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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for July 19-25, 2002.

In this issue:


THIS WEEK in MISSISSIPPI LITERARY HISTORY

The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.

Year:

1868: Novelist Harris Dickson was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. (July 21)

1883: Katherine Sherwood Bonner died of breast cancer at the age of 34 in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. (July 22)

1902: Baptist minister Benjamin Franklin Smith was born in Copiah County, Mississippi. (July 23)

1909: William Miller, Democratic doorkeeper for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1976, was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (July 20)

1913: Clara Hieronymus, a journalist and author of Requiem for a Nun: On Stage and Off, the only book about William Faulkner’s sole play, was born in Drew, Mississippi. (July 25)

1921: Novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Spencer was born in Carrollton, Mississippi. (July 19)

1937: Art historian Mary D. Garrard was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. (July 25)

1938: Historian Daniel P. Jordan, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi. (July 22)

1942: Poet David Chapman Berry was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (July 23)

1947: Actress and poet Billie Jean Young was born. (July 21)

1951: Poet, playwright, and fiction writer Angela Jackson was born in Greenville, Mississippi. (July 25)

1953: Children’s writer Margaree King Mitchell was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi. (July 23)

2001: Renowned novelist and short story writer Eudora Welty died of pneumonia in Jackson, Mississippi, at the age of 92. (July 23)


NEWS about MISSISSIPPI WRITERS

29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, ‘Faulkner and His Contemporaries,’ starts Sunday, lasts through Friday, July 26

July 18, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — The 29th Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference starts Sunday at the University of Mississippi, and if you’re not yet registered, it’s not too late to be a part.

The annual conference devoted to Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner this year will feature the topic “Faulkner and His Contempories” through six days of lectures and discussions by literary scholars and critics.

In addition to formal lectures, there will be a performance of the folk opera As I Lay Dying by the Nashville singer-songwriter group Reckon Crew, discussions by Faulkner friends and family, and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner” directed by James Carothers (University of Kansas), Robert W. Hamblin (Southeast Missouri State University), Arlie E. Herron (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and Charles Peek (University of Nebraska at Kearney).

The University’s John Davis Williams Library will display Faulkner books, manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia; and the University Press of Mississippi will exhibit Faulkner books published by university presses throughout the United States. Films relating to the author’s life and work will be available for viewing during the week. Ms. Booth’s Garden, an exhibition of photographs by Jack Kotz, will be on display in the Gammill Gallery at Barnard Observatory.

The conference will begin on Sunday, July 21, with a reception at the University Museums for Paradox in Paradise, an exhibition of mixed media artworks by Lea Barton. This will be followed by an afternoon program of readings from Faulkner and the announcement of the winners of the thirteenth Faux Faulkner Contest. The contest, coordinated by the author’s niece, Dean Faulkner Wells, is sponsored by Hemispheres Magazine/United Airlines, Yoknapatawpha Press, and the University of Mississippi.

Other events will include a Sunday buffet supper served at the home of Dr. and Mrs. M. B. Howorth Jr., “Faulkner on the Fringe”(an “open-mike” evening at Southside Gallery), guided day-long tours of North Mississippi on Tuesday, a picnic served at Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, on Wednesday, and a closing party Friday afternoon at Square Books.

The conference is sponsored by the University of Mississippi’s Department of English and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and is coordinated by the university’s Institute for Continuing Studies.

The registration fee for the conference is $175 for students, $200 for Friends of the Center, and $250 for others. The fee includes admission to all program events, a buffet supper on opening day, a reception on Tuesday, a picnic at Rowan Oak, conference session refreshments, and a closing reception. The fee does not cover lodging, the optional tours of Faulkner Country, and meals, except for those aforementioned. More information about the conference, including a printable registration form, is available at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture web site, www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/faulkner/.

If you would like to attend but have not pre-registered, you can still register in person beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Yerby Conference Center on the University of Mississippi campus. Once the opening program begins at 2:30, you may register in the Johnson Commons foyer anytime during the week that the conference is being held.

