Allan Gurganus | 2009
A Still Small Voice Under the Cannonade

Lecture, 2009
Allan Gurganus

    Allan Gurganus

    Allan Gurganus is best known as the author of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Talls All, his 1984 debut novel
    that spent eight months on the bestsellers list of The New York Times and has been translated into at least 12 languages. Other books include Plays Well with Others and White People, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

    In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Gurganus delivers a laugh-out-loud lecture titled “A Still Small Voice Under the Cannonade: Field Notes towards Fiction’s Pact with History.”

    From KWLS 2009: Historical Fiction and the Search for Truth.

    This recording is available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights belong to the author. © 2009 Allan Gurganus. Used with permission from Allan Gurganus.

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    2 thoughts on “Allan Gurganus | 2009
    A Still Small Voice Under the Cannonade

    1. Alice Nielsen-Shane says:

      I have a question. How many men that do Civil War reenactment know who Fanny Kemble is and her contribution as a writer and abolitionist?


    2. Martha Otis says:

      Of the many memorable lectures at the 2009 KWLS, this one left perhaps the deepest impression on me. Gurganus brilliantly outlines the importance of history, its seductiveness, its trickiness, its hide-and-seek qualities. He tells here of how he created from his imagination a Charleston slave market, only to discover during his first trip to Charleston, on a taxi ride in the wee hours of the morning, how uncannily accurate, in all its details, his imagination had been. Small wonder he claims to believe in ghosts, of a kind. “Such confluence is not unusual,” he says. “….such flukes are our assurances against falsity, they show how many stratified layers of past, present, and future our group knowing truly knows…our artistic pride in craft or scholarship must be offered to the community, not just to advance our own mere selves alone…we need history so much we historians and novelists …we keep making it up…and history, history returns the favor.”

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