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Celebrating the reissue of Adrienne Kennedy’s memoir

By Eric Colleary

The Harry Ransom Center celebrates the reissue of Adrienne Kennedy’s groundbreaking memoir People Who Led to My Plays from Theatre Communications Group. First published in 1987 as a response to the frequently asked question of what inspirations have influenced her work, Kennedy recorded brief, fragmentary memories covering 1936–1961. A deeply influential and radically innovative kind of memoir, novelist Ishmael Reed called these glimpses into her life “a new form of black autobiography.” Read more

African American artists and writers in the Limited Editions Club

By Peter Mears

The stories I selected span three decades and show (Zora Neal) Hurston’s diversity in writing styles and subject matter. I created my illustrations from fragments of fabric, paper and faded photos. The layering of images, patterns and textures evoke the feeling of memory and old tales retold. So they become, like the stories, “Bookmarks in the Pages of Life.”—Betye Saar, artist’s afterword to Bookmarks in the Pages of Life Read more

Biography sheds light on William Cameron Menzies, the first production designer

By Harry Ransom Center

While researching his recent book William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come, author James Curtis visited the Ransom Center to seek insight about Menzies’s career. Menzies worked with producer David O. Selznick on several projects, including Gone With The Wind and Spellbound. Using the Selznick collection at the Ransom Center, Curtis was able to research the work and efforts of the film industry’s first production designer. Below, Curtis recounts some of his findings. Read more

Fellows Find: Infinite Jest at 20

By Daniel Sinykin

Dan Sinykin, a visiting assistant professor at Grinnell College, visited the Ransom Center during the summer of 2014 to research his dissertation After the Boom: Apocalypse and Economics in American Literature of the Neoliberal Period. Sinykin was the recipient of a dissertation fellowship.

 

On February 23, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest turns 20. The novel was an instant hit and made Wallace a literary superstar—a winning reception that began with an innovative hype campaign on the part of the publisher, Little, Brown, which sent a series of postcards to thousands of reviewers and booksellers promising, among other things, “infinite pleasure.”

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