Weinberg, Florence M(ay) 1933-

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WEINBERG, Florence M(ay) 1933-

(Florence Byham Weinberg)

PERSONAL: Born December 3, 1933, in Alamogordo, NM; daughter of Steven Horace (an educator) and Olive Gladys (an educator; maiden name, Edgington) Byham; married Kurt Weinberg (a university professor), May 8, 1955 (died, February 1, 1996). Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Park College, A.B., 1954; University of Iowa, graduate study, 1954-55; University of British Columbia, M.A., 1963; University of Rochester, Ph.D., 1968. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Horseback riding, dressage competition, swimming, hiking, backpacking.


ADDRESSES: Home—331 Royal Oaks Dr., San Antonio, TX 89209; fax: 210-826-1262. Agent—Julie Popkin, 15340 Albright St., Suite 204, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. E-mail—[email protected] com.

CAREER: St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY, assistant professor, 1967-70, associate professor, 1970-75, professor of French and Spanish literature, 1975-89, chair of Department of Modern Languages and Classical Studies, 1972-79, director of International Studies Program, 1983-86; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, professor of modern languages and literatures, 1989-99, professor emeritus, 1999—, department chair, 1989-96. Novelist, 1999—. Consultant-panelist for National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1977-78.


MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, PEN American Center, Renaissance Society of America, Women Writing the West, American Association of University Professors, American Association of Teachers of French, American Comparative Literature Association, Northeast Modern Language Association, Delta Epsilon Sigma.


AWARDS, HONORS: Senior fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980-81.


WRITINGS:

The Wine and the Will: Rabelais's Bacchic Christianity, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1972.

The Cave: The Evolution of a Metaphoric Field from Homer to Ariosto, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1986.

Gargantua in a Convex Mirror: Fishcart's View of Rabelais, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1986.

Rabelais et les leçons du rire: paraboles évangéliques et néoplatoniciennes, Editions Paradigme (Orleans, France), 2000.

(Under name Florence Byham Weinberg) Sonora Wind, Ill Wind (historical mystery novel), AmErica House (Baltimore, MD), 2002.

(Under name Florence Byham Weinberg) Longs désirs (historical novel), Editions Lyonnaises d'Art et d'Histoire (Lyon, France), 2002.

(Under name Florence Byham Weinberg) I'll Come to Thee by Moonlight (historical mystery novel; sequel to Sonora Wind, Ill Wind), Publish America (Baltimore, MD), 2002.

Contributor to The French Renaissance Mind: Studies Presented to W. G. Moore, edited by Barbara C. Bowen, 1976. Contributor of articles to journals, including Modern Language Review and Modern Language Notes.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Anselm, a Metamorphosis, a suspense novel satirizing "the mind-body problem;" Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross, a historical novel about the founding of the Franciscan missions in San Antonio, Texas; A Choice of Herakles: Jean de Sponde and Dolet, two historical novels featuring poet-humanists from the sixteenth century who struggle at a time of religious oppression and war; research for another historical novel.


SIDELIGHTS: Florence M. Weinberg told CA: "I knew when I was four years old that I wanted to be a teacher. Both parents and my grandfather were teachers and, as an avid learner, I could see that following in their footsteps would be a worthy choice. I always enjoyed writing and wrote my first (still unpublished) 'book' at around age seven. It was titled Ywain, King of All Cats. I did my own illustrations.


"As a student, my major interests were history, literature, art, a number of sciences (chiefly biology, physics, and astronomy), and theology and philosophy. Since employment options for women were quite limited in the 1950s and 1960s, I opted for teaching French and Spanish literature. Teaching language was a necessary adjunct activity, since most United States students had (and have) inadequate language training for reading great literary works in the original language.


"I taught for twenty-two years at a small Catholic coeducational college, St. John Fisher College, where the teaching load could be extremely heavy: up to five, sometimes six courses per semester. My writing during those years was limited to the 'spare time' I had available, and I produced only three scholarly books. The chief influences on my scholarly production were Erich Auerbach (Mimesis), reception theory (as practiced by Hans Robert Jauss), and the work of my husband, Kurt Weinberg (Kafkas Dichtungen).


"After moving to San Antonio and chairing the Department of Modern Languages and Literature for six years, then nursing my husband until his death in 1996, I produced another scholarly book in French. I retired as soon as I could afford to do so in order to write fiction, which had become an increasingly urgent ambition. I had written a semi-satirical fantasy novel on the mind/body problem in 1998, then began writing historical fiction in 1999.

"My interests run in two directions: the French Renaissance (my special scholarly field being chiefly concerned with the work of François Rabelais) and the American Southwest. I was born in New Mexico and came to appreciate the stark beauty of the desert after living in lush eastern landscapes for many years. I did not want to write cowboy stories or tales of courageous frontier women, and settled on writing about a nearly ignored field: mission history—300 years of it. Only Willa Cather had written in that area with Death Comes for the Archbishop. I am embarked on the fourth book in that field (of which two are published), having written three novels on French Renaissance history (one published so far).

"I am researching another historical novel about an incident that took place in 1580-1581. Coronado, hated for his brutality against the native populations, first penetrated the wilds of New Mexico in 1540. Forty years later, another expedition, headed by a Franciscan, Francisco Chamuscado, established an outpost called Puaray on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande at what is now Bernalillo. Chamuscado moved on, leaving two friars behind. The two men vanished after living with the Indians for some months, trying to convert them and to establish a mission there. It is almost certain they were murdered. Were they ritually sacrificed? Eaten?"