University libraries launch online bibliography of western pa. fiction, drama

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing Program has created The Pittsburgh Novel: Western Pennsylvania in Fiction and Drama, 1792-2022, an online bibliography compiled by Peter Oresick and Jake Oresick would.

The bibliography was published on January 31, the same day that the Pittsburgh City Council declared “Peter Oresick Day” and “The Pittsburgh Novel Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Novel: Western Pennsylvania in Fiction and Drama, 1792–2022 is an annotated bibliography of all known fiction with a significant geographical setting in one of Pennsylvania’s 26 westernmost counties published between 1792 and 2022. The brainchild of the late Peter Oresick, The Pittsburgh Novel, a literary scholar, publisher, professor and poet from western Pennsylvania, is all-encompassing with more than 1,500 works set in settings spanning all 26 counties of western Pennsylvania. The bibliography includes national bestsellers such as Michael Chabon’s 1988 debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; award-winning works such as the 1978 war film The Deer Hunter; Screenplays of popular movies like “​​​​​​​Flashdance” from 1983 and “​​​​​​​Striking Distance” from 1993​​​​​​​; and long-lost 19th-century dime novels, children’s and young adult works, scripts for plays and television series, as well as obscure and self-published titles.

The searchable bibliography organizes content by keyword, genre, and locale preference, and includes the editor’s summary and notes for each entry. The locations are nested within each entry by county, township, neighborhood, sub-neighborhood, and landmark, corresponding to the locations in the title. A unique feature of the bibliography is the interactive map that accompanies it. The map consists of two levels of zones. One is the Pittsburgh neighborhoods layer, which outlines all neighborhoods in Pittsburgh as regions, or zones. An additional level outlines all other communities in the western half of Pennsylvania. Clicking on a region in the map displays a list of titles associated with that region or zone, with links to that title in the bibliography.

“This bibliography will support regional scholarship because academics can now identify and analyze works through multiple subcategories with unprecedented precision, and professors can easily find regional works for their reading lists,” said Jake Oresick, son and co-editor of Peter Oresick’s introduction. “But ‘The Pittsburgh Novel’ is also aimed at librarians, book clubs, teachers, students, parents looking for a bedtime story, teens looking for a movie to stream, and proud western Pennsylvanians from all 26 counties .”