Agamemnon led a ten-year-long struggle at Troy only to return home and die a pathetic death at his wife’s hands. Yet while Agamemnon’s story exerts an outsize influence—rivalled by few epic personalities—on the poetic narratives of the Iliad and Odyssey, scholars have not adequately considered his full portrait. What was Agamemnon like as a character for Homer and his audience? More fundamentally, how should we approach the topic of characterization itself, following the discoveries of Milman Parry, Albert Lord, and their successors?Andrew Porter explains the expression of characterization in Homer’s works, from an oral-traditional point of view, and through the resonance of words, themes, and “back stories” from both the past and future. He analyzes Agamemnon’s character traits in the Iliad, including his qualities as a leader, against events such as his tragic homecoming narrative in the Odyssey. Porter’s findings demonstrate that there is a traditional depth of characterization embedded in the written pages of these once-oral epics, providing a shared connection between the ancient singer and his listeners.
Why Captain Ahab is worthy of our fear—and our compassion
Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab is perennially seen as the paradigm of a controlling, tyrannical agent. Ahab Unbound leaves his position as a Cold War icon behind, recasting him as a contingent figure, transformed by his environment—by chemistry, electromagnetism, entomology, meteorology, diet, illness, pain, trauma, and neurons firing—in ways that unexpectedly force us to see him as worthy of our empathy and our compassion.
In sixteen essays by leading scholars, Ahab Unbound advances an urgent inquiry into Melville’s emergence as a center of gravity for materialist work, reframing his infamous whaling captain in terms of pressing conversations in animal studies, critical race and ethnic studies, disability studies, environmental humanities, medical humanities, political theory, and posthumanism. By taking Ahab as a focal point, we gather and give shape to the multitude of ways that materialism produces criticism in our current moment. Collectively, these readings challenge our thinking about the boundaries of both persons and nations, along with the racist and environmental violence caused by categories like the person and the human.
Ahab Unbound makes a compelling case for both the vitality of materialist inquiry and the continued resonance of Melville’s work.
Contributors: Branka Arsić, Columbia U; Christopher Castiglia, Pennsylvania State U; Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt U; Christian P. Haines, Pennsylvania State U; Bonnie Honig, Brown U; Jonathan Lamb, Vanderbilt U; Pilar Martínez Benedí, U of L’Aquila, Italy; Steve Mentz, St. John’s College; John Modern, Franklin and Marshall College; Mark D. Noble, Georgia State U; Samuel Otter, U of California, Berkeley; Donald E. Pease, Dartmouth College; Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College; Russell Sbriglia, Seton Hall U; Michael D. Snediker, U of Houston; Matthew A. Taylor, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ivy Wilson, Northwestern U.
In Anime’s Media Mix, Marc Steinberg convincingly shows that anime is far more than a style of Japanese animation. Beyond its immediate form of cartooning, anime is also a unique mode of cultural production and consumption that led to the phenomenon that is today called “media mix” in Japan and “convergence” in the West.
According to Steinberg, both anime and the media mix were ignited on January 1, 1963, when Astro Boy hit Japanese TV screens for the first time. Sponsored by a chocolate manufacturer with savvy marketing skills, Astro Boy quickly became a cultural icon in Japan. He was the poster boy (or, in his case, “sticker boy”) both for Meiji Seika’s chocolates and for what could happen when a goggle-eyed cartoon child fell into the eager clutches of creative marketers. It was only a short step, Steinberg makes clear, from Astro Boy to Pokémon and beyond.
Steinberg traces the cultural genealogy that spawned Astro Boy to the transformations of Japanese media culture that followed—and forward to the even more profound developments in global capitalism supported by the circulation of characters like Doraemon, Hello Kitty, and Suzumiya Haruhi. He details how convergence was sparked by anime, with its astoundingly broad merchandising of images and its franchising across media and commodities. He also explains, for the first time, how the rise of anime cannot be understood properly—historically, economically, and culturally—without grasping the integral role that the media mix played from the start. Engaging with film, animation, and media studies, as well as analyses of consumer culture and theories of capitalism, Steinberg offers the first sustained study of the Japanese mode of convergence that informs global media practices to this day.
