After unearthing her great-grandparents’ diaries, Mary Ann Hooper set out on a journey to retrace their 1871 trip across the United States on the newly-opened Transcontinental Railroad—via Chicago, just destroyed by the Great Fire, then across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to the Golden City of San Francisco. Filled with rich details of time, place, and culture, Mary Ann’s thoughtful and compelling narrative is both a re-creation of a family journey and a thoughtful account of how the American West has changed over the last 150 years.
Using the common thread of the same train trip across the American landscape, she weaves together the two stories—her great grandparents, Charles and Fannie Crosby’s leisurely Victorian tourist trip described in both their diaries—and her own trip. Mary Ann’s adventurous and determined voice fills the pages with entertaining encounters on the train, escapades on her folding bike, and her reflections on her birth country and her own life story.
During her journey, she discovers the stories of her 1950s childhood reflect a “Wild West” at odds with the West her great-grandparents record in their diaries, leading her to uncover more of the real and meatier history of the American West—going through conquest, rapid settlement, and economic development. As Mary Ann fulfills her quest to understand better why glorified myths were created to describe the Wild West of her childhood, and reflects on the pitfalls of what “progress” is doing to the environment, she is left with a much bigger question: Can we transform our way of doing things quickly enough to stop our much-loved West becoming an uninhabitable desert?
Seventeen years after she married, Judith Strasser escaped her emotionally and physically abusive husband and sought a better way to live. In the process, Strasser rediscovered what she had suppressed through that long span of time: exceptional strength and a passion for writing. Black Eye includes excerpts from a journal Strasser kept from 1985 to1986, the year she made the decision to leave her marriage, and present-day commentary on the journal passages and her family history. Strasser works like a detective investigating her own life, drawing clarity and power from journal passages, dreams, and memories that originally emerged from confusion and despair. With language that is both insightful and poetic, she reveals the psychological and social circumstances that led a "strong" woman, an intelligent and politically active feminist, to become an emotionally dependent, abused wife.
Not coincidentally, the same year that Strasser finally found the courage to leave her husband, she also reclaimed her creative voice. Newly empowered and energized by this enormous life change, Strasser began writing again after twenty-five silent years dominated by her mother’s illness and death, her own cancer, and her painful, fearful marriage. Black Eye is one of the fruits of this creative reawakening. Strasser’s writing is refreshingly honest and instantly engrossing. Not shy of wretchedness or beauty, Strasser’s story is bitterly personal, ultimately triumphant, and inspiring to all who deal with the adversity that is part of human life.
The son of black sharecroppers, John Oliver Hodges attended segregated schools in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1950s and ’60s, worked in plantation cotton fields, and eventually left the region to earn multiple degrees and become a tenured university professor. Both poignant and thought provoking, Delta Fragments is Hodges’s autobiographical journey back to the land of his birth. Brimming with vivid memories of family life, childhood friendships, the quest for knowledge, and the often brutal injustices of the Jim Crow South, it also offers an insightful meditation on the present state of race relations in America.
Hodges has structured the book as a series of brief but revealing vignettes grouped into two main sections. In part 1, “Learning,” he introduces us to the town of Greenwood and to his parents, sister, and myriad aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, and schoolmates. He tells stories of growing up on a plantation, dancing in smoky juke joints, playing sandlot football and baseball, journeying to the West Coast as a nineteen-year-old to meet the biological father he never knew while growing up, and leaving family and friends to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta. In part 2, “Reflecting,” he connects his firsthand experience with broader themes: the civil rights movement, Delta blues, black folkways, gambling in Mississippi, the vital role of religion in the African American community, and the perplexing problems of poverty, crime, and an underfunded educational system that still challenge black and white citizens of the Delta.
Whether recalling the assassination of Medgar Evers (whom he knew personally), the dynamism of an African American church service, or the joys of reconnecting with old friends at a biennial class reunion, Hodges writes with a rare combination of humor, compassion, and—when describing the injustices that were all too frequently inflicted on him andhis contemporaries—righteous anger. But his ultimate goal, he contends, is not to close doors but to open them: to inspire dialogue, to start a conversation, “to be provocative without being insistent or definitive.”
Recently retired, John O. Hodges was an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he was also the chair of African and African American Studies from 1997 to 2002. His articles have appeared in the CLA Journal, the Langston Hughes Review, Soundings , and The SouthernQuarterly.
A Different Light is the first in-depth study of the work of Sebastião Salgado, widely considered the greatest documentary photographer of our time. For more than three decades, Salgado has produced thematic photo-essays depicting the massive human displacement brought about by industrialization and conflict. These projects usually take years to complete and include pictures from dozens of countries. Parvati Nair offers detailed analyses of Salgado’s best-known photo-essays, including Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000), as well as Genesis, which he began in 2004. With Genesis, Salgado has turned his lens from human turmoil to those parts of the planet not yet ravaged by modernity. Interpreting the photographer’s oeuvre, Nair engages broad questions about aesthetics, history, ethics, and politics in documentary photography. At the same time, she draws on conversations with Salgado and his wife and partner, Lélia Wanick Salgado, to explain the significance of the photographer’s life history, including his roots in Brazil and his training as an economist; his perspectives; and his artistic method. Underpinning all of Salgado’s major projects is a concern with displacement, exploitation, and destruction—of people, communities, and land. Salgado’s images exalt reality, compelling viewers to look and, according to Nair, to envision the world otherwise.
