Winter Lecture Series 2015

The Museum’s Winter Lecture Series is nearly upon us. The series title this year is, Living on the Edge: The Frontier Remembered in Early American Fiction. The series focuses on the work of four writers who used the 18th century American frontier as a setting for their stories and created characters and situations that, perhaps, came to represent that frontier in the minds of their readers.

The writers featured in the series are William Gilmore Simms, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, James Fenimore Cooper, and John Esten Cooke. With the almost certain exception of Cooper, these writers are not much read these days, and their work might not be familiar to even the best read of modern Americans. That said, their use of the frontier as a setting likely did much in their day to shape the reading public’s understanding of frontier life and culture in much the same way as movies and television did for the, “Old West,” in more recent times.

Each of these four writers tended to set their stories in a particular region of the early frontier. For Simms, it was the Carolinas and the southeast; for Brackenridge it was western Pennsylvania; for Cooper it was, of course, western New York; and for Cooke, it was the lower Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  This promises to be an interesting and thought-provoking series, especially if you’re interested in the idea of the frontier in American culture, and early American literature.  Lectures are on the next four Tuesday nights at 7:00PM in the Museum’s Dairy Barn Lecture Hall:

William Gilmore Simms

William Gilmore Simms

Lecture #1: Tuesday February 17, 2015
Todd Hagstette – “Where Civilization and the Wild Collide: The Frontier Imagination of William Gilmore Simms”
Mr. Hagstette leads the Simms Initiative at the University of South Carolina and also edits the journal of the William Gilmore Simms Society.

Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Lecture #2: Tuesday February 24, 2015
Robert Battistini – “Federalist Canary in the Coal Mine of the Frontier: Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s (Reluctant) Encounter with Emergent America in Modern Chivalry
Mr. Battistini is the department specialist in American literatures before 1900 at Centenary College in New Jersey.  In addition to his scholarly research, He is a  co-editor of the Literary Magazine volume of the new Charles Brockden Brown Scholarly Edition.

James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper

Lecture #3: Tuesday March 3, 2015
Alan Taylor – “James Fenimore Cooper’s Vision of the American Frontier”
Mr. Taylor is a historian specializing in early American history. He is the author of a number of books about colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Early American Republic. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes and the Bancroft Prize for his work.

 John Esten-Cooke

John Esten Cooke

Lecture #4: Tuesday March 10, 2015Eric A. Bryan – “Romance on the Border of Old Virginia: The Shenandoah Valley Frontier in the Novels of John Esten Cooke.”
Mr. Bryan is the Deputy Director of the Frontier Culture Museum where he provides general management and administration of this outdoor living-history museum, educational institution, and agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

FCM_winterlectureseries_logo.2015.large.with.title-01For more information, please visit the Winter Lecture Series webpage.  See you there!

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