Even if you don’t wish to attend the entire conference, a number of individual events are free and open to the public, including all scholarly lectures and panel discussions in Johnson Commons, the “Faulkner on the Fringe” open-mike night, and gallery exhibitions at University Museums, the J. D. Williams Library, and Barnard Observatory.

In addition, tickets to the performance of As I Lay Dying are available for purchase.

Following is a complete schedule of events for this year’s conference. Unless otherwise noted, all events will be held in Johnson Commons on the University of Mississippi campus.

Sunday, July 21
10:00 a.m.Registration, Yerby Conference Center
1:00 p.m.

Receptions for exhibitions:
Kate Freeman Clark: A Southern Treasure, paintings by Kate Freeman Clark, University Museums
Ms. Booth’s Garden, photographs by Jack Kotz, Barnard Observatory

2:30 p.m.Opening Session:
Welcome from Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth and Department of English chair Joseph Urgo
Rowan Oak Society, Campbell McCool
Presentation of Eudora Welty Awards in Creative Writing by Charles Reagan Wilson
Faux Faulkner Contest Announcement of Winner by Selby Baterman and Lisa Fann of Hemispheres Magazine/United Airlines
“Days of Yoknapatawpha,” by V.P. Ferguson, a reading by George Kehoe
Dramatic Readings from Faulkner’s Fiction, Voices of Yoknapatawpha, selected and arranged by George Kehoe and Betty Harrington
5:30 p.m.Buffet Supper, Howorth Home/Old Taylor Road (requires registration)
8:00 p.m.Lecture: “Traveling with Faulkner,” by Houston Baker
Monday, July 22
9:00 a.m.Lecture: “‘Getting Good at Doing Nothing’: Faulkner, Hemingway, and the Fiction of Gesture,” by Donald M. Kartiganer
10:30 a.m.Lecture: “Invisible Men: Faulkner, His Contemporaries, and the Politics of Loving and Hating the South,” by Grace Elizabeth Hale
1:30 p.m.Lecture: “Fixing the Southern Vernacular: The Contemporaneous Art of William Faulkner and Walker Evans,” by Thomas S. Rankin
3:00 p.m.

Panel:
“Turn to the Right: Sentimental Foil for The Sound and the Fury?,” by Eoin F. Cannon
“Parrotlike Underworld Epithet: The Hard-Boiled Language of Sanctuary,” by Peter J. Ingrao
Light in August and Faulkner’s Sweet Man,” by Steven Weisenburger

8:00 p.m.Lecture: “Surveying the Postage-Stamp Territory: Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Spencer, and Ellen Douglas,” by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw
10:00 p.m.“Faulkner on the Fringe,” Open Mike at Southside Gallery, hosted by Colby Kullman and Milly Moorhead
Tuesday, July 23
9:00 a.m.Guided tours of north Mississippi. (requires registration)
5:00 p.m.Noyes/Smith/Kullman Party, 604 Tyler Place
8:00 p.m.Lecture: “Cather’s War and Faulkner’s Peace: A Comparison of Two Novels and More,” by Merrill Skaggs
Wednesday, July 24
8:30 a.m.Teaching Faulkner I, “Faulkner and His Contemporaries, Influences, and Parallels: The Sound and the Fury,” led by James B. Carothers and Robert W. Hamblin. (Johnson Commons)
Teaching Faulkner II, “Faulkner, Writing, and Other Writers: Getting to and from ‘That Evening Sun,’” led by Arlie Herron and Charles A. Peek. (Bondurant Auditorium)
10:30 a.m.Lecture: “Faulkner, Ford and Automobility,” by Deborah Clarke
1:30 p.m.Discussion: Deborah Clarke, Donald M. Kartiganer, Thomas S. Rankin, Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, and Merrill Skaggs
3:00 p.m.Panel: “Faulkner in Oxford,” by M. C. Falkner (moderator), Will Lewis Jr. and Elizabeth Nichols Shiver
4:40 p.m.Walk through Bailey’s Woods (Meet in the parking lot of University Museums)
5:30 p.m.Picnic at Rowan Oak (registration required)
8:00 p.m.Performance: As I Lay Dying, a Folk Opera, by Reckon Crew, Education Auditorium. (Ticket required)
Thursday, July 25
9:00 a.m.Lecture: “Blacks and Other Very Dark Colors: Faulkner and Welty,” by Danielle Pitavy-Souques
10:30 a.m.Lecture: “William Faulkner and Other ‘Famous Creoles’: Writers and New Orleans,” by W. Kenneth Holditch
1:30 p.m.Panel:
“Faulkner’s Modernism from the Inside Out,” by Sean K. Kelly
“Consciously Adapted to French Taste: What the Existentialists Learned from Faulkner,” by Holly Hutton
“This Time, Maybe This Time: Asynchronous Faulknerian Narratives, Confederate Epitaphs and the American Iconoclastic Tradition,” by Timothy S. Sedore
8:00 p.m.Lecture: “The Hemingway-Faulkner Log,” by George Monteiro
Friday, July 26
8:30 a.m.Teaching Faulkner, led by James B. Carothers, Robert W. Hamblin, Arlie Herron, and Charles A. Peek (Johnson Commons)
10:30 a.m.Lecture: “William Faulkner and Guimarães Rosa: A Brazilian Connection,” by M. Thomas Inge
1:30 p.m.Discussion: W. Kenneth Holditch, M. Thomas Inge, George Monteiro, and Danielle Pitavy-Souques
3:00 p.m.“Faulkner and North Mississippi,” slide show presentation by Arlie Herron
5:00 p.m.Closing Party, Off Square Books (registration required)

