A Project of Boston College Magazine

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Format: Lecture followed by Q&A
Length: 72


Date: March 20, 2003

Location: Gasson Hall 305, Boston College

Sponsor(s): ; ; http://www.bcbookstore.com/ePOS?this_category=5&store=202&set_count_cookie=YES&listtype=begin&item_qty=100&form=shared3%2fgm%2fbrowse%2ehtml&design=202&current_total_count=27

URL: http://frontrow.bc.edu/program/keith/

The information on this page is accurate as of March 2003

Program Notes

By Michelle Baildon
Scholarly Communications Reference Librarian
O'Neill Library, Boston College

Web Resources Online Articles Books

Web resources

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About Michael Keith

Boston College Communication Department


Bill Rodriguez, "Life on the Run: Michael C. Keith's Moving Memoir," Providence Phoenix, April 10–17, 2003


The Kojo Nnamdi Show, July 7, 2003

American University Radio, WAMU (88.5 FM)

The Savvy Traveler, March 7, 2003

Minnesota Public Radio

"Road Boy: When He Was Eleven, the Author and His Rogue of a Father Lit Out for the West"


This excerpt from The Next Better Place: A Father and Son on the Road appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of Boston College Magazine.

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About American Literature of the Road

Language of the Land: Journeys Into Literary America


Drawing from the Library of Congress's literary maps and other collections, this online exhibition examines works of literature informed and inspired by U. S. geography, organized by four broad regions of the United States. The exhibition includes maps, photographs, and literary excerpts.

Present at the Creation: Jack Kerouac's On the Road


Companion to an episode of NPR's Present at the Creation, this Web site offers information about Kerouac's development of his famed novel. The site contains audio files of the radio program and of tapes exchanged by Kerouac and his friend Neal Cassady (inspiration for the On the Road character Dean Moriarty), as well as audio and video files of Kerouac reading from his work. Links to excerpts from On the Road and other online resources are also offered.

American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920


"Comprises 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920. Also included is the thirty-two-volume set of manuscript sources entitled Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, published between 1904 and 1907 after diligent compilation by the distinguished historian and secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society Reuben Gold Thwaites. Although many of the authors represented in American Notes are not widely known, the collection includes works by major figures such as Matthew Arnold, Fredrika Bremer, William Cullen Bryant, François-René de Chateaubriand, William Cobbett, James Fenimore Cooper, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Sir Charles Lyell, William Lyon Mackenzie, André Michaux, Thomas Nuttall, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The narratives in American Notes therefore range from the unjustly neglected to the justly famous, and from classics of the genre to undiscovered gems. Together, they build a mosaic portrait of a young nation."

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About Fathers and Fatherhood

Fatherhood Initiative


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this site offers a wealth of resources for fathers, such as information on the importance of fathers in the lives of children, statistics on family structure and father involvement, and details on federal programs to support fathers.

National Center on Fathers and Families


NCOFF, an interdisciplinary policy research center at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, is dedicated to "research and practice that expands the knowledge base on father involvement and family development" and that "informs policy designed to improve the well-being of children." In keeping with its mission, the NCOFF site provides such resources as an outline of research on fatherhood; research reports; databases of relevant research, programs, and events; and links to NCOFF publications and external Web sites.

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About Alcoholism

National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


The NIAAA—an agency of the NIH devoted to the reduction of problems related to alcohol—sponsors and disseminates research relevant to its mission. The institute's extensive Web site includes databases, publications, news releases, information about research, announcements about events, and lists of relevant links.

Project Cork Institute


From the Dartmouth College Library, this bibliographic database, updated quarterly, offers references with abstracts to over 13,000 journal articles, books, book chapters, and other resources relating to alcoholism and substance abuse.

For Further Reading: Online Articles

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On the Road


A brief passage from Jack Kerouac's 1957 literary sensation appears on the "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry" Web site created by University of Pennsylvania English professor Al Filreis.

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The Memoir

Partisan Review: How True to Life Is Biography?


This page offers links to selected articles from a special issue of the Partisan Review developed from a conference about autobiography, biography, and memoir.

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Fathers and Fatherhood

Responsible Fathering: An Overview and Conceptual Framework


William J. Doherty, Edward F. Kouneski, and Martha Farrell Erickson of the University of Minnesota wrote this 1996 summary of research on factors that influence fathering. The authors provide a framework illustrating multiple interacting influences on the father-child relationship, including "father factors," "mother factors," "child factors," "coparental factors," and broader contextual factors (which, the authors contend, exert the greatest influence on fathering). The report was prepared for the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

"Research on Improving Children's Well-Being: Understanding, Nurturing Fatherhood"


The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development presents this article, which discusses researchers' neglect of fathers in studies of child development and parenting. The article also describes recent studies about fathers' influence on their children and the effects of fatherhood on men. It was published in Research on Today's Issues, Issue No. 9, in October 1998.

