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Recorded by: WRUF
Title: Erskine Caldwell Lecture
Dates: February 25, 1965
Identification: Tape recording 147
File name: WRUF 8
Originally recorded on reel to reel tape at 7.5 ips
Digitally reformatted on February 2008
At the beginning of the tape a woman welcomes people and states that the Forums Committee of the Florida Union Board has brought outstanding political and literary speakers to the UF campus for the series. She then mentions the background and achievements of the guest speaker, the title of his talk “Out of the Caldwell Workshop”, and then introduces Mr. Erskine Caldwell to the audience.
Caldwell begins his talk with several amusing stories. He then mentions his own writing history and how his acquisition of a typewriter, when he was in high school, formed a continuing thread in his writing career. He mentions how the typewriter is both a symbolic and practical tool. Several stories are related about his experiences carrying a typewriter with him at all times in the United States and around the world. The first story is an account of renting a room in a hotel in Baltimore. He then launches into a discussion of literature and the ability to discern the difference between good and bad writing. If one reads only predigested books then one cannot learn to tell the difference. According to Caldwell such acceptance encourages intolerance. He feels that the more a person learns the more tolerant he becomes. He suggests that students today should be given more credit than they have been for the progressive changes introduced into American life. Finally he mentions the matter of censorship and briefly mentions his own experiences with having to defend his writings in court.
He closes by mentioning the hope that young writers will base their fiction on good old rousing story telling and hopes that you will be among them. There is a question and answer period but only one question is asked and then the woman who introduced Caldwell asks attendees to come to the reception for Mr. Caldwell in the Bryan Lounge.
A second part of the talk is included on the tape. Duplication is found in the first and last parts but the middle portion of his talk concerns what makes a writer and why a person decides to write. The rest of the tape then is a duplication of the earlier part of the tape in which he talks about the typewriter.