William Heath

William Heath
Mount Saint Mary's University, Emmitsburg · English

Ph.D in American Studies from Case Western Reserve University

About

39
Publications
14,935
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10
Citations
Introduction
Most of the essays in my file I would like to publish in a book entitled "Trying To Say: American Studies Essays". These include my Hawthorne essays, which were part of a projected book entitled "Hawthorne and Merry Old England."
Additional affiliations
September 1981 - May 2007
Mount Saint Mary's University, Emmitsburg
Position
  • Professor Emeritus

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
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The article is a review of Rob Harper's the West: Violence and State Building in the Ohio Valley. I point out that Harper's basic thesis, that Ohio Valley violence was directly related to the extent of state support rather than placing the blame on frontier Indian hating. Harper presents a well-researched narrative in defense of his thesis, especia...
Presentation
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I From Sophocles to Kafka major writers have regarded criminality as a basic metaphor for the human condition. Yet most crime fiction is formulaic escapism, whether it is the contrived clues, least likely suspect, logical deduction and astute detective school or the corpse a chapter, thugs with guns, blondes and blood school. Both present hermetic,...
Conference Paper
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In this paper I use my own life and the example of Odysseus to illustrate to students the importance of understanding, as Robert Penn Warren once wrote in a poem, "the world is real, it is there." To enjoy life-long learning you must develop what I call "an appetite for the actual." This concept is not only important for students to understand but...
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My essay discusses an often ignored or misinterpreted battle known as the Long Run Massacre which happened near Louisville, September 13-14, 1781. I discuss how some historians have failed to capture the importance of this fight between settlers and a war party of Miami, Shawnee, and other nations. And I also discuss what life was like in the earli...
Conference Paper
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Roy Harvey Pearce's essay of 1947 "The Significance of the Captivity Narrative" has had a lasting impact on scholarship, resulting in an inordinate amount of scholarly and classroom attention devoted to Mary Rowlandson and other Puritan captives to the neglect of a set of remarkable captivity narratives set mainly in the American Midwest. This essa...
Conference Paper
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Frank Bergon's novels are distinguished by his ability to craft realistic fictive worlds that reveal important truths about the human condition. All four are vividly situated in the Great Basin and the San Joaquin Valley. Each novel features an "anachronistic" ways of life whose values are controversial. Usually the proponents of anachronistic life...
Article
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This is an essay review that originally appeared in The Texas Review, which has since been renamed the Sam Houston Literary Review.
Article
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William Heath: Homage to Robert Stone This is an essay I wrote after Robert Stone's death on 10 January 2018. Using quotes from his interviews and books, I provide an overview of his ideas about the craft of fiction and his remarkable life before presenting a brief description, interpretation, and evaluation of each of his novels as well as his me...
Conference Paper
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The original version of this essay was written as a review of Thomas Berger's Vital Parts in the Green River Review, Spring 1970, pp. 51-54; an expanded version was then read at the MLA Convention in Chicago, 23 December 1973; a greatly revised version about Reinhart in Love was then published in the Texas Review 33: 3&4 (Fall/Winter 20212): 92-102...
Conference Paper
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Devil Dancer, a neo-noir novel set in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1972, has a mythological substratum based on Theseus, who was in effect the first detective, Ariadne, who gives him the essential "clue" to explore the labyrinth, and the Minotaur, the forces of darkness the hero must confront. In this paper I explore the ways in which I used the Archety...
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In this essay I use the "Poison Kitchen," Hitler's name for the intrepid reporters of the Munich Post who exposed all his flaws before he destroyed them, as a metaphor for the role of the press in a time of crisis. I then look at the many character flaws of Donald Trump, discuss why people voted for him, and finally explore how "the Comey Effect" a...
Article
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Thomas Berger is best known for his western, Little Big Man , made into a film starring Dustin Hoffman, yet his Reinhart tetralogy is at least as important an achievement. Crazy in Berlin (1958), the first volume and the author's first novel, is a very ambitious work that captures postwar Berlin in telling detail. Based on Berger's experiences in t...
Presentation
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As both a novelist and historian, whose books have won awards in both categories, my presentation is a discussion of how I researched my books and what I believe the relationship between good historical fiction and good history ought to be. The discussion focuses on my three novels, The Children Bob Moses Led, Blacksnake’s Path, and Devil Dancer, a...
Article
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Research
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This essay was intended as a chapter in a projected book, Hawthorne and Merry Old England, which I may not be able to complete. It was specifically designed to set the context for such short stories as "The May-Pole of Merry Mount."
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A professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University, the author is a distinguished scholar of the Old Northwest. The present book provides a valuable look at the role Harrison played in the War of 1812 on the Ohio River—Great Lakes frontier. Skaggs emphasizes the significance of Harrison’s use of mounted Kentuckians in his invasion of Canada and...
