In “Loving the World Appropriately,” Dr. j. Kastely asks: what is persuasion? For some, it is the ideal alternative to violence. For others, persuasion is simply a neutral instrumentality—a valued source of soft power. Both positions rest on a fundamental belief: persuasion is a power that resides in a speaker acting on an audience. “Loving the World Appropriately” asks a different, more fundamental, question: why does an audience need persuasion? In shifting our focus, Dr. Kastely delivers a provocative new history of rhetoric and philosophy, one that describes rhetoric as more than a matter of effective communication and recasts persuasion as a philosophical concern central to notions of human subjectivity. Ultimately, Kastely insists, persuasion enables us to love the world appropriately.
The expressive and literary capacities of post-Reformation English were largely shaped in response to the Bible. In “Faith in the Language,” Dr. Jamie H. Ferguson examines the convergence of biblical interpretation and English literature, from William Tyndale to John Donne, and argues that the groundwork for a newly authoritative literary tradition in early modern England is laid in the discourse of biblical hermeneutics. The period 1525-1611 witnessed a proliferation of English biblical versions, provoking a century-long debate about how and whether the Bible should be rendered in English. These public, indeed institutional accounts of biblical English changed the language: questions about the relation between Scripture and exegetical tradition that shaped post-Reformation hermeneutics bore strange fruit in secular literature that defined itself through varying forms of autonomy vis-a-vis prior tradition.
Throughout Roberto Tejada’s body of work, the renowned poet and celebrated critic has explored themes of Latinx culture, politics, history, language, and ecologies. In his latest collection, “Why the Assembly Disbanded,” he presents a unique contribution to Latinx letters that reflects on the relations between the United States and Latin America, especially their real and symbolic borderlands.
Immersive, postmodern, and philosophical, “Why the Assembly Disbanded” provides an associative, critical Latinx aesthetic connecting the Mexico–United States borderlands to Latin America’s neo-baroque heritage. Migrants, settlers, tourists, and exiles moving across various hemispheric landscapes are featured in these exuberant, capacious, and self-reflexive poems. Tejada relates the ravages of white supremacy in our culture that, together with immigrant precarity, turn home into a place of foreboding and impending eviction, even as a dream-weather makes room at last for scenes of possibility and attainment in the account of human history.
The sweeping futuristic vistas open on to narratives of colonial extraction, human displacement, abuses of capitalism, mass media spectacle, the antagonism of language and technical images in the sensorium of urban and digital life-worlds, and the relations of desire encouraged by pictures and words in the economy of attention. Los Angeles and Mexico City figure prominently in poems committed to voicing modes of formation and community in an intersectional reckoning of personhoods prompted in work by artists Betye Saar, Amiri Baraka, Connie Samaras, and Rubén Ortiz Torres.
With language given to pageantry, tonal precision, and a hopeful lyric radiance that can accommodate ecstasy and justice, Roberto Tejada’s carnivalesque, borderland imagery pushes the boundaries of Latinx literature. World-building by way of reverie, speculation, and retro-futurist tableaux, and with vivid, sometimes violent particularity, his poems enact hallucinatory realities of the hemisphere: an imagination that triangulates history, lyricism, and art as social practice.
Dr. Sreya Chatterjee’s “Family Fictions and World Making: Irish and Indian Women’s Writing in the Contemporary Era” is the first book-length comparative study of family novels from Ireland and India. On the one hand, despite an early as well as late colonial experience, Ireland is often viewed exclusively within a metropolitan British and Europe-centered frame. India, on the other hand, once seen as a model of decolonization for the non-Western world, has witnessed a crisis of democracy in recent years. This book charts the idea of "world making" through the fraught itineraries of the Irish and the Indian family novel. The novels discussed in the book foreground kinship based on ideological rather than biological ties and recast the family as a nucleus of interests across national borders. The book considers the work of critically acclaimed women authors Anne Enright, Elizabeth Bowen, Mahasweta Devi, Jennifer Johnston, Kiran Desai and Molly Keane. These writers are explored as representative voices for the interwar years, the late-modern period, and the globalization era. They not only push back against the male nationalist idiom of the family but also successfully interrogate family fiction as a supposedly private genre. The broad timeframe of “Family Fictions and World Making” from the interwar period to the globalization era initiates a dialogue between the early and the current debates around core and periphery in postcolonial literature.
In “Contingent Figure,” Dr. Michael Snediker elaborates a bracing examination of the phenomenological peculiarity of disability, articulating a complex idiom of figuration as the lived substance of pain’s quotidian. This book is essential for students and scholars of disability studies, queer theory, formalism, aesthetics, and the radical challenge of Emersonian poetics across the long American nineteenth century.
"LETRAS Y LIMPIAS: Decolonial Medicine and Holistic Healing in Mexican American Literature" by Dr. Amanda Ellis (Arizona University Press, 2021) provides a new lens to understanding the curandera figure. It is the first book to explore the literary significance of the figure of the curandera within Mexican American literature. Amanda Ellis traces the significance of the curandera and her evolution across a variety of genres written by leading Mexican American authors, including Americo Paredes, Rudolfo Anaya, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Manuel Munoz, ire’ne lara silva, and more. Ellis explores the curandera in relationship to decoloniality, bioethics, and the topic of healing while recognizing the limitations and spiritual shortcomings of Western medicine. Ellis argues that our contemporary western health-care system does not know how to fully grapple with illnesses that patients face. Ellis reads the curandera's perennial representation as an ongoing example of decolonial love useful for deconstructing narrow definitions of health and personhood, and for grappling with the effects of neoliberalism and colonialism on the health-care industry. Letras y Limpias draws from Chicana feminist theory to assert the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection. Letras y Limpias shows how the figure of the curandera offers us ways to heal that have nothing to do with copays or medical professionals refusing care, and everything to do with honoring the beauty and complexity of any, every, and all humans.
—“The author shows that the healing of the metaphorical wound and of the innate ailments of a colonized people can and does happen via the figure of the curandera, who tends to the physical ailments as well as the spiritual needs of our community.”—Norma E. Cantú, author of Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor
"LETRAS Y LIMPIAS: Decolonial Medicine and Holistic Healing in Mexican American Literature" is Dr. Amanda Ellis’ first book length title.
In "Come-Hither Honeycomb" (Copper Canyon Press, 2021), poetry Professor Erin Belieu turns her signature wit and intellectual rigor inward for an unguarded exploration of human vulnerability. The poems meditate on the impact of large and small traumas: the lasting thumbprint of abuse, the collective specter of disease, the achingly sweet humility of parenting. The bodies in these poems are trapped, held hostage, bleeding. And yet there is agency—structural dynamism, texture, the color green—while a woman climbs a metal ladder to the diving board, a girl climbs high into the branches. The speaker grapples with a lifelong pattern of brutality, then painfully breaks free.
—“[Belieu’s] latest collection toggles between lighthearted comedy and deep-seated loss, using paradox as a prerequisite for beauty…For every joke in Come-Hither Honeycomb, there’s something tragic on the other side of the scale.”—The New Yorker
Erin Belieu is also the author of “Infanta”, chosen by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series; “One Above & One Below”, winner of the Midland Authors Prize and Ohioana Poetry Award; “Black Box”, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; and “Slant Six”, a New York Times favorite book of 2014; all published by Copper Canyon Press.
Fiction Professor Dr. Brenda Peynado’s debut short story collection, "The Rock Eaters" (Penguin Random House 2021), spans worlds and dimensions, using strange and speculative elements to tackle issues ranging from class differences to immigration to first-generation experiences to xenophobia. What does it mean to be other? What does it mean to love in a world determined to keep us apart? These questions murmur in the heart of each of Brenda Peynado’s strange and singular stories. Threaded with magic, transcending time and place, these stories explore what it means to cross borders and break down walls, personally and politically. In one story, suburban families perform oblations to cattlelike angels who live on their roofs, believing that their “thoughts and prayers” will protect them from the world’s violence. In another, inhabitants of an unnamed dictatorship slowly lose their own agency as pieces of their bodies go missing and, with them, the essential rights that those appendages serve. “The Great Escape” tells of an old woman who hides away in her apartment, reliving the past among beautiful objects she’s hoarded, refusing all visitors, until she disappears completely. In the title story, children begin to levitate, flying away from their parents and their home country, leading them to eat rocks in order to stay grounded.
With elements of science fiction and fantasy, fabulism and magical realism, Brenda Peynado uses her stories to reflect our flawed world, and the incredible, terrifying, and marvelous nature of humanity.
