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Maud Casey

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Professor, English

3112 Tawes Hall
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Research Expertise

Creative Writing

Maud Casey is the author of three novels, The Shape of Things to ComeGenealogy, The Man Who Walked Away; a collection of stories, Drastic; and a book of nonfiction,The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions. She is the recipient of the Calvino Prize, a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2015 St. Francis College Literary Prize, and numerous international fellowships including, most recently, the BAU Institute at Camargo Summer Arts Residency Fellowship and a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship. Her stories have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Scholar, The Normal School, Forklift, Ohio, Bellevue Literary Journal, and American Fiction. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Literary ImaginationSalon, A Public Space, and Post Road.  She lives in Washington, D.C.

Publications

The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions

The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction.

English | Center for Literary and Comparative Studies

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction. Mystery is not often discussed―apart from the genre―because, as Maud Casey says, “It’s not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.” Casey, the author of several critically acclaimed novels, reaches beyond the usual tool kit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction? She takes us into the Land of Un―a space of uncertainty and unknowing―to find out and looks at the variety of ways mystery is created through character, image, structure, and haunted texts, including the novels of Shirley Jackson, Paul Yoon, J. M. Coetzee, and more. Casey’s wide-ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography, the radical nature of empathy, and contradictory characters, as she searches for questions rather than answers. The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much-loved Art of series.

The Man Who Walked Away: A Novel

In a trance-like state, Albert walks—from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia—all over Europe.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:

In a trance-like state, Albert walks—from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia—all over Europe. When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he’s left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.

Loosely based on the case history of Albert Dadas, a psychiatric patient in the hospital of St. André in Bordeaux in the nineteenth century, The Man Who Walked Away imagines Albert’s wanderings and the anguish that caused him to seek treatment with a doctor who would create a diagnosis for him, a narrative for his pain.

In a time when mental health diagnosis is still as much art as science, Maud Casey takes us back to its tentative beginnings and offers us an intimate relationship between one doctor and his patient as, together, they attempt to reassemble a lost life. Through Albert she gives us a portrait of a man untethered from place and time who, in spite of himself, kept setting out, again and again, in search of wonder and astonishment.

The Shape of Things to Come

Isabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a "grown-up" life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
Returning to the midwestern suburb of her childhood, Standardsville, Illinois, she contends with her dating single mother, a neighbor who once appeared on The Honeymooners, and an ex-boyfriend. She also becomes a "mystery shopper" for a temp agency, posing as a variety of potential tenants for newly built suburban communities to assess their exclusive services. Enchanted by the possibilities of disguise, Isabelle spins a web of lies that keeps the world at a distance until she unearths long-kept secrets that force her to rethink everything she thought she knew.

Drastic

Meet the college graduate working in a whole body-donation clinic; a young woman obsessed with Benedictine monks; a middle-aged woman who becomes a stand-in talk-show guest; unlikely friends who meet in a domestic violence shelter.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
Maud Casey -- author of The Shape of Things to Come, a New York Times Notable Book -- explores how we survive modern crises of loss and love through the lives of emotional and geographic nomads. Each flirts with madness and self-destruction while reaching toward life. These simple gestures of optimism and vitality, gorgeously rendered, make drastic an unforgettable collection.

Genealogy

Meet the Hennarts: Samantha Hennart, a poet with writer's block; her husband, Bernard, obsessed with the life of a nineteenth-century Belgian mystic with stigmata.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
Their son, Ryan, a mediocre rock musician; and their eighteen-year-old daughter, Marguerite, who is quietly losing her mind. A meditation on family, faith, and mental illness, Genealogy is an operatic story of one family's unraveling and ultimate redemption.

The Man Who Walked Away: A Novel

In a trance-like state, Albert walks—from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia—all over Europe.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he’s left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.

The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions

The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
Mystery is not often discussed—apart from the genre—because, as Maud Casey says, “It’s not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.” Casey, the author of several critically acclaimed novels, reaches beyond the usual tool kit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction?

The Shape of Things to Come

Isabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a grown-up life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:

Isabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a grown-up life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company. Returning to the midwestern suburb of her childhood, Standardsville, Illinois, she contends with her dating single mother, a neighbor who onced appeared on The Honeymooners, and an ex-boyfriend. She also become a mystery shopper for a temp agency, posing as a variety of potential tenants for newly built suburban communities to access their exclusive services. Enchanted by the possibilities of disguise, Isabelle spins a web of lies that keeps the world at a distance until she unearths long-kept secrets that force her to rethink everything she thought she knew.

Drastic

These simple gestures of optimism and vitality, gorgeously rendered, make Drastic an unforgettable collection.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:

These simple gestures of optimism and vitality, gorgeously rendered, make Drastic an unforgettable collection. Meet the college graduate working in a whole-body donation clinic; a young woman obsessed with Benedictine monks; a middle-aged woman who becomes a stand-in talk-show guest; unlikely friends who meet in a domestic violence shelter; a young girl and the father who stole her away to escape his wife's mental illness; a graduate student from a suburban family who believes her physical connection to the world is deteriorating. Casey explores how we survive modern crises of loss and love through the lives of emotional and geographic nomads. Each flirts with madness and self-destruction while reaching toward life. 

Genealogy

Meet the Hennarts: Samantha, a poet with writer's block; her husband, Bernard, obsessed with the life of a 19th-century Belgian mystic with stigmata; their son, Ryan, a mediocre rock musician; & their daughter, Marguerite, who is quietly losing her mind.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:

Meet the Hennarts: Samantha Hennart, a poet with writer's block; her husband, Bernard, obsessed with the life of a nineteenth-century Belgian mystic with stigmata; their son, Ryan, a mediocre rock musician; and their eighteen-year old daughter, Marguerite, who is quetly losing her mind. A meditation on family, faith, and mental illness, Genealogy is an operatic story of one family's unraveling and ultimate redemption. An Editor's Choice selection for the New York Times Book Review.

Service & Outreach

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship

D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
2008-09

Guggenheim Fellowship

University of Maryland English Professor Maud Casey is a recipient of a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

English

Lead: Maud Casey
Dates:
Casey’s scholarship focuses on the creative arts through fiction writing.