Rowan Oan to open — temporarily — for Faulkner Conference, then remain closed until Spring 2003

July 15, 2002

By Lucy Schultze

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the July 9, 2002, edition of The Oxford Eagle.

OXFORD, Miss. — William Faulkner’s home will open its doors for one evening this month before they’re shut tight for nine months of renovation and repair.

As part of the 29th Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, attendees will gather at Rowan Oak for a picnic dinner on July 24. Six weeks later, work will begin on the first phase of a $1.2 million restoration project designed to preserve the author’s home and 31-acre grounds.

The house has already been closed to crowds since December while the new climate control system to equalize temperature and humidity inside the house was being designed. During that time, visitors have been able to tour the home only by making special arrangements with University Museums.

“The house needed a break,” said Rowan Oak curator William Griffith. “I feel bad for the visitors who didn’t get the word it was closed. But in order to plan for the preservation of the house, we had to close it.”

Griffith said that no special exceptions to tour the home can be made once work inside the home begins after Sept. 3. Phase One, which will also include the installation of new plumbing and electric wiring, should be finished by May 2003, he said.

When it is complete, work can begin on Phase Two, which includes repairing the plaster walls, repainting rooms in original colors, wallpapering with original designs, and purchasing replicas of furniture and rugs.

Currently in the bidding process, the $363,000 second phase has been funded through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s “Save America’s Treasures” grant program, with matching funds from the Mississippi Legislature.

The University of Mississippi has also secured a $479,000 grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development to complete Phase Three, which will restore the landscaping of Rowan Oak’s grounds and gardens.

The first phase was funded through a $500,000 appropriation from the Mississippi Legislature in 1998. Original plans called for the first phase to be finished last month — in time to allow summer visitors a chance to tour the home — but the design portion of the project took longer than expected.

Griffith said he hopes not to have to close the home during Phase Two of the project. The grounds will remain open throughout the restoration process, he said.

Rowan Oak was built by a pioneer settler in the 1840s and purchased by Faulkner in 1930. He lived there until his death in 1962, and the University of Mississippi purchased the home and grounds from the author’s daughter 10 years later.

Related Links
The 29th Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, “Faulkner and His Contemporaries,” July 21-26, 2002. Official web site for the conference. Includes program schedule and registration information.
Faulkner’s Home: Rowan Oak. From William Faulkner on the Web. Includes map of the grounds, floor plans, photographs and descriptions of rooms and buildings.

 


Tickets for Faulkner Conference folk opera ‘As I Lay Dying’ on sale to public

July 18, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — Tickets for a folk-opera adaptation of William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying are on sale at the University of Mississippi’s Central Ticket Office in the Student Union.

