Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

James Jones and the Handy Writer's Colony

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

James Jones and the Handy Writer's Colony

Article excerpt

James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony. By George Hendrick, Helen Howe, and Don Sackrider. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2001. Pp. x, 156. Photos., index. Cloth, $39.95,paper, $17.95).

Despite a growing body of impressive research coming from programs in Composition and Rhetoric, the process of becoming a published author still holds its share of mysteries. How, for example, does James Jones, a psychologically unstable soldier gone AWOL, emerge from a drinking binge, move in with an oil refinery executive and his wife in Southern Illinois, and compose From Here to Eternity? James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony traces the efforts of Lowney Handy to teach aspiring writers, which led to her founding the Handy Writers' Colony with the support of Jones and her husband, Harry Handy.

The book's three authors come to their subject from different vantage points. George Hendrick edited To Reach Eternity: The Letters of James Jones and was the first president of the James Jones Literary Society. Helen Howe taught writing and American Literature at Lincoln Trail College and knew Jones and the Handys. Don Sackrider is a retired airline captain and was the second student at the Handy Writers' Colony. Together they examine Lowney Handy's and James Jones's early years, their meeting as Lowney's reputation for helping misfits grew, the founding of the colony in 1950, Lowney's teaching methods, the careers of several students, and the colony's gradual demise after Jones's marriage in 1957 and Harry Handy's death in 1963. …

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