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Children of Alcoholics

"Children of Alcoholics"


Alcohol Health & Research World (now called Alcohol Research & Health), a publication of The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, devoted a 1997 issue to the topic of Children of Alcoholics

For Further Reading: Books

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Anywhere But Here

In Mona Simpson's debut novel, Ann August is pulled by her mother Adele from their home in Wisconsin to Los Angeles, where Adele dreams of television stardom for her daughter. Shifting perspective between Ann, Adele, and other family members, Simpson portrays the predicament of a girl who has to be the family grown-up for her restless and fanciful mother.

On the Road

Probably the best-known work of the Beat Movement, Kerouac's novel about the cross-country adventures of postwar bohemians has become paradigmatic. In suspended adolescence, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty seek the freedom of America's highways—but also seek paternal figures in a novel filled with negligent and missing fathers.

Stepdaddy: A Creative Memoir

Eleven years before the Keiths began their westward trek, Bill Boyd and his stepfather, Daddy Philpot, hitchhiked to California from Oklahoma in search of better fortunes. Though they suffered adversity and indignities on their journey, Boyd recollects the trip warmly and with great respect for his stepfather.

Our Fathers: Reflections by Sons

Essays by fourteen prominent writers, including Geoffrey and Tobias Wolff, James Baldwin, and Robert Stepto, offer reflections on fathers. The essays were collected by writer Steven L. Shepherd.

This Boy's Life: A Memoir

In his acclaimed memoir, Tobias Wolff recounts his difficult teen years, separated from his father and brother and on the move from Florida to Utah to Washington State with his mother. The youngster ultimately escapes his contentious home life and his abusive stepfather by going to boarding school and then entering the military.

Angela's Ashes

The story of Frank McCourt's impoverished childhood in Limerick, Ireland is well known to the throngs who made his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir a runaway best-seller. Angela McCourt struggled to provide for her four children despite the neglect of her alcoholic husband, who eventually abandoned the family. McCourt recounts his recollections with humor and love in spite of the squalid circumstances of his youth.

America Is in the Heart: A Personal History

The 1946 memoir of Filipino immigrant Carlos Bulosan is a record of the privation and bigotry suffered by Asian Americans in the postwar period. Bulosan recounts hardships experienced up and down the West Coast as a migrant worker seeking economic opportunity. Scholars today believe that Bulosan-like many other memoirists-did not offer a strictly factual account of his experiences; indeed, the events are likely a compilation of incidents lived by several individuals.

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Books About Memoirs


Begin your study of the autobiography with this comprehensive critical introduction to the genre. Linda Anderson offers a historical overview of autobiographical writing from St. Augustine to present, and devotes considerable attention to twentieth-century women's writing, black, and postcolonial writing. Anderson also explores issues of identity, selfhood, and language and writing, including the insights offered by feminist, psychoanalytic, and poststructuralist criticism into ideological assumptions about the nature of the self.

Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

The third edition of a volume initially developed from a series of talks at the New York Public Library includes essays by nine acclaimed authors about their experiences writing memoirs. Contributors to the compilation, edited by William Zinsser, include Russell Baker, Annie Dillard, Alfred Kazin, Toni Morrison, Jill Ker Conway, Eileen Simpson, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ian Frazier, and Frank McCourt.

Narrative and Identity: Studies in Autobiography, Self and Culture
Jens Brockmeier (Editor), Donal A. Carbaugh (Editor)

Stemming from a 1995 interdisciplinary conference at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna, this collection of twelve essays by nine scholars in the humanities and social sciences explores the relationship between narrative, human identity, and self-creation.

Missing Persons: The Impossibility of Auto/Biography

Mary Evans contends that autobiography is based on fictions, both about the memoir writer specifically, as well as about what in principle is knowable about a particular individual. Each chapter is devoted to a specific kind of British autobiographical writing.

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Books About Fathers

Naming the Father: Legacies, Genealogies, and Explorations of Fatherhood in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Unlike the well-studied mother, the figure of the father in literature has been paid relatively scant attention by scholars. This collection of fifteen essays, edited by Eva Paulino Bueno, Terry Caesar, and William Hummel, offers an initial redress. Personal narrations and explorations of fatherhood in different cultural settings set the stage for nine critical essays focusing on fathers and daughters, fathers and sons, and wider reflections on fathers in literature.

Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child

Respected Yale child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett draws on his groundbreaking research into the long-neglected topic of the father-child relationship, arguing for the "hardwired" attachment between fathers and children, as well as the long-term benefits of this relationship to both father and child. Pruett presents both scholarly insights and practical advice.

Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society

In six autobiographical essays, John Edgar Wideman probes the ways in which the American "paradigm of race" has structured (and encumbered) relationships between African American fathers and sons, as well as relationships in general. Wideman interrogates his own relationship with his distant father, as well as his relationships with his own sons.