The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.
The authors showcased in this exhibit were chosen with care by a dedicated team of experts from around the country. Gain some insight on how they made their decisions by exploring the American Themes touch screens. "On the Edge" is a meditation on writers, works, and genres that challenged mainstream literature. "American Promise" offers perspectives on how writers have pursued the quest for life, liberty and happiness. "American Identities" explores how writers addressed the uniquely American fluidity of self-definition.
Ivy Wilson is especially qualified to speak on writers "American Promise." He is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of American Studies at Northwestern University, with a focus on African American culture. If you select "Promise," you'll learn more about the American Dream and how it is expressed in writing. The American Dream has always represented certain liberties, possibilities, and a certain elusiveness for some populations. This dream has been central to showing upward social mobility, political equality, and providing a sense of belonging in the United States.
Maureen Corrigan, who narrates the "On the Edge" section, is uniquely positioned as a literary critic who is active in both academic and public spheres. You may know her as the book critic from NPR's "Fresh Air," but she is also The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. We are so excited that she has participated in this exhibit. The "Edge" section will tell you more about the shadowy side of the American dream, encapsulated by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Learn about New Voices, New Forms & Styles, and New Ideas in these "shadow" genres.
You may recognize Ilan Stavans from PBS specials, or the 2006 film "My Mexican Shivah," but did you know he is also one of the world's leading authorities on the hybrid language Spanglish? Currently, he the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His narration of "American Identities" is informed by his work as a Mexican-American writer and sociolinguist. Choose "Identity" to learn more about how language and words affects our national, group, and individual identities.