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West Virginia University Press

West Virginia University Press

Website: http://www.as.wvu.edu/press

Founded in the mid-1960s, West Virginia University Press is a scholarly, not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. The Press specializes in Appalachian history, medieval studies, African American literature and culture, and rural sociology; its list also includes general interest and creative writings on Appalachia. Through the publication of all such works, WVU Press helps to fulfill West Virginia University’s land-grant mission.

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West Virginia University Press

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Monsters in Appalachia



The characters within these fifteen stories are in one way or another staring into the abyss. While some are awaiting redemption, others are fully complicit in their own undoing.
We come upon them in the mountains of West Virginia, in the backyards of rural North Carolina, and at tourist traps along Route 66, where they smolder with hidden desires and struggle to resist the temptations that plague them.
A Melungeon woman has killed her abusive husband and drives by the home of her son’s new foster family, hoping to lure the boy back. An elderly couple witnesses the end-times and is forced to hunt monsters if they hope to survive. A young girl “tanning and manning” with her mother and aunt resists being indoctrinated by their ideas about men. A preacher’s daughter follows in the footsteps of her backsliding mother as she seduces a man who looks a lot like the devil.
A master of Appalachian dialect and colloquial speech, Monks writes prose that is dark, taut, and muscular, but also beguiling and playful. Monsters in Appalachia is a powerful work of fiction.

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My Pulse Is an Earthquake

Kristin FitzPatrick

The nine stories in My Pulse Is an Earthquake take place in the clutches of grief. Characters struggle to make sense of sudden losses of life, love, and community. From 1970 to the present day, children and young adults from the Rockies to the Appalachian Mountains guide readers through the valleys of their lives as dog breeders, immigrants, Catholic school delinquents, rookie policewomen, drummers, ballerinas, teenage brides, and an accountant who keeps a careful inventory of losses. 

In each story, we see the darkness that can surface during the happy moments in life—weddings, births, promotions, the opening night of a director’s favorite play, or the best performance of a dancer’s career, when no one important is there to watch. We enter daydreams and night terrors where the dead are within reach, pointing out how they could have been saved. We wear their clothes and carry their teddy bears or vinyl records everywhere. We crawl around in caves and pound hammers into walls until our own hearts stop beating. 

This collection explores how the unexpected harm to young, vibrant loved ones—from murder, kidnapping, battle, accident, natural disaster, swift illness, or stillbirth—can rupture families, and how the most unlikely healers can bring together those who remain.

My Pulse Is an Earthquake will be performed on stage by The New Short Fiction Series in Hollywood, an event sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

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My Radio Radio

The members of Dunlap Fellowship of All Things in Common share everything from their meager incomes to the only functioning toilet in the community house— everything, that is, except secrets. When Omi Ruth Wincott, the youngest member of the disintegrating common-purse community in this small Indiana town, loses her only brother, Woodrun, she withdraws from everyone and fixates on a secret desire: She wishes only for an extravagant head- stone to mark Woodrun’s grave, an expense that the strict, parsimonious community can’t—or won’t—pay for. In her loneliness, Omi Ruth’s only ties to the world remain her National Geographic magazines and a new resident in the house, Northrop, an old man caught between living and dying, maintained in a vegetative state by hospice care.

Observing everything with the keen eye of a girl with a photographic memory, Omi Ruth finds herself learning to grieve in the company of unlikely strangers. With the help of a homeless and pregnant Tracie Casteel, a rebellious Amish boy named Spencer Frye, and the smooth-talking Vaughn Buey who works third shift at Dunlap’s RV plant, Omi Ruth discovers that there are two things of which there is no shortage in the world’s common purse—love and loss. 

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Naked Before God

Uncovering the Body in Anglo-Saxon England

At different times and in different places, the human form has been regarded in different ways. The Ancient Greeks thought it was the most admirable subject for art, whereas early Christians often viewed it as lascivious in our post-lapsarian state. With illustrations taken from manuscripts, statuary and literary, this is a fascinating collection of essays with much that will be new to scholars and general readers alike.

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A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

written by Steven L. Stephenson

Central Appalachia is the system of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain found in western and southwestern Virginia, eastern and central West Virginia, western Maryland, and a portion of south central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Through its concise and accessible approach, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America.
With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians also discusses the past, present, and future influences of human activity upon this geographic area.

