Hall Center For The Humanities


Paule Marshall Colloquium

Colloquium: "The Triangular Quest for Self and Community: Part II"*
Humanities Lecture Series

Fri., Feb. 21, 2003, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Malott, Kansas Union
Brooklyn>Barbados>Benin. When taken together, these three geographies might be said to constitute the principal compass points on the literary map of Paule Marshall?s fiction. From Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959) to The Fisher King (2000), her work has charted a course that deliberately reverses the triangular route of the slave trade. Given this reversal, characters in her stories often move backward in time, memory, and history, undertaking journeys that are at once physical, psychological, and spiritual, as well as political. The search is for personal and community empowerment.

These are themes and concerns central to Marshall?s work. She will discuss them more fully in two colloquia, and they will also serve as the centerpiece for her public lecture.

Paule Marshall has been called ?one of the best novelists writing in the United States.? She was born in Brooklyn in 1929 to parents who had recently migrated to New York from Barbados. The Barbadian background of Marshall?s parents was to inform all her work. Her autobiographical first novel tells the story of Selina Boyce, an adolescent girl growing up in a New York West Indian community. The novel broke new ground in its portrayal of a Caribbean immigrant family, in its use of a black girl as its protagonist, and in its exploration of gender dynamics within the black community.

Marshall?s most eloquent statement of her belief in African Americans? need to rediscover their heritage was Praisesong for the Widow, a highly regarded 1983 novel that established her reputation as a major writer.

Her work celebrates black immigrant communities, Afro-Diasporic culture and black women. It explores the possibilities of claiming a culture of African origin.

Marshall has taught at Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and Oxford Universities. She holds a distinguished chair in creative writing at New York University. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Langston Hughes Award Medallion, and a MacArthur Prize Fellowship.

Paule Marshall is The Frances and Floyd Horowitz Lecturer 2002-2003.

*Suggested reading for this event is The Fisher King (2000), with secondary text Praisesong For the Widow (1983).

The event is free and open to the public.

February 21, 2003

1:00 p.m.

Malott, Kansas Union

Other related events:

Humanities Lecture Series lecture

Colloquium Part I
Wk Su M T W Th F Sa

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