Shelton, Allen C.
Shelton, Allen C.
Born in Jacksonville, AL; children: Tyree Landers Shelton (son). Education: University of Georgia, Ph.D.
Office—Sociology Department, Classroom Bldg. B307, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY 14222 E-mail—[email protected]
Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY, associate professor of sociology. Lecturer at Auburn University, 1988.
Dreamworlds of Alabama (memoir), University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.
Buffalo State College associate professor Allen C. Shelton records his past in his uniquely constructed memoir, Dreamworlds of Alabama. "It's part memoir, part social theory, part lyrical evocation of his upbringing and early adulthood on a family farm in the Appalachian foothills of northeastern Alabama," stated Buffalo News reviewer R.D. Pohl. "The University of Minnesota Press, the book's publisher, dub[bed] it an ‘auto-ethnography,’ a crossover because of its ability to reach both academic and nonacademic audiences," explained Tony Astran in a review for the Buffalo State Bulletin. He added that the book "is part sociological text, as Shelton's memoirs explore his childhood and early adult years in northeastern Alabama. The book began as an academic work, but the editors, upon reviewing Shelton's highly personal and provocative writing style, decided to expand the focus to a nonacademic audience as well."
"My past can't be located," Shelton wrote in Dreamworlds of Alabama. "I live in Buffalo, New York, an exile from the South. But these aren't Yankee dreams, although my past seems like a fabrication, a dreamworld in which I'm a paper character and not a historical participant…. The deepest scars can't be seen on my skin. Every day I miss the dreamworld I grew up in. This book is about how I lost this world. In each essay I wrote, I lost a little more of what I had already lost. That is another cost of reclamation from a faraway place."
Critics also celebrated Shelton's unique writing style, his adherence to his collegiate discipline, and his ability to recount stories drawn from his southern past. Dreamworlds of Alabama, according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "displays both his impressive narrative gifts as a memoirist and the emotional constraints of academic discourse." Artvoice reviewer Laurence Shine said that Dreamworlds of Alabama is a "unique and genre-bending book" that contains "a caduceus inside a pupa inside cotton bales inside trading ships inside oceanic distances inside old religions inside the Mystic Writing Pad inside the labyrinth of the universal commodity where the wounded hero meets the monster with a bow saw." "Dreamworlds is a rich, haunting and often humorous collection of five intertwined essays," Pohl concluded, "that ranks with any ‘exile narrative’ I've read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Shelton, Allen C., Dreamworlds of Alabama, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.
Buffalo News, November 6, 2007, R.D. Pohl, "Book Launch: Allen Shelton's Dreamworlds of Alabama."
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Dreamworlds of Alabama.
Artvoice,http://artvoice.com/ (July 17, 2008), Laurence Shine, review of Dreamworlds of Alabama.
Buffalo State Bulletin,http://www.buffalostate.edu/bulletin/ (October 25, 2007), Tony Astran, "Faculty Author: Allen Shelton," review of Dreamworlds of Alabama.
Buffalo State College, Sociology Department Web site,http://www.buffalostate.edu/sociology/ (July 17, 2008), author faculty profile.