A scholar and former university teacher will be visiting Mount Airy to talk about the city’s most well-known son, Andy Griffith, when he presents the lecture “The Master of Mayberry: The Miraculous, Yet Mysterious, Life of Andy Griffith.”
Elliot Engel has visited Mount Airy a number of times over the years discussing a host of topics, “but he has never discussed a topic quite so close to home as his latest: Andy Griffith,” the Surry Arts Council said in announcing his visit.
“I am very aware that this audience probably knows far more about Andy than I do, but I am up for the challenge of learning them a thing or two,” he recently said with a chuckle. “Seriously, what I hope to reveal is an Andy Griffith far more complex and far more wonderful than the man they think they know, a man who carried Mount Airy deeply within him his entire life.”
Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Engel lives in Raleigh, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA, he won the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award.
Engle has written ten books published in England, Japan, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS stations around the country, and his articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all of the continents, including Antarctica. Four of his plays have been produced during the past ten years.
Engel has received North Carolina’s Adult Education Award, North Carolina State’s Alumni Professorship, and the Victorian Society’s Award of Merit. Most recently, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in England for his 30 years of academic work and service in promoting Charles Dickens.
He continues to teach outside the classroom and give literary and historical programs throughout the world. While visiting Mount Airy, the Surry Arts Council will be sponsoring presentations at area schools. He will visit Gentry Middle School, Meadowview Middle School, and Pilot Mountain Middle School giving presentations on Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare.
He visited Mount Airy Middle School, Central Middle School, Mount Airy High School, and North Surry High School in October, discussing the same topics. Funds for school programs come from the annual Arts Ball, the Mayberry Days Bake Sale, grants and other earmarked contributions.
For additional information or to reserve a seat for the dinner and lecture, which begins at 6 p.m., visit the Surry Arts Council website (www.surryarts.org) or contact them by phone (336-786-7998). The program will be held at Old North State Winery, 308 North Main Street, Mount Airy. Tickets are $45 and reservations are required.