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UIS faculty member to discuss her new book about William Maxwell

February 10, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois at Springfield faculty member Barbara Burkhardt will discuss her new book William Maxwell: A Literary Life at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 15, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of UIS’ Brookens Library.

Sponsored by Friends of Brookens Library, the presentation is free and open to the public.  A book signing and reception will follow.

An assistant professor of English at UIS, Dr. Burkhardt was a close acquaintance of Maxwell and conducted extensive interviews with him over a ten-year period before his death in July 2000 at age 91. They visited regularly at his homes in New York City and Westchester County, New York.  The book represents the first major critical study of Maxwell’s life and work.

Born August 16, 1908, in Lincoln, Illinois, Maxwell was a beloved, longtime fiction editor at The New Yorker who worked closely with such legendary writers as John Updike, Vladimir Nabokov, Mary McCarthy, and John Cheever. His own novels, They Came Like Swallows and the American Book Award-winner So Long, See You Tomorrow, have become so highly acclaimed that many now consider Maxwell to be one of the most important writers to come out of the Midwest in the twentieth century.

As a result of their association, Maxwell entrusted Burkhardt with organizing his voluminous archive of literary correspondence with such writers as Eudora Welty, J.D. Salinger, Updike, Nabokov, Cheever, and McCarthy. The archive is located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Maxwell’s alma mater.

Burkhardt holds a Ph.D. in American literature from UIUC and a master’s degree in English from UIS.  At UIS, she teaches graduate seminars on postmodern fiction, Mark Twain, and writers of The New Yorker, as well as courses on the American novel, Latino/Latina literature, Midwestern literature, and professional writing.

 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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