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Becoming Californian through Travel and Writing, Friendship and Patronage / Cathryn Halverson


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Becoming Californian through Travel and Writing, Friendship and Patronage / Cathryn Halverson

Becoming Californian through Travel and Writing, Friendship and Patronage / Cathryn Halverson, in symposium international "Regional Becomings in North America" organisé sous la responsabilité scientifique de Wendy Harding (Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes (CAS), Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France) et Nancy Cook (University of Montana, USA), Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, 7-8 avril 2016.
Session 4 : Region, Gender, Race.

In 1936, Juanita Harrison published My Great, Wide, Beautiful World, a travel book composed of letters she had written during eight years of world travel.  Harrison, an African American who supported herself with work as a maid, grew up in Mississippi but identified herself as a Californian overseas.  “I am proud I choosed Calif. for my home before I left as every one know it,” she explained. In part, her claim to California was enabled by her close ties with a long-term employer and mentor in Los Angeles, Myra K. Dickinson. Dickinson invested Harrison’s money, offered her a permanent U.S. address, and urged her "to explain my trips," in Harrison's words. The book is dedicated to her.
However, a recent donation of papers that documents Harrison’s 17-year correspondence with one Alice M. Foster sheds new light.  Foster, like Harrison, was a working-class African American who hailed from Mississippi; by 1902, she had relocated to Pasadena. Harrison’s correspondence with Foster predates her own move to southern California, encouraging speculation that it was Foster’s presence that drew her there. The two women continued to write after Harrison’s departure, and many of the letters that compose the book were addressed to her old friend—who wrote back from a lap desk that her descendants have carefully preserved.
Following the publication of My Great, Wide, Beautiful World, a local Pasadena library commemorated Foster’s contribution to the book.  Harrison’s editor, publisher, and reviewers, however, ignored her, exclusively acknowledging past employers such as Dickinson.  White patronage was a familiar story that was easy to tell. An enabling friendship between two African American women—including a shared epistolary project—was not.
This presentation tells that story, in uncovering Foster’s role in Harrison’s regional and authorial becomings.

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    Date de réalisation : 8 Avril 2016
    Durée du programme : 30 min
    Classification Dewey : Critique et histoire de la littérature américaine de langue anglaise
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    Catégorie : Conférences
    Niveau : niveau Master (LMD), niveau Doctorat (LMD), Recherche
    Disciplines : Langue et Littérature anglaise et américaine
    Collections : Regional Becomings in North America
    ficheLom : Voir la fiche LOM
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    Auteur(s) : HALVERSON Cathryn Luanne
    producteur : Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès-campus Mirail
    Réalisateur(s) : SARAZIN Claire
    Editeur : SCPAM / Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès-campus Mirail
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    Langue : Anglais
    Mots-clés : littérature régionale, identité (Etats-Unis), récits de voyages, femmes écrivains américaines
    Conditions d’utilisation / Copyright : Tous droits réservés aux auteurs et à l'Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès.
 

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