Dr. Stephen Meats' web page
Dr. Stephen Meats has recently published a collection of his short fiction and poems titled Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth Publications, 2013). The eight stories and eighteen poems in the book are woven together in an exploration of the theme of self-discovery and a quest for meaning.
Poet Fleda Brown says of the collection, “This is a brave book—it bumps poetry and prose against each other between the same cover, and lets them speak to each other in exciting, touching ways. The first poem in the book, ‘Dancing on the Edge of the World,’ is pretty much what I find happening here—the poems often rest quietly in the moment, and then the very next piece, the fiction, goes to a sometimes an ominous landscape, where a boy can deliberately let his brother almost drown or a boy's father walks out onto the baseball field and beats him with the baseball glove he has just given him because he hadn't realized he'd given him a glove for the wrong hand. The stories are haunting, often dark like a bad dream. But you want to read them. There's some truth of the human heart in each one. And the poems, well, there is a ‘clinging together in all/ this moving apart’ that's rich and hopeful.”
Denise Low, former Kansas Poet Laureate and founder of Mammoth Publications, writes that “Meats’s vision creates new myths for the central plains region. He moves gracefully among images and memories, surely defining human dimensions of his geography and of his times.”
Poet and memoirist Jo McDougall adds that readers will find in the collection Meats’s “passion for place; for family, its rewards and terrors; for the surreal in all its audacity and forays into the dark.”
A few of the poems and stories in the collection are previously unpublished, but most have appeared before in such journals as Kansas Quarterly, The Quarterly, Tampa Review, Arete: The Journal of Sport Literature, Hurãkan, Flint Hills Review, Prairie Poetry, Dos Passos Review, Angel Face, and The Laughing Dog, and in the anthologies Kansas Stories (1989), Begin Again (2011), and To the Stars Through Difficulties (2012).
Meats has also published a scholarly edition of William Gilmore Simms’s The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution (University of Arkansas Press, 2011). Meats wrote an historical/critical introduction and established a new text for the novel, based on a detailed comparison of the 1835 edition with Simms’s 1854 revision. He also prepared extensive textual tables illustrating Simms’s revisions. The Partisan is the thirteenth volume in the Arkansas Press’s series of Simms’s Selected Fiction.
In doing his research for this project, with assistance from a research grant from the English Department’s Eichhorn Fund, Meats traveled to the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he worked in the extensive Charles Carroll Simms Archive at the South Caroliniana Library.
Simms, one of the leading literary figures of antebellum America and the South’s leading man of letters, was called by Edgar Allan Poe in the 1840’s America’s most important novelist. Simms published more than thirty novels in his career, eight of which dealt with the American Revolution in South Carolina.
Dr. Casie Hermansson's web page
Dr. Casie Hermansson recently published her second book: Bluebeard: A Reader's Guide to the English Tradition (University Press of Mississippi, 2009). Bluebeard is the main character in one of the grisliest and most enduring fairy tales of all time. A serial wife murderer, he keeps a horror chamber in which remains of all his previous matrimonial victims are secreted from his latest bride. She is given all the keys but forbidden to open one door of the castle. Astonishingly, this fairy tale was a nursery room staple, one of the tales translated into English from Charles Perrault's French Mother Goose Tales!
Hermansson's book is the first major study of the tale and its many variants (some, like "Mr. Fox," native to England and America) in English: from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century chapbooks, children's toybooks, pantomimes, melodramas, and circus spectaculars, through the twentieth century in music, literature, art, film, and theater.
Chronicling the story's permutations, the book presents examples of English true-crime figures, male and female, called Bluebeards, from King Henry VIII to present day examples. Bluebeard explores rare chapbooks and their illustrations, and the English transformation of Bluebeard into a scimitar-wielding Turkish tyrant in a massively influential melodramatic spectacle in 1798. Hermansson examines the impact of nineteenth-century translations into English of the German fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and the particularly English story of how Bluebeard came to be known as a pirate.
Hermansson spent six years researching and writing the study, visiting at various times the British Library in London, and rare book collections at Harvard, Indiana University (Bloomington) and the Toronto Public Library system (Toronto, Canada). She presented material at conferences including one at Cambridge University, in England, and was invited to speak at the University of Zurich (Swizterland) at an international symposium on Bluebeard in December 2008.