November 14-19 marks this year's celebration of UP Week, a recognition of the fine work university presses throughout the country are doing in the world of publishing. As a part of that recognition, IU Press is participating in the annual "blog tour" of university presses, shining a spotlight on our ongoing "Bicentennial Bookshelf" series of posts.
One of the four core goals of the IU press strategic plan is to promote a prosperous Indiana. When Herman B Wells founded the press, he wrote that 'while its interest will be wide, the Press is particularly concerned with the promotion of regional culture and literature in the Midwestern area." Nowhere does that goal come through more clearly than in this series.
In celebration of Indiana's 200th birthday, IU Press has dedicated some of our blog space to giving Indiana authors a chance to speak about their favorite Indiana books and authors. The results have been terrific, and we'll continue to follow the series until Indiana commemorates its 200th anniversary on December 11, 2016.
Author James Madison most recently contributed to the series, and probably sums up the goal of the project best with his description of one of his favorite Indiana-centric fiction titles: Edward Eggleston's Hoosier School-master:
Published in 1871, the book is so old-fashioned and yet so modern in getting the reader inside the one-room schools and the culture of early Indiana pioneers. And then there is Booth Tarkington, especially the Magnificent Ambersons. I learned a lot thinking about the arrogant George Amberson Minafer asserting that “automobiles are a useless nuisance...They had no business to be invented.” Tarkington reminds us that the world is always changing. This simple truth informs my understanding of the struggles Hoosiers have had through two centuries of change and tradition.
If reminding our readers that the world is always changing isn't the goal of any university press, I can't imagine what is.