A year in Paris . . . since World War II, countless American students have been lured by that vision—and been transformed by their sojourn in the City of Light. Dreaming in French tells three stories of that experience, and how it changed the lives of three extraordinary American women.
All three women would go on to become icons, key figures in American cultural, intellectual, and political life, but when they embarked for France, they were young, little-known, uncertain about their future, and drawn to the culture, sophistication, and drama that only Paris could offer. Yet their backgrounds and their dreams couldn’t have been more different. Jacqueline Bouvier was a twenty-year-old debutante, a Catholic girl from a wealthy East Coast family. Susan Sontag was twenty-four, a precocious Jewish intellectual from a North Hollywood family of modest means, and Paris was a refuge from motherhood, a failing marriage, and graduate work in philosophy at Oxford. Angela Davis, a French major at Brandeis from a prominent African American family in Birmingham, Alabama, found herself the only black student in her year abroad program—in a summer when all the news from Birmingham was of unprecedented racial violence.
Kaplan takes readers into the lives, hopes, and ambitions of these young women, tracing their paths to Paris and tracking the discoveries, intellectual adventures, friendships, and loves that they found there. For all three women, France was far from a passing fancy; rather, Kaplan shows, the year abroad continued to influence them, a significant part of their intellectual and cultural makeup, for the rest of their lives. Jackie Kennedy carried her love of France to the White House and to her later career as a book editor, bringing her cultural and linguistic fluency to everything from art and diplomacy to fashion and historic restoration—to the extent that many, including Jackie herself, worried that she might seem “too French.” Sontag found in France a model for the life of the mind that she was determined to lead; the intellectual world she observed from afar during that first year in Paris inspired her most important work and remained a key influence—to be grappled with, explored, and transcended—the rest of her life. Davis, meanwhile, found that her Parisian vantage strengthened her sense of political exile from racism at home and brought a sense of solidarity with Algerian independence. For her, Paris was a city of political commitment, activism, and militancy, qualities that would deeply inform her own revolutionary agenda and soon make her a hero to the French writers she had once studied.
Kaplan, whose own junior year abroad played a prominent role in her classic memoir, French Lessons, spins these three quite different stories into one evocative biography, brimming with the ferment and yearnings of youth and shot through with the knowledge of how a single year—and a magical city—can change a whole life. No one who has ever dreamed of Paris should miss it.
After World War II and well beyond the Black Arts Movement, African American novelists struggled with white literary expectations imposed upon them. Aesthetics as varied as New Criticism and Deconstruction fueled these struggles, and black writers—facing these struggles— experienced an ethical crisis. Analyzing prizewinning, creative fellowship, and artistic style, this book considers what factors ended that crisis.
The Ethics of Swagger explores how novelists who won major prizes between 1977 and 1993 helped move authors of black fiction through insecurity toward autonomy. Identifying these prizewinners—David Bradley, Ernest Gaines, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, and John Edgar Wideman—as a literary class, this book focuses on how they achieved imaginative freedom, recovered black literary traditions, and advanced the academic study of African American writing.
The post–Civil Rights era produced the most accomplished group of novelists in black literary history. As these authors worked in an integrating society, they subjected white narrative techniques to the golden mean of black cultural mores. This exposure compelled the mainstream to acknowledge fresh talent and prodded American society to honor its democratic convictions. Shaping national dialogues about merit, award-winning novelists from 1977 to 1993, the Black Archivists, used swagger to alter the options for black art and citizenship.
Face Boss tells a story that few people have heard: what it is really like to labor inside the dark and dangerous world of a vast underground coal mine. With unflinching honesty, as well as considerable humor and insight, Michael Guillerman recalls his nearly eighteen years of working as both a union miner and a salaried section foreman-or “face boss”-at the Peabody Coal Company's Camp No. 2 mine in Union County, Kentucky.
Guillerman undertook this memoir because of the many misconceptions about coal mining that were evidenced most recently in the media coverage of the 2006 Sago Mine disaster. Shedding some much-needed light on this little-understood topic, Face Boss is riveting, authentic, and often raw. Guillerman describes in stark detail the risks, dangers, and uncertainties of coal mining: the wildcat and contract strikes, layoffs, shutdowns, mine fires, methane ignitions, squeezes, and injuries. But he also discusses the good times that emerged despite perilous working conditions: the camaraderie and immense sense of accomplishment that came with mining hundreds of tons of coal every day. Along the way, Guillerman spices his narrative with numerous anecdotes from his many years on the job and discusses race relations within mining culture and the expanding role of women in the industry.
While the book contributes significantly to the general knowledge of contemporary mining, Face Boss is also a tribute to those men and women who toil anonymously beneath the rolling hills of western Kentucky and the other coal-rich regions of the United States. More than just the story of one man's life and career, it is a stirring testament to the ingenuity, courage, and perseverance of the American coal miner.
Michael D. Guillerman worked for the Peabody Coal Company from 1974 to 1991. Over his long career, his jobs included belt shoveler, timberman, shooter, drill and shuttle car operator, rock duster, and finally section foreman. Now retired, he lives with his wife, Marie, in Union County, Kentucky.
