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A pair of Mt. Pleasant author's books await publication

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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Fred Adams estimates that he has helped thousands learn more about the craft of writing since he began his teaching career at Brownsville Area High School in 1971.

During a 40-year period, Adams also taught at Penn State University, California University of Pennsylvania, Duquesne University and the Community College of Allegheny County.

“When you have 25 people in a class, teach six classes a semester, two semesters a year for 25 years, it adds up,” said Adams, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Jefferson College, a Master of Arts degree from California University and a doctorate from Duquesne University with a concentration in 19th Century American Literature.

Since his retirement from teaching in 2011, Adams, a Mt. Pleasant resident, has had more time to devote to his own personal writing pursuits, as is evidenced by two books he recently completed awaiting publication, he said.

The first, Edith Wharton's American Gothic, will be released this fall by Borgo Press.

Adams described the work as a literary criticism that draws largely from his doctoral dissertation.

“This is a refined version of that which finally saw the light of day with the publisher,” he said.

The book makes the case that the society fiction genre novels of Wharton — a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer and designer — are Gothic novels in disguise, Adams said.

The term “Gothic,” as it pertains to literature, involves a mode of storytelling, which portrays society's inability to protect the individual in extreme circumstances, Adams said.

“In the case of Wharton's novels, such as The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country, The House of Mirth or The Reef, instead of the story taking place in a castle owned by some evil baron in Europe, you have a mansion on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan owned by a robber baron,” Adams said. “The parallels are there.”

The second book recently written by Adams, Dead Man's Melody, is currently on the market and making the rounds among publishing houses, he said.

The work is a derivation of Adams' life-long love of pulp fiction, he said.

“It's a good example of the hard-edged crime story,” Adams said.

The book's main character is a middle-aged rock guitarist who is implicated as a suspect in the murder of a former band mate, he said.

“He contacts a crime reporter who works to clear him and find out who the real killer is,” Adams said.

At an early age, Adams said he has been writing science fiction and horror fiction, later published in magazines.

“My writing got set on the back burner for years and years,” Adams said. “It's fun to write.”

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

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