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Literature

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women's Writing cover
Fall 2017

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women’s Writing

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women's Writing cover

Donna M. Campbell

University of Georgia Press: 2016

 

In 1921, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel, The Age of Innocence. Wharton was part of a new generation born in the 1860s and 1870s who, equipped with new biological theories, challenged conventions of the Victorian era.

Deriving its title from one of Wharton’s remarks … » More …

Fall 2017

James Thayer on the craft of the novel

James Thayer reads from The Boxer and the Poet

James Thayer ‘71 reads the first chapter of his romantic comedy, The Boxer and the Poet.

 

 

Tips and Techniques

Thayer started teaching the craft of the novel about ten years ago as a creative writing instructor at the University of Washington. He’s also a regular contributor to Author magazine.

Thayer, a natural storyteller, absorbed his craft through his lifelong voracious reading habit. When he first got the teaching job, he realized he didn’t have enough to say to fill a 90-hour, year-long course. So, as is his wont, he read a bunch of books. … » More …

John McCallum
Spring 2017

Writing pools, movie stars

The New York Yankees were establishing their dominance over America’s favorite pastime. The Golden Era of Hollywood was in full swing. And a nation recovering from the sacrifices of World War II had begun to heal and find itself.

It was a world of big cars and even bigger personalities. A world that sportswriter John D. McCallum, a U.S. Army veteran and former pro baseball player, found he could navigate with surprising ease.

McCallum resumed his English and journalism studies at Washington State after returning from the war, and briefly played for the Portland Beavers in 1947. But it was after he hung up his … » More …

Still Time cover
Winter 2015

Still Time

Still Time cover

Jean Hegland ’79

Arcade Publishing: 2015

Still Time, a new novel by Jean Hegland, explores dementia through the eyes of aging Shakespearean scholar John Wilson. Unsettled by life in a residential care facility and a surprise visit from his estranged daughter, Wilson finds solace and structure in the plays and poetry that so captivated his life.

Hegland, who shares poetry at a memory care center near her home in California, says she was inspired by … » More …

Astoria Bridge
Spring 2015

The West in the words of Washington Irving

“The broad and beautiful Columbia lay before them, smooth and unruffled as a mirror … .

“About thirty miles above Point Vancouver the mountains again approach on both sides of the river, which is bordered by stupendous precipices, covered with the fir and the white cedar, and enlivened occasionally by beautiful cascades leaping from a great height, and sending up wreaths of vapor.” —Astoria

Spring 2015

Voices of the Wilderness

I. BREATH

They saw in the water many of the serpent-kind,
wondrous sea-dragons exploring the waters,
such nicors as lie on the headlands,
who, in the mornings, often accomplish
sorrowful deeds on the sail-road,
serpents and wild-beasts.

 

So concludes the epic poem Beowulf. Speaking Old English, storytellers composed Beowulf extemporaneously and shared passages from person to person for thousands of years until they were written down sometime between the eighth and the eleventh centuries. Beowulf is very much a poem about animals, so it’s appropriate to translate its last word, “wilde-or,” as “wild-beasts,” though the word forms … » More …

Robert Cantwell
Winter 2014

Lost writer from a lost time

A whole genre of literature, that of the American working class during the Great Depression, has all but disappeared. Now a WSU professor and a Northwest novelist are bringing writer Robert Cantwell, a Washington native, and his most significant book, Land of Plenty, out of the mists of time.

Cantwell, one of the finest American writers of the 1930s, was admired by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, says T.V. Reed, professor of English and American studies. His masterpiece is set in a Washington plywood factory and his characters are based on the workers he once toiled alongside.

Born in southwest Washington … » More …

Asian American Women's Popular Literature
Fall 2014

Asian American Women’s Popular Literature

Asian American Women's Popular Literature

Pamela Thoma
Temple University Press, 2013

Since Nathaniel Hawthorne famously complained about the “damned mob of scribbling women” in 1855, much has changed in American literary and popular culture, not least the nation’s racial demographics, which now include substantial numbers of Asian Americans, as well as other people of color. And yet, the significance of women’s popular fiction continues to be overlooked, if not derided outright, by many social and cultural … » More …