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The Frank Norris Society


10 August 2006

Dear Friends:

To paraphrase the famous 1891 telegram of Paul Alexis:

“Frank Norris Society not dead. Letter follows.”

As the principles of crop rotation suggest—perhaps even as practiced by California wheat farmers in the late nineteenth century—once in a while a field must lay fallow in order to regain nutrients vital for the next planting. For a year, the Frank Norris Society has lain fallow, but now Angéle stands forth in the sunlight, a fact, and no longer a fancy.

First things first: membership. Although the Frank Norris Society still lives and breathes, it has not had a membership drive for about two years and all of the old membership lists have crumbled to dust. The time has come to re-establish membership in the society. In a separate attachment you will find a membership form. If you once were a member of the society and wish to remain a member, please fill out the form and send it to me at your earliest convenience. If you have never been a member, but wish to join, please do the same. If you know of some folks (professors, grad students, independent scholars) who might be interested in joining, please forward this e-mail to them and encourage them to send in a membership form.

Please note: currently, membership in the society is free. I am working through the process of incorporating the society as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, and until that process is complete membership in the Frank Norris Society will be free. In the future, after the process is complete, we will likely return to the same dues structure that the society used in previous years ($10.00 per year) in order to offset some of the costs associated with the yearly activities of the society. But, until then, you have no excuse not to join!

Why should you join? As the commercial says, membership has its privileges. Aside from knowing you are contributing in your own way to the ongoing efforts to study the life and works of Frank Norris and American Literary Naturalism, you will also receive a free subscription to the society’s publication, ALN: The American Literary Naturalism Newsletter, and members of the Frank Norris Society are eligible to subscribe to the journal Studies in American Naturalism at a reduced rate.

The next official activity of the society will be a panel sponsored by the society at the upcoming ALA Symposium on American Fiction, to be held September 28-30 at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego. The panel on Frank Norris will include presentations by Steve Frye on The Octopus, by Christine Harvey on Vandover and the Brute, and by Eric Carl Link on Norris’s “A Lost Story.”

Looking ahead, the Frank Norris Society has a full plate for the coming year, as it gears up for the publication this fall of the inaugural issue of ALN: The American Literary Naturalism Newsletter and as we plan a slate of presentations for the 2007 ALA conference in Boston. Meanwhile, plans are in the works for improving Frank Norris’s presence on the web (stay tuned for that) and for the creation of a Frank Norris Research Center (more on that to follow in the coming months).

The Frank Norris Society has been the primary organization devoted to ongoing scholarship on the life and work of Frank Norris for twenty years, and with your participation it can continue to fulfill that function for years to come.

So, fill out the attached membership form and send it my way. If you have any trouble with the attachment, send me an e-mail at <> and I’ll send a form by U.S. post.

Please join. Tell your friends. And we’ll see you in San Diego or Boston…

Best wishes,




Eric Carl Link

Professor and Chair of English

Department of English

University of Memphis