Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Guy Davenport, September 3, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:09 - Teaching at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: --I was saying being a non-driver, I needed a town, as Lexington has proved to be, that I can manipulate on foot.

Segment Synopsis: Davenport discusses his teaching career at the University of Kentucky. The courses that he has taught are listed, as well as the ways that Davenport buys books for his courses. Lastly, the interviewee reveals the method he uses for selecting books for his classes.

Keywords: Analysis; Book reviews; Books; Composition & literature; Dr. Faustus; Driving; Editors; European translation; Ezra Pound; James Joyce; Lexington (Ky.); Mail order; Publishers; Robert Louis Stevenson; Synthesis; The New York Times; Ulysses; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Authors; Books; Catalogs; Courses and lectures; Education, Higher; Higher education; Homework; Interest; Literature; Memory; Professor; Reading; Seminars; Shopping; Students; Teachers; Teaching

00:05:19 - Changes to the university

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Partial Transcript: Uh, just thinking about UK and living in Lexington and at the University of Kentucky, has the uni--did the University of Kentucky change significantly--

Segment Synopsis: Davenport considers the changes that have occurred to the University of Kentucky since he became a professor at the university in the 1960s. Both social and structural changes are examined.

Keywords: "Black professor"; Charles Dickens; Civilized; College Senate; Curriculum; Danger; Different; English departments; Faculty; Improved; Interesting; J.R.R. Tolkien; John Keats; Language requirements; Liberal arts; Magazines; Majority opinion; Matthew Arnold; Multicultural; Oxford University; Study; Trends; University of Kentucky

Subjects: African American studies; American literature; Change; Committees; Dead; Democracy; Education, Higher; English; Freedom; Higher education; Language; Literacy; Philology; Professor; Racist; Scholars; Students; Teachers; Teaching; Time

00:14:53 - Travel

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Partial Transcript: What kind of traveling have you done since you've been here?

Segment Synopsis: Davenport describes his travels to Denmark, and his fascination and interest in Danish culture.

Keywords: Authors; Bilingual; Campuses; Comfortable; Danish; Danish Invasions; Danish culture; Denmark; Hans Christian Andersen; James Joyce Scholars; Keys; Languages; Latin; Learned; Numbers; Origins; Oxford University; Philosophers; Tolerance; University of Copenhagen; Viking artifacts; Words

Subjects: Anglo-Saxon; Courtyards; Culture; Education, Higher; English; Friend; Higher education; History; Photographer; Proud; Summer; Travel; Vocabulary

00:21:27 - French culture and language

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Partial Transcript: What about French, d, do, do you speak French?

Segment Synopsis: Davenport talks of his interest in French culture and the French language. Davenport also describes his travels to France.

Keywords: Bordeaux (France); Desolate; Edith Wharton; Oxford University; Palace of Versailles; Paris (France); Rhodes Scholars; The Louvre; Wife

Subjects: Aging; France; French; Money; Travel

00:24:02 - Ralph Eugene Meatyard

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Partial Transcript: And one of the people I wanted to ask you about was, uh Meatyard.

Segment Synopsis: Davenport recalls how his friendship began with photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

Keywords: "Flowers and Leaves"; Books; Cars; Covers; Driving; Magazines; Manuscripts; Pine trees; Ralph Eugene Meatyard; Readings; Thomas Merton; Worldly

Subjects: Books; Discipline; Geography; Literature; Meeting; Mutual friend; Photographers; Photographs; Recognize; Woods

00:28:37 - Victor Hammer / Robert Motherwell

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Partial Transcript: What about, uh, what about Victor Hammer?

Segment Synopsis: Davenport reflects upon his interactions with artist Victor Hammer. In relation to this, the work of painter Robert Motherwell (who was disliked by Hammer) is considered in terms of its quality and subject matter.

Keywords: Angry; Antique; Burnt; Camera clubs; Lexington (Ky.); Pretender; Readable; Replica; Robert Motherwell; Sketches; Thomas Merton; Typeface; Victor Hammer; William Morris

Subjects: Artists; Cold; Color; Conversation; Health; History; Painting; Pictures; Religious; Reproduction

00:33:05 - Guy Mendes / the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Yes, I was gonna ask you about Mendes too.

Segment Synopsis: Davenport examines his friendship with photographer Guy Mendes. Additionally, Davenport discusses his life during the 1960s in Kentucky.

Keywords: 1960s; Acquaintances; English departments; Gurney Norman; Guy Mendes; Kentucky; Names; Publishing; Ralph Eugene Meatyard; San Francisco (Calif.); Stanford University; University of Kentucky; Visits; Wendell Berry; Writers

Subjects: Books; Letters; Lunch; Photographers; Photography; Young

00:36:01 - John Jacob Niles

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Partial Transcript: What about John Jacob Niles?

Segment Synopsis: Davenport reflects upon his experiences with John Jacob Niles, and also briefly with the son of Niles as well.

Keywords: Ancient English music; Awards; Civil liberties; Clothing; Congress; Egotism; English ballads; Exciting; Fees; Fights; George Bush; Graduation; John Jacob Niles; Lexington (Ky.); Market economy; PhD; Ralph Eugene Meatyard; Russia; Saint Louis (Mo.); St. Louis (Mo.); Trade restrictions; Wife

Subjects: Anecdotes; Ballads; Bill; Democracy; Economics; Father; Germans; Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945; Leaders; Mail; Musicians; Niles, John Jacob, 1892-1980; Photographs; Scholars; Singing; Son; Speech; Terror