IMPROBABLE FICTIONS WANTS YOU!
Why: We need readers!
When: October 15 and 16, 2016
Where: Beautiful Kentuck Park in Northport, Al.
What: We will be reading selections from the writings of Alabama native and 19th century writer Augusta Evans Wilson. Readings include selections from the collection of her letters at The University of Alabama and some of her fiction. A second session will feature readings across American literature. Pick a favorite poem or a passage from a short story and join us!
We have transcripts of the letters available for readers, but you can find the originals below in Acumen.
Augusta writes to her friend Rachel of unanswered letters, domestic affairs, and the illness of her siblings with an emphasis on her brother’s typhoid fever. She describes the weather being usually cold for Mobile and the orange trees dying from it. She recounts the books that she had read and correspondence received.
Augusta wishes Rachel a happy New Year. She expresses that she would like to have Rachel with her when she travels to Europe. With the sales of her book, Beulah, doing well she is expecting to have time to do this. Augusta relates the books that she have read and her view that one must process an intimate knowledge of Dante. She tells of recent correspondence from Colonel Seaver, Mr. Derby, and Nina Moses.
Augusta responds to Rachel’s letter about the health of Mr. Caldwell. She has delayed her trip to Europe until she can find friends who are going to Italy. Augusta writes about correspondence from their mutual friends and the coming of spring.
Augusta writes to Rachel, acknowledging the poor health of Mr. Moses. Augusta urges her friend to write a Jewish tale (as she was Jewish). She relates that women cannot serve two masters, fame and love. Women writers cannot marry. Augusta rebuts the rumor that she is getting married. She says that she will never marry. [Note: Augusta does get married, 8 years later, to a veteran named Lorenzo Wilson.]
Augusta writes to Rachel explaining to her that she has been moving to town for the winter perhaps the year. She encourages Rachel to write and gives her tips from plot to characters. Augusta mentions the Southern problem of secession and expects that South Carolina will lead the way.
Augusta writes to say she assisted in preparing over 9,000 bags to be filled with sand for use at Fort Morgan. She is very anxious about her father and two brothers serving at Fort Morgan. They will be sent to Fort Pickens, Pensacola, Florida, if needed. Augusta replies to questions about Mr. Derby, a strong Union supporter, who has returned to New York City. She expresses her wish that Virginia secedes soon as well as other border states.
Augusta writes to Rachel of her disbelief in her news of hiding from her parents her engagement to Dr. Heustis, who is a Christian.
Augusta writes to Rachel of her return trip from Columbus to Mobile and the many troubles she met along the way. Augusta thought the immediate threat in Mobile of an attack was subsiding. She conveys that she cannot find the cotton or the dress that Rachel wants.