Humor, Heartbreak, and Hope
204 Pages, 2
- Published: January 2012
Lewis Nordan: Humor, Heartbreak, and Hope examines and celebrates the work of southern writer Lewis “Buddy” Nordan, whose stories reveal his own pain and humanity and in their honesty force us to recognize ourselves within them.
Written by scholars and fiction writers who represent a fascinating range of experience—from a Shakespearean scholar to English professors to a former student of Nordan’s—this is a rich array of essays, poems, and visual arts in tribute to this increasingly important writer. The collection deepens the base of scholarship on Nordan, and contextualizes his work in relation to other important southern writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty.
Nordan was born and raised in Mississippi before moving to Alabama to pursue his Ph.D. at Auburn University. He taught for several years at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and retired from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a professor of English. Nordan has written four novels, three collections of short stories, and a memoir entitled Boy with Loaded Gun. His second novel, Wolf Whistle, won the Southern Book Award, and his subsequent novel, The Sharpshooter Blues, won the Notable Book Award from the American Library Association and the Fiction Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Nordan is renowned for his distinctive comic writing style, even while addressing more serious personal and cultural issues such as heartbreak, loss, violence, and racism. He transforms tragic characters and events into moments of artistic transcendence, illuminating what he calls the “history of all human beings.”
1. Don’t Cry for Me, Itta Bena
2. The Strangely Familiar World of Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair
3. Sugar amongst the Chickens
5. Lewis Nordan and One Critic: The Archer or the Arrow Catcher?
6. Transcendence and Hope in the Blues Life and Life Writing of Lewis Nordan
7. Life as a Set of Games and Invented Stories in Lewis Nordan’s Fictional Memoir
8. Happiness Is a Warm Gun: Guns and Love in Lewis Nordan’s Work
9. The “Idea of Order” in Arrow Catcher, Mississippi: Scapegoating and Redemption in The Sharpshooter Blues
10. Faulkner’s Ghost in Lewis Nordan’s 'The Sharpshooter Blues'
11. Lewis Nordan’s Southern Magic
12. Lewis (Buddy) Nordan: Poet of Prose
13. Eulogizing Space: Eudora Welty’s “Still Moments” and Gaston Bachelard’s “Dream Geometry” in Lewis Nordan’s Fiction
14. Music of the Swamp
15. Wonderful Geographies
16. The Nordan Shakespeare
17. An Interview with Lewis Nordan: 'Bookmark' (1998)
18. “The Day When the Swamp Elves Ran out of the Canebrake” : A Conversation with Lewis Nordan (2006)
19. Buddy on the Plains: An Interview (2009)
“Lewis Nordan is a shamefully underappreciated and under-considered writer, and this collection seeks to address that critical injustice. The essays and commentaries offer a variety of approaches and tones of voice and perspectives that help illuminate Nordan’s fiction in very useful ways.”--Gregory L. Morris , author of “Boy with Loaded Gun: The Confessions of Lewis Nordan,” published in The Southern Literary Journal and Gretel Ehrlich, Frank Bergon, Talking Up A Storm: Voices of the New West, and A World of Order and Light: The Fiction of John Gardner
— -“Lewis Nordan represents a groundbreaking collection of essays on Nordan’s fiction. This collection edited by Dr. Baker offers a broad and impressive contribution to the Nordan criticism that has appeared in recent years—with which it enters into meaningful dialogue. The essays represent a large body of important new criticism on the fiction of one of the South’s most important contemporary writers.”--George Hovis, author of Vale of Humility: Plain Folk in Contemporary North Carolina Fiction