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Established in 2016, the Bash Lectures in Modern American Literature series has enabled the Department to invite one guest lecturer a year to speak on a 20th- and 21st-century literary topic. Generously initiated in the memory of James Bash, who taught in the Department, and his wife Virginia, the fund ensures that future generations of faculty and students, as well as members of the community, can continue to share in the Bash family’s appreciation of modern American literature.

A History

Indiana natives, James and Virginia Bash, strongly believed in the primacy of good language skills. James graduated from Indiana State in 1937 and went on to teach second-year English, journalism, and American literature classes at the University from 1940-1942 and later from 1946-1978. Virginia earned her degree from Indiana State in 1938. The couple shared a deep passion for modern American literature. They could often be found at their reading club engaging in discussion and criticism of recent works with eclectic groups of faculty, faculty spouses, friend, and students.

At the inaugural event for the lecture series (April 7, 2016), Dr. Robert Perrin delivered these comments in his introduction:

November 2013, the Director of Graduate Studies, the dean, and I met with David Bash at the ISU Foundation one afternoon. The meeting ended with David asking a question that went something like this: “If I wanted to make a substantial donation, what kind of activity would be useful?”

Although he had explored a number of university websites to see what kinds of programs they offered, he had no fixed notion of what he wanted us to have. Rather he was interested in exploring ideas and supporting what we thought would enrich the life of the Department.

Subsequently, I sent David a detailed “Wish List” that included (1) a lecture series in 20th- and 21st-century literature, (2) a Creative Writing speaker series, (3) a writer-in-residence program, (4) a community reading series, (5) travel grants for graduate students, and (6) travel grants for instructors.

As today’s event demonstrates, David selected the lecture series – and we’re very glad he did.



Bow, Leslie, University of Wisconisn, Madison – Spring 2017


Duvall, John N., Purdue University – Spring 2016


Harris, William J., University of Kansas, Lawrence – Spring 2018