It's Friday, which means it's time to lay some plans for the weekend. And so.... A few months ago the students over at Nuts and Boalts (a Berkeley law school student blog) wrote about a Jack London pub crawl. They go to bars frequented by Jack London I'm guessing (or at least locations that London roamed around). Now, I must admit that I'm not a huge Jack London fan. I understand that kids who grew up in the bay area were "force fed" London while in high school or maybe middle school, so no surprise that they'd plan something cool like that. Much rather have something like the John Steinbeck pub crawl, but they might have to be somewhat south of Berkeley for that one.
Well, that got me to thinking. 'Bout time we do something like this around Tuscaloosa. So which local authors would we want follow around--checking out their local haunts? I've read a lot of Caroline Hentz. She wrote a proslavery response to Uncle Tom's Cabin as well as some short stories whose proslavery bona fides are more ambiguous. The building where she ran the Tuscaloosa female seminary (which was used for an elementary school as late as the 1950s) was torn down; now there's a condo building there. So cross the Carolyn Hentz pub crawl off the list.
How about Carl Carmer, whose 1934 book Stars Fell on Alabama inspired the song of the same name. Carmer's book--he was an English prof at the University--is a memoir of sorts about his time here. He records all sorts of vignettes of life around the state, including some time playing golf at the Tuscaloosa Country Club. Still there; in fact, that's where the students have their spring formal. So we might include that on the Carmer pub crawl--then maybe some time over on University Avenue and Greensboro Avenue, where he stayed when he first got to town. Hard to know exactly what that would be like. Might end at the University Club, which was the Governor's mansion in the days when Tuscaloosa was the state capital, back in the 1820s and 1830s.
Anyway, I like the idea of law students (and faculty) celebrating their local literary figures.
By the way, while we're talking about Nuts and Boalts, I was surprised that they'd spend the time to write about their faculty's publication records. But then I'm always surprised when students read what we write--perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, though. It's further evidence for the hypothesis of the "history of the book" project that when looking to understand a people, one should turn to their intellectual output. One other thing, as the first commenter pointed out: you should count books when you're doing a survey of publishing records.