Misericordia To Host Lecture on Digital Archives

Members News

DALLAS TWP., Pa. – Having found not one, but two lost books written by Walt Whitman, Zachary Turpin, Ph.D., will share his insights into the use of digital archives in search of more great literary finds during a free lecture at Misericordia University on Monday, Oct. 1.


The program, “‘Missing Me One Place, Search Another’: Keywords, Digital Archives, and the Search for the Next Great American Novel,” is sponsored by the Soyka Fund for the Humanities and the Department of History and Government at Misericordia University. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Alden Trust Room 219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall on campus.


Dr. Turpin is assistant professor of American Literature at the University of Idaho, and a Kluge Fellow of the Library of Congress. In 2015 and 2016, Dr. Turpin found Walt Whitman manuscripts, “Life and Adventures of Jack Engle,” a Dickensian city mystery novel, and “Manly Health and Training,” a hair-raising, kitchen-sink wellness guide for urban men, through archival research.


His additional recoveries include texts by Mark Twain, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Anne Sexton and “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum, among others. Dr. Turpin will discuss the allure of the archive in the digital age, and how keyword searching and digitization makes textual recovery cheaper, easier, and more effective than ever – and more important to literary archives.


In his talk, Dr. Turpin will explain how, far from being in the final days of great literary finds, the literary field is entering a new era of digital sleuthing and discovery. He will conclude his presentation by naming two more lost Whitman novels and will share with the audience where and how to begin looking for them.


A scholar of 19th-century American literature, Dr. Turpin’s interests include digital humanities, textual recovery, periodical culture and the sciences, and epistemology, a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge. His work has appeared in the “Walt Whitman Quarterly Review,” “ESQ,” “Leviathan,” “Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature,” “J19,” “American Literary Realism,” and “The Baum Bugle.”


He is under contract for a book to be released in 2019 entitled, “Whitman Redux: Secret Fictions, Sentimentalism, and the Birth of Leaves of Grass,” (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.)


For additional information on Dr. Turpin’s talk, please contact Luke Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, at rwilliams1@misericordia.edu, 570-674-3047.


For more information about Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or visit www.misericordia.edu. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 56 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes MU as a 2019 Best Northeastern College and MONEY Magazine includes Misericordia in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges” list.