Professor Plath to join the 2023 Quarry Farm Fellowship

By Farah Bassyouni Feb10,2023

Credit: IWU Website

Professor of English James Plath was awarded the Elmira College’s Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) fellowship. The 2023 Class of Quarry Farm Fellows consist of scholars in the field of literature and history, and are provided the opportunity to study at Twain’s summer home, Quarry Farm. 

Fellows will explore and research Twain’s creative work in a large variety of disciplines. Past fellowship projects include cultural studies, media studies, gender studies, environmental science, political science, economics, and the creative arts. 

Professor Plath, R. Forrest Colwell Endowed Chair and President of The John Updike Society, will explore the literary relationship between Updike and Twain, and the influence Twain has on Updike. 

In 2002, Updike wrote the foreword to the Hesperus Press publication of The Diary of Adam and Eve, and what he said about Twain reveals much about himself and a connection with Twain that has yet to be explored,” Plath said. “It is a literary kinship, a connection with a past literary figure who modeled attitudes and behaviors that spoke to Updike generations later.”

Professor Plath has taught American literature, journalism, film and creative writing at IWU for 35 years, and won the Illinois Wesleyan University Award for Teaching Excellence. He has also held the position of The Argus’s Faculty Advisor, and host of the newspaper’s weekly critique since 1988. His essays on American literature have appeared in numerous edited collections and journals such as The Hemingway Review, The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, Journal of Modern Literature, Studies in the American Short Story, The John Updike Review, and Journal of the Short Story in English

He is also the author/editor of Conversations with John Updike (U. Press Mississippi, 1994), Remembering Ernest Hemingway (Ketch & Yawl, 1999), Historic Photos of Ernest Hemingway (Turner, 2009), John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews (Lehigh U. Press, 2016), The 100 Greatest Literary Characters (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), three volumes in the Critical Insights series from Salem Press, and two poetry chapbooks.

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