“A Kind of Map of Life” at Gelman

Gelman Library Exhibit Opening:
“A Kind of Map of Life”: The Fiction of Edward P. Jones

Stop by Café G on the first floor of Gelman Library to see “A Kind of Map of Life”: The Fiction of Edward P. Jones, a new exhibit that explores the connections between Jones’ work and the history of African Americans in Washington, DC. The exhibit will remain up through the end of the semester.

Edward P. Jones is GW’s first Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature. A resident of Washington, Jones is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the novel The Known World, as well as two volumes of acclaimed short stories set in the District of Columbia, Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar’s Children.

The exhibit features photographs and artifacts housed in the Special Collections Research Center, and was developed in collaboration with graduate students Elizabeth Pittman and Constance Woodard of the Department of English. In The Known World, the novel’s setting shifts from fictional Manchester County, Virginia, to Washington, DC, establishing the important links between the generation of men and women who were enslaved in the South and those who escaped (or migrated) and established themselves in the North. In Jones’ collections of short stories, he depicts characters whose Southern roots and cultural ties must be negotiated in the swiftly changing urban context of the District. These links between South and North, present and past, and individual and community are illustrated in the exhibit through scrapbooks, photographs, and everyday objects that provide a glimpse into the lives of 19th and 20th century African American Washingtonians.

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