"[Fauna and Flora, Earth and Sky] is, in fact, the most intelligent, thoughtful, original, challenging, and highly entertaining work of nature writing since Barry Lopez's Artic Dreams. . . . It is her broad scope of contemplation, combined with her fiercely beautiful and detailed renderings of passion, natural and human, that give Trudy Dittmar's first but fully mature book its remarkable originality and considerable power." --Robert Finch,Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Honest self-scrutiny is irresistible, especially when told with a knack for diction of place, as this author demonstrates on every page. She is both of the landscape and an informed observer of it, willing to examine her conflicts between the experiences that play in her imagination and the scientific knowledge she's gleaned through training and reading." --The Bloomsbury Review
"Trudy Dittmar is an elegant stylist and an acute observer. She's read everything there is to read about the physics of rainbows, the habits of the porcupine, the winter survival skills of the moose and the orbits of the planets, but even her learning is outdistanced by her patient powers of looking, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. Her originality arises out of this patience. And, magically, she is able to read into and out of the rich, endangered natural world an Emersonian understanding of self. This is at once the most objective and subjective book I have ever read." --Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story
"Dittmar writes about life with the precision of a scientist and the introspective lyricism of a poet, illuminating for us those parts of the world we barely remember to notice...from the complex emotional lives of cows and pronghorns to the dazzling leaves of a silver maple to the teeming hidden pools of bright salamanders. Reading this book is like finding a geode in a stream bed--crack it open and it sparkleso--Jo Ann Beard
"Dittmar, who won a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer' Award in 2000 and whose writings have appeared in numerous publications . . . provides a fascinating look at natural and personal history in these ten essays on animals, plants, and other natural phenomena. . . . An excellent choice for both public and academic libraries." --Library Journal
In essays with settings that range from the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, to the mountain town of Leadville, Colorado, to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, Trudy Dittmar weaves personal experience with diverse threads of subject matter to create unexpected connections between human nature and nature at large. Life stories, elegantly combined with mindful observations of animals, plants, landscape and the skies, theories in natural science, environmental considerations, and touches of art criticism and popular culture, offer insights into the linked analogies of nature and soul. A glacial pond teeming with salamanders in arrested development is cause for reflection on the limits of a life that knows only bounty. The hot blue lights of celestial phenomena are a metaphor for fast, flashy men--he loves of a life--and a romantic career is interpreted. Watching a pronghorn buck battling for, and ultimately losing, his harem leads to a meditation on a kind of immortality.
Fauna and Flora, Earth and Sky is testimony to the bearing and consequence of nature in one life, and to the richness of understanding it can bring to all human lives.
Trudy Dittmar was born and raised in New Jersey farm country. In addition to holding an MA in English literature from the University of Chicago, she is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program in writing and the founder and former director of a writing program at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. Her work has appeared in such publications as The Norton Book of Nature Writing, Pushcart XXI, Georgia Review, and Orion. She divides her time between her family home in New Jersey and her cabin in Wyoming.
Fred in Love
Felice Picano University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3566.I25Z465 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the early 1970s, when he was still an aspiring, unpublished writer, Felice Picano began a remarkable relationship with an extraordinary animal: a days-old kitten slated for euthanasia who refused to perish. Rescued, named, and trained, Fred became an extraordinarily intelligent companion, ally, teacher, and constant wonder to the author as he began his ascent through the Bohemian circles of Greenwich Village, among musicians, actors, curious characters, and even the famous British actress in hiding right next door.
But when an acquaintance brought his female cat to be serviced by Fred, an entire new set of experiences opened up for the cat-and for Picano, who'd never had the nerve to befriend her owner, his ideal man. The course of love seldom runs straight for cats or for men, and this time would prove (hilariously) no different.
This is another of Picano's distinguished portraits of a vanished era, when a new gay domain was solidifying only a few years after the Stonewall Riots, and the still nascent gay literary world that Picano would help invent was just a conception. Fred in Love is a charming, nostalgic, funny, gossipy, involving, and ultimately enlightening story about how we learn and grow, and how we love-whether the object of our affection is a cat or another human being. It's sure to take its place next to Picano's now classic literary memoirs Ambidextrous, Men Who Loved Me, and A House on the Ocean, a House on the Bay.
Mary Lee Coe Fowler was a posthumous child, born after her father, a submarine skipper in the Pacific, was lost at sea in 1943. Her mother quickly remarried into a difficult and troubled relationship, and Mary Lee’s biological father was never mentioned. It was not until her mother died and Mary Lee was a middle-aged adult that she set out to learn not only who her father was, but what happened to him and his crew, and why—and also to confront why she had shied away from asking these questions until it was nearly too late.
Fowler searched through old ships’ logs, letters, and naval communiqués; visited submarine museums, the Naval Academy, and other pertinent sites; interviewed old friends and crew members who knew her dad and mom or served concurrently; and slowly reconstructed the world in which they lived. Beautifully written, Fowler’s memoir reveals what she eventually learned: of the perils and harships of submarine service in wartime, of the tragic irony of how her father’s sub was probably lost, and of the long-term damage experienced by the families of those who do not come home from war.
When it was published in 1979, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imaginationwas hailed as a pathbreaking work of criticism, changing the way future scholars would read Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, the Brontës, George Eliot, and Emily Dickinson. This thirtieth-anniversary collection adds both valuable reassessments and new readings and analyses inspired by Gilbert and Gubar’s approach. It includes work by established and up-and-coming scholars, as well as retrospective accounts of the ways in which The Madwoman in the Attic has influenced teaching, feminist activism, and the lives of women in academia.
