In Against the Gallows, Paul Christian Jones explores the intriguing cooperation of America’s writers—including major figures such as Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whittier, E. D. E. N. Southworth, and Herman Melville—with reformers, politicians, clergymen, and periodical editors who attempted to end the practice of capital punishment in the United States during the 1840s and 1850s. In an age of passionate reform efforts, the antigallows movement enjoyed broad popularity, waging its campaign in legislatures, pulpits, newspapers, and literary journals.
In Aggregate of Disturbances, Michele Glazer confronts the slipperiness of language and perception as she probes natural processes—the lives of insects, the uncertainty of love, and the deaths of human beings. Nature’s beauty interests Glazer less than the fact that it is chaotic, amoral, redundant, charming, and indifferent to human concern—qualities that are, in these poems, turned into another kind of beauty. “The stalk was knocked flat &the allium’s great lavender sphere / kissed the dirt &in the aftermath the pendulous blossomed / tip bobbed like a wand madly attempting to enchant-enchant-enchant. / / I wanted to believe that it happened to amuse me.”
These taut lyrical poems negotiate between desire for something irrefutable and an uneasy bedrock of paradox. In the interstices, Aggregate of Disturbances breaks open language and experience to offer a glimpse of “the eye on the other side.”
How do we survive our family, stay bound to our community, and keep from losing ourselves? In All That Work and Still No Boys, Kathryn Ma exposes the deepest fears and longings that we mask in family life and observes the long shadows cast by history and displacement.
Here are ten stories that wound and satisfy in equal measure. Ma probes the immigrant experience, most particularly among northern California’s Chinese Americans, illuminating for us the confounding nature of duty, transformation, and loss. A boy exposed to racial hatred finds out the true difference between his mother and his father. Two old rivals briefly lay down their weapons, but loneliness and despair won’t let them forget the past. A young Beijing tour guide with a terrible family secret must take an adopted Chinese girl and her American family to visit an orphanage. And in the prize-winning title story, a mother refuses to let her son save her life, insisting instead on a sacrifice by her daughter.
Intimate in detail and universal in theme, these stories give us the compelling voice of an exciting new author whose intelligence, insight, and wit impart a sense of grace to the bitter resentments and enduring ties that comprise family love. Even through the tensions Ma creates so deftly, the peace and security that come from building and belonging to one’s own community shine forth.
Sarah Gillespie Huftalen led an unconventional life for a rural midwestern woman of her time. Born in 1865 near Manchester, Iowa, she was a farm girl who became a highly regarded country school and college teacher; she married a man older than either of her parents, received a college degree later in life, and was committed to both family and career. A gifted writer, she crafted essays, teacher-training guides, and poetry while continuing to write lengthy, introspective entries in her diary, which spans the years from 1873 to 1952. In addition, she gathered extensive information about the quietly tragic life of her mother, Emily, and worked to preserve Emily's own detailed diary.
In more than 3,500 pages, Sarah writes about her multiple roles as daughter, sister, wife, teacher, family historian, and public figure. Her diary reflects the process by which she was socialized into these roles and her growing consciousness of the ways in which these roles intersected. Not only does her diary embody the diverse strategies used by one woman to chart her life's course and to preserve her life's story for future generations, it also offers ample evidence of the diary as a primary form of private autobiography for individuals whose lives do not lend themselves to traditional definitions of autobiography.
Taken together, Emily's and Sarah's extraordinary diaries span nearly a century and thus form a unique mother/daughter chronicle of daily work and thoughts, interactions with neighbors and friends and colleagues, and the destructive family dynamics that dominated the Gillespies. Sarah's consciousness of the abusive relationship between her mother and father haunts her diary, and this dramatic relationship is duplicated in Sarah's relationship with her brother, Henry, Suzanne Bunkers' skillful editing and analysis of Sarah's diary reveal the legacy of a caring, loving mother reflected in her daughter's work as family member, teacher, and citizen.