—“Genre-bending brilliance…Peynado’s harnessing of the diasporic imagination establishes her as a true magician of the marvelous real.” —The Boston Globe
The Rock Eaters is Brenda Peynado’s first book.
A Warning for Fair Women”, edited by department chair Dr. Ann C. Christensen (University of Nebraska Press) is a 1599 true crime drama from the repertory of Shakespeare’s acting company. While important to literary scholars and theater historians, it is also readable, relevant, and stage-worthy today. This edition of “A Warning for Fair Women” is fully updated, featuring a lively and extensive introduction and covering topics from authorship and staging to the 2018 world revival of the play in the United States. It includes a section with discussion and research questions along with resources on topics raised by the play, from beauty and women’s friendship to the occult. Christensen presents a freshly edited text for today’s readers, with in-depth explanatory notes, scene summaries, a gallery of period images, and full scholarly apparatus.
— “This edition elegantly situates the play in relation to stage, page, and scaffold, and showcases how the anonymous playwright is in conversation with genres as diverse as scaffold speeches and mothers’ manuals. It also demonstrates how this early modern murder resonates with popular culture today.”—Emma Whipday, author of “Shakespeare’s Domestic Tragedies: Violence in the Early Modern Home”
Ann Christensen is also the author of “Separation Scenes: Domestic Drama in Early Modern England” (Nebraska, 2017).
Dr. Elizabeth Gregory’s most recent title “Apparition of Splendor: Marianne Moore Performing Democracy through Celebrity, 1952-1970” (University of Delaware Press, 2021). In this first close reading of Marianne Moore’s later poems as a group, Gregory documents Moore’s role as a celebrity performance poet and an advocate for real democracy and positive social change – around race, gender, sexuality, immigration, environment, and foreign policy. While the later work of the great Modernist poet Marianne Moore was hugely popular during her final two decades, since her death critics have condemned it as trivial. This book challenges that assessment: with fresh readings of many of the late poems and of the iconic, cross-dressing public persona Moore developed to deliver them, ‘Apparition of Splendor’ demonstrates that Moore used her late-life celebrity in daring and innovative ways to activate egalitarian principles that had long animated her poetry. Dressed as George Washington in cape and tricorn and writing about accessible topics like sports, TV shows, holidays, love, activism, mortality and celebrity itself, she reached a wide cross-section of Americans, engaging them in consideration of what democracy meant in their daily lives, around issues of gender, sexuality, racial integration, class, age, and immigration. Moore actively sought out publication in popular venues (like Vogue, The New Yorker, and the Saturday Evening Post, etc.) and wrote on material chosen to directly appeal to the audiences there, influencing younger contemporaries, including poets like Ashbery, O’Hara, and Bishop, and artists like Warhol, Yoko Ono, and Ray Johnson.
Dr. Elizabeth Gregory is also the author of “Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood” (2007/2012), “Quotation and Modern American Poetry: “’Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads’” (Texas A&M University Press, 1996), and two edited collections—”The Critical Response to Marianne Moore” (Praeger, 2003) and, with Stacy Carson Hubbard, “Twenty-First Century Marianne Moore: Essays from a Critical Renaissance” (Springer, 2017).
In this his eighth collection of poetry The Art of Fiction (Four Way Books, 2020), Professor Kevin Prufer’s career-spanning talent for estranging the familiar—and also for recording the unthinkable with eerie directness—recurs, enhanced and transformed by the collection’s attention to the role of fiction in our civic lives. Prufer describes, often through personae, a near future, tracing there the political gambit of Fake News and the role of the imagination in our self-understanding (whether it’s cogent or delusional). Via both satire and direct address, Prufer aims to understand the ugly-casual atmosphere of our often racialized, pervasive distrust. The Art of Fiction fundamentally understands that fictions are deployed to divide us, and they work: they get under our skin. Prufer powerfully explores the roles of imagination and art in how we explain ourselves to ourselves.
— “Prufer’s sensitive, strange, and brilliant poems explore darkness and pain with originality and verve..." —Publisher’s Weekly
Kevin Prufer is also the author of the Four Way Books titles “How He Loved Them” (2018), long-listed for the Pulitzer, named a finalist for the Rilke Prize, and winner of the Julie Suk Award; “Churches” (2014), named one of the ten best poetry books of the year by The New York Times Book Review; “In a Beautiful Country” (2011), a Rilke Prize and Poets’ Prize finalist; and “National Anthem” (2008), named one of the five best poetry books of the year by Publishers Weekly and a finalist for the Poets’ Prize.
Invented History, Fabricated Power: The Narrative Shaping of Civilization and Culture (Anthem Press, 2020) is the newest title by Dr. Barry Wood. This book examines more than twenty cultures, both ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, emphasizing how kings, empires, religions and societies have enhanced their authority and power through fictional histories, claims of divine origins, fabricated genealogies, and miraculous events presented in literary works and forged doctrines.
—“By providing a comprehensive overview of the role of narrative in the invention and maintenance of power, the author has provided historians who work in larger scales a new approach to the psychology of power, and the sociology of nationalist and imperialist thinking by entire populations." —Dr. Craig Benjamin, Grand Valley State University
Dr. Barry Wood is also the author of “Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics” (1980, Tecumseh Press).
Dr. Lauren Zentz’ new title Narrating Stance, Morality, and Political Identity: Building a Movement on Facebook is forthcoming from Routledge’s series Studies in Narrative, Interaction and Discourse. This book offers unique insights into the use of Facebook after the 2016 US presidential election, interrogating how users in private groups draw on individual experiences in movement building and identity construction while also critically reflecting on ethnographic practices around social media. The volume draws on the author’s own involvement in a specific Facebook group focused around activism and community organizing in Texas following the 2016 US presidential election. This book contributes to ongoing conversations about the realities of Internet use within linguistic anthropology and new media studies, and how researchers might seek to account for social media use and access to this data as these technologies develop further. This book is key reading for students and scholars in linguistic anthropology, media studies, and activism and social movement studies.
Lauren Zentz is also the author of “Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy: History, Language and Identity in Indonesia” (Multilingual Matters, 2017).
"Insurgent Imaginations: World Literature and the Periphery" (Cambridge University Press, 2020) by Dr. Auritro Majumder is a book that argues contemporary world literature is defined by peripheral internationalism. Over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, a range of aesthetic forms beyond the metropolitan West - fiction, memoir, cinema, theater - came to resist cultural nationalism and promote the struggles of subaltern groups. Peripheral internationalism pitted intellectuals and writers not only against the ex-imperial West, but also against their burgeoning national elites. In a sense, these writers marginalized the West and placed the non-Western peripheries in a new center. Through a grounded yet sweeping survey of Bengali, English, and other texts, the book connects India to the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Latin America, and the United States. Chapters focus on Rabindranath Tagore, M. N. Roy, Mrinal Sen, Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, and Aravind Adiga. Unlike the Anglo-American emphasis on a post-national globalization, Insurgent Imaginations argues for humanism and revolutionary internationalism as the determinate bases of world literature.
—“In place of a World Literature that venerates 'a small canon of texts divorced from context,' Insurgent Imaginations stages the powerful theater of 'peripheral internationalism.' With South Asia as focus, it travels through the literary, filmic, theoretical, and non-literary texts of the 'periphery,' to re-evaluate the past by way of a rich historical narrative as well as careful close readings. For this reader, the discussion of Mahasweta Devi was particularly enjoyable.” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, author of "A Critique of Postcolonial Reason"
"Insurgent Imaginations: World Literature and the Periphery" is Dr. Auritro Majumder’s first book.
"Here is the Sweet Hand" (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2020) is the third collection of poetry from Professor francine j.harris. It won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. As in her acclaimed previous collections, harris’ skillful use of imagery and experimentation with the boundaries of language set the stage for unorthodox election commemoration, subway panic, zoomorphism, and linguistic battlefields. From poems in dialogue with the artistry of Toni Morrison and Charles Burnett to poems that wrestle with the moods of Frank Stanford and Ty Dolla $ign, the speakers in this book signal a turn at once inward and opening.
—“With poems that pant, keen, and rumble, harris (play dead) offers a fresh and dazzling third collection.” —Publisher’s Weekly
francine j. harris is also the author of “play dead” (Alice James, 2017), winner of the Lambda Literary and Audre Lorde Awards and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her first collection, “allegiance” (Wayne State University Press, 2012) was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery and PEN Open Book Awards.