Performed by The Reckon Crew — a quartet of singer-songwriters from Nashville — the July 24 event is part of this year’s Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference on the University of Mississippi campus. The 8 p.m. performance is in the School of Education auditorium on University Avenue.

Tickets for the production are $7 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children. To reserve tickets using VISA and MasterCard, call the Central Ticket Office at (662) 915-7411.

The Reckon Crew members are Tommy Goldsmith, Tom House, David Olney and Karren Pell.

The July 21-26 conference “Faulkner and His Contemporaries” addresses how the Nobel laureate’s work is a reflection of, and a commentary on, the major intellectual movements of the day. It also explores the literary and intellectual relationships Faulkner shared with other writers. A host of literary scholars and critics from the United States and France lead lectures and discussions at the 29th annual conference, which opens with registration at 10 a.m. in the Yerby Conference Center.

Lectures are in Johnson Commons.

For more information on the conference or for assistance due to a disability, contact the Center for Non-Credit Education at 662-915-7282 or go to www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/faulkner/. Other information on Lafayette/Yoknapatawpha County is available through the Oxford Tourism Council at 800-758-9177.


Kate Freeman Clark’s surprise art exhibition opens Sunday, runs through September

July 18, 2002


'Untitled Landscape' is among hundreds of accomplished works by Kate Freeman Clark, whose life remains shrouded in mystery.

OXFORD, Miss. — Kate Freeman Clark left her family’s antebellum mansion in Holly Springs to become an accomplished painter in New York City, then traded it all for the life of a small-town spinster back home in Mississippi.

When the 81-year-old Clark died in 1957, her neighbors were amazed by the news that she had bequeathed hundreds of paintings to the city of Holly Springs, said Bea Green, curator of the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery there.

Selections from Clark’s work are featured at the University of Mississippi Museums through Sept. 15, shown in conjunction with the 29th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference July 21-26. Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

“A contemporary of William Faulkner, Kate Freeman Clark is an artist rediscovered,” said Deborah Freeland, UM Museums project coordinator. “She has a very interesting history, and there is a lot of interest in her work and the mystery that surrounds her.”

Most of the oil-on-canvas paintings were created from 1894 to 1914. They reflect Clark’s style of “alternating, surprisingly, between dark traditional portraiture and the bright plein air concept of painting spontaneously on location,” Freeland said.

Clark’s quest began when her widowed mother moved them to Memphis so that Kate could take art lessons. In 1894, she began studying with the noted William Merritt Chase at the Art Student League in New York. Chase eventually opened his own school, and Clark was among the many students who followed him.

Thirty-five years before her death, Clark suffered a series of personal losses, which caused her to close the door on being an artist. She returned to Holly Springs and left behind in a New York warehouse many of her belongings and all of her paintings. Apparently she never again picked up her brushes and assumed the socially-expected role of an unmarried woman.

Upon Clark’s death, “a few friends faintly remembered that she had studied art in the North years before, but no one realized how accomplished an artist she had become,” Green said.

For more information about Clark’s exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museums or to inquire about assistance due to a disability, contact Deborah Freeland at (662) 915-7028 or dfreelan@olemiss.edu.


Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your information to mwp@olemiss.edu.


NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

New Orleans Sketches
By William Faulkner, edited by Carvel Collins
University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 1578064716)
Reprint edition, originally published in book form in 1958
Publication date: June 2002

Description from the publisher:

Faulkner’s early fictional forays that foreshadow a Nobel laureate in the making.

In 1925 William Faulkner began his professional writing career in earnest while living in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He had published a volume of poetry (The Marble Faun), had written a few book reviews, and had contributed sketches to the University of Mississippi student newspaper. He had served a stint in the Royal Canadian Air Corps and while working in a New Haven bookstore had become acquainted with the wife of the writer Sherwood Anderson.

In his first six months in New Orleans, where the Andersons were living, Faulkner made his initial foray into serious fiction writing. Here in one volume are the pieces he wrote while in the French Quarter. These were published locally in the Times-Picayune and in the Double Dealer, a “little magazine” based in New Orleans.