The rich entries in Sarah Gillespie Huftalen's diary offer us brilliant insights into the importance of female kinship networks in American life, the valued status of many women as family chroniclers, and the fine art of selecting, piecing, stitching, and quilting that characterizes the many shapes of women's autobiographies. Read Sarah's dairy to discover why "all will yet be well."
Tales of separating cream on the back porch at Cottonwood Farm, raising a teddy bear of a puppy in addition to a menagerie of other animals, surviving an endless procession of Cub and Boy Scouts, appreciating a little boy’s need to take his toy tractor to church, blowing out eggs to make an Easter egg tree, shopping for bargains on the day before Christmas, camping in a converted Model T “house car,” and adjusting to the fact of one’s tenth decade of existence all merge to form a world composed of kindness and wisdom with just enough humor to keep it grounded. Recipes for such fare as Evelyn’s signature Hay Hand Rolls prove that the young woman who was daunted by her editor’s advice to “put in a recipe every week” became a talented cook. Each of the more than eighty columns in this warmhearted collection celebrates not a bygone era tinged with sentimentality but a continuing tradition of neighborliness, Midwest-nice and Midwest-sensible.
Think of Nelson Algren, and many images come to mind—Chicago's unappreciated genius, champion of the poor and disenfranchised, lover of Simone de Beauvoir, author ofThe Man with the Golden Arm and A Walk on the Wild Side—but the author of a cookbook? Here it is: the never-before-published America Eats, a delightful, thoroughly entertaining look at who we are and what we love to eat.
The origins of America Eats are as fascinating as the book itself. In the late 1930s Nelson Algren joined such writers as Saul Bellow, Richard Wright, Margaret Alexander, and Arna Bontemps in the employ of the Illinois Writers Project, a branch of the federal Works Progress Administration. Algren's assignment: to collect information for the national "America Eats" program, a pioneering enterprise whose members hoped to produce a series of regional guides describing types of immigration, settlement, and customs as these factors related to the universal language of food. Algren completed his project, a look at the foodways of the Midwest, but by the early 1940s the fruits of "America Eats" had been filed away as the government mobilized for war.
Now at long last Algren's America Eats is published as one of the inaugural volumes in the Iowa Szathmáry Culinary Arts Series. This cookbook, part anecdotal history, part culinary commentary, is an engaging romp through the attitudes and activities surrounding food in the Midwest. An enticing and useful feature of the book is an all-new recipe section tested in the kitchens of the Culinary Arts Division of Johnson &Wales University under the watchful eye of Chef Laureate Louis Szathmáry.
Those same interviewing skills that led to Algren's successful depiction of Chicago's inner-city residents served him well as he spoke with a variety of cooks, casual and accomplished, and gathered all kinds of recipes, tried and traditional. Algren recorded it all in his inimitable style, and modern readers are richer for his efforts. From descriptions of the rituals at an Indiana family reunion ("When a slacking off in the first rush of eating is indicated by the gradual resumption of conversation, the servers start a second attack, urging everyone to have another helping of everything") to the holiday specialty on a Minnesota immigrant's table, lutefisk ("Any newcomer present will be assured, 'You won't like it, nobody likes lutefisk at first'"), America Eats offers all readers a true feast.
Diaspora constitutes a powerful descriptor for the modern condition of the contemporary poet, the spokesperson for the psyche of America. The poems in American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement focus on the struggles and pleasures of creating a home-physical and mental-out of displacement, exile, migration, and alienation.
To fully explore the concept of diaspora, the editors have broadened the scope of their definition to include not only the physical act of moving and immigration but also the spiritual and emotional dislocations that can occur-as for Emily Dickinson and other poets-even in a life spent entirely in one location.
In America as in Britain, the rise of the Gothic represented the other—the fearful shadows cast upon Enlightenment philosophies of common sense, democratic positivism, and optimistic futurity. Many critics have recognized the centrality of these shadows to American culture and self-identification. American Gothic, however, remaps the field by offering a series of revisionist essays associated with a common theme: the range and variety of Gothic manifestations in high and popular art from the roots of American culture to the present.