A Theoretical Approach to Modern American History and Literature: An Issue of Reconfiguration and Re-representation (Anthem Press, 2020) is a monograph by Dr. W. Lawrence Hogue. In this book, Dr. Hogue re-configures the history of modern America and re-represents the modern American novel, allowing conceptual spaces of race, gender, sex, nature, the non-rational, the non-human, consumption, and class to be critiqued or to be displaced, eventually highlighting that modern American history and literature are not singular. They are much more complex, diverse, heterogeneous, and richer because modern American history is a series of economic, social, anti-colonial, feminist, and political and social movements, levels, and conditions, with a whole interplay of differences. The book explains how, historically and institutionally, in the 1920s and 1930s modern American society and modern American literature have been represented singularly and monoculturally, with modernity breaking with the past/nature/the non-human—animals, plants, the water, the landscape, the non-rational, and/or indifferent forces of nature such as hurricanes. This book focuses, first, on the transformation of modern American history, literature, and culture. Second, the book examines the darker side of this unequal modern American society. Third, it focuses on how vulnerable and marginalized people of color, women, working-class European immigrants, colonized nations, incorporated territories, protectorates, and writers, who were denied justice, difference and equality, resisted, challenged, re-wrote, and transformed this modern America. The book explains how progressives, labor unions, workers, the NAACP and the Garvey movement, socialists, communists, bohemians, Asian and Native American resistance movements, the Anti-Imperialist League, and the various sectors of the women’s movements—which co-existed and developed on parallel planes and which, at times, commingle in their becomings—challenged, contested, and, at times, transformed this economically, socially, and racially unequal, modern America.
Lawrence Hogue is also the author of“The African American Male, Writing, and Difference” (SUNY Press, 2003), “Postmodern American Literature and Its Other” (Duke University Press, 2009), and “Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives”( SUNY Press, 2013).
In "Xenocitizens" (Fordham University Press 2020), Dr. Jason Berger returns to the antebellum United States in order to challenge a scholarly tradition based on liberal–humanist perspectives. Through the concept of the xenocitizen, a synthesis of the terms “xeno,” which connotes alien or stranger, and “citizen,” which signals a naturalized subject of a state, Berger uncovers realities and possibilities that have been foreclosed by dominant paradigms. Inno-vatively re-orienting our thinking about traditional nine-teenth-century figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Hen-ry David Thoreau as well as formative writers such as William Wells Brown, Martin R. Delany, Margaret Fuller, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Xenocitizens glimpses how antebellum thinkers formulated, in response to varying forms of oppression and crisis, startlingly unique ontological and social models as well as unfamiliar ways to exist and to leverage change. In doing so, Berger offers us a different nineteenth century—pushing our imaginative and critical thinking toward new terrain.
—“Jason Berger’s Xenocitizens displays both a burning concern about the present and a patient curiosity about the past.” -Caleb Smith, Yale University
Xenocitizens is Associate Professor Jason Berger’s first book.
Professor Nick Flynn’s most recent memoir, "This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire" (Norton, 2020), follows the journey of a man struggling to hold himself together in prose that is raw and moving, sharp-edged and wry. When Nick Flynn was sev-en years old, his mother set fire to their house. The event loomed large in his imagination for years, but it’s only after having a child of his own that he understands why. Alternat-ing literary analysis and philosophy with intimate memoir, Flynn probes his deepest ethical dilemmas.
—“A remarkable and daring work, a song of both family and self.” —Kirkus
Nick Flynn is also the author of the trilogy of memoirs “The Reenactments” (W.W. Norton, 2013), “The Ticking is the Bomb” (W.W. Norton, 2010), and “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City“ (W.W. Norton, 2004). His poetry collections include “The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands” (2011), “Some Ether” (2000), and “Blind Huber” (2002).
Dr. David Mikics’ new biography, "Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker", was published by Yale University Press in 2020. Drawing on interviews and new archival material, Mikics for the first time explores the personal side of Kubrick’s films. Kubrick’s Jewishness played a crucial role in his idea of himself as an outsider. Obsessed with rebellion against authority, war, and male violence, Kubrick was himself a calm, coolly masterful creator and a talkative, ever-curious polymath immersed in friends and family.
—“David Mikics’s “Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker” is a cool, cerebral book about a cool, cerebral talent.” -The New York Times
David Mikics is also the author of “Bellow’s People” (W.W. Norton, 2016) and “Slow Reading in a Hurried Age” (Harvard University Press, 2013).
In "The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature" (Indiana University Press 2020), Joseph Valente (University of Buffalo) and Dr. Margot Gayle Backus (University of Houston) examine modern cultural responses to child sex abuse in Ireland. Us-ing descriptions of these scandals found in newspapers, his-toriographical analysis, and 20th- and 21st-century literature, Valente and Backus expose a public sphere ardently com-mitted to Irish children’s souls and piously oblivious to their physical welfare. They offer historically contextualized and psychoanalytically informed readings of scandal narratives by nine notable modern Irish authors who actively, pointedly, and persistently question Ireland’s responsibilities regarding its children. Through close, critical readings, a more nuanced and troubling account emerges of how Ireland’s postcolo-nial heritage has served to enable such abuse. "The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature" refines the debates on why so many Irish children were lost by offering insight into the lived experience of both the children and those who failed them.
— “..Establishes for the field of Irish Studies a vital theoretical and representational framework for thinking of and through the ethical functions and potentialities of Irish literature.“ -Claire Bracken, Union College
Margot Gayle Backus is also the author of “The Gothic Family Romance: Heterosexuality and Child Sacrifice in the Anglo-Irish Colonial Order” (Duke University Press, 1999) and of “Scandal Work: James Joyce, the New Journalism, and the Home Rule Newspaper Wars” (Notre Dame Press, 2013).
Professor Martha Serpas’ collection of poetry "Double Effect" (LSU Press 2020) reimagines a principle first outlined by St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica, which considers whether an action is morally permissible if it causes harm while bringing about a good result. In resonant verse pointed by Cajun language, these poems measure the good that can come from destructive situations: maternal deprivation, spiritual poverty, mania, ecological devastation. Serpas shows that compromised marshes and the Gulf of Mexico offer surprising sustenance and clarity. Time is marked by feast days, hurricanes, celebrations, accidents, and rescues along southern Louisiana’s eroding coasts. Double Effect ultimately finds joy in survival, in love, and in spiritual fulfillment.
—“Artfully evokes the beauty and power of the Louisiana bayou, building a case for the survival of a landscape and culture in danger of being exterminated, not only by natures forces, but by human carelessness and greed.” -Rattle
Martha Serpas is also the author of "The Diener" (LSU Press, 2015) and "The Dirty Side of the Storm" (Penguin, 2006).
Dr. Roberto Tejada’s “Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness” (Noemie Press, 2020) is a collection of essays and manifestos engaging hemispheric desires and borderland eventualities in the geopolitical imagination of the Americas. The book enlivens a capacious Latinx poetics, spanning to include 16th- and 17th-century imperial accounts, 20th-century images of Mexico pictured by U.S. artists and writers, the neo-baroque pageantry of José Lezama Lima in post-Revolution Havana, as well as contemporary poets Reina María Rodriguez, from Cuba; Mexican fabulist Pablo Helguera; and Chicano multimedia wordsmith Harry Gamboa Jr., from Los Angeles. Explored also are many-sided masculinities, from conquistador castaway Cabeza de Vaca, stripped and disempowered in the New World; Lezama Lima’s “prison baroque” of syntactically queer desire; George Oppen’s craftsmanship manhood; Jay Wright’s Yoruba and Toltec body-doubles, hidden figures of exile and self-foreignness; and the man-child constructed in the media spectacle of modern castaway Elián González. These essays configure a poetics of the Americas, mirror-occasions for reflecting the fear and fantasies prompted by metaphors of occupation, displacement, and counter-conquest.
—“Kin to Eduoard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, Roberto Tejada’s "Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness" charts a counter-conquest through transhistorical and transcultural waters to trace the competing desires, dazzling simulations, and “ostensible selfhoods” that have informed—and continue to activate—a Poetics of the Americas. The remarkable breadth of these essays—joining colonial encounter narratives with the media spectacle occasioned by Elián González’s arrival on U.S. shores—stimulates with its pleasure of inquiry and richness of form. And with its needle trembling toward a ‘future imperfect,’ satisfies with an unfolding relevance to our current political and cultural moment.” -Rosa Alcalá
Roberto Tejada is also the author of the poetry collections "Full Foreground" (University of Arizona Press, 2012), "Exposition Park" (Wesleyan University Press, 2010), and "Mirrors for Gold" (Krupskaya, 2006). He founded and co-edited "Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas", a journal of poetics and poetry in translation (1991-2014). An art historian, his books include "National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment" (2009); a monograph on pioneering Chicana conceptual artist "Celia Alvarez Muñoz" (2009), and diverse writings on Latin American and Latinx artists.
