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Literature

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 …

Kathleen Flenniken
Spring 2014

On the Road

Washington’s Poet Laureate brings poetry to, and discovers it in, each of the state’s 39 counties

Although my parents lived in the same house in Richland, Washington—my hometown—for 50 years, they never stopped being proud, relentless Oregonians. But in 1989 Mother and Dad celebrated Washington’s centenary in a big way. They dreamed up one of those projects that makes sense to retired couples but bemuses their children: visiting and photographing all 39 Washington county courthouses. They were even written up in the Tri-City Herald for achieving their goal, and photographed paging through their album. A family friend rediscovered the newspaper clipping more than twenty years … » More …

Winter 2013

Gabriel Fielding

A night at the Barnsley house on Monroe Street guaranteed that the guest would be entertained, enlightened, and well fed. For the couple of decades following his joining the English faculty at WSU in 1966, Alan and Edwina Barnsley hosted the liveliest salon in Pullman. Both were erudite and funny, full of wit and counsel. Dina died just last year, and Alan in 1986.

But Alan lives on as Gabriel Fielding, the pen name under which he wrote many marvelous novels. Three of those novels—Pretty Doll Houses, The Birthday King, and In the Time of Greenbloom—were released in digital form this August by Bloomsbury Publishing. … » More …

Love Reports to Spring Training cover
Fall 2013

Love Reports to Spring Training

Love Reports to Spring Training cover

Linda Kittell
Turning Point Books, 2013

Baseball lends itself as metaphor like no other sport. Boxing might come close, but its inherent brutality and changing cultural tastes have removed it from the public’s awareness.

But baseball endures and permeates our culture, and even a non-fan can appreciate the sport’s dramatic interplay of quietude and adrenaline. In Love Reports to Spring Training, Linda Kittell exploits this richness through a deeply satisfying … » More …

Oceania and the Victorian Imagination: Where All Things Are Possible cover
Fall 2013

Oceania and the Victorian Imagination: Where All Things Are Possible

Oceania and the Victorian Imagination: Where All Things Are Possible cover

Richard D. Fulton ’75 PhD and Peter H. Hoffenberg
Ashgate Publishing Company, 2013

Devotees of Victorian-era writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad may well recognize the current of interest in Oceania, or the South Pacific, that runs through their stories.

During that period, from the 1830s to 1901, tales, photographs, travel books, and essays all fed and informed … » More …

Spring 2013

Patrick Rothfuss ’02—World Builder

Fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss (’02 MA) enters the sleek atrium of the Chicago Hyatt with aplomb—passing through a lobby packed with weird characters. A human-sized rabbit taps away on a laptop, a steampunk Victorian-era archaeologist hunts for her friends, a green-haired space alien stands in line for a latte.

These are Rothfuss’s people. Or as he calls them, “Geeks of all creeds and nations.”

Rothfuss also looks weird. He hails from another time or place—maybe 1970s America, since Simon and Garfunkel peer out from his black t-shirt, or maybe the Middle Ages where his unruly beard would suit him in any village. Or maybe sometime … » More …