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Archive for August, 2006

We just came across this complaint about parenting practices: “When Mr. Tomlinson opened [the New Bern Academy], he was apprized of the excessive Indulgence of American Parents, and the great difficulty of keeping up a proper discipline; more especially as his school consisted of numbers of both Sexes.” Sound familiar? Apparently it’s an age-old problem. […]

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Fans of Louisa May Alcott know that her popular novel Little Women was to some degree a fictional account of her family. The father in Little Women is mostly absent, away at the Civil War. In March, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Geraldine Brooks, readers get the back story on Mr. March. We learn that […]

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Gurganus on Floyd

Yesterday’s Charlotte Observer reported that Allan Gurganus is working on new book. Tentatively titled Fourteen Feet of Water in My House, the novel will be set in North Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Gurganus is the editor of the 2006 volume of New Stories from the South. The Observer piece includes […]

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Reading Charles Chesnutt’s “The Goophered Grapevine” recently, I was admiring, among other things, the word “goopher” itself. In the story, and in African American folk tales, a goopher is a spell or curse put on a person or thing. You often see references to “goopher dust,” which the conjurer would sprinkle upon whatever it was […]

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The Goophered Grapevine

One hundred and twenty years ago this month, the Atlantic Monthly published Charles Chesnutt’s short story “The Goophered Grapevine.” This was the first story written by an African American to run in the magazine. Read more about it in the August This Month in North Carolina History, or read the story itself on Documenting the […]

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This Month in North Carolina History In August of 1887 “The Goophered Grapevine,” a short story by Charles Waddell Chesnutt appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. It was the first story by an African American ever printed in that respected magazine and marked the emergence of Chesnutt on the American literary scene. Chesnutt’s father, Andrew Jackson […]

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