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Averitt Lecture Series opens Oct. 16

This year’s Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series will begin Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. with ‘Ghosts and Demons: Sources of Terror in American Literature and Culture.” The lecture will take place in the Assembly Hall of the Nessmith-Lane Building at Georgia Southern University. The series continues with two more presentations on Oct. 17, and all three lectures are free and open to the public. The first talk will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m.

This year’s guest lecturer is Alfred Bendixen, founder and executive director of the American Literature Association and professor of English at Texas A&M University. Much of his scholarship focuses on the recovery of unjustly neglected literary texts, especially by women writers, and the exploration of neglected genres, including the ghost story, detective fiction, science fiction, and travel writing. Bendixen’s books include Haunted Women (1985), an edition of the composite novel, “The Whole Family” (1986), “The Amber Gods” and other stories by Harriet Prescott Spofford (1989), and “Edith Wharton: New Critical Essays” (1992).

The second lecture in the series is Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. when Bendixen will present ‘Washington Irving’s Tales of the Supernatural and the Invention of American Culture.” In his lecture, he will discuss the way in which Irving’s tales shaped the development of American Gothic. Guests may come for coffee at 9:30 a.m.

In the final lecture of the Averitt Series, Bendixen will review ‘Sources of Terror in Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17. All three lectures will take place in the Assembly Hall of the Nessmith-Lane Building.

In addition to being the associate editor of the Continuum¬†Encyclopedia of American Literature¬†(1999), Bendixen has many writing projects underway. He is one of the five contributing editors to the forthcoming “Wadsworth Anthology of American Literature,” which will appear this fall. He is also the co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to American Travel Writing (scheduled for publication in March 2008). He is currently completing the editing of the “Blackwell Companion to the American Novel,” co-editing the “Blackwell Companion to the American Short Story” (with Professor James Nagel) and writing the volume on American literary realism for the new “Blackwell Literary History of the United States.”

This is the 17th year of the Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series, which was established in 1990 as a gift to the Department of History, the Department of Literature and Philosophy and the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University. The lectures are made possible through the vision and generosity of Jack Averitt, former dean of the Georgia Southern University’s College of Graduate Studies, and his late wife, Addie. The purpose of the lectureship is to enhance on-campus academic and cultural life for students, faculty, and the community. Published versions of the lectures are available from the University of Georgia Press.

For more information about this year’s Averitt Lecture Series, contact the Department of Literature and Philosophy at 912-681-5471.

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