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E. Fred Carlisle
August 2017
PB 978-1-943665-82-2
ePub 978-1-943665-83-9
PDF 978-1-943665-84-6



Hollow and Home explores the ways the primary places in our lives shape the individuals we become. It proposes that place is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Place refers to geographical and constructed places—
location, topography, landscape, and buildings. It also refers to the psychological, social, and cultural influences at work at a given location. These elements act in concert to constitute a place. 

Carlisle incorporates perspectives from writers like Edward S. Casey, Christian Norberg-Schulz, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Witold Rybczynski, but he applies theory with a light touch. Placing this literature in dialog with personal experience, he concentrates on two places that profoundly influenced him and enabled him to overcome a lifelong sense of always leaving his pasts behind. The first is Clover Hollow in Appalachian Virginia, where the author lived for ten years among fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-generation residents. The people and places there enabled him to value his own past and primary places in a new way. The story then turns to Carlisle’s life growing up in Delaware, Ohio. He describes in rich detail the ways the town shaped him in both enabling and disabling ways. In the end, after years of moving from place to place, Carlisle’s experience in Appalachia helped him rediscover his hometown—both the Old Delaware, where he grew up, and the New Delaware, a larger, thriving small city—as his true home. 

The themes of the book transcend specific localities and speak to the relationship of self and place everywhere. 

Learn more at Hollow and Home. 


List of Photographs and Illustrations


The Place Is the Thing1. James Melville Cox and Brookside Farm

2. Placeless in America


3. Clover Hollow: Our Sanctuary

4. Three Meadow Mountain: Homage and Innovation

5. Clover Hollow: The Place

6. The 1875 Lafon Home Place

7. The 1892 Givens Home Place

8. Outsiders Fitting In

9. Interlude


10. A Boy from Columbus. A Man of Delaware, Ohio

11. 208 West Lincoln Avenue

12. The Delaware City Schools

North Elementary 

Frank B. Willis High School

13. Downtown Delaware

14. The Road Out: Ohio Wesleyan University

15. A Moveable Place

16. New Delaware: The Place Is Still the Thing: 

17. Oaknoll Farm: Elizabeth Adair Obenshain




E. Fred Carlisle has been writing about identity and place for years. He is the author of four previous books—two memoirs and studies of Walt Whitman and of Loren Eiseley. A former provost at Virginia Tech, he grew up in Ohio, enjoyed a long academic career, lived for a decade in the rural Virginia mountains, and now divides his time between Virginia and South Florida. Learn more at


“Open, direct, economical, and vividly honest.”
Joseph A. Amato, author of Everyday Life: How the Ordinary Became Extraordinary