In November 2009 I attended an interdisciplinary conference, The City: Culture, Society, Technology, at Simon Fraser University’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, Canada. I presented a paper on two urban novels by the American writer Lester Goran. I had conducted an extensive interview with Professor Goran at the University of Miami a year earlier.
Here’s the abstract of my paper, From Sobaski’s Stairway to the Irish Club: Lester Goran’s Pittsburgh:
For half a century Lester Goran (b. 1928) has written fiction set in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This paper explores Goran’s continuing attempts to map this evolving urban space in novels such as The Paratrooper of Mechanic Avenue (1960) and Bing Crosby’s Last Song (1998). Passages in these novels are closely examined in relation to Pittsburgh’s postwar ‘urban renewal’ and the expansion of the University of Pittsburgh. Additional insights are drawn from an extensive 2008 interview with the author. Goran’s imaginative recreations of Sobaski’s Stairway (a fictionalised Hill District) and the Irish neighbourhood of Oakland constitute an unjustly ignored trove of postwar American urban realism. This paper seeks to redress the current neglect of Goran’s work.
Now the paper has been published online as part of the conference proceedings, the Interdisciplinary Themes Journal (1.1, 2009), edited by Christian Riegel and Katherine M. Robinson. My article can be directly found here [PDF].
See my earlier post Lester Goran: Fifty Years at the University of Miami.