The thirteen essayists approach the persistence of the Gothic in American culture by providing a composite of interventions that focus on specific issues—the histories of gender and race, the cultures of cities and scandals and sensations—in order to advance distinct theoretical paradigms. Each essay sustains a connection between a particular theoretical field and a central problem in the Gothic tradition.
Drawing widely on contemporary theory—particularly revisionist views of Freud such as those offered by Lacan and Kristeva—this volume ranges from the well-known Gothic horrors of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne to the popular fantasies of Stephen King and the postmodern visions of Kathy Acker. Special attention is paid to the issues of slavery and race in both black and white texts, including those by Ralph Ellison and William Faulkner. In the view of the editors and contributors, the Gothic is not so much a historical category as a mode of thought haunted by history, a part of suburban life and the lifeblood of films such as The Exorcist and Fatal Attraction.
In The American H.D., Annette Debo considers the significance of nation in the artistic vision and life of the modernist writer Hilda Doolittle. Her versatile career stretching from 1906 to 1961, H.D. was a major American writer who spent her adult life abroad; a poet and translator who also wrote experimental novels, short stories, essays, reviews, and a children’s book; a white writer with ties to the Harlem Renaissance; an intellectual who collaborated on avant-garde films and film criticism; and an upper-middle-class woman who refused to follow gender conventions. Her wide-ranging career thus embodies an expansive narrative about the relationship of modernism to the United States and the nuances of the American nation from the Gilded Age to the Cold War.
Likewise, the authors describe phenomena—such as the FBI’s surveillance of writers (especially African Americans), biopolitics, development theory, struggles over the centralization and decentralization of government, and the cultural work of Reaganism—that open up new contexts for discussing postwar culture. Extending the timeline and expanding the geographic scope of Cold War culture, this book reveals both the literature and the culture of the time to be more dynamic and complex than has been generally supposed.
Jonathan Shandell provides the first in-depth study of the historic American Negro Theatre (ANT) and its lasting influence on American popular culture. Founded in 1940 in Harlem, the ANT successfully balanced expressions of African American consciousness with efforts to gain white support for the burgeoning civil rights movement. The theatre company featured innovative productions with emerging artists—Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, and many others—who would become giants of stage, film, and television. In 1944, the ANT made theatrical history by creating the smash hit Anna Lucasta, the most popular play with an African American cast ever to perform on Broadway. Starting from a shoestring budget, the ANT grew into one of the most important companies in the history of African American theatre. Though the group folded in 1949, it continued to shape American popular culture through the creative work of its many talented artists.
Examining oral histories, playbills, scripts, production stills, and journalistic accounts, Shandell gives us the most complete picture to date of the theatre company by analyzing well-known productions alongside groundbreaking and now-forgotten efforts. Shedding light on this often-overlooked chapter of African American history, which fell between the New Negro Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement, Shandell reveals how the ANT became a valued community institution for Harlem—an important platform for African American artists to speak to racial issues—and a trailblazer in promoting integration and interracial artistic collaboration in the U.S. In doing so, Shandell also demonstrates how a small amateur ensemble of the 1940s succeeded in challenging, expanding, and transforming how African Americans were portrayed in the ensuing decades. The result is a fascinating and entertaining examination that will be of interest to scholars and students of African American and American studies and theatre history, as well as popular culture enthusiasts.
In Beth Helms's American Wives, winner of the 2003 Iowa Short Fiction Award, the women inhabit familiar roles—military wife, wealthy widow, devoted mother, lifetime companion. Yet despite their ordinary appearances, these women have deep secrets hidden beneath the thin veneer of duty, devotion, and privilege.
Set in both the United States and abroad, American Wives is about hope and disappointment, failure and resignation, desire and, occasionally, joy. A military wife abroad has a brief and totally unexpected sexual encounter; a wife watches as her husband, obsessed with the au-pair, has an affair instead with her best friend; a young woman finds herself destined to repeat the patterns of her mother's long-hidden infidelities. At the heart of each encounter is the overwhelming need to connect with others“whether they be lovers, spouses, friends, or family”while balancing personal desires. Too often, Helms's characters discover that being true to oneself means sacrificing the ones we love most.
