DeMarco, Kathleen Books

Prof. Kathleen DeMarco currently teaches English and Public Speaking at the Newton campus of Georgia Perimeter College.

Defending the Intellectual Life in Early Modern to Postmodern Times: An Anthology of Literary Apologies
2012 0-7734-3059-8
The book analyzes various writings by poets and cultural critics on the topic of being an intellectual. Figures like Pope, Sidney, Milton, Eliot, and even contemporaries like Christopher Hitchens are covered. The first few deal with what poetry is, and the latter more up to date essays try to explain intellectual life in modern times. Present-day readers might find some of these defenses to be obscure, but this book breaks down what critics meant even during the Early Modern Period, and the Renaissance.

British writers from Sir Philip Sidney to Christopher Hitchens use defenses of literature to rebut challenges to their works and to reveal the ideas behind their artistry. The defenses, or apologies as also they will be called in this book, become important parts of an author’s canon; often they receive less attention than the writer’s more famous works. To highlight their significance, twenty-first century audiences may need to place defenses in the literary lexicon. Although apologies are a subset of the nonfiction genre, not all defenses are prose. Other works are called essays but are actually poems with Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism being the prime example. Some defenses are intensely personal and evolve into discussions of literary subjects, as happens in Milton’s Apology for Smectymnuus. Other apologies link to each other, especially in the nineteenth century when Browning defends Shelley for a new generation.

Whatever the mode of conveyance, when authors use prose defenses to announce the concepts underpinning their poetry, they offer the reader another side of their genius. We discover the cognitive perspectives for the creative products, primed to burst forth later in rhyme and rhythm, a trend spotted easily in Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, with its wonderful line: “the trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” (479). The concept of wind and imagination is echoed in his prose Defence in this line: “Man is an instrument over which a series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations of an ever-changing wind over an Aeolian lyre.”(505). What is significant for modern audiences is that Shelley did set out his ideas of imagination in his defense, as well as in his poetry. It is this brilliance that we remember, the brief look at the workings of the writer’s mind.

Literary Career of Medora Field Perkerson. A Southern Twentieth-Century American Writer
2012 0-7734-3045-8
The works of Medora Field Perkerson have been historically neglected by scholars. This book aims to examine her works through the lens of their regional importance as touchstones of early to mid-twentieth-century Southern literature. She was friends with Margaret Mitchell, the author of the famous Gone with the Wind, which helped Perkerson’s career because she helped to promote the book. While her career spanned from the 1920’s until the 50’s, her heyday was in the late 1930’s and 40’s. Today many may know about Margaret Mitchell but this book shows that her friend Medora Field Perkerson is also worthy of scholarly attention.