JCU Welcomes Cathy Fussell for Italy Reads Keynote Address
On Wednesday, October 5th, John Cabot University welcomed Professor Cathy Fussell who delivered the Keynote Address for Italy Reads 2011. Participating high school teachers, students, JCU volunteers, faculty and staff enjoyed her enlightening talk.
Professor Fussell, former director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, illustrated the geographical, social and economic context of McCullers’s work, in particular, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter which is set in Columbus, Georgia in the 1930s. Professor Fussell pointed out that while Columbus is never explicitly indicated as the setting in the novel, she and her fellow citizens of Columbus recognize their town as the one depicted in the novel. Fussell shared a wealth of photos that provided invaluable insight for readers of the novel which is the focus of Italy Reads 2011.
These photographs and postcards helped those present to better understand life in Columbus during The Great Depression. This is particularly useful to those readers who might be unaware of the reality that formed the context and informed the story for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. McCullers has been acclaimed for her ability to capture that very unique flavor of Columbus, Georgia.
The audience also listened to an audio recording of McCullers’s voice reading a passage from The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. The Keynote Address concluded with a brief, rare video interview of McCullers by Jack Mangan in which McCullers talked about her writing. The video clip gave the audience a rare opportunity to see and hear Carson McCullers speaking in her Columbus accent.
The evening ended with a brief discussion of contemporary Columbus, its life and its people.
Discussion of the novel continued the following day, October 6th, during a workshop conducted by Professor Fussell for high school teachers.