As each woman seeks control of her life, we are reminded of the ultimate hope and possibility that can be found within our most intimate relationships. In subtle, yet convincing prose, Helms beautifully reveals the emotional depths that are reached in moments of true despair and longing.
Nasca society arose on the south coast of Peru two thousand years ago and evolved over the course of the next seven hundred years. Helaine Silverman's long-term, multistage work on the south coast of Peru has established her as one of the world's preeminent authorities on this brilliant and enigmatic civilization. Ancient Nasca Settlement and Society is the first extended treatment of the range of sites occupied by the people responsible for some of the most exquisite art, largest ground drawings, most intense hunting of human heads as trophies, and most ingenious hydraulic engineering of the pre-Columbian world.
Ancient Nasca Settlement and Society is based on Silverman's comprehensive survey of the Ingenio Valley, a water-rich tributary of the Río Grande de Nazca drainage; it also includes a critical synthesis of the settlement pattern data from the other river valleys of the system maps and tables, Silverman allows comparisons among the various phases of change in Nasca society. A companion CD-ROM provides a great deal of graphic material and allows users to manipulate the data in alternative scenarios.
Silverman situates the various classes of Nasca material culture within the spatial, social, economic, political, and ideological realities that can be adduced from the archaeological record. A work of archaeo-logical ethnography focused on a once-living society, this convincing and highly original book illuminates the ancient Nasca people's social construction of space and cultural meaning through their manipulation of their natural setting and their creation of particular kinds of built environments.
Angel De Cora (c. 1870–1919) was a Native Ho-Chunk artist who received relative acclaim during her lifetime. Karen Thronson (1850–1929) was a Norwegian settler housewife who created crafts and folk art in obscurity along with the other women of her small immigrant community. The immigration of Thronson and her family literally maps over the De Cora family’s forced migration across Wisconsin, Iowa, and onto the plains of Nebraska and Kansas. Tracing the parallel lives of these two women artists at the turn of the twentieth century, art historian Elizabeth Sutton reveals how their stories intersected and diverged in the American Midwest.
By examining the creations of these two artists, Sutton shows how each woman produced art or handicrafts that linked her new home to her homeland. Both women had to navigate and negotiate between asserting their authentic self and the expectations placed on them by others in their new locations. The result is a fascinating story of two women that speaks to universal themes of Native displacement, settler conquest, and the connection between art and place.
Punctuated with weirdly comic moments, the stories in The Ant Generator reflect Harris's view of the world as a slightly strange place with shifting, dubious boundaries. Men and women encounter the commonplace improbabilities of modern life: a woman who works in an archaeological museum dreams of order but experiences random violence, a bored schoolteacher gets into the Book of World Records by standing on one foot.
In the various interactions of mind and matter in Harris's affecting stories, people try to force their experience into simple shapes, against natural and social opposition, with comic or tragic results. Sometimes their determination to command their own meaning is redemptive and creative; at other times they confront the luminous mystery and unforgiving character of the natural world or the anger of the dispossessed. Harris sensitively creates individuals who respond to the ordinary in extraordinary ways, characters who think in dreams and visions and who, like the author, employ rare gifts.
A vivid archive of memories, Beth Alvarado’s Anthropologies layers scenes, portraits, dreams, and narratives in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Bringing her lyrical tenor to bear on stories as diverse as harboring teen runaways, gunfights with federales, and improbable love, Alvarado unveils the ways in which seemingly separate moments coalesce to forge a communal truth. Woven from the threads of distinct family histories and ethnic identities, Anthropologies creates a heightened understanding of how individual experiences are part of a larger shared fabric of lives.
The Anthropology of Iceland presents the first perspectives on Icelandic anthropology from both Icelandic and foreign anthropologists. The thirteen essays in this volume are divided into four themes: ideology and action; kinship and gender; culture, class, and ethnicity; and the Commonwealth period of circa 930 to 1220, which saw the flowering of sagas. Insider and outsider viewpoints on such topics as the Icelandic women's movement, the transformation of the fishing industry, the idea of mystical power in modern Iceland, and archaeological research in Iceland merge to form an international, comparative discourse.
