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Visiting Writers - Spring 2001


Houston A. Baker, Jr.
Susan Fox and George D. Beischer Professor of English, Duke University,

"Turning South Again: Afro-Modernism and Booker T. Revisited."

March 1, 2001
4:00 p.m.
Thompson Recital Hall

Professor Baker will be revisiting his earlier work on the controversial black leader, Booker T. Washington. His talk touches on subjects connected to his personal essay, "On the Distinction of Being a Jr." It's a great essay about his boyhood in Louisville and the personal cost he imagines his father to have paid in achieving all he did. (He was a Wharton Business School educated hospital administrator.) He likens his father to aspects of Booker T. Washington, so this essay should be a great entree his talk. For added local interest, it turns out that Baker's folks met in grad. school at I.U. Both Marable's book and the essay are on reserve in the library. He will also be responding to Manning Marable's book Black Leadership, which has chapters on Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois and others.

Those of you who have seen him speak before know that he's a charismatic and interesting speaker, not afraid of controversy, and great at communicating with students and faculty. Now a professor at Duke, he's a pioneer in the study of African-American literature, the current editor of American Literature, and a former MLA president. Baker is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Modernism and Harlem Renaissance as well as his poetry.

This talk is co-sponsored by Convocations, Multicultural Affairs and Black Studies. Many thanks to them!


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GLCA poet
Dana Levin
In the Surgical Theater
 winner of the APR Honickman First Book Prize, 

March 15, 2001
7:30 p.m. 
Watson Forum

" the book's center (and reaching into all the surrounding material) is the surgical theatre, an image, like Plath's bees, metaphorically fertile, its manifold resonances revealed through Levin's extraordinary and demanding intelligence.  The danger of such powerful figures is the danger of lesser imagination, imagination content with the first circle of revelation.  What in such a smaller talent might have proved repetitious, banal, self glorifying, is, here, the heart of an astonishing book."      
--LOUISE GLÜCK, from the Introduction

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Literary critic Pamela Caughie, "Passing and Modernism," Wednesday, April 11, 2001 at 4:00 pm at the Watson Forum

Dr. Caughie received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1987 and is both Professor of English and Director of Women's Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She is interested in and teaches in several areas: British and American literatures, African American literature and theory, postmodern theory, and feminist theory. She also has quite a few publications: Passing and Pedagogy: The Dynamics of Responsibility (Univ. of Illinois Press, Spring 1999); Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism: Literature in Quest and Question of Itself (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1991); editor of Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: New Technologies and Popular Culture (Garland Publishing, Spring 1999), "Let It Pass: Changing the Subject, Once Again," PMLA, January 1997, pgs. 26-39, which was also revised and reprinted in Feminism and Composition Studies, MLA 1998, pgs. 111-31; "Passing and Pedagogy: Feminism in(to) Cultural Studies" in English Studies/Culture Studies edited by Isaiah Smithson and Nancy Ruff, Univ. of Illinois 1994, just to name a few.

Her talk will be called "Passing and Modernism" and she says that to prepare for it we should review the chapters on D.H. Lawrence and Nella Larsen in her book Passing and Pedagogy (which I will make available in the English dept. and on reserve at Roy O. next week). Thus, the talk will cover African American literature, feminist theory, British literature, and postmodern theory and should be interesting to both faculty and students interested in these areas.


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April 12, 2001
Union Building 231/232, 7:30 p.m.
Fiction writer 
Geoff Schmidt

author of
Write Your Heart Out: Advice from the Moon Winx Motel

Write Your Heart Out, Geoff Schmidt's first novel, is a rarity-- a compelling novel interlaced with a fierce satire. The unintended tale of a doomed writer, the book takes the form of a recently discovered draft of a "How-To" book on Creative Writing. Early on, the writer-protagonist bangs out exercises and anecdotes with an equal measure of insight and callousness during his off hours as a night desk man at the Moon Winx Motel outside Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As the book progresses through the conventional structure of a "How To" [including wickedly funny exercises] the writer reveals more of himself in unintended heaps of name dropping, venting, and melancholy. In turns, biting and heartfelt, the book opens a window to the heart of a man trapped in a cruel and politic craft-- writing fiction in the late 20th Century.

For more information on Write Your Heart Out: Notes From the Moon Winx Motel, click on

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photo by John Bean
DePauw's own
fiction writer
Barbara Bean
April 25, 2001
at 7:30 p.m.
in Meharry Hall.



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Literary critic
Joy Castro
May 4, 2001

for a brown-bag lunch to discuss her work on "forgotten" modernist Margery Latimer.