The Ransom Center experienced unprecedented public attention this spring due in large part to events sponsored by the Center, providing evidence that life in the building perseveres through the dust. Above and beyond the numerous events taking place in conjunction with the From Gutenberg to Gone With The Wind: Treasures from the Ransom Center exhibition, the Center still found time to honor one of America's great writers and host two of Britain's.
John Steinbeck in His Time: A Centennial Exhibition is part of a national celebration sponsored by the Mercantile Library of New York called Bard of the People: The Life and Times of John Steinbeck. The exhibition opened on February 4 in the Leeds Gallery at the Flawn Academic Center, with the opening reception occurring February 27, on the centenary of the author's birth. In addition to a number of original Steinbeck books and manuscripts, the exhibition features images from the Photography Collection by Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, and Edward Steichen, as well as contemporary advertisements, and materials related to cinematic and theatrical adaptations of Steinbeck's works. As part of the birthday week celebration, the Center hosted readings featuring UT faculty and Austin community personalities at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Guadalupe. Center staff manned a booth on the West Mall on February 27 where balloons and cake were distributed in recognition of the centenary. In April, Douglas Wixson, whose work on the biography of Jack Conroy provided the first detailed history of an important group of Mid-western radical writers from the 1920s and 1930s, offered a lecture in the Knopf Room on Farm Securities Administration worker and photographer Sanora Babb, some of whose work is included in the exhibition. John Steinbeck in His Time runs through July 31, 2002.
In collaboration with the James A. Michener Center for Writers, the Ransom Center was honored to have Booker Prize-winning author Penelope Lively read from her work in the Avaya Auditorium at the ACES Building on February 28, 2002. Lively also participated in a master class with UT creative writing students on February 28 and talked about the cultural confusion she experienced growing up British in Cairo to a packed house at the British Studies seminar on March 1 in the Tom Lea Room.
British playwright Arnold Wesker returned to Texas to participate in The University of Texas School of Law's symposium, "From Text to Performance: Law and Other Performing Arts" where he served as a panelist. Wesker, whose archives were acquired by the Center in 1999, also presented a lecture on "The DNA of a Play," and performed the soliloquy, Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon, on March 5 in the auditorium of the Ransom Center.
For the most part, public programs will be recuperating through the summer, though September will see a return to form with A Centennial Celebrash For "A Good Bad Poet" Ogden Nash. The American poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971) is one of the most widely-read masters of light verse. This centennial exhibition will look at Nash's accomplishment in the tradition of the light verse form and will feature original manuscripts, letters, drawings, and photographs from the Ogden Nash Papers housed at the Ransom Center. The exhibition will run September 12-December 20, in the Leeds Gallery of the Flawn Academic Center.
For more information on events and schedule amendments, call 512.471.8944.