Dr. Cedric Tolliver’s monograph "Of Vagabonds and Fellow Travelers: African Diaspora and the Cultural Cold War" (University of Michigan Press, 2019) recovers the history of the writers, artists, and intellectuals of the African diaspora who, witnessing a transition to an American-dominated capitalist world-system during the Cold War, offered searing critiques of burgeoning U.S. hegemony. Cedric R. Tolliver traces this history through an analysis of signal events and texts where African diaspora literary culture intersects with the wider cultural Cold War, from the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists organized by Francophone intellectuals in September 1956 to the reverberations among African American writers and activists to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Among Tolliver’s subjects are Caribbean writers Jacques Stephen Alexis, George Lamming, and Aimé Césaire, the black press writing of Alice Childress and Langston Hughes, and the ordeal of Paul Robeson, among other topics. The book’s final chapter highlights the international and domestic consequences of the cultural Cold War and discusses their lingering effects on our contemporary critical predicament.
—“Expertly bringing Black diaspora studies and critical race theory to bear on the Cold War’s culture wars, Of Vagabonds and Fellow Travelers shows why and how culture became a primary site of imperialist and anticolonial struggle in the U.S., Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean after World War II. Cedric Tolliver’s study of the institutional, literary, and interpersonal connections between Anglophone and Francophone writers is a tremendous contribution to scholarship on the U.S. left, race radicalism, and postcolonial and African diasporic literature.” —Cheryl Higashida, University of Colorado
"Of Vagabonds and Fellow Travelers: African Diaspora and the Cultural Cold War" is Cedric Tolliver’s first book. The American Library Association named it a 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
Professor Chitra Divakaruni’s novel "The Forest of Enchantments" (Harper Collins, 2019) based on The Ramayana, one of the world's greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita's version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women's struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills. While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say 'Enough'.
—”In recasting the Ramayan as a love story Divakaruni accords Sita parity with Ram, revealing her innate strength. By giving primacy to her thoughts and feelings this also becomes the private tale of Shri and Shrimati Ramchandra Raghuvanshi, two wonderful people who loved each other but who broke up. To readers well-acquainted with that tragedy of modern times, the failed marriage, it will appeal. The ending, however, surpasses all expectations.” —The Sunday Standard
Chitra Divakaruni is also the author of the short story collection “Arranged Marriage” (Anchor, 1993) winner of the American Book Award. As well as the novels “The Mistress of Spices” (Anchor, 1998), the best seller “Sister of My Heart” (Anchor, 2000), “Queen of Dreams” (Anchor, 2005), “Palace of Illusions” (Anchor, 2009), and “One Amazing Thing” (Hyperion, 2010).
Dr. Hosam Aboul Ela’s monograph “Domestications: American Empire, Literary Culture, and the Postcolonial Lens” (Northwestern University Press, 2019) traces a genealogy of American global engagement with the Global South since World War II. Hosam Aboul-Ela reads American writers contrapuntally against intellectuals from the Global South in their common—yet ideologically divergent—concerns with hegemony, world domination, and uneven development. Using Edward Said’s "Culture and Imperialism" as a model, Aboul-Ela explores the nature of U.S. imperialism’s relationship to literary culture through an exploration of five key terms from the postcolonial bibliography: novel, idea, perspective, gender, and space. Within this framework the book examines juxtapositions including that of Paul Bowles’s Morocco with North African intellectuals’ critique of Orientalism, the global treatment of Vietnamese liberation movements with the American narrative of personal trauma in the novels of Tim O’Brien and Hollywood film, and the war on terror’s philosophical idealism with Korean and post-Arab nationalist materialist archival fiction. “Domestications” departs from other recent studies of world literature in its emphases not only on U.S. imperialism but also on intellectuals working in the Global South and writing in languages other than English and French. Although rooted in comparative literature, its readings address issues of key concern to scholars in American studies, postcolonial studies, literary theory, and Middle Eastern studies.
—”Domestications” does not merely urge readers to move beyond the old nationalist prejudices of literary studies. More importantly, it offers readers an awareness of the inequalities produced by global capitalism under the aegis of US imperial dominance, and it models the potential of literary analyses undertaken by scholars in the Global South to register the complexity of cultural historiographies outside the United States."—Donald Pease, founder of the Futures of American Studies Institute
Hosam Aboul-Ela is also the author of “Other South: Faulkner, Coloniality, and the Mariátequi Tradition" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007). He is the english translator of the arabic novels "Distant Train: A Novel"(Syracuse University Press, 2007) by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid and "Warda" (Yale University Press, 2021) by Sonallah Ibrahim.
"Left of Poetry: Depression America and the Formation of Modern Poetics" (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) is a monograph by Dr. Sarah Ehlers. She returns to the Depression-era United States in order to unsettle longstanding ideas about poetry and emerging approaches to poetics. By bringing to light a range of archival materials and theories about poetry that emerged on the 1930s left, Ehlers reimagines the historical formation of modern poetics. Offering new and challenging readings of prominent figures such as Langston Hughes, Muriel Rukeyser, and Jacques Roumain, and uncovering the contributions of lesser-known writers such as Genevieve Taggard and Martha Millet, Ehlers illuminates an aesthetically and geographically diverse matrix of schools and movements. Resisting the dismissal of thirties left writing as mere propaganda, the book reveals how communist-affiliated poets experimented with poetic modes—such as lyric and documentary—and genres, including songs, ballads, and nursery rhymes, in ways that challenged existing frameworks for understanding the relationships among poetic form, political commitment, and historical transformation. As Ehlers shows, Depression left movements and their international connections are crucial for understanding both the history of modern poetry and the role of poetic thought in conceptualizing historical change.
—“A fascinating study of left poetry during the Great Depression. A writer with an impressive sensitivity to concrete detail, Sarah Ehlers offers a much-needed reappraisal of radical literature in America during a pivotal era in our nation’s history.”—James Smethurst, author of The African American Roots of Modernism
"Left of Poetry: Depression America and the Formation of Modern Poetics" is Dr. Sarah Ehlers first book.
"The Writer’s Style: A Rhetorical Field Guide" (Utah State University Press, 2019) by Dr. Paul Butler is a book designed to help all writers learn to use style as a rhetorical tool, taking into account audience, purpose, context, and occasion, The Writer’s Style is not only a style guide for a new generation but a new generation of style guide. The book helps writers learn new strategies inductively, by looking at firsthand examples of how they operate rhetorically, as well as deductively, through careful explanations in the text. The work focuses on invention, allowing writers to develop their own style as they analyze writing from varied genres.
In a departure from the deficiency model associated with other commonly used style guides, author Paul Butler encourages writers to see style as a malleable device to use for their own purposes rather than a domain of rules or privilege. He encourages writing instructors to present style as a practical, accessible, and rhetorical tool, working with models that connect to a broad range of writing situations—including traditional texts like essays, newspaper articles, and creative nonfiction as well as digital texts in the form of tweets, Facebook postings, texts, email, visual rhetoric, YouTube videos, and others. Though designed for use in first-year composition courses in which students are learning to write for various audiences, purposes, and contexts, "The Writer’s Style" is a richly layered work that will serve anyone considering how style applies to their professional, personal, creative, or academic writing.
—“Easy to read, rigorous, provocative, well-informed, elegant, and even fun. . . . I know of no other work that offers such a fine pedagogy for instructors who want to lead their students to become fluent in ways of reflecting on style and conscious of their own stylistic choices. Not since Joseph Williams’s classic work from 1980, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, has anyone produced a book that seems so powerfully well-suited to the writing classroom.” —T. R. Johnson, Tulane University
Paul Butler is also the author of "Out of Style" (University Press of Colorado, 2008) and "Style in Rhetoric and Composition" (St. Martin's Press, 2010). His recent scholarship focuses on the intersection of style, the public sphere, multimodal composition, and the digital humanities.
"Ranches of Isolation" (MadHat Press, 2018) by Dr. Sally Connolly considers the (sometimes vexed) nature of transatlantic poetic relations in a series of wide-ranging essays.