These contributions represent both the diversity of today’s feminist criticism and the tremendous expansion of the nineteenth-century canon. The authors take as their subjects specific nineteenth- and twentieth-century women writers, the state of feminist theory and pedagogy, genre studies, film, race, and postcolonialism, with approaches ranging from ecofeminism to psychoanalysis. And although each essay opens Madwoman to a different page, all provocatively circle back—with admiration and respect, objections and challenges, questions and arguments—to Gilbert and Gubar's groundbreaking work.
The essays are as diverse as they are provocative. Susan Fraiman describes how Madwoman opened the canon, politicized critical practice, and challenged compulsory heterosexuality, while Marlene Tromp tells how it elegantly embodied many concerns central to second-wave feminism. Other chapters consider Madwoman’s impact on Milton studies, on cinematic adaptations of Wuthering Heights, and on reassessments of Ann Radcliffe as one of the book’s suppressed foremothers.
In the thirty years since its publication, The Madwoman in the Attic has potently informed literary criticism of women’s writing: its strategic analyses of canonical works and its insights into the interconnections between social environment and human creativity have been absorbed by contemporary critical practices. These essays constitute substantive interventions into established debates and ongoing questions among scholars concerned with defining third-wave feminism, showing that, as a feminist symbol, the raging madwoman still has the power to disrupt conventional ideas about gender, myth, sexuality, and the literary imagination.
In Granite andGrace Michael Cohen reflects on a lifetime of climbing, walking, and pondering the granite in Yosemite National Park at Tuolumne Meadows. This high-country region of Yosemite is dominated by a young, beautifully glaciated geological formation known as the Tuolumne Intrusive Suite. It does not include familiar Yosemite icons like Half Dome, yet geologists describe this granitic realm at over 8,000 feet as “an iconic American landscape.”
Drawing together the humanistic and scientific significance of the wild landscapes he traverses, Michael uncovers relationships between people and places and meaning and substance, rendering this text part memoir—but also considerably more. On-the-rock encounters by hand and foot open up a dialogue between the heart of a philosopher and the mind of a geologist. Michael adds a literary softness to this hard landscape, blending excursions with exposition and literature with science. It is through his graceful representations that the geological becomes metaphorical, while the science turns mythological.
This high country, where in 1889 John Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson planned what would become Yosemite National Park, is significant for cultural as well as natural reasons. Discoursing on everything from Camus’s “Myths of Sisyphus” to the poems of Gary Snyder, Michael adds depth to an already splendorous landscape. Premier early geologists, such as François Matthes, shaped the language of Yosemite’s landscape. Even though Yosemite has changed over half a century, the rock has not. As Michael explores the beauty and grace of his familiar towering vistas, he demonstrates why, of the many aspects of the world to which one might get attached, the most secure is granite.
The Heroic City is a sparkling account of the fate of Paris’s public spaces in the years following Nazi occupation and joyful liberation. Countering the traditional narrative that Paris’s public landscape became sterile and dehumanized in the 1940s and ’50s, Rosemary Wakeman instead finds that the city’s streets overflowed with ritual, drama, and spectacle. With frequent strikes and protests, young people and students on parade, North Africans arriving in the capital of the French empire, and radio and television shows broadcast live from the streets, Paris continued to be vital terrain.
Wakeman analyzes the public life of the city from a variety of perspectives. A reemergence of traditional customs led to the return of festivals, street dances, and fun fairs, while violent protests and political marches, the housing crisis, and the struggle over decolonization signaled the political realities of postwar France. The work of urban planners and architects, the output of filmmakers and intellectuals, and the day-to-day experiences of residents from all walks of life come together in this vibrant portrait of a flamboyant and transformative moment in the life of the City of Light.
For thirty years, Larry Aumiller lived in close company with the world’s largest grouping of brown bears, returning by seaplane every spring to the wilderness side of Cook Inlet, two hundred and fifty miles southwest of Anchorage to work as a manager, teacher, guide, and more. Eventually—without the benefit of formal training in wildlife management or ecology—he become one of the world’s leading experts on brown bears, the product of an unprecedented experiment in peaceful coexistence.
This book celebrates Aumiller’s achievement, telling the story of his decades with the bears alongside his own remarkable photographs. As both professional wildlife managers and ordinary citizens alike continue to struggle to bridge the gap between humans and the wild creatures we’ve driven out, In Wild Trust is an inspiring account of what we can achieve.
In 1974 Jim Andersen and his wife, tired of the congestion and high taxes in California, decided to start a new life in rural Nevada. They settled on Austin, a town of about 250 people perched on a mountainside along the legendary Highway 50, “the loneliest road in America.” In the middle of the nineteenth century, Austin was a free-wheeling boomtown at the center of a silver bonanza. By the time the Andersens arrived, it had shrunk to a quiet, isolated community of self-sufficient souls who ran their lives, economy, and local government their own way, with ingenuity, wit, and a certain disregard for convention. Andersen’s account of his life in Austin is a charming, sometimes hilarious account of city folks adapting to life in a small town. He addresses such matters as making a living from a variety of odd jobs, some of them odder than others; serving as a deputy sheriff, deputy coroner, and elected justice of the peace, and administering Austin’s unique version of justice; raising a family; finding ways to have fun; and exploring the austerely beautiful backcountry of central Nevada. He also introduces some of Austin’s residents and their stories, and describes the way the community comes together for entertainment or to respond to crises.Lost in Austin is fascinating reading for anyone who cherishes nostalgic memories of living in a small town, or who contemplates moving to one. It offers an engaging portrait of a Nevada that exists far from the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas and Reno, “a happy Bermuda Triangle” where rugged individualism and community spirit flourish amidst sagebrush and vast open spaces.
