University Park, Pa. -- Linda Patterson Miller, professor of English at Penn State Abington, has been named the Penn State laureate for 2011-12. Miller, the fourth person to hold the title -- and the first to be named from a Penn State campus other than University Park -- succeeds English and women's studies professor and nationally acclaimed poet, Robin Becker.
The Penn State laureate is a full-time faculty member in the humanities or fine arts who is assigned half-time for one academic year to bring an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. This individual appears at University events at Penn State campuses and throughout the state at various community programs in hopes of adding a more human dimension to the conduct of the usual affairs and business of these locations.
Miller’s area of expertise is early 20th-century American literature and art. She especially is interested in the emergence of Modernism and the intersection of literature and art, looking at such writers and artists as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso and Fernand Leger. Her acclaimed book, "Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends," explores the group dynamics of the Lost Generation to reveal how their lifelong friendships shaped their art.
She promises to show how personal accounts, such as letters and diaries, illuminate the creative process and the relationship between biography and art. By bringing such sources to diverse audiences, Miller will invite attendees to consider ways to read and use primary sources both for personal introspection and scholarly investigation.
"I hope to bring to my audiences the excitement of the humanities, the stuff that makes us human and transforms our lives. I'm also excited to represent another facet of Penn State (at a campus other than University Park), which gives truth to the words 'we are one university, geographically dispersed.' It’s an honor to be chosen," said Miller.
As a faculty member at Penn State Abington for nearly 27 years, Miller has earned numerous teaching awards including the 2004 University-wide George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. She also chairs the Editorial Review Board for "The Cambridge Edition of the Letters of Ernest Hemingway." This project, a multivolume publication of all the surviving letters of Ernest Hemingway, is centered at Penn State. Her foreword will appear in the forthcoming (fall 2011) Volume 1 (1907-1922).
Miller’s many articles on American writers and artists have appeared in Mosaic, Renascence, American Transcendental Quarterly, Journal of Modern Literature, North Dakota Quarterly, Studies in American Fiction, The Mailer Review, The Hemingway Review and other journals, as well as in several edited book collections. She is completing a book on the summer of 1926 about the critical moment when American expatriates in France discovered Modernism.
She served as a primary consultant for the multimedia art exhibit "Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara & Gerald Murphy." This exhibit traveled nationally during 2007 and 2008 to Williams College Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery. She presented several public lectures in conjunction with this exhibit.
Miller also has brought her expertise to the world of television, as a scholarly consultant on expatriate American writers and artists for "American Playhouse" and PBS. She appeared as guest scholar on Ernest Hemingway for C-SPAN ongoing series "American Writers: A Journey Through History."
Miller will begin her tenure as Penn State laureate in July.
For more information about the Penn State laureate, visit http://laureate.psu.edu online.