American Literary Studies
Submitted by email@example.com on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 09:27.
It's the birthday of poet Allen Ginsberg, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1926. Ginsberg studied at Columbia University, where he took up with a group of friends that included William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassady. In 1948, Kerouac dubbed them the "Beat Generation," which the American National Biography explains referred loosely "to their shared sense of spiritual exhaustion and diffuse feelings of rebellion against what they experienced as the general conformity, hypocrisy, and materialism of the larger society around them caught up in the unprecedented prosperity of postwar America."
Ginsberg moved to California, where he became part of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, a literary circle including Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, Robert Duncan, and Philip Whalen. Of his celebrated 1956 poem "Howl" -- vindicated after a widely publicized obscenity trial -- Ginsberg later wrote "I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding in U.S. consciousness in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy."
Ginsberg went on to become something of a spokesman for the Vietnam War protest movement. In 1986 and 1987 he was back at Columbia University—this time as a visiting professor—and he taught at Brooklyn College from the fall of 1987 until his death in 1997.
The University of Illinois has a website on Modern American Poetry that provides a rich resource on Ginsberg's life and work.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Wed, 05/26/2010 - 14:39.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and the New York Times has an article on the many celebrations happening nationwide to commemorate the event. You can read the original 1960 Times review of the beloved novel here.
Submitted by email@example.com on Fri, 05/07/2010 - 12:27.
It was on this day in 1718 that Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founded a city he named La Nouvelle Orléans, after then-Regent of France Philippe d'Orléans. New Orleans went on to bring us not only jazz—that most American style of music—but also such literary figures as John Kennedy Toole, Truman Capote, Anne Rice, and adopted son Tennessee Williams (who was actually born in Mississippi). Pick up a book by one of these writers and savor the rich culture of New Orleans as the city turns 292.
Photo by Brenda Anderson.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Tue, 04/27/2010 - 18:07.
Having written extensively on Mark Twain, Stanford English Professor Shelley Fisher Fishkin has been much in demand of late, given last week's 100th anniversary of Twain’s death and this year's 175th anniversary of his birth. Fishkin has been quoted in articles about Twain that have appeared recently in USA Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She was also featured in a recent piece on Minnesota Public Radio about Twain.
In addition to her contributions to the discussion on Mark Twain in the news media, Fishkin has also edited The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on his Life and Work, published just last month. More than 60 writers' thoughts on Twain make up the volume, and contributions come not only from literary figures such as George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, and Kurt Vonnegut but also from such unexpected sources as Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Richard Pryor.