Twentieth Anniversary Edition, with a new preface by the author, available in June 2015
The twentieth century in Russia has been a cataclysm of rare proportions, as war, revolution, famine, and massive political terror tested the limits of human endurance. The results of this assault on Russian culture are particularly evident in ruined architectural monuments, some of which are little known even within Russia itself. Over the past four decades William Craft Brumfield, noted historian and photographer of Russian architecture, has traveled throughout Russia and photographed many of these neglected, lost buildings, poignant and haunting in their ruin. Lost Russia provides a unique view of Brumfield’s acclaimed work, which illuminates Russian culture as reflected in these remnants of its distinctive architectural traditions.
Capturing the quiet, ineffable beauty that graces these buildings, these photographs are accompanied by a text that provides not only a brief historical background for Russian architecture, but also Brumfield’s personal impressions, thoughts, and insights on the structures he views. Churches and monasteries from the fifteenth to the twentieth century as well as abandoned, ruined manor houses are shown—ravaged by time, willful neglect, and cultural vandalism. Brumfield also illustrates examples of recent local initiatives to preserve cultural landmarks from steady decline and destruction.
Concluding with photographs of the remarkable log architecture found in Russia’s far north, Lost Russia is a book for all those concerned with the nation’s cultural legacy, history, and architecture, and with historic and cultural preservation generally. It will also interest those who appreciate the fine art of exceptional photography.
Throughout human history, motherhood and maternal experience have been largely defined and written by patriarchal culture. Religion, art, medicine, psychoanalysis, and other bastions of male power have objectified the maternal and have disregarded female subjectivity. As a result, maternal perspectives have been ignored and the mother’s voice silenced. In recent literary texts, however, more substantial attention has been given to motherhood and to the physical, psychological, social, and cultural dynamics affecting maternal experience. In Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith, Paula Gallant Eckard examines how maternal experience is depicted in selected novels by three American writers, emphasizing how they focus on the body and the voice of the mother. These novels include: The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Beloved by Morrison; In Country, Spence + Lila, and Feather Crowns by Mason; and Oral History, Fair and Tender Ladies, and Saving Grace by Smith.
By employing this focus, these writers lessen the objectification the maternal has received and restore a rich subjectivity that foregrounds the mother’s perspective. Moreover, their fiction reflects a deep concern for history and culture and for a woman’s experience of her world. They challenge the traditional representations of black and white motherhood that have appeared in southern literature and society, rendering complex portrayals of motherhood that defy cultural stereotypes.
Eckard incorporates historical perspectives on African American and southern motherhood, utilizing the works of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Sally McMillen, Deborah White, Jacqueline Jones, and others. She draws upon the feminist criticism of Adrienne Rich, Elaine Showalter, Naomi Schor, Tillie Olsen, Karla F. C. Holloway, Barbara Christian, and others, and the linguistic and psychoanalytic theories of Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, and Luce Irigaray. The author also addresses the cross-cultural connections shared by Morrison, Mason, and Smith, showing that, despite their racial and cultural differences, striking similarities can be found in their renderings of maternity.
The three women writers employ related image patterns, metaphors, and symbols involving the maternal body. By centering maternity so strongly in their novels, Morrison, Mason, and Smith establish the primacy of the mother and obviate the neglect to which maternal perspectives have been subjected. They restore the mother’s lost voice and her diminished subjectivity. Together they depict the maternal as a powerful force that shapes human lives and communities.
Essays that explore early Christian texts and the broader world in which they were written
This volume of twelve essays celebrates the contributions of classicist Judith Perkins to the study of early Christianity. Drawing on Perkins's insights related to apocryphal texts, representations of pain and suffering, and the creation of meaning, contributors explore the function of Christian narratives that depict pain and suffering, the motivations of the early Christians who composed these stories, and their continuing value to contemporary people. Contributors also examine how narratives work to create meaning in a religious context. These contributions address these issues from a variety of angles through a wide range of texts.
Introductions to and treatments of several largely unknown early Christian texts
Essays by ten women and two men influenced or mentored by Judith Perkins
Essays on the Deuterocanon, the New Testament, and early Christian relics
In his Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke suggests that animals enjoy direct access to a realm of being—the open—concealed from humans by the workings of consciousness and self-consciousness. In his own reading of Rilke, Martin Heidegger reclaims the open as the proper domain of human existence but suggests that human life remains haunted by vestiges of an animal-like relation to its surroundings. Walter Benjamin, in turn, was to show that such vestiges—what Eric Santner calls the creaturely—have a biopolitical aspect: they are linked to the processes that inscribe life in the realm of power and authority.
Santner traces this theme of creaturely life from its poetic and philosophical beginnings in the first half of the twentieth century to the writings of the enigmatic German novelist W. G. Sebald. Sebald’s entire oeuvre, Santner argues, can be seen as an archive of creaturely life. For Sebald, the work on such an archive was inseparable from his understanding of what it means to engage ethically with another person’s history and pain, an engagement that transforms us from indifferent individuals into neighbors.