Challenging the standard portrayals of Black men in African American literature
From Frederick Douglass to the present, the preoccupation of black writers with manhood and masculinity is a constant. Black Manhood in James Baldwin, Ernest J. Gaines, and August Wilson explores how in their own work three major African American writers contest classic portrayals of black men in earlier literature, from slave narratives through the great novels of Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison.
Keith Clark examines short stories, novels, and plays by Baldwin, Gaines, and Wilson, arguing that since the 1950s the three have interrupted and radically dismantled the constricting literary depictions of black men who equate selfhood with victimization, isolation, and patriarchy. Instead, they have reimagined black men whose identity is grounded in community, camaraderie, and intimacy.
Delivering original and startling insights, this book will appeal to scholars and students of African American literature, gender studies, and narratology.
Here is a look at Water in a Sieve and Blackkerchief Dick and twenty-two other books by Margery Allingham featuring Albert Campion. Campion, the fictional hero, was a man of action, who appears to be a "guileless-looking nonentity whom it is almost obligatory to underestimate." Any fan of Campion or Ms. Allingham's mysteries will enjoy comparing their judgments to Pike's.
A data-driven deep dive into a legendary comics author’s subversion of gender norms within the bestselling comic of its time.
By the time Chris Claremont’s run as author of Uncanny X-Men ended in 1991, he had changed comic books forever. During his sixteen years writing the series, Claremont revitalized a franchise on the verge of collapse, shaping the X-Men who appear in today’s Hollywood blockbusters. But, more than that, he told a new kind of story, using his growing platform to articulate transgressive ideas about gender nonconformity, toxic masculinity, and female empowerment.
J. Andrew Deman’s investigation pairs close reading and quantitative analysis to examine gender representation, content, characters, and story structure. The Claremont Run compares several hundred issues of Uncanny X-Men with a thousand other Marvel comics to provide a comprehensive account of Claremont’s sophisticated and progressive gender politics. Claremont’s X-Men upended gender norms: where female characters historically served as mere eye candy, Claremont’s had leading roles and complex, evolving personalities. Perhaps more surprisingly, his male superheroes defied and complicated standards of masculinity. Groundbreaking in their time, Claremont’s comics challenged readers to see the real world differently and transformed pop culture in the process.
2023 Ray and Pat Browne Best Single Work by One or More Authors in Popular and American Culture, Popular and American Culture Association (PACA) / Popular Culture Association (PCA)
2023 Ray and Pat Browne Best Edited Reference/Primary Source Work in Popular Culture Award (Honorable Mention), Popular and American Culture Association (PACA) / Popular Culture Association (PCA)
2023 Peter C. Rollins Book Award, Southwest Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations (SWPACA)
A revisionist history of women's pivotal roles as creators of and characters in comic books.
The history of comics has centered almost exclusively on men. Comics historians largely describe the medium as one built by men telling tales about male protagonists, neglecting the many ways in which women fought for legitimacy on the page and in publishers’ studios. Despite this male-dominated focus, women played vital roles in the early history of comics. The story of how comic books were born and how they evolved changes dramatically when women like June Tarpé Mills and Lily Renée are placed at the center rather than at the margins of this history, and when characters such as the Black Cat, Patsy Walker, and Señorita Rio are analyzed.
Comic Book Women offers a feminist history of the golden age of comics, revising our understanding of how numerous genres emerged and upending narratives of how male auteurs built their careers. Considering issues of race, gender, and sexuality, the authors examine crime, horror, jungle, romance, science fiction, superhero, and Western comics to unpack the cultural and industrial consequences of how women were represented across a wide range of titles by publishers like DC, Timely, Fiction House, and others. This revisionist history reclaims the forgotten work done by women in the comics industry and reinserts female creators and characters into the canon of comics history.
