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This article was prepared for the May 26, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Artists may live in worlds both real and imagined, but when we called Stan Kephart to tell him about this week’s cover on a best selling novel, he was most definitely on terra firma – he had already bought his own copy of the book and was halfway finished reading it.

We told Kephart about our dilemma – how to illustrate the cover story on this hip new book written by two recent graduates, Ian Caldwell from Princeton, and Dustin Thomason of Harvard. The piece had started out as a regular Preview article. However, since we assigned the story, this mystery, set on the Princeton campus, catapulted to number six on the bestseller list and is being compared to Dan Brown’s "The Da Vinci Code." It deserved to be a cover story.

We glumly looked at the artists’ headshots. Uninspiring, as was the book’s own cover. We wanted to try to capture the mystery of what Caldwell and Thomason describe as a place of rituals, "transmitted intact down to the present, profiting from that immunity to time and fortune which the university, like an ancient tar pit, confers on everything that unwittingly lumbers into it and dies."

Kephart had the answer. He finished skimming the book over the weekend, then went out with his camera to capture on film the landmarks of the book.

Meanwhile freelance writer (and former staff member) Pete Mladineo was sending E-mails to Italy to Anthony Grafton, Caldwell’s former history professor.

We thought we had a great idea – to illustrate the story with university landmarks, but Theresa Zoro, the book’s publicist, assured us in true Job’s Comforter fashion that "Everyone is doing that." Oh well. They aren’t (so far) publishing these photos in Princeton. Like the walking tours in Savannah that traverse the landmarks of the famous novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," you can use our photos to take your own virtual tour of the novel’s hot spots. Top row, from left to right: Dod Hall, the cover to the steam tunnel near Dillon Gym, and Holder Hall. (The student radio station, WPRB, broadcasts from the tower in that picture). Middle row, the Art Museum, the door of the Rare Books Room in Firestone Library, and Dickinson Hall. Third row: The doorways of McCosh and the Daily Princetonian (48 University Place) are in the third row. Bottom row: The archway of East Pyne, Ivy Club, and the intersection of Einstein Drive and Olden Avenue. If you want to check out these landmarks on foot, pick up a map at the Frist Student Center on Washington Road.

Photos have been a problem for us lately. Last week we erroneously captioned a photo for "My Fair Lady" at Villagers Theater with information for "My Fair Lady" at McCarter Theater. We sincerely apologize to both producers of the Lerner and Loewe classic.

McCarter’s version, pronounced by our reviewer to be "distilled but not distorted," is running now and continues at the Berlind Theater through June 27, with tickets at $32 to $50. The Villager’s traditional version starts June 4 and continues, also, to June 27, with tickets at $18.

It was an honest but predictable mistake – predictable, that is, only if you were one of two people in the office who were aware that there were two productions of the same musical in the area.


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