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Tag Archives: Literature

VCU Literary Award Winners

awardsVCU serves as the proud home of two major U.S. literary awards, given for book-length works in poetry and fiction. The award-winning titles are available in the collections of the VCU Libraries.

Named for late VCU English faculty member Larry Levis, the Levis Reading Prize has been given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year, beginning in 1997 and continuing to the present. The VCU Cabell First Novelist Award has been given annually to an outstanding debut novel published in the preceding calendar year, beginning in 2001 and continuing to the present. (Image: L-R, Larry Levis and James Branch Cabell)

By John Glover, humanities research librarian

Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles

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Advancing our understanding of the history and present of women’s contributions to the literary, cultural and political life of Great Britain, VCU Libraries provides access to the landmark database, Orlando:  Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando exemplifies digital humanities’ efforts to broaden access to little known or studied texts, provide historical and cultural context for authors and their works and inspire transformative ways of reading and understanding women’s literary engagement with their readers and the world through writing. Created at Cambridge University, Orlando is designed with a “unique structure and searchability,” encouraging researchers “to examine its information and critical comment in a wide range of configurations and to re-form this in new and creative ways. Orlando is open to the serendipities of productive browsing,” and fosters in-depth research through cultural, biographical, and textual discovery. More than 1,300 writers are included, and approximately 30,000 items are available for discovery–a growing list of authors and texts. Orlando will greatly enhance teaching and research at VCU, and foster a dynamic and innovative reading experience.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image:  “A Woman Seated at an Organ (or Writing Desk),” Yale University Art Gallery, public domain.

Fiction Connection: Fiction and select nonfiction resource

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Fiction Connection allows users to bring out their inner bookworm.

Fiction Connection allows users to search through works of fiction and select nonfiction books all around the United States. Discover books like Andree Cuenod’s “Awakening” and Nicholas Irving’s “The Reaper.”

Browse through some of the thousands of books that the database has to offer. Users can search through popular tags based on various topics, genres, characters, settings, time frames and locations. There are tags on mothers and daughters, satire and New Orleans. Use the popular tags to get introduced to new works that may not have been found otherwise.

Within a particular book result, there are overviews, publisher information and similar titles. Users can use the database to find the lowest price for a particular book that they are looking for.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Directory of Published Proceedings: Paper database

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The Directory of Published Proceedings offers users access to research papers from all over the world. The site provides categories, ranging from science and technology to economics and finance.

Use the Directory of Published Proceedings to find articles on pollution control and ecology or science and technology. There are articles like “Energy, Power & Facility Management Strategies & Technologies 2014-2015” from the United States or “A Real-Time Testbed for Routing Network” from Bulgaria.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others 

Image: Creative Commons

Blackbird: Online literature and arts journal

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Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts  contains poetry, fiction, nonfiction and art.

Get lost in the works of Joshua Bennett, David Wojahn and Louis Draper. Blackbird connects users to various works of art, but it gives users in-depth information on the writer. In some instances, it gives “Blackbird’s Notes” in which users can glean background information on the work. Users are also given the option to read reviews of particular works.

Discover works of art in galleries from people like, Sarah Eckhardt and Tony Langston. Blackbird offers scholarly looks into literary and artistic works for users to go through.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others 

Image: Clay Bodies, Blackbird

History in Your Hands: A digitized Dickinson letter

Emily_DickinsonFinding aid

A 17-word letter from poet Emily Dickinson to a neighbor is now widely available to researchers through a new “History in Your Hands” exhibit in the online VCU Libraries Gallery.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) lived most of her life in the family home in Amherst, Mass. She lived quietly. While often identified as a recluse, Dickinson kept close relations through correspondence, which often included poems.

The VCU Libraries letter was written to Mrs. Henry F. (Adelaide Spencer) Hills, the wife of  a businessman. The Hills family had their summer home in Amherst. Adelaide was a frequent correspondent with her neighbor, Emily. After Mrs. Hills’ death in 1910, the letter passed into the hands of her children, specifically her daughter Susan Clapp Hills Skillings, and then to Susan’s heirs. The letter was purchased for the VCU Libraries in 1972 by The James Branch Cabell Library Associates Board. It is the only Dickinson letter VCU Libraries holds.

Like much of Dickinson’s correspondence, this letter is a brief note, written in pencil. Thomas H. Johnson, who published the authoritative work of Dickinson letters, identifies this as letter #614 with a possible publication date of 1879. Prior to the letter’s recent digitization and online publication, it was known only to scholars through transcriptions. Because of its fragility, access to the letter is restricted. Permission to view the original must be granted by the head of Special Collections and Archives. Inquire at the reading room desk or send an email to libjbcsca@vcu.edu.

If you’re interested in learning more about the poet and her work, the Emily Dickinson Museum offers many resources related to Emily Dickinson and to Dickinson scholarship. The two major collections for Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts and family papers are Amherst College and Harvard University.

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About the History in Your Hands series of exhibits:

Every archival collection holds a story. Manuscripts and artifacts bear witness to past events, but only a careful researcher can piece together the facts of history and reveal the narrative within the collection. VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives houses many fascinating primary source materials that wait for inquisitive minds to study them. History in Your Hands exhibits present featured manuscript collections that we believe merit further research. Only when you take “history in your hands” can you begin the process that will allow the full story to be shared.

If you have any questions or comments regarding these materials or this exhibition, please contact the Special Collections and Archives staff in James Branch Cabell Library.

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Image:  Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This image is in the public domain. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.