The Friends of Preston Library in concert with the VMI Honors Program hosted a program Wednesday, 3 March 2010 at 5 p.m. in the Turman Room of Preston Library featuring James L. W. West, III. Dr. West is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He discussed his book on William Styron, Letters to My Father. The letters were written by Styron to his father between 1943 and 1953. Each letter opens with “Dear Pop,” and provides a kind of autobiography of the young author’s activities and thoughts. In later years, Styron communicated increasingly by telephone so these letters are especially valuable in providing insight of the author’s formative ears.
A native of Newport News, author of Sophie’s Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Lie Down in Darkness, A Tidewater Morning, and other celebrated works, William Styron will be remembered as one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Last month, Jim West’s book received a front page review by the Times Literary Supplement.
Copies of Letters to My Father were available for purchase at the program and for the author to sign. Dr. West provided an informative and engaging program that was enjoyed by cadets, faculty, and the public.