English professor Adam Gussow wins award for book from Society for Southern Literature
Jan. 13, 2004
OXFORD, Miss. — Adam Gussow, University of Mississippi assistant professor of English and Southern studies, is the latest recipient of the Society for Southern Literatures C. Hugh Holman Award.
Named for the late University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill English professor and Southern Literary Journal editor, the award recognizes the “best book of literary scholarship or criticism in Southern literature during a given calendar year,” according to the society.
Gussow received the award for Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 2002). The award was presented at the December convention of the Modern Language Association in San Diego.
“Seems Like Murder Here is a classic interdisciplinary study,” said Charles Reagan Wilson, director of UMs Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “Adams depth of understanding of the music and community makes that book stand out as one of the most important studies of African-American literature.”
Wilson won the award with the centers founder William Ferris in 1990 for their Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 1989).
An expansion of Gussows dissertation, Seems Like Murder Here is his first scholarly work and his second blues-themed book. Mister Satans Apprentice: A Blues Memoir, an account of Gussows experience playing harmonica alongside Harlem guitarist Sterling Magee, was published by Pantheon in 1998.
“Its extremely rare for an assistant professors first scholarly book to win this kind of prize,” said Joseph Urgo, chair and professor of English at UM. “This proves the point that Adam Gussow is a rising star in Southern studies.”
Besides the Holman Award, Seems Like Murder Here recently received a John G. Cawelti Book Award honorable mention from the American Culture Association. A section of the book published in African American Review won the journals Darwin T. Turner Award for the best essay of 2001.
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