Those who think an English professor discussing 91-year-old novels sounds boring are likely to change their minds after listening to Dr. Patrick Quinn's presentation "Propaganda and Fear: The German Invasion of America Novels in 1915." The presentation will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in the Black and Gold Room in the Memorial Union on the Fort Hays State University campus.
Quinn, head of humanities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass., looks at WWI-era literature written by pro-Ally American authors and how their propaganda novels, which depict the United States overrun by armies of German invaders, influenced the country to enter a war being fought between foreign countries on foreign soil. The presentation is based on a chapter in his most recent book, "The Conning of America: The Great War and American Popular Literature."
"Having held many different academic appointments in both the United States and the United Kingdom and having published numerous books on war poetry and fiction, Dr. Quinn is a foremost expert on the literature of World War I," said Dr. Steven Trout, FHSU professor of English.
"I hope that people are entertained and that they start thinking about propaganda and the way that language works and how it can be used to influence people," Quinn said.
"It's a very timely topic, and some of the issues discussed in the presentation are relevant in present-day America, but this is not a political talk," said Trout.
"Hopefully it inspires some people to read the old novels. There was some very strange stuff written," said Quinn. "It's almost science fiction."
"These are absolutely dreadful, horrible novels, some of which are, quite unintentionally, funny," Trout said.
The friends have worked together on several scholarly pursuits during the last 13 years, and Trout is excited about Quinn's presentation.
"Patrick is a superb speaker and I've wanted to get him here for a long time. This semester is the first time his schedule would allow it," Trout said. "The topic is quite interesting and he has great energy. He's a very dynamic person."