Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Keeler turns 120!

Today would have been Harry Stephen Keeler's 120th birthday! He was born in Chicago in 1890, died there in 1967. Wrote dozens of books.

Years ago, when I started reading HSK, I thought it would be great if the Columbia University library (where his papers—all 33 boxes of ’em!—reside) did a little exhibit when he hit the big one-two-oh. This was in ’98 or so, plenty of time to suggest the idea, organize, etc. we are! And no exhibit. Completely slipped my mind. Not to mention the collective or "hive" mind of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society!

Still! This is a good day to do a little Keeler rundown—

I. Some longish pieces by me about various aspects of Keelerology:

A) "How H.S. Keeler Wrote Certain of His Books" (from the PTSNBN's Education Supplement[?!]);

B) The hilarious satire of the poetry world in HSK's The Riddle of the Traveling Skull (from the Poetry Foundation);

C) ...and (from the pages of Keeler News), my lengthy consideration of his rare but important novel Y. Cheung, Business Detective—and its uncanny similarities to one of my favorite Nabokov stories. (Still one of the pieces I'm proudest of.)

II. Here's a small sampling of my Keeler-related blog posts, and some shortish pieces/mentions: props for Thieves' Nights and the Marceau books; a glance at The Peacock Fan, his satire of the publishing biz; my conversation with Rachel Aviv at Triple Canopy; attempt to list (ca. 2005) the Keelers I've read...I'm sure there's more...

III. I've not quite won assorted literary awards—except for the Imitate Keeler Competition! Twice!

IV. Essential overviews (and more links to interesting pieces) can be found at Richard Polt's Harry Stephen Keeler Society webpage and William Poundstone's Harry Stephen Keeler Home Page (which I'm pretty sure was the first Keeler appreciation I read on the web).

V. Dip into his interesting treatise, "The Mechanics (and Kinematics) of Web-Work Plot Construction."

That's all! Happy birthday, Harry!

Portrait of Keeler by none other than the line king himself—Al Hirschfeld!



Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats