Bruce Kellner. Donald Windham: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1991. xlii + 92 pp. $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-313-26857-1.
Reviewed by Harold Hatt (Phillips Theological Seminary, Enid, Oklahoma)
Published on H-PCAACA (January, 1996)
BioBibliography of Donald Windham
Interpretation ... confession ... annotation--these three words epitomize the strikingly different (in style and length) and yet remarkably interrelated components of this reference work. This book is No. 2 in a series of Bio-Bibliographies in American Literature. Kellner is Professor of English at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, and is a published author himself.
Interpretation is found in Kellner's "Introduction," with the intriguing subtitle: "In Defense of Delitescence." That last word in the title of the Introduction is about as little known as the author being introduced. Kellner is both explicit in discerning several factors contributing to the relative neglect of Windham and also persuasive in making the case for why Windham's novels and stories should not remain neglected. Readers' impatience with Windham's subtlety and attention to detail, disappointment with his tame treatment of sexuality, and aversion to his homosexuality have kept Windham from commercial success. However, Windham is far from the first, and certainly not the last, writer whose skill and artistry have been overlooked. Kellner enhances his appreciative interpretation of Windham's corpus with quotations and, as is appropriate for a bio-bibliography, with references to Windham's life experiences and friendships.
Confession is found in a section written by Windham himself under the intriguing heading: "Footnote from a Would-be Lop-eared Rabbit." This is a short (three pages), but striking, supplement to the publishing history, consisting of Windham's account of where his work was not published. That is a first in my almost half a century of reading as a student and professor.
Annotation is found in the third and longest segment of the book. Kellner's annotations are brief but fully detailed (including such matters as the color of the cloth boards and the printing on the spine and front). The entries are divided into A. works solely by Windham, B. works to which Windham contributed, C. periodical writings, D. ephemera (such as dust jacket blurbs and program notes), and E. references to Windham's work (such as interviews, biographies and critical studies and reviews).
The treatment is mostly "tell," but enhanced with a little "show" in the form of half a dozen illustrations. These include a photograph, a manuscript page, a proof page with corrections, and dust jacket and title page graphics.
If you are familiar with the writings of Donald Windham, you will want to look into this reference book. If you look into this reference book, you will want to become familiar with the writing of Donald Windham.
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Harold Hatt. Review of Kellner, Bruce, Donald Windham: A Bio-Bibliography.
H-PCAACA, H-Net Reviews.
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