Colleagues and friends may already know of this but in last Sunday's Observer (a UK Sunday paper) Elvis Costello (!) recommends a book soon to be published - by Tom Plazza, called The Auburn Conference. A novel with Twain, Whitman, Douglass, Stowe, Melville and two fictional characters 'all imagined at an idealistic literary forum' [are there any others?], 'before an audience of scholars and petitioning factions with the intention of seeking a definition of America. Hilarity and tragedy ensue.' Sounds wild!

Peter Messent (Emeritus Professor, University of Nottingham)
Bargate House
Oak Tree Court
Nottingham NG12 4HJ

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