Departments of English and Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
A unique exhibit during the 2018 AuthorFest, hosted by the UT Departments of English and Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, traced an unexplored connection between words, pictures, and songs depicting Knoxville.
In “Mapping Knoxville Across Time, Media, and Cultures,” Bill Hardwig, professor of English, and Stefanie Ohnesorg, professor of German, explored the multimedia connections between the photography and journalistic work of Swiss writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, the fiction of American author Cormac McCarthy, and the music and photography of the German band Buddy and the Huddle across seven decades, from the 1930s to the 1990s. All of the artists and writers visited — or in McCarthy’s case, lived — in Knoxville and depicted the South, and in particular Knoxville, in their works. The exhibition photos and accompanying text connect McCarthy’s 1979 novel Suttree, which features Knoxville in the 1950s, to the photojournalistic work of Schwarzenbach, who visited the Southeastern United States in 1937. The work of Buddy and the Huddle brings an additional historical layer. The lead musicians were so enamored with Cormac McCarthy’s novel Suttree that, in 1996, they traveled to Knoxville to record several tracks of an album inspired by the characters and locations described in the book. During their visit, they took hundreds of black and white photographs, which in many ways capture a similar mood to that sensed in Schwarzenbach’s photojournalistic work and McCarthy’s fiction about the “scruffy city.”