Thursday, November 4, 2010

Old Town Hall lecture series in Salem

Via Bonnie Hurd Smith of HistorySmiths is news of a new lecture series in Salem sponsored by the Gordon College Institute for Public History. The lectures happen on the third Thursday of every month, November through May, at 7:30 at the Old Town Hall (where Cry Innocent is performed).

First up is author and historian Richard Francis discussing his 2005 book, Judge Sewall's Apology: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience. Samuel Sewall's diary, which he kept for his own reasons and not with an eye to posterity, is one of the most well-rounded pictures we now have of life in Puritan New England and includes charming, light-hearted passages about his romantic courtships. But he is best known for his role as one of the nine judges during the witch trials of 1692, and was one of the only people to publicly apologize for his role in the hysteria. On his blog, Francis writes:
My biography of [Sewall] explores a complex and endearing human being, who participated in an injustice that reflected an essentially medieval view of the world, and who, by the time he embarked on an extraordinary series of courtships late in his life, had taught himself how to be a modern man.
Visit Old Town Hall Lectures for the complete schedule, which includes Smith speaking about Judith Sargent Murray on January 20.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New edition of The House of the Seven Gables

The recent Signet Classics edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables features a new introduction by Marblehead's Katherine Howe, friend of the NSLT and author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Not bad double-billing, Kate!

As she points out, one of Hawthorne's more notable, irascible comments is something he wrote to his publisher in 1855, "America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash..." Sorry Nate, there's no stopping the scribblers.

Brenda Wineapple, author of Hawthorne: A Life, contributes a new afterward as well. (Her more recent book, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, has been on my impossibly long to-read list for the last year.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Great Boston Poetry Marathon: Monday, October 11

Long time, no update—yikes! Life and work have veered away from the North Shore and away from the literary world over the past year (among other things, some travel writing and a return to school for Tufts University's museum studies program), but I'm still keeping my eyes open for events that north-of-Boston book lovers might be interested in.

Fortunately it's not too late to pass along news of the Great Boston Poetry Marathon, organized by Walter Skold of the Dead Poet's Society. The day-long event starts on Monday in Gloucester with readings of Vincent Ferrini and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, just to pick two poets who are featured in The North Shore Literary Trail. Check out the sunrise-to-sunset schedule here and join them for the long haul, or drop in anywhere along the path from Gloucester to Boston to Concord.

Here's a great post on National Geographic's Intelligent Traveler blog (nice!) about Dead Poets Remembrance Day (October 7) and some of the events organized around it, including the poetry marathon. The events planned at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire for Sunday, October 10, would be a great field trip from greater Boston.