Chaucer of the Ozarks
Explore the life and nonfiction of Donald Harington, known as "the Chaucer of the Ozarks" for his artistic and literary portrayal of the traditions and culture of the tri-state region of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with editor Brian Walter about the collected non-fiction of novelist Donald Harington.
Walter's book The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany published by the University of Arkansas Press collects Harington's essays, speeches, interviews and reviews and situates them in relation to his novels--many of them set in Stay More, a fictional town in the Ozarks.
The collected nonfiction positions the fabric of Harington's life against the push and pull of his influences and his obsessions.
The episode also features recorded excerpts of Harington, who rarely gave extemporaneous interviews, speaking about his life and his art.
During his lifetime, Harington (1935-2009), deaf from childhood meningitis from the age of 12, was a professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and published 15 novels beginning with The Cherry Pit (1965) and ending with Enduring (2009).
"Harington was always the novelist, always spinning yarns, rigging up plotlines to hook, entrance, and delight the Gentle Reader whom he loved so dearly (sometimes deperately) through the medium of his written words. Harington was an incorrigible storyteller, a loving co-conspirator with anyone who would set foot into his imaginary realms, to our perpetual enrichment as readers," writes Walter.
Brian Walter is Professor of English and Director of Convocations at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
In addition to his recent book, the University of Arkansas Press also distributes his feature documentaries, Stay More: The World of Donald Harington and Farther Along: The World of Donald Harington, Pt. 2.
Walter's essays, articles, reviews, and fiction have appeared in a variety of literary and film studies journals; he also appeared as an 'old coot' with a magic camera in Harington's final novel, Enduring.
A special thanks to singers and songwriters Dawson Hollow and The Lark and the Loon. A special thanks to Joseph Fuller, multi-instrumentalist, who created the theme song and score for this episode. Additional thanks to Brian Walter for sharing his personal recordings of Harington with us.
Thank you to Stickyz Rock “N" Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas. Thank you to the Sheraton Four Points by Marriott Little Rock Midtown for providing accommodations for our singers, songwriters, and guests.
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