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Neshaminy journal confronts the culture wars

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The Spring/Summer 2023 edition of “Neshaminy: The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal” explores the explosive issue of book banning and censorship.

Writer Daniel Dorian in his article “Banned! The Culture Wars Come to Bucks County” reports that within eight months a new Republican majority on the Central Bucks School Board enacted a new library policy that critics claim is censorship of books, notably those with sexual references or gay and lesbian themes.

In his article, Dorian traces the earliest origins of censorship, concluding with the words of Oscar Wilde: “The books the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

The new issue of Neshaminy also includes an original ghost story, “Castle Valley,” by Bucks County icon Henry Chapman Mercer. It appeared in Mercer’s only collection of fiction “November Night Tales,” published in 1928.

Accompanying the story is scholar Tom Sparrow’s article on Mercer’s place in literary history. While Mercer’s weird fiction has its moments, Sparrow says that Mercer was decidedly a minor figure in the world of genre fiction, despite his publisher’s claim that he was an equal to Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce.

In a memoir, veteran reporter Jennifer Lin writes about her early acquaintance with the celebrated Bucks County illustrator Ben Solowey. She was 12 years old when her mother took her to meet the artist.

The issue also profiles Bucks County artists Harry Boardman and Tim Gibson as well as horror and sci-fi author Chuck Wendig. It also features poetry by Jill Lupine, Lois Perch Villemaire, and Joseph Brunetti. Don Swaim offers a work of short fiction about a deadly bear chase in 18th-century Pennsylvania. Original art comes from Pat Achilles as do stories by Daniel Sean Kaye and Carl Reader.

The issue, published by the Bucks County Writers Workshop and the Doylestown Historical Society, can be obtained at the DHS, local bookstores, and online from Amazon.com.

The journal welcomes submissions. Information at https://neshaminyjournal.org.


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