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A Nickel and a Prayer

Jane Edna Hunter, Edited by Rhondda Robinson Thomas, with a foreword by Joycelyn Moody

Virtually unknown outside of her adopted hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Jane Edna Harris Hunter was one of the most influential African American social activists of the early-to mid-twentieth century. In her autobiography A Nickel and a Prayer, Hunter presents an enlightening two-part narrative that recollects her formative years in post-Civil War South and her activist years in Cleveland. First published in 1940, Hunter’s autobiography recalls a childhood filled with the pleasures and pains of family life on the former plantation where her ancestors had toiled, adventures and achievements in schools for African American children, tests and trials during her brief marriage, and recognition and respect while completing nursing training and law school. When sharing the story of her life as an activist, Hunter describes the immense obstacles she overcame while developing an interracial coalition to support the Phillis Wheatley Association and nurturing its growth from a rented home that provided accommodation for twenty-two women to a nine-story building that featured one hundred and thirty-five rooms.   
This new and annotated edition of A Nickel and a Prayer includes the final chapter, “Fireside Musings,” that Hunter added to the second, limited printing of her autobiography and an introduction that lauds her as a multifaceted social activist who not only engaged in racial uplift work, but impacted African American cultural production, increased higher education opportunities for women, and invigorated African American philanthropy. This important text restores Jane Edna Harris Hunter to her rightful place among prominent African American race leaders of the twentieth century.

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The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster

Bonnie E. Stewart

Ninety-nine men entered the cold, dark tunnels of the Consolidation Coal Company’s No.9 Mine in Farmington, West Virginia, on November 20, 1968. Some were worried about the condition of the mine. It had too much coal dust, too much methane gas. They knew that either one could cause an explosion. What they did not know was that someone had intentionally disabled a safety alarm on one of the mine’s ventilation fans. That was a death sentence for most of the crew. The fan failed that morning, but the alarm did not sound. The lack of fresh air allowed methane gas to build up in the tunnels. A few moments before 5:30 a.m., the No.9 blew up. Some men died where they stood. Others lived but suffocated in the toxic fumes that filled the mine. Only 21 men escaped from the mountain.

 No.9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster explains how such a thing could happen—how the coal company and federal and state officials failed to protect the 78 men who died in the mountain. Based on public records and interviews with those who worked in the mine, No.9 describes the conditions underground before and after the disaster and the legal struggles of the miners’ widows to gain justice and transform coal mine safety legislation.

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Old English Literature in its Manuscript Context

In Old English Literature in its Manuscript Context, editor Joyce Tally Lionarons has developed a multifaceted collection examining the issues facing the textual transmission of Anglo-Saxon writings. Eight established scholars consider the ideas of textual identity, authorship and translation, and editorial standards and obligations. This work also features a scholarly exchange of ideas and photographs of the original Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, making this essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Old English literature. The essays published in this text were originally composed at an NEH summer seminar conducted by Paul Szarmach and Timothy Graham at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1997.

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The Old English Poem Seasons for Fasting

A Critical Editoin

Seasons for Fasting, a late Old English poem probably composed in the early eleventh century, focuses on proper fasting observances in England. This poem, composed in eight-line stanzas, survives only in a sixteenth-century transcript made by the antiquary Laurence Nowell. With its topics, vocabulary, sources, and style derived from those of contemporary ecclesiastical prose, it belongs to a school of late tenth/early eleventh century poetry that only now is coming to be recognized and defined.

The Old English Poem Seasons for Fasting: A Critical Edition provides a new text and translation of the poem, accompanied by an extensive introduction, commentary, and glossary. The introduction includes analyses of the poem’s manuscript origins, sources, language, meter, style, and structure. The text is collated with all previous editions. The commentary elucidates points of grammar and style, and justifies all editorial decisions. The glossary covers every instance of each word in the poem.

Since its discovery among the papers of Laurence Nowell in 1934, the poem has had only four editions, two of the text with basic notes, and two in doctoral theses with more commentary and analysis. This new edition brings the latest resources on manuscript study, lexicon (through the Concordance and Dictionary of Old English A-G), poetics, and cultural milieu to bear on this fascinating poem. The apparatus, including the glossary, will allow fellow scholars to extend these findings through links to their own work.

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Old South, New South, or Down South?

Florida and the Modern Civil Rights Movement

Edited by Irvin D. S. Winsboro

How does a state, tarnished with a racist, violent history, emerge from the modern civil rights movement with a reputation for tolerance and progression? Old South, New South, or Down South?: Florida and the Modern Civil Rights Movement exposes the image, illusion, and reality behind Florida’s hidden story of racial discrimination and violence. By exploring multiple perspectives on racially motivated events, such as black agency, political stonewalling, and racist assaults, this collection of nine essays reconceptualizes the civil rights legacy of the Sunshine State. Its dissection of local, isolated acts of rebellion reveals a strategic, political concealment of the once dominant, often overlooked, old south attitude towards race in Florida.

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