Individually and collectively, by bringing the insights of anthropology to bear on Iceland, the native and foreign authors of this volume carry Iceland into the realm of modern anthropology, advancing our understanding of the island's people and the practice of anthropology.
In 1937 thirty-six nervous young men dressed in ill-fitting blue suits, wearing berets, and carrying identical black valises, were given tickets for an American Export Lines ship. They were told to conduct themselves as ordinary tourists, to be "inconspicuous." They were volunteers for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, traveling the French underground to join in the fight against Franco. Among them was Milt Felsen, a young New Yorker and radical antiwar activist on the University of Iowa campus who had decided that fascism had to be opposed. Some of these young men never made it to their destination. But Milt Felsen did, beginning a march across the Pyrenees which was only the first of his many battles and adventures.
Told with uncommon wit and verve, this memoir of war and resistance is a stirring account of Felsen's involvement in two decades of battle. Surprisingly, this is a spirited and even funny book, infused with Felsen's unbeatable personality. After the Spanish Civil War, Felsen helped form the O.S.S. in World War II. Taken prisoner of war, he escaped in his inimitable style during a 1,200-mile prisoner-of-war march and drove out of Nazi Germany in a Mercedes-Benz. He returned to the United States more convinced than ever of war's insanity and its extreme human cost.
Most of us are only spectators of the world's larger events. Milt Felsen knew the excitement and despair of being a participant. While most war books abound in details of what happened, this one also delves into why. Felsen's straightforward account is refreshingly frank and doesn't pretend to be more than it is—his own lived version of war and common truths.
In this timely and reflective anthology, the generation that sought to stay forever young reveals that midlife should mean more than jokes about thinning hair, creaking joints, and thickening waistlines. Midlife's insights—whether they be physical, spiritual, or emotional—are indeed startling, and who better than poets to deliver them?
Contributors: Chloe Aridjis, Tash Aw, Claire-Louise Bennett, Teju Cole, Geoff Dyer, Sheila Heti, Katie Kitamura, Chris Kraus, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ben Lerner, Orhan Pamuk, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Heidi Sopinka, Hanya Yanagihara
In her award-winning collection, Elizabeth Oness travels a vast emotional terrain, from the loss of innocence to sexual betrayal to the helplessness of parents before their children. In “Momentum, ” a woman carries the burden of a dead friend's secret for years until she finally decides to reveal it, only to discover that other, darker secrets still lie in wait. “Rufus” follows the quandary of a young man who is forced to choose between the affection of his girlfriend and his compassion for a homeless man who has taken up residence in his car.
Articles of Faith is a collection of stories about silence and the complications that arise when a silence is kept too long or suddenly broken. As one narrator relates, “I knew that life was full of these things which matter so enormously and make us what we are—but remain unsaid because to voice them does not make them go away, and instead shakes everything around us apart. ”
In 1987 poet and physician Jon Mukand published Sutured Words, a volume of contemporary poems to help patients, their families and friends, and all health care professionals embrace the complexity of healing, illness, and death. Robert Coles called the collection “a wonderful source of inspiration and instruction for any of us who are trying to figure out what our work means”; Norman Cousins was impressed by the “discernment and high quality of the selections.” Now, in Articulations, Mukand adds more than a hundred new poems to the strongest poems from Sutured Words to give us a lyrical, enlightened understanding of the human dimensions of suffering and illness
Ding Darling was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose work appeared daily on the front page of the Des Moines Register between 1906 and 1949 and also was syndicated in 135 newspapers across the country. A brief encounter with Herbert Hoover during World War I was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until Ding’s death in 1962. After Hoover’s election as president, Ding’s relationship changed somewhat from one of strictly a friend to one of an unofficial advisor. On at least three occasions, the Darlings were overnight guests at the White House. Although their friendship deepened after the years of the presidency, Ding did not agree with Hoover on everything. In As “Ding” Saw Herbert Hoover, Ding interprets the career of Hoover as food administrator, cabinet member, candidate, and president in 57 cartoons, personal recollections, and a running commentary of the times as told in the day-by-day headlines.
