You will be notified after September 4 of your abstract’s final status, at which point you’ll need to confirm your participation, if accepted. So dust off those B+ and A papers from spring semester and give them new life by sharing them at a conference with your peers.

Fall internships still available

Among the internships still available through our Career Center:  Communication intern, American Red Cross (Peoria); Marketing, PR, Special Events intern, Arthritis Foundation; Museum intern, David Davis Mansion; Project (Marketing & Events) intern, Great Plains LIFE Foundation; Media communications intern, Great Plains LIFE Foundation; magazine writer-editor, Healthy Cells of Bloomington; Environmental education and natural resources intern, Sugar Grove Nature Center; sports writer intern, You Name It Sports Magazine; and Communications/PR intern, YWCA of McLean County. For more information or to see if an internship is still open, contact Laurie Diekoff at the Hart Career Center (