Events News Students in the News

July 2, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Babcock and Distel Coedit Sherwood Anderson Book

blue and white book cover

Ph.D. candidates Aaron Babcock and Kristin Distel have recently published and presented in a variety of venues about Ohio author Sherwood Anderson and other Midwestern writers.

Babcock specializes in American immigrant fiction published between Reconstruction and the Second World War, while Distel’s focus is female characters’ experience of shame in the literature of the long eighteenth century; both are graduate students in OHIO’s English Department.

Outdoor headshot of man, b/w headshot of woman

Ph.D. candidates Aaron Babcock and Kristin Distel

Publishing a Coedited Volume

In May 2019, their coedited volume, a reissue of Anderson’s The Triumph of the Egg: A Book of Impressions from American Life in Tales and Poems, was published by Hastings College Press. The book is part of HC Press’s “Forgotten Texts” series, which reissues understudied texts that have fallen into the public domain.

While Anderson’s best-known book is Winesburg, Ohio (1919), Babcock and Distel wanted to bring critical attention to The Triumph of the Egg, a book Anderson published two years later that features many of the same themes and motifs as Winesburg.

The Triumph of the Egg,” they write, “focuses on the alienating and disruptive moments of American small-town life. Similar in tone to its more famous sibling—Winesburg, OhioTriumph focuses on the driving issues of the early 20th-century Midwest: modernization, increasing industrialization, the growth of big business, and the Great Migration.”

Babcock and Distel’s reissue of Triumph features a co-written introduction that examines the history of the book’s publication and reception, along with an analysis of the book’s treatment of recurring themes like race, gender, ambition, loneliness, and imprisonment.

Alden Library’s Lorraine Wochna, they note, provided indispensible help during the process of researching the book’s earliest reviews and reception.

The Triumph of the Egg is now available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Presenting at The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Conference

Babcock and Distel presented on Triumph and its aforementioned themes at the forty-ninth annual meeting of The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.

Aaron Babcock speaks at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature

Aaron Babcock speaks at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature

Babcock’s paper, titled “‘Words Like Stones, Like Building Stones’: Crafting Contrasting Fictions of Race in The Triumph of the Egg,” examined the book alongside the work of authors such as W.E.B. DuBois, Hart Crane, and Claude McKay.

Distel’s paper, “There Is a Road She Must Travel Alone”: Gendered Ambition and Loneliness in The Triumph of the Egg,” examined male and female characters’ responses to confinement and the ways in which Anderson’s male characters believe they can read and interpret women’s thoughts.

Kristin Distel presents her paper at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.

Kristin Distel presents her paper at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.

Their panel was moderated by Hastings College Press director Tricia Oman.

Bringing Triumph to Anderson’s Hometown

Babcock and Distel will again present on The Triumph of the Egg in an upcoming presentation at the Clyde Museum, located in Clyde, Ohio—where Anderson lived as a child. His book Winesburg, Ohio is based on his upbringing in this town.

Sign promoting Babcock/Distel presentation

Their talk will take place on Tuesday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m.

Publishing on Midwestern Writers

Babcock and Distel’s scholarship has also been published by MidAmerica: The Yearbook of The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature (Vol. XLV).

The publication includes two articles by Babcock, titled “Presley’s Industrialized Poetics: The Monopolization and Mechanization of American Aesthetics in Frank Norris’s The Octopus” and “‘I Only Remembered the Horses’: Masculinity, Memory, and Nostalgia in Toni Morrison’s Home. Distel’s article is titled “‘Nothing Ever Dies’: Rememory, Trauma, and Place in Beloved and Paradise.”

Cover of MidAmerica Yearbook

Both of their Morrison publications grow out of Babcock and Distel’s 2018 panel at The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature’s annual conference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*