New Orleans Sketches broadcasts seeds that would take root in later works. In their themes and motifs these sketches and stories foreshadow the intense personal vision and style that would characterize Faulkner's mature fiction. As his sketches take on parallels with Christian liturgy and as they portray such characters as an idiot boy similar to Benjy Compson, they reveal evidence of his early literary sophistication.

In praise of New Orleans Sketches Alfred Kazin wrote in the New York Times Book Review that “the interesting thing for us now, who can see in this book the outline of the writer Faulkner was to become, is that before he had published his first novel he had already determined certain main themes in his work.”

In his trail-blazing introduction Carvel Collins, often called “Faulkner’s best-informed critic,” illuminates the period when the sketches were written as the time that Faulkner was making the transition from poet to novelist.

“For the reader of Faulkner,” Paul Engle wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “the book is indispensable. Its brilliant introduction ... is full both of helpful information ... and of fine insights.” “We gain something more than a glimpse of the mind of a young genius asserting his power against a partially indifferent environment,” states the Book Exchange (London). “The long introduction ... must rank as a major literary contribution to our knowledge of an outstanding writer: perhaps the greatest of our times.”

Carvel Collins (1912-1990), one of the foremost authorities on Faulkner’s life and works, served on the faculties of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Swarthmore College, and the University of Notre Dame, where he was the first to teach a course devoted to Faulkner’s writing.

Faulkner and Postmodernism
Edited by John N. Duvall and Ann J. Abadie
University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 1578064597; Paperback, ISBN: 1578064600)
Publication date: July 2002

Description from the publisher:

With essays by John Barth, Philip Cohen, John N. Duvall, Doreen Fowler, Ihab Hassan, Molly Hite, Martin Kreiswirth, Cheryl Lester, Terrell L. Tebbetts, Joseph R. Urgo, and Philip Weinstein.

Since the 1960s, William Faulkner, Mississippi’s most famous author, has been recognized as a central figure of international modernism. But might Faulkner's fiction be understood in relation to Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as well as James Joyces Ulysses?

In eleven essays from the 1999 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, held at the University of Mississippi, Faulkner and Postmodernism examines William Faulkner and his fiction in light of postmodern literature, culture, and theory. The volume explores the variety of ways Faulkner’s art can be used to measure similarities and differences between modernism and postmodernism.

Essays in the collection fall into three categories: those that use Faulkner’s novels as a way to mark a period distinction between modernism and postmodernism, those that see postmodern tendencies in Faulkner’s fiction, and those that read Faulkner through the lens of postmodern theory’s contemporary legacy, the field of cultural studies.

In order to make their particular arguments, essays in the collection compare Faulkner to more contemporary novelists such as Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Walker Percy, Richard Ford, Toni Morrison, and Kathy Acker. But not all of the comparisons are to high culture artists, since even Elvis Presley becomes Faulkner’s foil in one of the essays.

A variety of theoretical perspectives frame the work in this volume, from Fredric Jameson’s pessimistic sense of postmodernism’s possibilities to Linda Hutcheon’s conviction that cultural critique can continue in postmodernism through innovative new forms such as metafiction. Despite the different theoretical premises and distinct conclusions of the individual authors of these essays, Faulkner and Postmodernism proves once again that in the key debates surrounding twentieth-century fiction, Faulkner is a crucial figure.

John N. Duvall, an associate professor of English at Purdue University, is the editor of Modern Fiction Studies. Ann J. Abadie is associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

 


AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

July 21-26: 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference
“Faulkner and His Contemporaries”
The University of Mississippi, Oxford

Conference and registration information is now available on the web at the www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/faulkner/.

If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi writers, please let us know by writing us at mwp@olemiss.edu. 


ON THE HORIZON

The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.

November 11, 2002

Poetry Reading by J. D. McClatchy, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

February 6, 2003

U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2002) Billy Collins reads from his poetry and offers commentary on his work and other matters. Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

February 17, 2003

A reading by Clifton L. Taulbert on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

April 10-13, 2003

Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, Mississippi.

July 20-25, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi


If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at mwp@olemiss.edu.

For more information about events in the Oxford and University of Mississippi community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:
www.olemiss.edu/calendar/


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