Article
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This is an interview I gave to the Case Western Reserve English Department about my historical novel, Blacksnake's Path: The True Adventures of William Wells. In it I discuss in detail how I researched and wrote the book and why William Wells is a figure of considerable historical importance, particularly in the Ohio River Valley area. I subsequent...
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Reinhart In Love (Scribners 1962) is Thomas Berger's best comic novel. Set in post World War II Ohio, the novel traces Carlos Reinhart's thwarted efforts to adjust to life after World War II. The novel focuses on the competitive undercurrent in American life that makes games of one-upmanship essential to succeed in marriage, business, race relation...
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As part of my research for William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest, I discovered that William Wells had written at least an essay and possibly a memoir about his life with the Miami Indians. In fact, I discovered three variations of his essay, which I collate and write an Introduction. Wells's essay is one of the most valuable primary...
Conference Paper
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Hawthorne's first novel has as its underlying theme the author's dream of undying fame. Unfortunately his early ambition has not yet found adequate aesthetic expression. The book is badly flawed but offers some intimations of Hawthorne's later mastery.
Conference Paper
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This is a paper that was published in the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 33:1 (Spring 2011): 41-71. It argues that "The May-pole of Merry Mount" is illustrates what Merry Old England meant to Hawthorne, and thus is essential to understanding his later work, especially The Scarlet Letter.
Article
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"The March" is an account of events leading up to and my participation in the March on Washington in late August of 1963, famous for the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" speech. It was probably this event, more than any other, that eventually led me to write my award-winning novel about the civil rights movement in Mississippi, The Children Bob...
Article
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Nathaniel Hawthorne claims, in his brief preface to "The May-pole of Merry Mount," that "the facts, recorded on the grave pages of our New England annalists, have wrought themselves, almost spontaneously," into a "philosophical romance" and "a sort of allegory." He later refers to these "true" and "authentic passages from history" as "a poet's tale...
Presentation
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"'This Little Light of Mine': Remembering the Sixties and the Civil Rights Movement," was presented at an honors convention at Mt. St. Mary's University. It combines personal anecdotes with a quick overview of the period. Since the subject is so broad, what the presentation offers is merely suggestive of what a more comprehensive study might includ...
Conference Paper
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This is an up-dated and revised version of the essay I originally published in the Massachusetts Review (Spring 1987): 43-65. I presented a condensed version during our expedition of Nuku Hiva and this is the full account, which has been revised in light of what I learned during the conference in Tahiti and Nuku Hiva.
Article
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This is an interview I gave in 1999 that mainly concerns by first novel, The Children Bob Moses Led, but it also has a lot of information about my early years as a writer, first as a poet than a novelist, and my thoughts on literature and life.
Article
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"The Power of Passion" discusses Hawthorne's profound ambivalence toward women and passion in his finest stories. This essay was projected as part of a larger study, "Hawthorne and Merry Old England," that studies how Hawthorne tends to equate art, joy, and sensuality with Shakespearean England--a theme that achieves its richest expression in The S...
Conference Paper
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This paper was subsequently published in the South Carolina Review, 19: 1 (Fall 1986): 60-79. The paper and essay argue that Twain's satire on Sentimentality is at the heart of his great novel. It also discuss his skilful use of dead pan humor and the picaresque tradition.
Presentation
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This essay originally was a part of my dissertation, John Hawkes: A Critical Study, Case Western Reserve University, 1971. It was subsequently revised for a presentation at the Institute for Italian/American Studies in Rome, and then revised again for ResearchGate. In it I provide a close reading of multiple verbal motifs in Hawkes's finest novel a...
Conference Paper
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This paper was subsequently published by The Southern Review (Summer 1984): 528-545. It argues that Styron's ego gets in the way of his presentation of Sophie's specific plight and the Holocaust in general, resulting in a novel of highly uneven merits.
Article
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This interview was originally conducted in April, 1969, at Kenyon College, and was subsequently published in Hudson River Anthology, Vol. VIII, in 1979, in a condensed version. I have now added a more complete version, omitting only in places redundant phrases like "and so forth," "in a sense," etc. In this interview Gass discusses his first highly...
Article
Full-text available
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
Article
This is an essay-review of Frank Bergon's first novel, Shoshone Mike, which has since been acknowledged as a Western classic.
Article
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This short essay provides an overview of Thomas Pynchon's first three novels, with a focus on how the author uses his knowledge of science to write novels that combine to create a thought-provoking mythology for our mechanistic age. Questing to find an underlying order in the world, Pynchon's characters easily slip into paranoia and conspiracy theo...
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