Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature

Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature a Beinecke Library Exhibition & Public Humanities Experiment

In spring 2021, the Yale Collection of American Literature at Beinecke Library and the Public Humanities Program will collaborate to present a graduate workshop focused on the Library’s exhibition, Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature.

Road Show was initially scheduled to open in May 2020 but was canceled when the Library closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The future of the exhibition is uncertain. In light of this, a Public Humanities workshop will consider this unusual situation: your cultural institution plans a major exhibition from its permanent collections but there is a public health crisis that prevents you from welcoming visitors into the building. How do you make the most of the exhibition within necessary limits? ABOUT the workshop

ABOUT the exhibition: Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature celebrates the American love of travel and adventure in both literary works and the real-life journeys that have inspired our most beloved travel narratives. Exploring American literary archives as well as printed and published works from the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Road Show reveals how travel is recorded, marked, and documented in Beinecke Library’s American collections. Passports and visas, postcards and letters, travel guides and language lessons—these and other archival documents attest to the physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences of moving through unfamiliar places, encountering new landscapes and people, and exploring different ways of life and world views. Literary manuscripts, travelers’ notebooks, and recorded reminiscences allow us to consider and explore travel’s capacity for activating the imagination and igniting creativity.  Artworks, photographs, and published books provide opportunities to consider the many ways artists and writers transform their own activities and human interactions on the road into works of art that both document and generate an aesthetic experience of journeying.

Companion exhibition: Imaginary Voyages

Gallery: Postcard from Ernest Hemingway to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, July 13 1924; Langston Hughes travel notes, 1960s; Edith Wharton’s French Driver’s License, 1915; Georgia O’Keeffe photographed by Alfred Stieglitz, 1935; Claude McKay with Russian writers, circa 1923; Carl Van Vechten, Gertrude Stein, & Alice B. Toklas, 1934.

Full text of in-person exhibition labels: Road Show & Imaginary Voyages

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