The Local is the Only Universal: William Carlos Williams in New Jersey and Philip Roth: Newark and Beyond

Event Details
  The Local is the Only Universal: William Carlos Williams in New Jersey and Philip Roth: Newark and Beyond
  December 6, 2012 4:00 PM
  December 6, 2012 5:00 PM
  Brantl Lecture Hall, Dickson Hall
"The local is the only universal:" William Carlos Williams in New Jersey and Philip Roth: Newark and Beyond, Thursday, December 6, 2012, 4- p.m., Brantl, Dickson Hall, Montclair State University.  Presenters (respectively):Neil Baldwin, Director, The Creative Research Center, Montclair State University, and James D. Bloom, Professor of English and American Studies, Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania.  This presentation will discuss the way in which the Jerseyscapes of both the New Jersey poet William Carlos Williams and the novelist Philip Roth provide particularized locations for explorations -- on a grander scale -- of American identity and of the human condition in general.

A year-long series of presentations will explore the role of New Jersey and/or places within it as a source of inspiration for the interdisciplinary humanities (drama, literature, music, painting), past and present, as well as for experiments in living. In so doing, they will show both how our concept and lived experience of "Jersey" -- as, indeed, of any place -- are reciprocally modified by artistic representations of it, as well as how the "local" can become exemplary of the "universal."  

In most people's minds, New Jersey is probably first and foremost associable with traffic congestion and malls, but arranged under the themes of "Dramatizing Jersey," "Writing Jersey," "Singing Jersey," "Living Jersey," and "Painting Jersey," this series will provide perspectives from a distinguished group of analysts about the ways in which the the state has been celebrated -- as both geographical reality (country, city, shore) as well as emotional concept -- by both "high" culture and popular culture in media as varied as literature, music, art, and tv drama!

This program was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

James D. Bloom, Ph.D., has taught English at Muhlenberg College since 1982. His publications include:Hollywood Intellect (Rowan and Littlefield, 2009), Gravity Fails (Praeger, 2003), The Literary Bent (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), Left Letters (Columbia University Press, 1992) and The Stock of Available Reality (Bucknell University Press, 1984), along with shorter work in scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers such as the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Bloom began his undergraduate studies at Columbia and completed them at Bennington. He earned an MA in literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a PhD in English from Rutgers/New Brunswick. Bloom has also worked in publishing and retail bookselling. 

Neil Baldwin, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University, is a widely-published cultural historian and literary critic who has been immersed in the life and works of William Carlos Williams for many years. Baldwin’s doctoral dissertation from SUNY/Buffalo, a descriptive catalog of Williams’ manuscripts and letters at SUNY/Buffalo and Yale’s Beinecke Library, was published by G. K. Hall in 1978; his definitive biography, To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, The Doctor-Poet, was published by Atheneum in 1984 and reissued in paperback by InPrint Editions in 2008 in celebration of the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of Williams’ birth.  Dr. Baldwin’s web site is