An indispensable book for students of Sebald, On Creaturely Life is also a significant contribution to critical theory.
Larry W. Schwarm Duke University Press, 2003 Library of Congress TR820.S358 2003 | Dewey Decimal 779.3
Inaugural Winner The Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography
A startling, mesmerizing series of photographs of prairie fires, On Fire transports us from moments of almost apocalyptic splendor to the stillness of near abstraction. For over a decade Kansas-based photographer Larry Schwarm has been making extraordinary color photographs of the dramatic prairie fires that sweep across the vast grasslands of his native state each spring. Based on this stunning and extensive body of work, Schwarm was chosen from over 500 submissions as the inaugural winner of the CDS/Honickman Foundation First Book Prize in Photography. With publication of On Fire, Duke University Press, in association with the Center for Documentary Studies and The Honickman Foundation, launches this major biennial book prize for American photographers.
Fire is an essential element of the ecosystem. Every spring, the expanses of tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of east-central Kansas undergo controlled burning. For photographer Larry Schwarm, documenting these fires has become a passion. He captures the essence of the fires and their distinct personalities—ranging from calm and lyrical to angry and raging. His photos allow us to see the redemptive power of fire and to remove ourselves from its tragic elements. Through Schwarm’s lens, the horizon takes on new meaning as we view the sublime, mystical, and sensual character of the burning landscape. Schwarm connects the enormous power and devastation of fire to what can only be identified as another kind of creation—the creation of beauty.
Published by Duke University Press in association with Lyndhurst Books of the Center for Documentary Studies
To view images from the book, please visit http://cds.aas.duke.edu/books/fire.html
The Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography is open to American photographers who use their cameras for creative exploration, whether it be of places, people, or communities; of the natural or social world; of beauty at large or the lack of it; of objective or subjective realities. Information and guidelines about the prize are available at http://cds.aas.duke.edu/grants
In the summer of 1975, an alarming number of patients at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital began experiencing mysterious respiratory failures that left ten dead and over thirty more clinging to life. Doctors struggled to determine the cause of the attacks, and further analysis revealed each of the victims’ intravenous drip bags had been contaminated with a powerful muscle relaxant named Pavulon—a drug traditionally used in hospitals when inserting patient breathing tubes in preparation for surgery. The discovery of Pavulon was particularly disturbing because hospital safeguards made it unlikely the chemical had been introduced to patients’ drip bags by mistake. This suggested deliberate poisoning, but with no apparent connection between the victims, the motive behind the crime was unclear. The tangled investigation that followed gripped the nation’s attention, particularly after the FBI narrowed its focus to two improbable suspects: a pair of well-liked nurses from the hospital’s intensive care unit. Both were of Filipino decent, and the national media speculated racism was a major factor in the scrutiny placed on the nurses. Drawing extensively from court documents, news coverage from the time, and interviews with participants, Zibby Oneal and S. Martin Lindenauer’s Paralyzing Summer presents a gripping account of the baffling case, following the incredible twists and turns that unfolded over a two and a half year period starting July 1975.
The 1950s and 1960s were years of shifting values and social changes that did not sit well with many citizens of Richmond, Virginia, and in particular with one conservative family, a staunchly southern mother and father and their two daughters. A powerful evocation of time and place, this memoir—a gifted poet's first book of prose—is the story of an inquisitive and sensitive young woman's coming of age and a deeply moving recounting of her reconciliation later in life with the family she left behind.
Returning us to a Cold War world marked by divisions of race, gender, wealth, and class, The Prodigal Daughter is an exploration of difference, the powerful wedge that separates individuals within a social milieu and within a family. Echoing the biblical Prodigal Son, Margaret Gibson's memoir is less concerned with the years of excess away from home than with the seeds of division sown in this family's early years. Hers is the story of a mother proud to be a Lady, a Southerner, and a Christian; of two daughters trapped by their mother's power; and of their father's breakdown under social and family expectations.
Slow to rebel, young Margaret finally flees the world of manners and custom—which she deems poor substitutes for right thought and right action in the face of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War—and abandons her fundamentalist upbringing. In a defiant gesture that proves prophetic, she once signed a postcard home "The Prodigal." After years of being the distant, absent daughter, she finds herself returning home to meet the needs of her stroke-crippled younger sister and her incapacitated parents.
In this tale of homecoming and forgiveness, death and dying, Gibson recounts how she overcame her long indifference to a sister she had thought different from herself, recognizing the strengths of the bonds that both hold us and set us free. Interweaving astute social observations on social pressures, race relations, sibling rivalry, adolescent angst, and more, The Prodigal Daughter is a startlingly honest portrayal of one family in one southern city and the story of all too many families across America.
Richard Ford and the Ends of Realism examines the work of award-winning American novelist and short story writer Richard Ford, and places it firmly in the context of contemporary debates about the role and meaning of literary realism in a postmodern environment. In this fresh study of Ford’s oeuvre, Ian McGuire argues that Ford’s work is best understood as a form of pragmatic realism and thus positions him as part of a deeply rooted and ongoing American debate about the nature of realism and pragmatism. This debate, which reaches back to transcendentalist thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and continues on to today, questions the meaning of independence and the relationship between the self and history. In this context, McGuire explores Ford’s deep engagement with American literary and philosophical traditions and repositions his work in its appropriate intellectual and literary context.