A significant and innovative contribution to Austin studies. How did an Illinois Methodist homesteader in the West come to create one of the most significant cosmological syntheses in American literature? In this study, Hoyer draws on his own knowledge of biblical religion and Native American cultures to explore Austin's creation of the "mythology of the American continent" she so valued. Austin lived in and wrote about "the land of little rain," semiarid and arid parts of California and Nevada that were home to the Northern Paiute, Shoshone, Interior Chumash, and Yokut peoples. Hoyer makes new and provocative connections between Austin and spiritual figures like Wovoka, the prophet of the Ghost Dance religion, and writers like Zitkala-sa and Mourning Dove, and he provides a particularly fine reading of Cogowea.
A distinguished physician and professor of medicine at Edinburgh University, and a forensic expert for the British Crown, Joseph Bell was well known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. In what would become true Sherlockian fashion, he had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details. In one instance recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle himself—and similar to Sherlock Holmes's own observations in "The Greek Interpreter"—Bell took little time to determine that one of his patients had recently served in the army, a non-commissioned officer discharged from his Highland regiment stationed in Barbados:
“The man was a respectful man, but did not remove his hat. They do not in the army, but he would have learned civilian ways had he been long discharged. He has an air of authority and he is obviously Scottish. As to Barbados, his complaint is elephantitis, which is West Indian and not British.”
Based on extensive research into the life of Bell and including tantalizing accounts of the connections between Bell and Conan Doyle, this biography is required reading for anyone interested in Victorian medicine, in the history of detective fiction, and in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Marriage is a central concern in five of the seven extant plays of the Greek tragedian Sophocles. In this pathfinding study, Kirk Ormand delves into the ways in which these plays represent and problematize marriage, thus offering insights into how Athenians thought about the institution of marriage.
Ormand takes a two-fold approach. He first explores the legal and economic underpinnings of Athenian marriage, an institution designed to guarantee the legitimate continuation of patrilineal households. He then shows how Sophocles' plays Trachiniae, Electra, Antigone, Ajax, and Oedipus Tyrannus both reinforce and critique this ideology by representing marriage as a homosocial exchange between men, in which women are objects who may attempt—but always fail—to become self-acting subjects.
These fresh readings provide the first systematic study of marriage in Sophocles. They draw important connections between drama and marriage as rituals concerned with controlling potentially disruptive female subjectivities.
Huckleberry Finn dressing as a girl is a famously comic scene in Mark Twain’s novel but hardly out of character—for the author, that is. Twain “troubled gender” in much of his otherwise traditional fiction, depicting children whose sexual identities are switched at birth, tomboys, same-sex married couples, and even a male French painter who impersonates his own fictive sister and becomes engaged to another man.
This book explores Mark Twain’s extensive use of cross-dressing across his career by exposing the substantial cast of characters who masqueraded as members of the opposite sex or who otherwise defied gender expectations. Linda Morris grounds her study in an understanding of the era’s theatrical cross-dressing and changing mores and even events in the Clemens household. She examines and interprets Twain’s exploration of characters who transgress gendered conventions while tracing the degree to which themes of gender disruption interact with other themes, such as his critique of race, his concern with death in his classic “boys’ books,” and his career-long preoccupation with twins and twinning.
Approaching familiar texts in surprising new ways, Morris reexamines the relationship between Huck and Jim; discusses racial and gender crossing in Pudd’nhead Wilson; and sheds new light on Twain’s difficulty in depicting the most famous cross-dresser in history, Joan of Arc. She also considers a number of his later “transvestite tales” that feature transgressive figures such as Hellfire Hotchkiss, who is hampered by her “misplaced sex.”
Morris challenges views of Twain that see his work as reinforcing traditional notions of gender along sharply divided lines. She shows that Twain depicts cross-dressing sometimes as comic or absurd, other times as darkly tragic—but that even at his most playful, he contests traditional Victorian notions about the fixity of gender roles.