—“Sally Connolly is that rare thing, a critic of contemporary poetry who is at once sharp, funny, and judicious. Whether weighing up the merits—or demerits—of winners of the T. S. Eliot Prize, or pondering the nature of Irish-Englishness, or parsing the work of recent Poets Laureate, Connolly proves herself an expert and entertaining guide to what is happening in poetry on both sides of the Atlantic.” —Mark Ford
—“I’m a big fan of Sally Connolly’s "Grief & Meter: Elegies for Poets After Auden". In her new book, she takes her title from perhaps Auden’s best-known poem and, twinning him early on with Eliot, tries to keep the old transatlantic route open in both directions. As a kind of mid-Atlantic type myself, I like this. I don’t think Connolly lives on an isolated ranch, but she does live in Houston. Her autobiographical chapter about being Irish-English (not Anglo-Irish) is both delightful and necessary for understanding the smart perspective she brings to the poetry she discusses here.” —John Matthias
—“Sally Connolly opens up the realities of space and place that certain writers today inhabit in ink, but which need the direction of such a brilliant critic to help us enter, wander and wonder within.”—Greg Delanty
Sally Connolly’s first book, "Grief and Meter: Elegies for Poets After Auden" (University of Virginia, 2016), was the first every critical study of the elegies that poets write for each other. Her second book, "Ranches of Isolation: Transatlantic Poetry" considers the (sometimes vexed) nature of transatlantic poetic relations in a series of wide-ranging essays. She is currently working on a book about the poetry of the AIDS epidemic.
Dr. Sebastian Lecourt’s monograph, "Cultivating Belief: Victorian Anthropology, Liberal Aesthetics, and the Secular Imagination" (Oxford University Press 2018), explores how a group of Victorian liberal writers that included George Eliot, Walter Pater, and Matthew Arnold became attracted to new theories of religion as a function of race and ethnicity. Since the early modern period, British liberals had typically constructed religion as a zone of personal belief that defined modern individuality and interiority. During the 1860s, however, Eliot, Arnold, and other literary liberals began to claim that religion could actually do the most for the modern self when it came as a kind of involuntary inheritance. Stimulated by the emerging science of anthropology, they imagined that religious experiences embedded in race or ethnicity could render the self heterogeneous, while the individual who insisted upon selecting his or her own beliefs would become narrow and parochial. By rethinking the grounds of religion, this book argues, these writers were ultimately trying to shift liberal individualism away from a classical Protestant liberalism that celebrated interiority and agency toward one that valorized eclecticism and the capacity to keep multiple values in play. More broadly, their work offers us a new picture of secularization, not as a process of religious decline, but as the reworking of religion into an ordinary feature of human life—like art, or politics, or sex—whose function could be debated.
"Cultivating Belief: Victorian Anthropology, Liberal Aesthetics, and the Secular Imagination" (Oxford University Press 2018) is Sebastian Lecourt’s first book.
In her monograph, "Arresting Cinema" (Stanford University Press, 2017), Dr. Karen Fang delivers a unifying account of Hong Kong cinema that draws upon its renowned crime films and other unique genres to demonstrate Hong Kong's view of surveillance. When Ridley Scott envisioned Blade Runner's set as "Hong Kong on a bad day," he nodded to the city's overcrowding as well as its widespread use of surveillance. But while Scott brought Hong Kong and surveillance into the global film repertoire, the city's own cinema has remained outside of the global surveillance discussion. She argues that Hong Kong's films display a tolerance of—and even opportunism towards—the soft cage of constant observation, unlike the fearful view prevalent in the West. However, many surveillance cinema studies focus solely on European and Hollywood films, discounting other artistic traditions and industrial circumstances. Hong Kong's films show a more crowded, increasingly economically stratified, and postnational world that nevertheless offers an aura of hopeful futurity. Only by exploring Hong Kong surveillance film can we begin to shape a truly global understanding of Hitchcock's "rear window ethics."
—"Hong Kong films love to look: through windows, across courtyards, over ledges, down gun barrels, into mirrors, and around corners. I always knew that, but never gave it much thought until I read Karen Fang's innovative, refreshing, and yes, Arresting Cinema. Fang's analysis offers an essential complement to Western scholarship on cinema and surveillance." —Michael Curtin, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr. Karen Fang is also the author of "Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs: Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Authorship" (University of Virginia Press, 2010), and "John Woo's A Better Tommorrow" (Hong Kong University Press, 2004). She is the editor of the anthology "Surveillance in Asian Cinema: Under Asian Eyes" (Routledge, 2017).
Dr. Chatwara Suwannamai Duran’s monograph "Language and Literacy in Refugee Families" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) examines the agreements and discrepancies between public understanding and assumptions about refugees, and the actual beliefs and practices among the refugees themselves in a time of increasing mobility fuelled by what many call 'refugee crisis’. With a focus on language and literacy practices among recently-arrived Karenni refugee families in the United States, this book explores the multilingual repertoires and accumulated literacies acquired through the course of the refugees' multiple movements. Through the lens of transnationalism, the author emphasizes that despite their numerous struggles, the refugees daily and diligently use and strategize their old, emerging, and evolving linguistic and literacy resources to make the best of their resettlement. This book will shed light on the language and literacy practices among transnational and diasporic communities, minoritized or marginalized groups for researchers in these fields as well as practitioners and resettlement agencies working with refugee populations.
—“Transnational migration due to war, conflict, and economic despair is one of the defining human crises of our time. Based on her in-depth, longitudinal, ethnographic multiple-case study situated within one such refugee community, the Karenni (from Burma/Myanmar) in southwestern United States, Duran provides an illuminating and vivid account of in-school and out-of-school socialization into and through the multilingual language and literacy tools, practices, networks, and repertoires of this resourceful and resilient community.” (Patricia A. Duff, Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada)
"Language and Literacy in Refugee Families" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) is Dr. Chatwara Suwannamai Duran’s first book.
"The New York Editions" (Fordham University Press, 2017) the most recent poetry collection by Dr. Michael D. Snediker borrows its title from The New York Edition, Henry James’s name for Scribner’s 1907-09 re-issue of his life-long output of novels and shorter fiction. If the homage of Snediker’s second book of poems to the Jamesian oeuvre seems self-evident or obscure, to conceive of this poetry as a translation of James’s prose somewhat misses the mark in terms of the former’s unfolding investment in the vision of a dreamlike field belonging to neither one nor the other, so much as the deep sea dive of language in between, in the throes. These mesmeric poems are experimental meditations on the limbo of lost-in-translation as a multi-axial bardo between multiples lives and texts and those that follow, which they might foreseeably become were these poems not so distinctly wed to a jewel-like present tense driven by no single aesthetic principle save the one it immanently navigates.
The multiple voices that call to us from this place are ghostlike, to the extent that the force of their coiled abandon feels tethered to bodies in no familiar way. Even at their most seductively wry or pining, these semblances of speech wash over the landscapes they’re embedded in like a film’s post-production score or the heady excrescence of lilies calling one’s attention to an open window. At the same time, such lurid, queerly disembodied phenomena are richly studded, one might say, with a singular, uncanny material of their own, shot through with the tenacious, not-quite-phantom élan of desolation, remediating mirth and the renegade confusion of each with their respective, recollected forms. These are vigilant elegies, rough odes, songs of experience shy toward neither their own felt urgency nor the latter’s tendency to spoil: baroque trauerspiel meets ghost-story in reverse, moonlight gleaming with the otherworldly shine of James Bidgood’s lambent, mineral-oiled sea-bed. The New York Editions chronicles the effort of inhabiting while doing justice to the approximate wilderness of all those variously perceptible disturbances that set the world ajar just enough to feel the draught of an adjacent universe pouring in. “… and hope is the/ shells each morning small and cool// into which we hermits/ retract the startling// need of our/ claws.”
Michael D. Snediker is also the author of "The Apartment of Tragic Appliances", a Lambda finalist for Best Gay Poetry, and "Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions", a finalist for the MLA First Book Prize. He's also the author of two chapbooks--"Nervous Pastoral" and "Bourdon"-- as well as "Contingent Figure: Aesthetic Duress from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick".
"Nineteenth-Century Energies" (Routledge, 2016) an anthology edited by Dr. Lynn Voskuil explores the idea of ‘energy’, a concept central to new directions in interdisciplinary studies today. It examines the cultural perceptions and uses of energy in the nineteenth century – both in terms of pure and applied science, and as an idea with widespread diffusion in the popular imagination – in contributions by scholars drawing on a variety of fields, such as literature, philosophy, history, French studies, Latin American studies, cinema studies, and art history. These contributions explore the rise of insomnia as a recognized ailment, the role of guns and gun culture in the perception of human agency, the first uses of the barometer to predict massive cyclonic weather systems, and the hallucinatory, almost occult effects of radiant energy in early film.
