Students republish short stories
On the edge of campus, you can often find Maureen Sullivan ’18, Emma Jean Meyer ’19, and Jessica Halter ’18 in the Van Etten-Lacey House.
They’re working with Professor of English Leslie Kathleen Hankins to study the words of the woman who built the house with her husband in the 1930s—Winifred Mayne Van Etten ’25, who was a student at Cornell, and later a professor. Her best-selling novel “I Am The Fox” won the Atlantic Monthly’s $10,000 prize in 1936.
“I felt that Winifred Mayne Van Etten was a very important figure; she was a feminist, a writer, and a profound teacher,” Hankins said. “She gave so much to Cornell that I wanted to try to bring back some of her work.”
For their Cornell Summer Research Institute (CSRI) project the students republished three of Van Etten’s short stories which were found in the vintage Cornell literary magazine, The Husk, some of which were published under a pen name.
“I chose ‘The Hat,’ which it was originally published as a one-act play for women, ‘which no mere man could be expected to understand’ in 1933 and it was later published in 1939, as a short story,” Meyer said. “It’s essentially one roommate’s reflections of her roommate getting married.”
“The story I chose, ‘Dissertation on Roast Pork’ is about a kind of simple farmer who raises pigs and has to kill them and his financial troubles and power struggle with his half-brother who is a little more educated, a little more clever, and a little more malicious,” Halter said.
“My story ‘All That Should Accompany Old Age’ is very much about dementia and aging and the negative impacts and issues with those mental processes,” Sullivan said.
They’ve added illustrations and context to the stories. The students also said they’re learning how to stay on task with only 10 weeks to get the project done.
“The effort is to get a sense of what needs to go into certain parts, when I need to start doing them, when I should be finished, and how to break it all down,” Halter said.
Professor Hankins said it has been fun to watch this research team work together and values the faculty-student interactions happening at Cornell.
“The one-on-one mentoring, the connection that students and professors have here is a rarity—you really get to know one another,” Professor Hankins said. “In my case, I really want to nurture students’ creativity and put them in a position in which they can access those parts of themselves that they may not have had much room to explore before.”
The editions are available for sale at the Cornell College Bookstore, or through Foxden Press, email email@example.com.
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