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Friday, July 26, 2013

LITERATURE AND JOURNALISM

Dr. Mark Canada’s second book is published

One of Dr. Mark Canada’s projects this summer is to build a library of books written by faculty members of UNC Pembroke’s College of Arts and Sciences. A recent addition to the new library is his own recently published book, “Literature and Journalism: Inspirations, Intersections, and Inventions from Ben Franklin to Stephen Colbert.”

Mark CanadaAn English professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Canada’s newest book was published in April 2013 by academic publisher Palgrave Macmillan. “Literature and Journalism” takes the author back to a familiar crossroad of his scholarly interests.

The book is a collection of essays on the relationship between literature and journalism spanning the past three centuries. It exploits a rich vein of newspapering, literature, and history, surveying a long list of America’s best journalist-authors, including Franklin, Whitman, and Hemingway.

After the 2011 publication of his “Literature and Journalism in Antebellum America,” Canada returned to Palgrave Macmillan with a new idea: a collection of essays that he would solicit and edit. Canada also wrote the introduction.

“I just started going after the pre-eminent scholars in this field,” he said. He managed to land several of the ones he approached and wound up with a star-studded field of experts with a long list of previous books to their credit.

The essays are ordered chronologically with a heavy dose of work on the late 19th century, when some newspapers provided more literature than modern newspapers.

Literature and Journalism Book CoverCanada said he was very fortunate to get David Reynolds of the City University of New York on board with his essay: “Walt Whitman’s Journalism: The Foreground of ‘Leaves of Grass.’”  Reynolds, author of the seminal book Beneath the American Renaissance, is a preeminent scholar of antebellum American literature.

An essay by another leading scholar, Andie Tucher of Columbia University, discusses the blurred lines between fact and fiction in newspapers of the nineteenth century.  A former journalist herself, Tucher explores the process of “faking” in news reporting.

As journalists-turned-authors grew in influence, they became celebrities, or as Margaret Mitchell is quoted as saying in the essay by the University of Washington’s Doug Underwood: “It’s a full time job being author of ‘Gone with the Wind.’”

Canada’s collection of essays finishes up in the modern era with John Fenstermaker’s (Florida State University) essay on the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and “Esquire” magazine and Geoffrey Baym’s (UNC-Greensboro) essay on the Comedy Channel’s Stephen Colbert’s “Harvest of Shame.”

As a teacher and scholar of American literature, Canada said the essays are accessible to general readership. “I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I think the contributors are too.”

As Canada looked over the books in his new office library, he discussed the importance of scholarship at a regional university that is focused on teaching. “We are a teaching institution, but scholarship informs teaching,” he said. When professors can involve students, he explains, there is an extra benefit.

Canada is collaborating with Nami Montgomery, a graduate student in English, on his next book, Remembering Thomas Wolfe, which will feature dozens of reminiscences of the famous North Carolina author Thomas Wolfe. Canada will have a spot for it in the library.

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