Analyzing such characteristics of Twain’s fiction as his fascination with details of clothing and the ever-present element of play, Morris shows us his understanding that gender, like race, is a social construction—and above all a performance. Gender Play in Mark Twain: Cross-Dressing and Transgression broadens our understanding of the writer as it lends rich insight into his works.
Grace Paley is a "writer's writer," admired by both scholars and the reading public for her originality and unique voice. In this first book-length study of her work, Jacqueline Taylor explores the source of Paley's originality, locating it in the way Paley transforms language to create strongly woman-centered stories.
Drawing on interviews with the author, as well as the stories themselves, Taylor emphasizes Paley's awareness that women's voices have been muted and their stories ignored or left untold in our culture's male-oriented dominant discourse. She watches Paley in the process of reshaping language at both the semantic and narrative levels to make it express women's perceptions and experiences. In Paley's stories, it becomes possible to ignore traditional heroic and dramatic themes and instead talk about women and children in such everyday settings as the playground, the kitchen, and the grocery store.
Some of the specific techniques Paley uses to accomplish this include identifying and repudiating sexist language in the dominant discourse and redefining ordinary words from the perspective of women. At the narrative level, Taylor reveals how she draws on women's oral traditions to tell open-ended stories that resist rigid beginning-middle-and-end structuring.
This transformed language enables Paley to construct a social world where woman-centered meanings can flourish. In her nontraditional stories, no single narrator or version of events dominates. Anyone can be a storyteller and no one has the last word.
Trollope’s mother, wife, and a friend he loved platonically most of his life provided him three very different views of the Victorian woman. And, according to Jane Nardin, they were responsible for the dramatic shift in his treatment of women in his novels.
This is the first book in Sandra Gilbert’s Ad Feminam series to examine a male author. Nardin initially analyzes the novels Trollope wrote from 1855 to 1861, in which male concerns are central to the plot and women are angelic heroines, submissive and self-sacrificing. Even the titles of his novels written during this period are totally male oriented. The Three Clerks, Doctor Thorne, and The Bertrams all refer to men. Shortly after meeting Kate Field, Trollope wrote Orley Farm, which refers to the estate an angry woman steals from her husband and which marks a change in the attitudes toward women evident in his novels.
His next four books, The Small House at Allington, Rachel Ray, Can You Forgive Her?, and Miss Mackenzie, prove that women’s concerns had become central in his writing. Nardin examines specific novels written from 1861 to 1865 in which Trollope, with increasing vigor, subverts the conventional notions of gender that his earlier novels had endorsed.
Nardin argues that his novels written after 1865 and often recognized as feminist are not really departures but merely refinements of attitudes Trollope exhibited in earlier works.
This book is about the Homeric figure Nestor. This study is important because it reveals a level of deliberate irony in the Homeric poems that has hitherto not been suspected, and because Nestor’s role in the poems, which is built on this irony, is a key to the circumstances of the poems’ composition.Nestor’s stories about the past, especially his own youth, often lack purpose on the surface of the poems, but with a slight shift of focus they provide a deep commentary on the present action of both poems. Nestor’s Homeric epithet, hippota, “the horseman,” permits the necessary refocus. The combination of epithet and name, hippota Nestor, has Indo-European roots, as a comparison with Vedic Sanskrit shows. Interpreted in the context of the Indo-European twin myth, Nestor’s role clearly points beyond itself to the key question in Homeric studies: the circumstances of the poems’ composition.Nestor has a special relation to Ionia, where the Homeric poems were composed, and through Ionia to early Athens. The relationship between the Ionian city of Miletus and early Athens is particularly important. In addition to the role of these cities, the location of Nestor’s city Pylos, an ancient conundrum, is sharply illuminated by this new interpretation of Nestor’s Homeric role.
