Will boys be boys? What are little boys made of? Kenneth B. Kidd responds to these familiar questions with a thorough review of boy culture in America since the late nineteenth century. From the "boy work" promoted by character-building organizations such as Scouting and 4-H to current therapeutic and pop psychological obsessions with children's self-esteem, Kidd presents the great variety of cultural influences on the changing notion of boyhood. Analyzing icons of boyhood and maleness from Huck Finn and The Jungle Book's Mowgli to Father Flanagan's Boys Town and even Michael Jackson, Kidd surveys films, psychoanalytic case studies, parenting manuals, historical accounts of the discoveries of "wolf-boys," and self-help books to provide a rigorous history of what it has meant to be an all-American boy.
American children need books that draw on their own history and circumstances, not just the classic European fairy tales. They need books that enlist them in the great democratic experiment that is the United States. These were the beliefs of many of the authors, illustrators, editors, librarians, and teachers who expanded and transformed children’s book publishing between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Although some later critics have argued that the books published in this era offered a vision of a safe, secure, simple world without injustice or unhappy endings, Gary D. Schmidt shows that the progressive political agenda shared by many Americans who wrote, illustrated, published, and taught children’s books had a powerful effect. Authors like James Daugherty, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lenski, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, Virginia Lee Burton, Robert McCloskey, and many others addressed directly and indirectly the major social issues of a turbulent time: racism, immigration and assimilation, sexism, poverty, the Great Depression, World War II, the atomic bomb, and the threat of a global cold war.
The central concern that many children’s book authors and illustrators wrestled with was the meaning of America and democracy itself, especially the tension between individual freedoms and community ties. That process produced a flood of books focused on the American experience and intent on defining it in terms of progress toward inclusivity and social justice. Again and again, children’s books addressed racial discrimination and segregation, gender roles, class differences, the fate of Native Americans, immigration and assimilation, war, and the role of the United States in the world. Fiction and nonfiction for children urged them to see these issues as theirs to understand, and in some ways, theirs to resolve. Making Americans is a study of a time when the authors and illustrators of children’s books consciously set their eyes on national and international sights, with the hope of bringing the next generation into a sense of full citizenship.
Managing Readers explores the fascinating interchange between text and margin, authorship and readership in early modern England. Printed marginalia did more than any other material feature of book production in the period between 1540 and 1700 to shape the experience of reading. William W. E. Slights considers overlooked evidence of the ways that early modern readers were instructed to process information, to contest opinions, and to make themselves into fully responsive consumers of texts.
The recent revolution in the protocols of reading brought on by computer technology has forced questions about the nature of book-based knowledge in our global culture. Managing Readers traces changes in the protocols of annotation and directed reading--from medieval religious manuscripts and Renaissance handbooks for explorers, rhetoricians, and politicians to the elegant clear-text editions of the Enlightenment and the hypertexts of our own time. Developing such concepts as textual authority, generic difference, and reader-response, Slights demonstrates that printed marginalia were used to confirm the authority of the text and to undermine it, to supplement "dark" passages, and to colonize strategic hermeneutic spaces. The book contains twenty-two illustrations of pages from rare-book archives that make immediately clear how distinctive the management of the reading experience was during the first century-and-a-half of printing in England.
William W. E. Slights is Professor of English, University of Saskatchewan. He is also author of Ben Jonson and the Art of Secrecy.
Best known for his sharp wit and his portrayals of life along the banks of the Mississippi River, Mark Twain is indeed an American icon, and many scholars have examined how he and his work are perceived in the United States. In Mark Twain in Japan, however, Tsuyoshi Ishihara explores how Twain’s uniquely American work is viewed in a completely different culture.
Mark Twain in Japan addresses three principal areas. First, the author considers Japanese translations of Twain’s books, which have been overlooked by scholars but which have had a significant impact on the formation of the public image of Twain and his works in Japan. Second, he discusses the ways in which traditional and contemporary Japanese culture have transformed Twain’s originals and shaped Japanese adaptations. Finally, he uses the example of Twain in Japan as a vehicle to delve into the complexity of American cultural influences on other countries, challenging the simplistic one-way model of “cultural imperialism.” Ishihara builds on the recent work of other researchers who have examined such models of American cultural imperialism and found them wanting. The reality is that other countries sometimes show their autonomy by transforming, distorting, and rejecting aspects of American culture, and Ishihara explains how this is no less true in the case of Twain.
Featuring a wealth of information on how the Japanese have regarded Twain over time, this book offers both a history lesson on Japanese-American relations and a thorough analysis of the “Japanization” of Mark Twain, as Ishihara adds his voice to the growing international chorus of scholars who emphasize the global localization of American culture. While the book will naturally be of interest to Twain scholars, it also will appeal to other groups, particularly those interested in popular culture, Japanese culture, juvenile literature, film, animation, and globalization of American culture.
The common characterization of Mark Twain as an uneducated and improvisational writer took hold largely because of the novelist's own frequent claims about his writing practices. But using recently discovered evidence--Twain's marginal notes in books he consulted as he worked on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court--Joe Fulton argues for a reconsideration of scholarly views about Twain's writing process, showing that this great American author crafted his novels with careful research and calculated design.
Fulton analyzes Twain's voluminous marginalia in the copies of Macaulay's History of England, Carlyle's History of the French Revolution, and Lecky's History of the Rise of Rationalism and England in the Eighteenth Century available to Twain in the library of Quarry Farm, the New York farm where the novelist and his family routinely spent their summers. Comparing these marginal notes to entries in Twain's writing journal, the manuscript of Connecticut Yankee, and the book as published in 1889, Fulton establishes that Twain's research decisively influenced the novel. Fulton reveals Twain to be both the writer from experience he claimed to be and the careful craftsman that he attempted to downplay. By redefining Twain's aesthetic, Fulton reinvigorates current debates about what constitutes literary realism.