McGuire also uses this idea of pragmatic realism to mount a larger defense of contemporary realist writing and uses Ford’s example to argue that realism itself remains a useful and necessary critical category. Contemporary realism, rather than being merely conventional or reactionary, as some of its critics have called it, can offer its proponents an aesthetically and philosophically sophisticated way of engaging with and contesting the particularities of contemporary, even postmodern, experience.
In offering this new reading of Richard Ford’s fiction, as well as a fresh understanding of the realist impulse in contemporary American fiction, both become richer, more resonant, and more immediate—reaching both backward into the past and forward to involve themselves in important contemporary debates about history, postmodernity, and moral relativism.
Raised on a small dairy farm in the Driftless Area in the mid-twentieth century, Gary Jones gets real about his rural roots. In this collection of interrelated stories, Jones writes with plainspoken warmth and irreverence about farm, family, and folks on the ridge. Readers will meet Gramp Jones, whose oversized overalls saved him from losing a chunk of flesh to an irate sow; the young one-room-school teacher who helped the kids make sled jumps at recess; Charlotte, the lawn-mowing sheep who once ended up in the living room; Victor the pig-cutter, who learned his trade from folk tradition rather than vet school; and other colorful characters of the ridge. Often humorous and occasionally touching, Jones’s essays paint a vivid picture that will entertain city and country folk alike.
In Shifting the Ground, Rachel Stein adds a feminist slant to the field of ecocriticism. Americans have historically defined themselves in terms of their conquest of "virgin land." Unfortunately, this identification has often proved disastrous to groups such as women, Native Americans, and African Americans, who were regarded as nature incarnate, part of the ground that must be mastered in the name of nation.
From a perspective of ecofeminist theory, Stein suggests that selected writings by Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Leslie Marmon Silko cannily revise intersections between American conceptions of nature and problematic formulations of gender and race. Writing from diverse social positions, each author examines a historical instance of this colonial conjunction: Dickinson grapples with the forces of Victorian Puritanism; Hurston interrogates Afro-Caribbean and African-American women's abuse as "beasts of burden"; Walker examines black mothers' struggles in the Jim Crow South as the legacy of their history as slave "chattel"; and Silko treats social ills of Native Americans as stemming from their objectification by white settlers.
In order to alleviate these oppressive conditions, Stein argues, each writer incorporates an alternative conception of nature from popular and indigenous traditions such as sentimentalism, Voodoo, African-American animism, and Laguna Pueblo story cycles. By reinterpreting nature, they transform their characters from social objects into self-empowered subjects.
Recasting these authors against the backdrop of conquest rhetoric, Stein offers provocative new readings of their texts. Her book paves the way for further development of ecocriticism and ecofeminist theory with regard to American women writers.
"Shifting the Ground examines the ways in which four women writers--Dickinson, Hurston, Walker, and Silko--subvert the destructive American mythos of 'nature's nation' and replace it with alternative visions of egalitarian interrelations between nature, gender, and race. Stein's study is well-informed, cogently written, and intelligent. Shifting the Ground is ecofeminist literary criticism at its best."
--Cheryll Glotfelty, University of Nevada, Reno
Rachel Stein is Assistant Professor of English at Siena College.
n 1968, Tommie Smith and his teammate John Carlos won the gold and silver medals, respectively, for the 200 meter dash. Receiving their medals on the dais, they raised their fists and froze a moment in time that will forever be remembered as a powerful day of protest. In this, his autobiography, Smith tells the story of that moment, and of his life before and after it, to explain what that moment meant to him.
In Silent Gesture, Smith recounts his life before and after the 1968 Olympics: his life-long commitment to athletics, education, and human rights. He dispels some of the myths surrounding his and Carlos' act on the dais -- contrary to legend, Smith wasn't a member of the Black Panthers, but a member of the US Olympic Project for Human Rights -- and describes in detail the planning and risks involved in his protest. Smith also details his many years after Mexico City of devotion to human rights, athletics, and education. A unique resource for anyone concerned with international sports, history, and the African American experience, Silent Gesture contributes a complete picture of one of the most famous moments in sports history, and of a man whose actions always matched his words.
In the deciding game of the 1992 National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, the Pittsburgh Pirates suffered the most dramatic and devastating loss in team history when former Pirate Sid Bream slid home with the winning run. Bream’s infamous slide ended the last game played by Barry Bonds in a Pirates uniform and sent the franchise reeling into a record twenty-season losing streak. The Slide tells the story of the myriad events, beginning with the aftermath of the 1979 World Series, which led to the fated 1992 championship game and beyond. It describes the city’s near loss of the team in 1985 and the major influence of Syd Thrift and Jim Leyland in developing a dysfunctional team into a division champion. The book gives detailed accounts of the 1990, 1991, and 1992 division championship seasons, the critical role played by Kevin McClatchy in saving the franchise in 1996, and summarizes the twenty losing seasons before the Pirates finally broke the curse of “the slide” in 2013, with their first playoff appearance since 1992.
For decades, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and activist Alice Walker has spoken out in defense of the oppressed. Her writings address the intersections of racist, sexist, heterosexist, classist, and, increasingly, speciesist oppressions, and she has made clear the importance of reducing violence and creating peace where possible. In light of Walker’s call to action, this book analyzes seven of her novels to offer a fresh reading situated at the complex intersection of critical race studies and critical animal studies.
