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Past Titan Rock: Journeys into an Appalachian Valley by Ellesa Clay High

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Titan Rock is a feature of the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky, and this is a book about that area. It combines memoir, oral history, and the short story form to present a feel for the Gorge from the times that the author’s informants remembered in the 19th Century into the 1980s when this book was first published. Ellesa Clay High first went to the Gorge as a hiker, but in the 1970s had an opportunity to interview Lily Mae Ledford (1917-1985) a banjo player of the Coon Creek Girls who grew up there. High and Ledford became friends, and Ledford introduced High to people she knew who had remained in the Gorge after Ledford had relocated. The result was that High chose writing about the people of the Gorge for her dissertation topic to earn a PhD in creative writing from Ohio University, and lived there some of that time. Later, while serving as a professor at West Virginia University, she adapted her dissertation into this book.

 Morgantown: University of West Virginia Press, a 2021 edition of a 1984 release. 215 pages with a foreword by Travis D. Stimeling and photos. Trade paperback.