"London Bound: American Writers in Britain, 1870-1916"


Image is taken from A Yankee at the Court Of King Arthur by Mark Twain (London:  Chatto and Windus, 1889).  Special Collections, University of Delaware Library.

 

    The University of Delaware Library announces “London Bound: American Writers in Britain, 1870-1916,”an exhibition of books, periodicals, drawings, photographs, manuscripts, letters, and printed ephemera, on view in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery on the second floor of Morris Library from Tuesday, August 24, 2010 through Friday, December 17, 2010.

    Curated by Dr. Margaret D. Stetz, the Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies and Professor of Humanities at the University of Delaware, and by Mark Samuels Lasner, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Library, the exhibition is one of several upcoming events associated with an interdisciplinary conference, “Useful and Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.” which will take place October 7–9, 2010 at the University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, and the Delaware Art Museum.

    “London Bound” will focus on turn-of-the-century writers 1) who made the transatlantic crossing to Britain, either to settle there or to visit; 2) who were connected, whether artistically or politically, to English counterparts, especially those in the Aesthetic or Pre-Raphaelite movements; and 3) who chose to have books issued by publishers in London, or who wrote for British periodicals.

    The exhibition will draw on materials from Special Collections and from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library.

    The exhibition will feature works by American expatriates such as Lady Randolph Churchill (born Jennie Jerome in New York), who edited the magazine Anglo-Saxon Review published by the London firm of John Lane, and by Henry James, including a copy of his The Spoils of Poynton (1897) presented to Thomas F. Bayard (1828–98), the former U.S. Senator from Delaware, who was then Ambassador to Britain. It highlights authors such as the African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who described his five-month tour of Britain in 1897 through a series of letters to Alice Moore (later Alice Dunbar-Nelson of Wilmington, DE), alongside figures both famous and forgotten: Willa Cather, “John Oliver Hobbes” (Pearl Craigie), Henry Harland, Mark Twain, “H. D.,” Ezra Pound, Emma Lazarus, Edith Wharton, Joseph Pennell and Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Emma Goldman, Clyde Fitch, J. M. Whistler, Gertrude Atherton, and many others. In addition, it represents writers not only from the United States, but from the Americas more broadly­­—figures such as Charles G. D. Roberts of Canada, who lived in London for several years, and the Cuban-born poet José Maria de Heredia, whose work appeared in the 1890s British journal of aestheticism, the Yellow Book.

    Through these transatlantic literary links, the exhibition will demonstrate the continuing importance of the legacy of the English Pre-Raphaelites and their followers. “London Bound” will include, for example, a copy of Papers on Inter-Racial Problems (1911), which collects the speeches delivered in London at the First Universal Races Congress—a volume that contains W. E. B. DuBois’s “The Negro Race in the United States of America” and that uses a title-page ornament by Walter Crane, the British Arts and Crafts designer and friend of William Morris.

    The transatlanticism of turn-of-the-century American literature will be the subject of a related lecture by Fred Kaplan, the noted biographer and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Kaplan is the author of several biographies, including The Singular Mark Twain; Gore Vidal; Henry James: The Imagination of Genius; Charles Dickens; Thomas Carlyle (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize); and, most recently, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. His lecture, “Useful and Beautiful: Henry James and Mark Twain,” which is sponsored by the University of Delaware Library Associates
and the University of Delaware Library, will take place in Morris Library at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, 2010.  This program will serve as the keynote lecture for the conference “Useful and Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.”  To request an invitation, email that contains full name and mailing address can be sent to [UDLA@udel.edu].

    Also associated with the conference is a smaller exhibition titled “The Multifaceted Mr. Morris,” which illustrates the many aspects of William Morris’s work in literature, politics, and the visual arts. It will be on view during the “Useful and Beautiful” conference (October 7–9, 2010) and at other times by appointment, in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection (Room 115A, Morris Library). For further information about the conference and related events, please see [www.udel.edu/conferences/uandb].

    “London Bound” will be open to the public at no charge. Hours of the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery are available online at [www.lib.udel.edu/info/hours] or call 302-831-BOOK. An online version of “London Bound” will also become available via [www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits.html].

 

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