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English professor authors critical study of airports

December 16, 2011

Loyola University New Orleans English professor Chris Schaberg recently published “The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight,” an academic analysis of airports as they are interpreted in a wide range of literary and cultural contexts.

In his new book, Schaberg tracks airport stories in American literature, as well as in a range of films, airport art and magazine illustrations. Within these passages, he highlights the various narrative analogies of airports in texts, and in turn, uses them to function as a scholarly examination of how to interpret airports.

According to Schaberg, two things distinguish “The Textual Life of Airports” from other similar texts. “First, it situates literature at the center of a cultural study,” Schaberg said. “My analyses suggest that literary reading practices influence how we imagine and inhabit airports. In addition, this book sticks with airports on the ground, and gives them their due, whereas most studies of air travel have tended to privilege the act of flight itself, or the planes that carry people into the sky."

“The Textual Life of Airports” identifies how airports appear in literature throughout the 20th-century. In addition, the book analyzes the influx of airport figures in markedly post-9/11 literature and culture. These literary and cultural representations work together to form "the textual life of airports."

The hardcover edition of “The Textual Life of Airports” is currently available for purchase online at Amazon.com. The paperback edition will be out next year.

Schaberg is also co-author of the air travel memoir “Checking In/Checking Out,” and co-founder of airplanereading.org, a new website devoted to stories about air travel.

For more information, contact Jess Brown at 504-861-5882 or jlbrown@loyno.edu.

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