Grounded in ecofeminist theory, this literary analysis examines Walker’s evolving views on animals in relation to her discussions of other oppressed groups. Pamela B. June argues that Walker’s fiction can help readers understand and perhaps challenge American culture’s mistreatment of nonhuman animals. Walker has withstood criticism for her decision to abandon vegetarianism, and this book also problematizes the slippery territory of viewing writers as moral guides. Solidarity with the Other Beings on the Planet will appeal to readers in literary studies, ecofeminist studies, African American studies, and critical animal studies.
Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project suggests that space can become a storyteller: if so, plenty of fleeting stories can be read in the space of modernity, where repetition and the unexpected cross-pollinate. In Space as Storyteller, Laura Chiesa explores several stories across a wide range of time that narrate spatial jumps, from Benjamin's tangential take on the cityscape, the experimentalism of Futurist theatricality, the multiple and potential atlases narrated by Italo Calvino and Georges Perec, and the posturban thought and practice of Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas/OMA. Space as Storyteller diverts attention from isolated disciplines and historical or geographical contexts toward transdisciplinary encounters that mobilize the potential to invent new spaces of comparison, a potential the author describes as "architecturability."
Perhaps the most widely respected and read poet of his generation in Sweden, Jesper Svenbro makes his debut in the English-speaking world with this selection of poems drawn from his seven previous volumes and impeccably translated by John Matthias and Lars-Håkan Svensson. At times intellectual and erudite, at other times invoking intimacy and closely observed memories, Svenbro appears here at his most richly allusive, calling with consummate ease upon the myths of the Greeks, real and imaginary journeys in Lapland, the poetry of Sappho and T. S. Eliot, the plaints and joys of childhood, and the evocations of nature and of art. Whether in intricate formal innovations or flights of free verse, in the linguistic politics of "Stalin as Wolf" or the political linguistics of "A Critique of Pure Representation," Svenbro's work captures in its every nuance the transcendent possibilities of the poet's art.
As the heady promise of the 1960s sagged under the weight of widespread violence, rioting, and racial unrest, two young men--one black and one white--took to stages across the nation to help Americans confront their racial divide: by laughing at it.
Tim and Tom tells the story of that pioneering duo, the first interracial comedy team in the history of show business--and the last. Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen polished their act in the nightclubs of Chicago, then took it on the road, not only in the North, but in the still-simmering South as well, developing routines that even today remain surprisingly frank--and remarkably funny--about race. Most nights, the shock of seeing an integrated comedy team quickly dissipated in uproarious laughter, but on some occasions the audience’s confusion and discomfort led to racist heckling, threats, and even violence. Though Tim and Tom perpetually seemed on the verge of making it big throughout their five years together, they grudgingly came to realize that they were ahead of their time: America was not yet ready to laugh at its own failed promise.
Eventually, the grind of the road took its toll, as bitter arguments led to an acrimonious breakup. But the underlying bond of friendship Reid and Dreesen had forged with each groundbreaking joke has endured for decades, while their solo careers delivered the success that had eluded them as a team. By turns revealing, shocking, and riotously funny, Tim and Tom unearths a largely forgotten chapter in the history of comedy.
In the 1950s the colonial British government in Northern and Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia and Zimbabwe) began construction on a large hydroelectric dam that created Lake Kariba and dislocated nearly 60,000 indigenous residents. Three decades later, Pamela Reynolds began fieldwork with the Tonga people to study the lasting effects of the dispossession of their land on their lives. In The Uncaring, Intricate World Reynolds shares her field diary, in which she records her efforts to study children and their labor and, by doing so, exposes the character of everyday life. More than a memoir, her diary captures the range of pleasures, difficulties, frustrations, contradictions, and grappling with ethical questions that all anthropologists experience in the field. The Uncaring, Intricate World concludes with afterwords by Jane I. Guyer and Julie Livingston, who critically reflect on its context, its meaning for today, and relevance to conducting anthropological work.
Did two reporters really change the course of history? And what impact did they actually have on American journalism and government? Jon Marshall explores different answers to those questions by charting the past and the possible future of the critical public service provided by investigative reporters.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein symbolize an era when investigative reporters were seen as courageous fighters of corruption and injustice. Although many mainstream news outlets no longer have the resources to support expensive investigative reporters on staff, journalists have found other ways to support themselves Marshall’s discussion of the opportunities they have found in blogs, crowd-sourcing, and nonprofit institutions offers hope for the future of investigative journalism.
This first book on the director of The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia is comprehensive, analyzing each of Jonathan Demme’s thirteen films.
Demme received the 1980 New York Film Critics Award as Best Director for Melvin and Howard. Subsequent Demme films such as Something Wild and the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, which won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Documentary, made Demme a cult favorite in the league of Roger Corman.
With 199l’s The Silence of the Lambs, Demme moved into a different league. The top-grossing film of the year, Silence won five Academy Awards, becoming the first film to sweep the Best Director, Actor, Actress, and Picture categories since 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Philadelphia also has been a top-grossing film, with Tom Hanks winning 1994’s Best Actor Oscar.
Michael Bliss and Christina Banks include a wealth of biographical and critical data; an exclusive interview with Demme; the only on-set report on the filming of The Silence of the Lambs; an interview with Craig McKay, Demme’s Emmy-winning film editor; a bibliography; and a Demme filmography. Many of the book’s movie still illustrations have never been published.