Elaine Showalter's A Jury Of Her Peers offers a literary history of American women writers spanning from the tales of Puritan Anne Bradstreet to the modern-day gay cowboy stories of Annie Proulx. Maureen Corrigan has a review.
Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists 1854-67, by Rachel Cohen. It's a book about friendships between American writers and artists and photographers.
Maureen Corrigan, who is a lapsed Catholic herself, reviews the book Catholic Girls, a collection of essays by other lapsed Catholics. The writers' feelings about being raised Catholic range from nostalgic to angry.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an African-American historian. He attended Yale University in the late '60s. The New York Times describes Gates as "a 41-year-old academic entrepreneur who has been one of the most sought-after scholars in the country in the last decade." Gates has taught at Yale, Cornell and Duke. Now he's been recruited to revitalize Harvard's African-American studies department, serving as its new chairman. He's written for Newsweek, Time, and The Nation.
The second half of a two-part interview with historian Ann Charters. She's spent 30 years studying the literature of Beat movement writers such as William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. She's the editor of a new compilation called "The Portable Beat Reader" (published by Viking).
Book critic John Leonard reviews Alfred Kazin's new book, A Writer's America, which explores the country through the eyes of its great authors. Leonard's only complaint is that Kazin doesn't feature enough of his own distinct, literary voice.
James Laughlin, founder and editor of New Directions Books, a small publishing house that has brought out the work of avant-garde poets like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. Laughlin is himself a poet and an authority on Ezra Pound.