ALSCW Zoom Series: American Classics, American Crisis

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We are delighted to invite you to the first installment of the ALSCW’s fall Zoom series. We are deeply grateful to our participants and to all of you for your support of the ALSCW (information on memberships and renewals can be found at  The panelists will take questions from the audience during the last twenty minutes of our session.  Please join our Zoom seminar through this link: Zoom Seminar Link (Click Here)

September 9th, 6 pm to 7:15 pm EST: “American Classics, American Crisis”

Michael Gorra, Myra Jehlen and Mark Edmundson will talk about how some classic American authors (Faulkner, Twain, Whitman…) address democracy, race, the trauma and promise of history, and the worth of literature in a time of crisis. Questions from the audience will be welcome. 


Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia and the author of a dozen books, including Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing Teaching. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic MonthlyLiterary ImaginationRaritanThe New York TimesHarper’s MagazineThe American ScholarYale ReviewThe Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other venues. The National Endowment of the Humanities has honored him as a Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Michael Gorra is the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English at Smith College and the author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War.  Earlier books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany and Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and other journals, he has received both a Guggenheim and Public Scholar Award from the NEH, along with the Balakian Citation from the National Book Critics Circle for his work as a reviewer.

Myra Jehlen was Board of Governors Professor of English and American Literature at Rutgers, where she also taught Comparative Literature. A member of the editorial board of Raritan, she is the author of Five Fictions in Search of TruthReadings at the Edge of LiteratureAmerican Incarnation, and Class and Character in Faulkner’s South. She has recently completed a long essay on Huckleberry Finn and the controversy surrounding it.

Moderator: David Mikics is the author most recently of Stanley Kubrick (Yale Jewish Lives), Bellow’s People (Norton) and Slow Reading in a Hurried Age (Harvard). John and Rebecca Moores Professor of English and Honors at the University of Houston, he is also a columnist for Salmagundi and for Tablet magazine (, and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Brooklyn and Houston. He will become Vice President of the ALSCW in 2021.