Before they were written down, the poems attributed to Homer were performed orally, usually by rhapsodes (singers/reciters) who might have traveled from city to city or enjoyed a position in a wealthy household. Even after the Iliad and the Odyssey were committed to writing, rhapsodes performed the poems at festivals, often competing against each other. As they recited the epics, the rhapsodes spoke as both the narrator and the characters. These different acts—performing the poem and narrating and speaking in character within it—are seldom studied in tandem. Homer in Performance breaks new ground by bringing together all of the speakers involved in the performance of Homeric poetry: rhapsodes, narrators, and characters.
The first part of the book presents a detailed history of the rhapsodic performance of Homeric epic from the Archaic to the Roman Imperial periods and explores how performers might have shaped the poems. The second part investigates the Homeric narrators and characters as speakers and illuminates their interactions. The contributors include scholars versed in epigraphy, the history of art, linguistics, and performance studies, as well as those capable of working with sources from the ancient Near East and from modern Russia. This interdisciplinary approach makes the volume useful to a spectrum of readers, from undergraduates to veteran professors, in disciplines ranging from classical studies to folklore.
From the mortal maidens of 1817 to the omnipotent goddesses of 1819, Keats uses successive female characters as symbols portraying the salvation and destruction, the passion and fear that the imagination elicits. Karla Alwes traces the change in these female figures—multidimensional and mysteriously protean—and shows that they do more than comprise a symbol of the female as a romantic lover. They are the gauge of Keats’s search for identity. As Keats’s poetry changes with experience, from celebration to denial of the earth, the females change from meek to threatening to a final maternal and conciliatory figure.
Keats consistently maintained a strict dichotomy between the flesh-and-blood women he referred to in his letters and the created females of his poetry, in the same way that he rigorously sought to abandon the real for the ideal in his poetry. In her study of Keats’s poetry, Alwes dramatizes the poet’s struggle to come to terms with his two consummate ideals—women and poetry. She demonstrates how his female characters, serving as lovers, guides, and nemeses to the male heroes of the poems, embody not only the hope but also the disappointment that the poet discovers as he strives to reconcile feminine and masculine creativity. Alwes also shows how the myths of Apollo, which Keats integrated into his poetry as early as February 1815, point up his contradictory need for, yet fear of, the feminine. She argues that Keats’s attempt to overcome this fear, impossible to do by concentrating solely on Apollo as a metaphor for the imagination, resulted in his eventual use of maternal goddesses as poetic symbols.
The goddess Moneta in "The Fall of Hyperion" reclaims the power of the maternal earth to represent the final stage in the development of the female. In combining the wisdom of the Apollonian realm with the compassion of the feminine earth, Moneta is more powerful than Apollo and able to show the poet who does not recognize both realms that he is only a "dreamer," one who "venoms all his days, / Bearing more woe than all his sins deserve."
Because of Moneta’s admonishment, Keats becomes the poet capable of creating "To Autumn." In this final ode, Keats taps the transcendent power inherent in the temporal beauty of the earth. His imagination, once attempting to leave the earth, now goes beyond the Apollonian ideal into the realm of salvation—the human heart—that connects him to the earth. And because of his poetic reconciliation between heaven and earth, Keats is ultimately able to portray an earthly timelessness in which "summer has o’er-brimmed" the bees’ "clammy cells," making for "warm days [that] will never cease."
In the only critical examination of all of Jack Kerouac's published prose, James T. Jones turns to Freud to show how the great Beat writer used the Oedipus myth to shape not only his individual works but also the entire body of his writing.
Like Balzac, Jones explains, Kerouac conceived an overall plan for his total writing corpus, which he called the Duluoz Legend after Jack Duluoz, his fictional alter ego. While Kerouac's work attracts biographical treatment—the ninth full-length biography was published in 1998—Jones takes a Freudian approach to focus on the form of the work. Noting that even casual readers recognize family relationships as the basis for Kerouac's autobiographical prose, Jones discusses these relationships in terms of Freud's notion of the Oedipus complex.
