FPUL Small Talk with Gene Andrew Jarrett Feb 1, 2023
The Friends of Princeton University Library present Gene Andrew Jarrett, the Dean of the Faculty and William S. Tod Professor of English at Princeton University. Jarrett will share the story of how remarkable libraries bookended the professional career of the legendary African American writer Paul Laurence Dunbar at the turn of the 20th century.
Libraries inspired Dunbar both as a young man and as a poet. In his mid-twenties, he overcame illnesses to work at the Library of Congress, where he built his brilliant sense of literary time and place, and where he learned that distinctive forms of art, such as music and poetry, could converge, stimulate the imagination, and move audiences. A decade later, in 1905, he published a book titled Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow, which included a poem about the “sylvan, cool retreat” called “Loafing-Holt,” or the second-floor study inside his home in Dayton, Ohio, where he prematurely passed away the following year.