Fulton's transcriptions of the marginalia appear in an appendix; together with his analysis, they provide a valuable new resource for Twain scholars.
In this age of the sound bite, what sort of author could be more relevant than a master of the epigram? Martial, the most influential epigrammatist of classical antiquity, was just such a virtuoso of the form, but despite his pertinence to today’s culture, his work has been largely neglected in contemporary scholarship. Arguing that Martial is a major author who deserves more sustained attention, William Fitzgerald provides an insightful tour of his works, shedding new and much-needed light on the Roman poet’s world—and how it might speak to our own.
Writing in the late first century CE—when the epigram was firmly embedded in the social life of the Roman elite—Martial published his poems in a series of books that were widely read and enjoyed. Exploring what it means to read such a collection of epigrams, Fitzgerald examines the paradoxical relationship between the self-enclosed epigram and the book of poems that is more than the sum of its parts. And he goes on to show how Martial, by imagining these books being displayed in shops and shipped across the empire to admiring readers, prophetically behaved like a modern author. Chock-full of epigrams itself—in both Latin and English versions—Fitzgerald’s study will delight classicists, literary scholars, and anyone who appreciates an ingenious witticism.
In the last two decades, digital technologies have made it possible for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to rapidly and inexpensively self-publish a book. Once a stigmatized niche activity, self-publishing has grown explosively. Hobbyists and professionals alike have produced millions of books, circulating them through e-readers and the web. What does this new flood of books mean for publishing, authors, and readers? Some lament the rise of self-publishing because it tramples the gates and gatekeepers who once reserved publication for those who met professional standards. Others tout authors’ new freedom from the narrow-minded exclusivity of traditional publishing. Critics mourn the death of the author; fans celebrate the democratization of authorship.
Drawing on eight years of research and interviews with more than eighty self-published writers, Mass Authorship avoids the polemics, instead showing how writers are actually thinking about and dealing with this brave new world. Timothy Laquintano compares the experiences of self-publishing authors in three distinct genres—poker strategy guides, memoirs, and romance novels—as well as those of writers whose self-published works hit major bestseller lists. He finds that the significance of self-publishing and the challenge it presents to traditional publishing depend on the aims of authors, the desires of their readers, the affordances of their platforms, and the business plans of the companies that provide those platforms.
In drawing a nuanced portrait of self-publishing authors today, Laquintano answers some of the most pressing questions about what it means to publish in the twenty-first century: How do writers establish credibility in an environment with no editors to judge quality? How do authors police their copyrights online without recourse to the law? How do they experience Amazon as a publishing platform? And how do they find an audience when, it sometimes seems, there are more writers than readers?
In Jennifer Summit’s account, libraries are more than inert storehouses of written tradition; they are volatile spaces that actively shape the meanings and uses of books, reading, and the past. Considering the two-hundred-year period between 1431, which saw the foundation of Duke Humfrey’s famous library, and 1631, when the great antiquarian Sir Robert Cotton died, Memory’s Library revises the history of the modern library by focusing on its origins in medieval and early modern England.
Summit argues that the medieval sources that survive in English collections are the product of a Reformation and post-Reformation struggle to redefine the past by redefining the cultural place, function, and identity of libraries. By establishing the intellectual dynamism of English libraries during this crucial period of their development, Memory’s Library demonstrates how much current discussions about the future of libraries can gain by reexamining their past.
Does literature need the book? With electronic texts and reading devices growing increasingly popular, the codex is no longer the default format of fiction. Yet as Alexander Starre shows in Metamedia, American literature has rediscovered the book as an artistic medium after the first e-book hype in the late 1990s. By fusing narrative and design, a number of “bibliographic” writers have created reflexive fictions—metamedia—that invite us to read printed formats in new ways. Their work challenges ingrained theories and beliefs about literary communication and its connections to technology and materiality. Metamedia explores the book as a medium that matters and introduces innovative critical concepts to better grasp its narrative significance.
Combining sustained textual analysis with impulses from the fields of book history, media studies, and systems theory, Starre explains the aesthetics and the cultural work of complex material fictions, such as Mark Z.Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys (2001), Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper (2005), Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet (2009), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes (2010). He also broadens his analysis beyond the genre of the novel in an extensive account of the influential literary magazine McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and its founder, Dave Eggers.
For this millennial generation of writers and publishers, the computer was never a threat to print culture, but a powerful tool to make better books. In careful close readings, Starre puts typefaces, layouts, and cover designs on the map of literary criticism. At the same time, the book steers clear of bibliophile nostalgia and technological euphoria as it follows writers, designers, and publishers in the process of shaping the surprising history of literary bookmaking after digitization.
Today’s mass-market romances have their precursors in late Victorian popular novels written by and for women. In Modernism and the Women’s Popular Romance Martin Hipsky scrutinizes some of the best-selling British fiction from the period 1885 to 1925, the era when romances, especially those by British women, were sold and read more widely than ever before or since.
Recent scholarship has explored the desires and anxieties addressed by both “low modern” and “high modernist” British culture in the decades straddling the turn of the twentieth century. In keeping with these new studies, Hipsky offers a nuanced portrait of an important phenomenon in the history of modern fiction. He puts popular romances by Mrs. Humphry Ward, Marie Corelli, the Baroness Orczy, Florence Barclay, Elinor Glyn, Victoria Cross, Ethel Dell, and E. M. Hull into direct relationship with the fiction of Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, and D. H. Lawrence, among other modernist greats.