After establishing the basic biographical facts and explaining Freud's application of the Oedipus myth, Jones explicates Kerouac's novels of childhood and adolescence, focusing on sibling rivalry. Supporting his contention that the Beat writer worked according to a plan, Jones then shows how Kerouac revised The Town and the City (1950), his first published novel, in Vanity of Duluoz, the last novel published in his lifetime, to de-emphasize the death of the father. He treats three versions of Kerouac's road novel—including On the Road—as versions of Oedipus's fateful journey from Corinth to Thebes. And he argues that Pic, often considered peripheral to the Duluoz Legend, replicates the Oedipal themes.
Jones demonstrates that Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Tristessa share a form that results from Kerouac's unresolved rivalry with his father for the love of his mother. He discusses Kerouac's replacement of the destructive brother figures in On the Road and Visions of Cody with the constructive hero of The Dharma Bums. He also shows how the Oedipal structure of the Duluoz Legend applies to Kerouac's nonfiction.
In the penultimate chapter, Jones explains how Big Sur, Kerouac's story of his alcohol-induced nervous breakdown, actually marks the climax of the Duluoz Legend. The alcoholism, Jones insists, is not the cause but a symptom of a breakdown brought on by his attachment to his mother. He shows how Kerouac's obsession with his family repeats Oedipal themes throughout the Duluoz Legend. Finally, he deals with Oedipal themes in Kerouac's nonnarrative work, including Old Angel Midnight, Some of the Dharma, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, and several poems.
Early in his career, John Updike announced his affinity with the Christian existentialism of Soren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, and others. Because of this, many of Updike's critics have interpreted his work from within a Christian existentialist context. Yet Kierkegaard and Barth provide Updike with much more than a mere context, for their dialectical thinking serves as the springboard for Updike's own unique dialectical vision, a complex matrix of ethical precepts, theological beliefs, and aesthetic principles that governs nearly all of his literary output. Nowhere else in his immense corpus is this vision more clearly and thoroughly expressed than in his four Rabbit novels, which were gathered into the single volume Rabbit Angstrom in 1995. However, because Updike's critics have chosen to read the Rabbit novels as discrete, freestanding texts, they have by and large failed to extract the precepts of this private vision.
In John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy, Marshall Boswell redresses this imbalance by treating the Rabbit tetralogy as a single, unified "mega-novel." He demonstrates that, taken together as a single work, the four discrete sections of the tetralogy not only provide a coherent and complete articulation of Updike's unique existential vision but also compose a unified work of remarkable formal complexity. Boswell brings to Updike's work the concept of "mastered irony," a term coined by Kierkegaard to describe the presentation of two legitimate but contradictory sides of an issue. In the Rabbit novels, these issues range from adultery to drug addiction, from race to redemption, with each issue examined through the refracting lens of Updike's own ironic method. Boswell shows that although each of the four individual Rabbit novels confirms this dialectical strategy in a unique way, the completed tetralogy comprises an additional series of dialectical pairs that sustain, rather than resolve, thematic and formal tension. Ultimately, the structure of the finished "mega-novel" echoes the work's thematic rationale.
To help readers who are interested in a particular Rabbit novel, Boswell devotes a chapter to each individual section of the tetralogy. At the same time, he treats each novel as an integral part of the more comprehensive whole. Honoring the full complexity of Updike's provocative thinking without losing sight of the tetralogy's popular appeal, John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy makes a valuable addition to the study of Updike's work.
Uniting Catholic Ireland and Protestant Ireland was a central idea of the "Irish Revival," a literary and cultural manifestation of Irish nationalism that began in the 1890s and continued into the early twentieth century. Yet many of the Revival's Protestant leaders, including W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and John Synge, failed to address the profound cultural differences that made uniting the two Irelands so problematic, while Catholic leaders of the Revival, particularly the journalist D. P. Moran, turned the movement into a struggle for greater Catholic power.