Exemplifying innovative research in twenty-first century academia, this volume also speaks to the wider cultural concerns of today’s global citizen about the preservation and renewal of natural resources around the world; the emergence of devices and technologies that have both improved and impaired human life; the aggrandizement of nation-states around large technological systems; and the centrality of the image in our perception and absorption of contemporary culture. This book was originally published as a special issue of Nineteenth-Century Contexts.
Lynn Voskuil is also the author of "Acting Naturally: Victorian Theatricality and Authenticity" (University of Virginia Press, 2004), and a large number of essays and journal articles. She is currently completing a book manuscript that explores the ecological and imperial history of nineteenth-century exotic horticulture in Britain.
"Placing the History of College Writing: Stories from the Incomplete Archive" (WAC Clearinghouse, 2016) by Dr. Nathan Shipley argues that pre-1950s composition history, if analyzed with the right conceptual tools, can pluralize and clarify our understanding of the relationship between the writing of college students and the writing's physical, social, and discursive surroundings. Even if the immediate outcome of student writing is to generate academic credit, Shepley shows, the writing does more complex rhetorical work. It gives students chances to uphold or adjust institutional codes for student behavior, allows students and their literacy sponsors to respond to sociopolitical issues in a city or state, enables faculty and administrators to create strategic representations of institutional or program identities, and connects people across disciplines, occupations, and geographic locations. Shepley argues that even if many of today's composition scholars and instructors work at institutions that lack extensive historical records of the kind usually preferred by composition historians, those scholars and teachers can mine their institutional collections for signs of the various contexts with which student writing dealt.
"Placing the History of College Writing: Stories from the Incomplete Archive" (WAC Clearinghouse, 2016) is Nathan Shipley’s first book.
"The Rhetoric of Plato’s Republic: Democracy and the Philosophical Problem of Persuasion" (Chicago University Press, 2015) is the most recent monograph by Dr. James L. Kastely. Plato isn’t exactly thought of as a champion of democracy, and perhaps even less as an important rhetorical theorist. In this book, James L. Kastely recasts Plato in just these lights, offering a vivid new reading of one of Plato’s most important works: the Republic. At heart, Kastely demonstrates, the Republic is a democratic epic poem and pioneering work in rhetorical theory. Examining issues of justice, communication, persuasion, and audience, he uncovers a seedbed of theoretical ideas that resonate all the way up to our contemporary democratic practices. As Kastely shows, the Republic begins with two interrelated crises: one rhetorical, one philosophical. In the first, democracy is defended by a discourse of justice, but no one can take this discourse seriously because no one can see—in a world where the powerful dominate the weak—how justice is a value in itself. That value must be found philosophically, but philosophy, as Plato and Socrates understand it, can reach only the very few. In order to reach its larger political audience, it must become rhetoric; it must become a persuasive part of the larger culture—which, at that time, meant epic poetry. Tracing how Plato and Socrates formulate this transformation in the Republic, Kastely isolates a crucial theory of persuasion that is central to how we talk together about justice and organize ourselves according to democratic principles.
—“James Kastely undertakes the ambitious project of a revisionary reading of the Republic as thoroughly occupied with questions of persuasion and motivated by concerns of social and individual reform. Kastely undoubtedly succeeds at his goal of inaugurating a conversation about the importance of the Republic for contemporary rhetorical studies, demonstrating that the Republic is a text that theorizes about persuasion, self-consciously demonstrates persuasive acts, and attempts to persuade others about the value of justice and philosophy.” -Rhetoric and Public Affairs
James Kastely is also the author of "Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition: From Plato to Postmodernism" (Yale University Press, 1997).
Professor Antonya Nelson’s seventh collection is "Funny Once: Stories" (Bloomsbury, 2014). Michael Chabon once said, “I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again.” And now she has blessed us again, with a bounty of the stories for which she is so beloved. Her stories are clear-eyed, hard-edged, beautifully formed. In the title story, “Funny Once,” a couple held together by bad behavior fall into a lie with their more responsible friends. In “The Village,” a woman visits her father at a nursing home, recalling his equanimity at her teenage misdeeds and gaining a new understanding of his own past indiscretions. In another, when a troubled girl in the neighborhood goes missing, a mother worries increasingly about her teenage son's relationship with a bad-news girlfriend. In the novella “Three Wishes,” siblings muddle through in the aftermath of their elder brother's too-early departure from the world.
The landscape of this book is the wide open spaces of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Throughout, there is the pervasive desire to drink to forget, to have sex with the wrong people, to hit the road and figure out later where to stop for the night. These characters are aging, regretting actions both taken and not, inhabiting their extended adolescences as best they can. And in Funny Once, their flawed humanity is made beautiful, perfectly observed by one of America's best short story writers.
—“Antonya Nelson's gloriously debauched new collection, Funny Once, finds that conventions are made for flouting, from an eminent professor who sleeps with his young wife's best friend to former college competitors who embark on a lost weekend.” – Vogue
Antonya Nelson is the author of eleven books of fiction. Her works include "Female Trouble" and the novels "Talking in Bed", "Nobody's Girl", and "Living to Tell".
"A Muse and a Maze Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic" (Trinity University Press, 2014) by Professor Peter Turchi is the follow-up to the bestselling "Maps of the Imagination", connecting puzzles, mystery, and magic to the art of writing.With his characteristic talent for finding the connections between writing and the stuff of our lives (most notably in his earlier hit Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer), Peter Turchi ventures into new, and even more surprising, territory. In A Muse and a Maze, Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle-making and its flip side, puzzle-solving. He teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling. And he uncovers the magic—the creation of credible illusion—that writers share with the likes of Houdini and master magicians.
With the goal of giving writers new ways to think about their work and readers new ways to consider the books they encounter, "A Muse and a Maze" suggests ways in which every piece of writing is a kind of puzzle. The work argues that literary writing is defined, at least in part, by its embrace of mystery; offers tangrams as a model for the presentation of complex characters; compares a writer’s relationship to his or her narrator to magicians and wizards; offers the maze and the labyrinth as alternatives to the more common notion of the narrative line; and concludes with a discussion of how readers and writers, like puzzle solvers, not only tolerate but find pleasure in difficulty.
—“Consistently engaging, lively, and thought provoking. The interactive element is also a delight, as there are actual puzzles scattered throughout (answers are provided in the back) to demonstrate the challenges and rewards offered by puzzles—and by good writing.…Readers and puzzle lovers should find much of value." — Publishers Weekly
Peter Turchi's books include "Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer"; "Suburban Journals: The Sketchbooks", "Drawings", and "Prints of Charles Ritchie", in collaboration with the artist; a novel, "The Girls Next Door"; and a collection of stories, "Magician".
"Second Line Rescue: Improvised Responses to Katrina and Rita" (University Press of Mississippi, 2013) is an anthology edited by Dr. Carl Lindahl that chronicles the brave and creative acts through which Gulf Coast people rescued their neighbors during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Ordinary citizens joined in with whatever resources they had. Unlike many of the official responders, vernacular rescuers found ways around paralysis produced by a breakdown in communications and infrastructure. They were able to dispel unfounded fears produced by erroneous or questionable reporting. The essays, personal narratives, media reports, and field studies presented here all have to do with effective and often ingenious answers that emerged from the people themselves. Their solutions are remarkably different from the hamstrung government response, and their perspectives are a tonic to sensationalized media coverage.
The first part of the collection deals with Gulf Coast rescuers from outside stricken communities: those who, safe in their own homes and neighborhoods, marshaled their resources to help their fellow citizens. It includes some analysis and scholarly approaches, but it also includes direct responses and first-hand field reports. The second part features the words of hurricane survivors displaced from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities to Houston, Texas. In many cases, the "victims" themselves were the first responders, rescuing family, friends, and strangers. All of the stories, whether from the "outside" or "inside" responders, reveal a shared history of close-knit community bonds and survival skills sharpened by hard times. This book is about what went right in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita--in spite of all that went so wrong.
