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Author's Corner

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Constance Fenimore Edith Wharton Perspectives On Landscape ArtConstance Fenimore Woolson and Edith Wharton- Perspectives on Landscape and Art 
Sharon Dean CHS ‘61

ISBN-10: 1572331941 
ISBN-13: 978-1572331945 

Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) ranks among the foremost writers of fiction in American literature. Her short stories, in particular, are considered models of the form. Born in Savannah, O'Connor spent most of her life in Georgia and infused her work with southern characters, themes, and landscapes. A devout Catholic, she addressed the mystery of God's grace in everyday life, often amid the grotesque, the shocking, and the violent. In this first full-length biography of the writer, Jean W. Cash draws upon extensive interviews with O'Connor's friends, relatives, teachers, and colleagues as well as on the writer's voluminous correspondence to provide a sensitive, balanced portrait of a fascinating woman. 
As Cash demonstrates, O'Connor's sheltered childhood, extraordinary intellect, spiritual certainty, and unique personality--including a wry sense of humor--combined not only to make her something of an outsider but also to foster her literary genius. As a child, her favorite activities were reading, writing stories, and drawing. Perhaps more unusual was her childhood feat of teaching a rooster to walk backwards. Her passion for exotic fowl later found expression in the peacock symbolism in her fiction.
The family moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1938, and there O'Connor attended high school and college. She left the South in 1945 and entered the graduate writing program at the University of Iowa, where she completed several chapters of her first novel, Wise Blood. She went on to live at the Yaddo writers' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York, and she might have spent her most creative years in the North if illness had not interfered. However, lupus--the same disease that had killed her father--forced her to return to Milledgeville, where she lived and wrote for the remaining fourteen years of her life under the protective care of her mother.
The latter chapters of Cash's biography address O'Connor's adjustment to her debilitating illness and to a more circumscribed existence. As Cash explains, she learned to accommodate her mother's insular outlook, and in many ways her fiction profited artistically during this period. Her friendships and active correspondence added to the variety and vitality of her life. She also traveled widely on the lecture circuit and reviewed books for a local Catholic publication. Even in her illness and relative isolation in Milledgeville, O'Connor continued to live a richly rewarding and creative life.
The Author: Jean W. Cash is professor of English at James Madison University. 

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Constance Fenimore Woolson Homeward BoundConstance Fenimore Woolson: Homeward Bound  
Sharon Dean CHS ‘61

ISBN-10: 0870498983
ISBN-13: 978-0870498985

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Constance Fenimore Woolson Selection Stories Travel NarrativesConstance Fenimore Woolson Selection Stories & Travel Narratives
Sharon Dean CHS ‘61

ISBN-10: 1572333537
ISBN-13: 978-1572333536

American writer and world traveler Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–1894) was author of more than fifty short stories, four novels, a novella, and numerous poems and travel essays. During her lifetime, she achieved both popular and critical success, but much of her work is no longer available. This volume, as the first anthology to collect representative samples of her stories, travel sketches, poems, and correspondence, represents a major advance toward re-establishing her place in nineteenth-century literature and letters. As these pieces demonstrate, Woolson offered keen observations on the issues she cared most deeply about, namely the cultural and political transformation of the United States in the wake of the Civil War, the status of women writers and artists in the nineteenth century, and the growing implications of nationalism and imperialism.

Woolson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and began her career writing regional travel stories about the closing of the American frontier in the old Northwest Territories (now known as the Great Lakes region). During the Civil War, she worked for a variety of Union causes and in 1873 moved to St. Augustine, Florida. Traveling throughout the South, she wrote stories and travel narratives that highlighted the wholesale changes facing Americans after the Civil War.

In 1879, Woolson left the United States for Europe. There, she engaged her passion for nature and exercised her gift for social satire. In her European writings, she deplored the Americans’ slavish devotion to the ubiquitous guidebooks of the nineteenth century, and she chose instead to spend long periods of time in one place in order to better learn about it. Throughout her time in Europe (including visits to North Africa), Woolson often commented that she could not describe landscapes, only experience them. By the time of her death in Venice at age fifty-three, she had become convinced that the colonial agendas of the United States and Europe would transform landscapes and peoples in far-reaching and ultimately dangerous ways.

This collection features selections from each of the three distinct periods of Woolson’s career and includes a chronology of her life and travels. Focusing primarily on Woolson’s short stories, editors Victoria Brehm and Sharon L. Dean also include a representative letter, poem, and travel sketch for each section.

Victoria Brehm is associate professor of English at Grand Valley State University. She is editor of three anthologies, including “A Fully Accredited Ocean”: Essays on the Great Lakes and Sweetwater, Storms, and Spirits: Stories of the Great Lakes.

Sharon L. Dean is professor of English at Rivier College and is author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Homeward Bound and Constance Fenimore Woolson and Edith Wharton: Perspectives on Landscape and Art.

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Tour de TraceTour de Trace 
Sharon Dean CHS ’61

ISBN-10: 0692212809
ISBN-13: 978-0692212806

The younger cyclists who signed up for camping and biking along Mississippi's Natchez Trace may think of Susan Warner as old. But she is no Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher. Retired from teaching, she sports a lavender streak in her silver hair and, though she has the slowest mph, she can cover the distance. But when she steps out of her tent the first morning, only ten of her fellow cyclists appear. The eleventh has left a note saying that she will return later. Later never happens. Instead, the riders discover the cyclist's body stretched crucifixion style on an ancient Indian Mound. With each turn of her bicycle wheel, Susan searches for the killer. Is it an ex-husband? The owner of a decrepit bed and breakfast? A snake handler? Or is it one of the cyclists? Her ride along the Natchez Trace pits New Englander Susan against an unfamiliar landscape and a murderer.

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