Preston Browning

Preston M. Browning

Owner and Director at Wellspring House

Location:
284 Main Street, Ashfield, Massachusetts, United States
HQ Phone:
(413) 628-3276

General Information

Experience

Co-Director  - Wellspring House Inc

Education

Ph.D.  - University of Chicago

degrees  - Washington and Lee University

Affiliations

Associate Professor of English  - University of Illinois

Active Member  - Solentiname

Associate Professor Emeritus of English  - University of Chicago

Recent News  

PRESTON BROWNING, co-director of Wellspring House, is a retired English professor.
For almost 35 years he taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in twentieth-century American fiction. He is the author of Affection and Estrangement: A Southern Family Memoir, published in 2009, and of Flannery O'Connor, published in 1975 by Southern Illinois University Press and reissued in 2009 by Wipf and Stock Publishers under the title Flannery O'Connor: The Coincidence of the Holy and the Demonic in O'Connor's Fiction. He has written several articles on O'Connor and other contemporary writers, including the "black humorists" of the fifties and sixties and Walker Percy. His poetry has been published in Phase & Cycle, Poetry East, The Lyric, Collision, Pikestaff Forum, Thorny Locust and Mother Earth News, and his translations of Guatemalan and Nicaraguan poetry have appeared in several journals, including Mother Earth News and Collision. Two recently published essays are "American Global Hegemony Versus the Quest for a New Humanity," which appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of The Ecozoic Reader and "Struggling for the Soul of One's Country: American Pathologies and the Response of Faith" Cross/Currents (Winter 2005). With a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from the University of Chicago, Preston has interests ranging from contemporary writing about spiritual quest (Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace, is a favorite), to the fiction of such writers as Tillie Olsen, Flannery O'Connnor, Louise Erdrich, and Ursula LeGuin (one of his most popular courses at UIC was entitled "Love and Sexuality in 20th Century American Women Writers"), to American diplomatic history. Twice in the eighties and four times since moving to Ashfield, Preston has visited Nicaragua, also visiting Guatemala on numerous occasions since 1999. In the early seventies Preston and Ann spent an academic year in a small village in the southwest of France, where their two older daughters attended the local school, and during the academic year 1977-78 their entire family (three daughters and a son) was in Macedonia, then a part of Yugoslavia, where Preston was a Fulbright lecturer in American literature at the university in Skopje. (Again their children attended local schools and learned to read, write and speak Macedonian, a south Slavic language.) In the early seventies Preston and Ann spent an academic year in a small village in the southwest of France, where their two older daughters attended the local school, and during the academic year 1977-78 their entire family (three daughters and a son) was in Macedonia, then a part of Yugoslavia, where Preston was a Fulbright lecturer in American literature at the university in Skopje. (Again their children attended local schools and learned to read, write and speak Macedonian, a south Slavic language.) Preston has a new book, Affection and Estrangement: A Southern Family Memoir, out November 2, 2009, from iUniverse. " 'Fierce with reality': The phrase comes from Florida Scott Maxwell's The Measure of My Days, a journal she published in her eighties about laying claim to the events of her life. Preston Browning's Virginia memoir appears late in his life and it, too, achieves much of that lovely ferocity. Reading Affection and Estrangement makes us, too, 'fierce with reality,' thanks to the memoirist and his stunning stories. "Preston Browning's family memoir is warm and evocative. The heart of it lies in Browning's reflections on that vanished way of life, and on his mother and father. When the author is actively present on the page, either in characterizing himself in those days, or in probing the mystery of his parents' relationship (that ultimate mystery for us all) or explicitly interpreting Southern culture--that's when the book really comes alive. The final chapter, 'Legacy: The Land That Formed Me,' is noteworthy for its nuance in examining that culture--more than nuance, complexity, a willingness not to discount the force of either side of a paradox. - Richard Todd, author of The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity. "I was immediately engrossed by Preston Browning's Affection and Estrangement. Ann, along with Preston, was an active member of the Solentiname, Nicaragua Friendship Group of Western Massachusetts, building solidarity with the people on the islands.

Read More

Owner/Director: Preston Browning
PO Box 2006 Ashfield, MA 01330

Read More

While Preston pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, Ann held positions at several settlement houses in a largely Hispanic section of the city, assisting immigrant mothers and children from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America in adjusting to life in a large US city.
After an academic year in Yugoslavia where Preston taught American literature and Ann taught conversational English, Ann served as Associate Director of Student Health at the University of Chicago. When Ann and Preston returned to Chicago in 1992, Ann became involved in efforts to restore housing in Woodlawn, a blighted area on Chicago's southside. After Preston's retirement from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, the couple moved to Ashfield, Massachusetts, and established Wellspring House, a retreat for writers and artists. Soon after the move to Massachusetts, Ann and Preston began annual visits to Nicaragua as members of the Solentiname, Nicaragua, Friendship Group of Western Massachusetts. Ann is survived by her husband, Preston M. Browning, Jr., of Ashfield, MA, by her brother and sister-in-law, David M. Hutt and Valorie Hutt, of Anton Chico, New Mexico, and by her children, Katharine H. Browning of Brooklyn, NY, Sarah G. Browning of Washington, D.C., Rachel C. Browning of Portland, OR and Preston M. Browning, III, also of Portland; and five grandchildren: Benjamin Browning, Hazel Tallent, Grace Browning, Samuel Browning, and Dakota DeAndrade.

Read More

Browse ZoomInfo’s Directories