surrounding author’s autobiography
FAYETTE, Iowa (August 28, 2008) - Robert Tindol, assistant professor of English at Upper Iowa University, traveled to Washington D.C. this summer to research a scholarly article he is writing about Henry Adams' autobiography entitled, The Education of Henry Adams.
Tindol's main focus is that Adams says nothing directly in his book about Clover, his wife of 13 years, who committed suicide in 1885 when Adams was about 47. Adams finished writing his autobiography in 1906, but skips over the entire period of his marriage.
In direct contrast, Tindol says Adams took considerable care to have a cemetery memorial constructed for his wife, employing the famed American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens to create a larger-than-life statue in Washington D.C.'s Rock Creek Garden.
"In my research, I hope to demonstrate that Adams inscribes his deceased wife in the text of his book in much the same manner that he memorialized her in the environs of Washington, D.C.," said Tindol. "At $25,000, the memorial was exorbitantly priced for that time period."
Although it sounds like a history project, Tindol says he is definitely researching it from an English point of view. "I teach American literature here at Upper Iowa, so the students should benefit from my acquiring new knowledge about a major writer," he said. "During Spring term, my American Literature class will read the "Virgin and the Dynamo" chapter from Adam's book, and I'm sure younger students will probably find Henry Adams a bit dry. I'm hoping my familiarity with the man, his life, and his environs will help animate the discussion."
While in Washington D.C., Tindol visited the cemetery several times, took photographs, conducted numerous interviews, and visited the site where the Adams' house once stood.
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