Induction into the English department honor society as a student sparked
the curiosity of an alumna so much, it led to her graduate research project,
which details the "annotated literary highlights" of St. Lawrence County.
Christyanna LaFaver '02 has created a Web site, Reading St. Lawrence County,
as part of her work toward a master's degree in English at the University of
Rochester. On the site, she states, "Late in my sophomore year at St. Lawrence
University, I was inducted into The Irving Bacheller Society, the English
department’s honor society. As an English literature major with graduate school
aspirations, applying for membership was all but expected and I was certainly
delighted to receive the honor and the ability to type it proudly onto my resume.
But who exactly was this Irving Bacheller? And if he was so important to the
English department, why had I never heard of him before? Each inductee
traditionally receives a copy of Eben Holden, which we were told was
Bacheller’s best-known novel, although to most of us, “Eben Holden” was merely
the name of a dining hall on campus...Instantly curious, I flipped to the
introduction and its first line, a compelling proclamation, read, “Irving
Bacheller (1859-1950) is Northern New York’s most important literary figure
and Eben Holden: A Tale of the North Country is his best known book”
(Welch, 5). This of course explained the name of the English honorary and
why we were given the novel upon being inducted, but for me this one phrase
jump-started my investigation into regional literatures of St. Lawrence
County and Northern New York. Surely Bacheller couldn’t be the only one…"
The site, she states, "does not seek to be exhaustive, but, as the subtitle
'Annotated Literary Highlights' indicates, it attempts to present a listing
of its literary highlights, annotated and categorized. For example, you will
not find scientific or environmental reports or government or much economic
information. The texts annotated herein are primarily literatures (poetry,
fiction, biography) and histories (community histories, cultural traditions).
In short, Reading St. Lawrence County: Annotated Literary Highlights exists
as an annotated bibliography of highlights in the literary heritage of the
Online since 2004, the site includes search, browse-by-subject and
browse-by-community capabilities, as well as a forum, local links and
information about other regional literature.
LaFaver studied in London while at St. Lawrence, was a Faculty Scholar and
was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Posted: April 7, 2005