T.R. Johnson has taught at universities in Louisville and Boston and is now a professor at Tulane. He has written books on prose style and psychoanalysis and the literary history of New Orleans. He hosts a contemporary jazz radio program every Tuesday. He has lived near the Mississippi River in the 9th Ward of New Orleans since 1999.
11:30 am to 12:15 pm
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room E
New Orleans Is for Writers: Literary New Orleans
12:30 pm to 1:15 pm
Cavalier House Books Tent
New Orleans: A Writer's City
The neighborhoods of New Orleans have given rise to an extraordinary outpouring of important writing. Over the last century and a half or so, these stories and songs have given the city its singular place in the human imagination. This book leads the reader along five thoroughfares that define these different parts of town – Royal, St. Claude, Esplanade, Basin, and St. Charles – to explore how the writers who have lived around them have responded in closely related ways to the environments they share. On the outskirts of New Orleans today, the city's precarious relation to its watery surroundings and the vexed legacies of race loom especially large. But the city's literature shows us that these themes have been near to hand for New Orleans writers for several generations, whether reflected through questions of masquerade, dreams of escape, the innocence of children, or the power of money or of violence or of memory.
New Orleans: A Literary History
New Orleans is an indispensable element of America's national identity. As one of the most fabled cities in the world, it figures in countless novels, short stories, poems, plays, and films, as well as in popular lore and song. This book provides detailed discussions of all of the most significant writing that this city has ever inspired - from its origins in a flood-prone swamp to the rise of a creole culture at the edges of the European empires; from its emergence as a cosmopolitan, hemispheric crossroads and a primary hub of the slave trade to the days when, in its red light district, the children and grandchildren of the enslaved conjured a new kind of music that became America's greatest gift to the world; from the mid-twentieth-century masterpieces by William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Walker Percy to the realms of folklore, hip hop, vampire fiction, and the Asian and Latin American archives.
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