Sheila Liming is associate professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. She is the author of What a Library Means to a Woman (University of Minnesota Press) and Office (Bloomsbury), both published in 2020. Her writing has appeared previously in the Los Angeles Review of Books as well as in The Atlantic, Lapham’s Quarterly, Public Books, The Point, The Chronicle Review, and elsewhere.
Dr. Liming’s discussion with The Ivory Tower Boiler Room covers a wide range of topics from discussing her archival work at The Mount (Lenox, MA), specifically how she created a digital library for them, writing about university precarity, her Wharton fanaticism that inspired her book What a Library Means to a Woman, and being a Country Music enthusiast.
We cover so much ground, in our one hour conversation, and here are a few questions that Dr. Liming answers:
- How did you first learn about Edith Wharton and become drawn into her Gilded Age web?
- What were some lightbulb moments during your PhD process? (This leads into an intriguing discussion about university precarity.)
- Can you walk us through how your archive project at The Mount spurred the creation of your book, What a Library Means to a Woman?
(You can find here book here.)
- Do you remember when you first encountered the aura of the library?
- What was it like editing the Norton Library edition of The Age of Innocence? (This leads to a discussion about Edith Wharton’s breast, yes you read that right.)
- And, so much enthusiasm about traveling to The Mount and other author archives (for Andrew, it’s the Whitman Birthplace).
“My University is Dying” (Sheila’s article for The Chronicle)
To watch Sheila perform “The Green Rolling Hills of Pennsylvania” (our concluding song) in its entirety:
(Adapted from Utah Phillips’ “The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia,” and played by Michael Prewitt, mandolin, and Sheila Liming, guitar.)