From popular culture to politics to classic novels, quintessentially American texts take their inspiration from the idea of infinity. In the extraordinary literary century inaugurated by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the lyric too seemed to encounter possibilities as limitless as the U.S. imagination. This raises the question: What happens when boundlessness is more than just a figure of speech? Exploring new horizons is one thing, but actually looking at the horizon itself is something altogether different. In this carefully crafted analysis, James von der Heydt shines a new light on the lyric craft of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and James Merrill and considers how their seascape-vision redefines poetry's purpose.
Emerson famously freed U.S. literature from its past and opened it up to vastness; in the following century, a succession of brilliant, rigorous poets took the philosophical challenges of such freedom all too seriously. Facing the unmarked horizon, Emersonian poets capture—and are captured by—a stark, astringent version of human beauty. Their uncompromising visions of limitlessness reclaim infinity's proper legacy—and give American poetry its edge. Von der Heydt's book recovers the mystery of their world.
Just prior to his death in 2005, August Wilson, arguably the most important American playwright of the last quarter-century, completed an ambitious cycle of ten plays, each set in a different decade of the twentieth century. Known as the Twentieth-Century Cycle or the Pittsburgh Cycle, the plays, which portrayed the struggles of African-Americans, won two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a Tony Award for Best Play, and seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle is the first volume devoted to the last five plays of the cycle individually—Jitney,Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf—and in the context of Wilson's entire body of work.
Editor Alan Nadel's May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson, a work Henry Louis Gates called definitive, focused on the first five plays of Wilson's cycle. This new collection examines from myriad perspectives the way Wilson's final works give shape and focus to his complete dramatic opus. It contains an outstanding and diverse array of discussions from leading Wilson scholars and literary critics. Together, the essays in Nadel's two volumes give Wilson's work the breadth of analysis and understanding that this major figure of American drama merits.
Soyica Diggs Colbert
Harry J. Elam, Jr.
Donald E. Pease
Vivian Gist Spencer
Steven C. Tracy
Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon
Australia holds a unique place in the global scheme of fandom. Much of the media consumed by Australian audiences originates from either the United States or the United Kingdom, yet several Australian productions have also attracted international fans in their own right. This first-ever academic study of Australian fandom explores the national popular culture scene through themes of localization and globalization.The essays within reveal how Australian audiences often seek authentic imports and eagerly embrace different cultures, examining both Hollywood’s influence on Australian fandom and Australian fan reactions to non-Western content. By shining a spotlight on Australian fandom, this book not only provides an important case study for fan studies scholars, it also helps add nuance to a field whose current literature is predominantly U.S. and U.K. focused.
Contributors: Kate Ames, Ahmet Atay, Jessica Carniel, Toija Cinque, Ian Dixon, Leigh Edmonds, Sharon Elkind, Jacqui Ewart, Lincoln Geraghty, Sarah Keith, Emerald L. King, Renee Middlemost
Avant-Garde Jazz Musicians focuses on performers whose out styles, by definition, transcend traditional boundaries of jazz and most Western forms of music; some of these performers are well known, such as John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor, and others are not, including Daniel Carter, Billy Bang, and Jemeel Moondoc. David Such uses an interdisciplinary approach, ranging from philosophy to ethnomusicology to psychobiology, to examine how both cultural and personal factors have influenced the out musicians and their music and what the music symbolizes to listeners and to the musicians themselves.
Such strikes a balance between out music itself and the cultural domain as he explores the social contexts and economic pressures that affect out musical performance. Using material from extensive personal interviews, Such evaluates the impact of civil rights, postindustrialization, and urbanization on the beliefs and attitudes of out musicians.
By performing with many of the out musicians he interviews, Such is able to examine out music and the worldviews of out musicians in a uniquely comprehensive manner and to resolve some of the more controversial issues surrounding out jazz. In the process, he makes out music more understandable to jazz fans and scholars alike and clarifies its role in the overall development of jazz.
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