—"Second Line Rescue is an exemplary work for public-sector folklorists who work in communities ravaged by nature. For those seeking to play meaningful roles in the wake of disaster, this book is a model for community engagement. " -Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions in Folklore, Volume 126, Number 1
Dr. Lindahl is also the author of "Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana" (1997) named the Louisiana Humanities Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Among his other books are "Cajun Mardi Gras Masks" (1997) and "American Folktales from the Collections of the Library of Congress" (2004).
"Tumbledown" (Graywolf Press, 2013) is a novel by Professor Robert Boswell. At age thirty-three, James Candler seems to be well on the road to success. He's in line for a big promotion at Onyx Springs, the treatment facility where he's a therapist. He has a fiancée, a sizable house, and a Porsche.
But . . . he's falling in love with another woman, he's underwater on his mortgage, and he's put his hapless best friend in charge of his signature therapeutic program. Even the GPS on his car can't seem to predict where he should turn next. And his clients are struggling in their own hilarious, heartbreaking ways to keep their lives on track. How can he help them if he can't help himself?
In "Tumbledown", Robert Boswell presents a large, unforgettable cast of characters who are all failing and succeeding in various degrees to make sense of our often-irrational world. In a moving narrative twist, he boldly reckons with the extent to which tragedy can be undone, the impossible accommodated.
—“A winning ensemble cast of therapists and patients make stabs at sanity in Robert Boswell’s mordantly funny novel Tumbledown.”—Vanity Fair
Robert Boswell is the author of twelve books, including "Tumbledown" and "The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards".
"Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012), by Dr. Jennifer Wingard, explores how neoliberal economics has affected the rhetoric of the media and politics, and how in very direct, material ways it harms the bodies of some of the United States’ most vulnerable occupants. The book is written at a moment when the promise of the liberal nation state, in which the government purports to care for its citizens through social welfare programs financed by state funds, is eroding. Currently, state policies are defined by neoliberal governmentality, a form which privileges privatization and individual personal responsibility. Instead of the promise of citizenship and the protections that come with it, or “the American Dream” to use a more common euphemism, the state uses certain bodies that will never be accepted as citizens as an underclass in service of capital (think “Guest Worker Programs”). And those underclassed “bodies” are identified through branding.
In order to demonstrate just how damaging branding has become, Wingard offers readings of key pieces of legislation on immigration and GLBT rights and their media reception from the past twenty years. By showing how brands are assembled to create affective threats, "Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State" articulates how dangerous the branding of bodies has become and offers rhetorical strategies that can repair the damage to bodies caused by political branding. Branded Bodies, then, is an intervention into the rhetorical practices of the nation-state. It attempts to clarify how the nation state uses brands to forward its claims of equality and freedom all the while condemning those who do not “fit in” to particular categories valued by the neoliberal state.
—“[T]his book is useful for explaining the processes through which individuals and groups are dehumanized. At times I found this book infuriating, which illustrates the power with which Wingard demonstrates the injustice of many of these brands. Those interested in social movements, political communication, and GLBT and immigrant issues will find this book useful." — Rhetoric Society Quarterly
"Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012) is Dr. Jennifer Wingard’s first book.
"Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest" (Duke University Press, 2010) is an anthology edited by Dr. Lois Parkinson Zamora. It traces the changing nature of Baroque representation in Europe and the Americas across four centuries, from its seventeenth-century origins as a Catholic and monarchical aesthetic and ideology to its contemporary function as a postcolonial ideology aimed at disrupting entrenched power structures and perceptual categories. Baroque forms are exuberant, ample, dynamic, and porous, and in the regions colonized by Catholic Europe, the Baroque was itself eventually colonized. In the New World, its transplants immediately began to reflect the cultural perspectives and iconographies of the indigenous and African artisans who built and decorated Catholic structures, and Europe’s own cultural products were radically altered in turn. Today, under the rubric of the Neobaroque, this transculturated Baroque continues to impel artistic expression in literature, the visual arts, architecture, and popular entertainment worldwide. Since Neobaroque reconstitutions necessarily reference the European Baroque, this volume begins with the reevaluation of the Baroque that evolved in Europe during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. Foundational essays by Friedrich Nietzsche, Heinrich Wölfflin, Walter Benjamin, Eugenio d’Ors, René Wellek, and Mario Praz recuperate and redefine the historical Baroque. Their essays lay the groundwork for the revisionist Latin American essays, many of which have not been translated into English until now. Authors including Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima, Severo Sarduy, Édouard Glissant, Haroldo de Campos, and Carlos Fuentes understand the New World Baroque and Neobaroque as decolonizing strategies in Latin America and other postcolonial contexts. This collection moves between art history and literary criticism to provide a rich interdisciplinary discussion of the transcultural forms and functions of the Baroque.
—“The chief value of Baroque New Worlds is that it provides a supple framework in which the continuities and discrepancies of these different aspects of Latin American literary history can be explored.” — Tom Boll, Modern Language Review
Dr. Zamora’s previous books include "Writing the Apocalypse" (Cambridge UP, 1989) and "The Usable Past" (Cambridge UP 1997). Both books have been translated into Spanish and published by the Fondo de Cultura Económica. She has also edited collections of essays, including "Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community", with Wendy B. Faris (Duke UP, 1995), "Contemporary American Women Writers: Gender, Class, Ethnicity" (Longman, 1998), and "Image and Memory: Photography from Latin America 1866-1994", with Wendy Watriss (University of Texas Press, 1998). "Image and Memory" was recognized as the best new art book of 1998 by the Association of American Publishers.
Dr. James Pipkin’s monograph “Sporting Lives : Metaphor and Myth in American Sports Autobiographies” (University of Missouri State, 2008) takes a fresh look at memoirs from baseball, football, basketball, golf, and other sports to explore how American athletes see themselves: not only how these images mesh with popular perceptions of them as heroes or celebrities but also how their accounts differ from those of sports journalists and other outsiders.
—“Pipkin makes an important contribution to the growing scholarly literature about sport. He provides an interesting attempt to understand some of the cultural dimensions of the way lives are portrayed in American sporting autobiographies. The analysis of sporting lives, as seen through the autobiographical accounts of American athletes, is a challenging topic and Pipkin has done well to wrestle with the complexities that shape an undisciplined and at times amorphous body of popular literature rather than taking the easier route of settling on some simple analytical pathway through it all. “ -Philip Moore, Life Writing
Dr. James Pipkin is also the author of "English and German Romanticism: Cross-Currents and Controversies" (1985).
"Hawthorne, Gender, and Death: Christianity and Its Discontents" (Palgrave, 2008) by Dr. Roberta Weldon is a monograph that draws on a range of critical approaches, including cultural anthropology, psychoanalytic theory, political justice theory, and feminist theory, to consider the ways that strategies of death denial and their compensatory consolations offer insight into the ethical, gender, and religious questions raised by Hawthorne's novels.
— "Weldon explores the heretofore occulted connections between the violence Hawthone's male protagonists directed against women and their fears of psychic disintegration, mortality, and social annihilation. Weldon's persuasive elaborations of this claim enable her to demonstrate, quite convincingly in my estimation, how the denial of death constitutes a transcultural and even a v structure of masculinist self-construction." — Donald Pease, Avalon Chair of Humanities and Director of the Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College
"The Making of Modern Cynicism" (The University of Virginia Press, 2007) is a monograph by Dr. David Mazella. Once describing a life of exile, self-denial, physical rigor, and mastery of one’s desires, cynicism now describes a life of political quietism, passivity, and moral indifference, representing not a weakening of ancient philosophic norms but rather their inversion. In The Making of Modern Cynicism, David Mazella asks: how did ancient Cynic philosophy come to provide a name for its modern, unphilosophical counterpart, and what events caused such a dramatic reversal of cynicism’s former meanings? He traces the concept of cynicism from its origins as a philosophical way of life in Greek antiquity through its successive transformations in the early modern and Enlightenment periods and into the nineteenth century when it took its distinctively modern, unreflective form as a variety of disenchantment, disbelief, or distrust. Sampling a wide variety of literary, philosophical, and historical writings, Mazella documents the transition of the cynic from an ascetic philosopher to any person whose "faded belief or curdled trust had left him unfit for attachments to others." Even more important, Mazella questions why cynicism should provoke such hand-wringing from cultural critics when it has been a stable, recognized, even routine feature of modern politics for the better part of 150 years. Arguing that modern cynics inspire powerful reactions by envisaging a future without hope of meaningful change, he then suggests that we address popular cynicism in more effective, less moralistic ways. Rather than dismissing cynicism as an irrational attitude of distrust or fatalism, or chiding cynics for their persistent disbelief, Mazella contends that analyzing cynicism can reveal the unacknowledged limits of current political argument, a crucial first step toward developing the kinds of reasoned persuasion necessary for more meaningful and substantive forms of political change.
