Performance: “Tim Youd: St. Louis Retyped”

Tim Youd Retyping John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Faulker House Books/Pirate’s Alley with The New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA, October 2015. Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

On January 26th, performance artist Tim Youd will be on campus continuing his 100 Novels project. He will be typing Stanley Elkin’s novel, The Franchiser, in Holmes Lounge from 10:30 am -1:00 pm and 2:00-4:00 pm on January 26th and in the Coffee Room (Room 210) of Duncker Hall on January 29th-30th, February 1st-2nd and 5th-6th, with additional performances at the Contemporary Art Museum on the weekends.

Youd’s visit to the Washington University campus is part of a larger St Louis performance beginning January 19th, which will focus on four authors with significant ties to St. Louis, including T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, William Burroughs, and Stanley Elkin. Check here for a full schedule of performances.

Dust jacket of Elkin’s novel, The Franchiser from the Stanley Elkin Papers.

Stanley Elkin and Washington University in St Louis

Stanley Elkin was born in Brooklyn New York and grew up in Chicago, but wrote all of his ten novels, two volumes of novellas, screenplay, and short story and essay collections while living here in St Louis. Elkin served as a faculty member in the Washington University English department in Duncker Hall (where part of the performance will take place) from 1960 until his death in 1995. Washington University’s Modern Literature Collection has many of Elkin’s original manuscripts, including his plays, filmscripts, essays, and stories, with the bulk of the material being manuscripts and editorial matter toward his novels. Special Collections also owns one of Elkin’s typewriters, the Adler Satellite 2001, and one of his personal computers that he used after switching from typewriters and word processors. Youd’s performance will use the same model Adler Satellite typewriter that Elkin used when writing his 1976 novel, The Franchiser, prior to acquiring his computer.

Elkin at his Lexitron word processor. Photo from the Stanley Elkin Papers Papers.

About Youd’s 100 Novels Project

Youd is currently over halfway through his goal to retype 100 famous novels in a ten year span of time on models of the typewriters the authors used to create the work. He types each novel on a single sheet of paper, which is fed repeatedly through the typewriter, along with a second sheet of paper. As the book is typed, ink bleeds through to the second sheet of paper and at the end of the performance both pages are displayed as a diptych. Completed diptychs from the project will be on display at the Contemporary Art Museum from January 19th to April 22.

Tim Youd, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, 2014.Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS, June 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.


About the author

Rose is a PhD candidate in English and American Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. When she is not working on her dissertation on post-1945 asylum novels or blogging about the amazing materials in Special Collections, she fills much of her time reading, writing, gardening, and wrestling.