Well-written and engaging, "The Making of Modern Cynicism" will appeal not only to readers in literary and cultural criticism but also to those interested in political theory and the history of philosophy.
"The Making of Modern Cynicism" (The University of Virginia Press, 2007) is Dr. David Mazella’s first book. His current book project is "1771: A literary history": a literary history of a single year, as found in the Anglophone writings produced in a series of metropolitan or colonial settings: e.g., London, Edinburgh, Philadelphia, and Kingston, Jamaica. It treats the writing produced in that year as part of a collectively authored text in the British Empire.
"William Camden: A Life In Context" (Boydell Press, 2007) by Dr. W. H. Herendeen provides the first major analytical biography of Camden, his life, his career as educator, herald, antiquarian, and author, since Thomas Smith's Latin biography in 1691. Camden's place in early-modern British intellectual history is legend. He authored two monuments to Elizabethan and British cultural identity, was the schoolmate of Philip Sidney, praised by Edmund Spenser, mentor and teacher of Ben Jonson and Robert Cotton, and friend of British and international scholars such as John Selden and Jacques De Thou. He was a major presence in the intellectual community of British and Continental scholars, and a poet and historian among poets and historians. "William Camden: A Life In Context" attempts to understand the nature of his extraordinary impact on his own and subsequent generations of writers in different fields. Recognized as it is, Camden's place within the larger intellectual and cultural history of the English Renaissance has not been examined. "The Britannia, the Annals of Elizabeth", and his antiquarian activities have attracted the attention of historians and some literary scholars, but his lesser work has been neglected, as has his shaping influence on the institutions where he worked. As Headmaster at Westminster he was an influential educator and member of the Westminster Chapter under the auspices of William Cecil; as Clarenceux King of Arms, he was a major presence in Tudor and Stuart court culture. Although history has cast him as politically disengaged, Camden lived, worked, and wrote in a politically charged world. "William Camden: A Life In Context" attempts to locate Camden within this transformational period, and to understand what influences shaped his mind and work.
Dr. W. H. Herendeen is also the author of "Ben Jonson's 1616 Folio" (University of Delaware Press, 1991) with Jennifer Brady and "From Landscape to Literature: The River and the Myth of Geography" (Duquesne University Press, 1986).
"Contemporary Mexican-American Women Novelists: Toward a Feminist Identity", by Dr. Maria González was published as part of the series Wor(l)ds of Change: Latin American and Iberian Literature by Peter Lang, has gone into three printings. Contemporary Mexican-American women novelists – some of whom are moving toward a Chicana feminist construct – have produced very exciting work. Using the works of both Gloria Anzaldúa and Elaine Showalter as theoretical frameworks, this study argues for a specific Chicana feminism whose roots are both in and outside the Mexican-American culture. The authors included in Contemporary Mexican-American Women Novelists are Ana Castillo, Denise Chávez, Sandra Cisneros, Lucha Corpi, Margarita Cota-Cádenas, Roberta Fernández, Laura del Fuego, Irene Beltrán Hernández, Mary Helen Ponce, and Estela Portillo Trambley.
Dr. Maria González is currently completing a book-length manuscript on the influence of Chicana lesbian writers and queer theory in Chicana literary studies.
"In the Shadows of the Sun" (Penguin Random House, 2005) Professor Alexander Parsons’ second novel takes us from the scorched battlefields of World War II’s Pacific front to the badlands of America’s desert southwest in this starkly evocative novel about a ranching family living at the dawn of the nuclear age.Even as Jack Strickland fights the Japanese in the Philippines, his family in New Mexico clashes with the U.S. government, which intends to evict them from their ranch and turn their land into a bombing range. In the midst of this, news from a hemisphere away and antagonisms and temptations close to home threaten to split the family from within, their struggles and fortunes vividly illustrating America’s wartime progression into the modern era.
—“Surpassingly beautiful. His loving landscapes are almost worth the price of admission.” –San Francisco Chronicle
—“Meticulously crafted. . . . It has a steady drumbeat, a muffled rhythm that achieves an agreeable tempo.” –Los Angeles Times
Alex Parsons is also the author of the novel "Leaving Disneyland", which won the Associated Writing Program’s Award for the Novel, the Writer’s League of Texas Violet Crown Award, and was a finalist for the PEN West Award.
"America’s Gothic Fiction: The Legacy of the Magnalia Christi Americana" (Ohio University Press, 2002) is a monograph by Dr. Dorothy Z. Baker. Secretary to the Salem witch trials, Cotton Mather is the most reviled of our national historians. Yet James Russell Lowell admitted that “with all his faults, that conceited old pedant contrived to make one of the most entertaining books ever written on this side of the water.” In America’s Gothic Fiction, Dorothy Z. Baker investigates the ways in which nineteenth-century authors Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others, look to Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana at critical moments in their work and refashion his historical accounts as gothic fiction. Cotton Mather’s 1702 Magnalia captured the imagination of its readers more than any other colonial history and impressed Americans with its message of American exceptionalism and God’s dramatic intervention on behalf of the country and its citizens. Poe, Stowe, and Hawthorne, who are rarely grouped together in literary studies, have radically divergent responses to Mather’s theology, historiography, and literary forms. However, each takes up Mather’s themes and forms and, in distinct ways, interrogates the providence tales in Magnalia Christi Americana as foundational statements about American history and identity.
—“This is a fresh, insightful, and illuminating book that builds appreciation for all the writers Baker considers. It makes valuable contributions to understanding of an immensely engaging topic and opens up possibilities for additional study of providence narratives and the American literary imagination.” —Jane Donahue Eberwein, Distinguished Professor of English at Oakland University
Dr. Dorothy Z. Baker is also the author of "Mythic Masks in Self-Reflexive Poetry" (1986) and editor of "Poetics in the Poem" (1996) and "The Silent and Soft Communion: The Spiritual Narratives of Sarah Pierpont Edwards and Sarah Prince Gill "(2005)
“Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs" (Oxford University Press, 2002) was edited by Dr. John McNamara and Dr. Carl Lindahl. It offers a wide-ranging guide to the lore of the Middle Ages--from the mundane to the supernatural. Definitive and lively articles focus on the great tales and traditions of the age and includes information on daily and nightly customs and activities; religious beliefs of the pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jew; key works of oral and written literature; traditional music and art; holidays and feasts; food and drink; and plants and animals, both real and fantastical. While most books on medieval folklore focus primarily on the West, this unique volume brings together an eclectic range of experts to treat the subject from a global perspective. Especially remarkable are the surveys of the major medieval traditions including Arab-Islamic, Baltic, English, Finno-Ugric, French, Hispanic, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Scandinavian, Scottish, Slavic, and Welsh.
—“For anyone who has ever wanted a path through the tangle of Arthurian legends, or the real lowdown on St. Patrick, or the last word on wolf lore--this is the place to look.”
Dr. John McNamara is also the translator and editor of "Beowulf " (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2005).
Dr. Paul Guajarado’s monograph "Chicano Controversy: Oscar Acosta and Richard Rodriguez" (2002) was published by Peter Lang as part of the Modern American Literature series. Chicano Controversy takes a unique approach to two colorful and controversial Chicano writers: Oscar Acosta and Richard Rodriguez. Paul Guajardo argues that Acosta’s involvement with the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and 1970s was somewhat opportunistic as Acosta was always uneasy about his identity and ethnicity. Conversely, Guajardo argues that Richard Rodriguez – who also problematizes notions of ethnicity – requires re-evaluation and full inclusion into the broadening canon of Chicano literature.
Dr. William Monroe’s "Power to Hurt: The Virtues of Alienation published by University of Illinois" was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 1999. Monroe addresses what William J. Bennett ignores in The Book of Virtues: How do readers use literature as "equipment for living"? Tackling modernism and postmodernism, Monroe outlines "virtue criticism," an alternative to current theory. Focusing on works by T. S. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov, and Donald Barthelme, he demonstrates that these alienistic texts are not just filled with belligerence but are also endowed with virtues, such as trust and the promise of solidarity with the reader. By considering these vital texts as responses to personal situations and institutional practices, Monroe brings literature back to the common reader and shows how it offers functional responses to the dysfunctional situations of modern life. Readers interested in literary criticism, American culture, and the relationship between ethics and literature will be fascinated by virtue criticism and this fresh look at the virtues and vices of alienation.
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