This book fully explores James Joyce's complex response to the Irish Revival and his extensive treatment of the relationship between the "two Irelands" in his letters, essays, book reviews, and fiction up to Finnegans Wake. Willard Potts skillfully demonstrates that, despite his pretense of being an aloof onlooker, Joyce was very much a part of the Revival. He shows how deeply Joyce was steeped in his whole Catholic culture and how, regardless of the harsh way he treats the Catholic characters in his works, he almost always portrays them as superior to any Protestants with whom they appear. This research recovers the historical and cultural roots of a writer who is too often studied in isolation from the Irish world that formed him.
In an effort to define what constitutes a feminist reading of literary works, Ann C. Hall offers an analytic technique that is both a feminist and a psychoanalytic approach, applying this technique to her study of women characters in the modern dramatic texts of Eugene O’Neill, Harold Pinter, and Sam Shepard.
This is the first study to treat these three writers in tandem, and while Hall uses the work of Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray, and other psychoanalytic feminist critics in her close readings of specific dramatic texts, she also brings in commentaries by critics, directors, performers, and historians. Her technique thereby provides us with a new and significant method for addressing female characters as written by male playwrights, a task that she argues is not only a valid and necessary part of feminist dramatic criticism but a part of theatrical production as well.
From Pinter’s play A Kind of Alaska, Hall extracts a metaphor for the patriarchal oppression of women, contextualizing such oppression through an examination of O’Neill’s madonnas, Pinter’s whores, and Shepard’s female saviors as they are represented in O’Neill’s Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and A Moon for theMisbegotten; Pinter’s Homecoming, No Man’s Land, Betrayal, and A Kind of Alaska; and Shepard’s Buried Child, True West, and A LieoftheMind.
Since the works of O’Neill, Pinter, and Shepard continue to be performed to popular acclaim, Hall hopes that a better understanding of the female characters in these plays will influence the performances themselves.
As scholars have remarked, the word kleos in the Iliad and the Odyssey alike refers to something more substantive and complex than “fame” or “glory.” Kleos distinctly supposes an oral narrative—principally an “oral history,” a “life story” or ultimately an “oral tradition.” When broken down into its twin constituents, “words” and “actions” or “deeds,” a hero’s kleos serves to define him as a fully gendered social being.This book is a meditation on this concept as expressed and experienced in the adult society Telemachos find himself in. Kleos is the yardstick by which his psychological change was appreciated by Homer’s audiences. As this book shows through philological and interdisciplinary analysis, Prince Telemachos grows up in the course of the Telemachy and arguably even beyond (in book 24): his education, which is conceived largely as an apprenticeship on land and sea, admits him gradually if unevenly to a full-fledged adult kleos—a kleos that nonetheless necessarily remains minor in comparison to that of his father and other elders.
Bradley's stunning volume offers a surprising and delightful glimpse behind the scenes of New York history, and invites readers into the world of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the antihero who surprised everyone by becoming the standard-bearer for the city's exceptional sense of self, or what we now call a New York "attitude."
A 2010 AAUP Best of the Best title
“A briskly engaging book.” —Christopher Benfey, New York Review of Books
“This is cultural history at its best.” —Journal of American Culture
“Elizabeth L. Bradley sorts, catalogues and deciphers the shifting Knickerbocker currents in a metropolis constantly reinventing itself. She does the sturdy Dutchman proud in a scholarly and polished rendition.” —Star-Ledger
“Bradley creates an engaging account of the city through the fictional Knickerbocker, who was a steady presence ‘over two centuries of wrenching urban transformation, from the post-colonial to the postmodern.’ Bradley is a perceptive and lively writer and does a superb job of tracing the many strands of the Knickerbocker myth. She provided the historical context necessary to illustrate the ways the Knickerbocker brand was invoked and provides deft analysis of the cultural meanings it accrued.” —Bookforum
In Many Gods and Many Voices distinguished scholar Louis L. Martz addresses works by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, H. D., and D. H. Lawrence, with brief treatment of the relation of Pound's Cantos to Joyce's Ulysses. In a graceful, lucid style, Martz argues that a prophetic tradition is represented in the Cantos, The Waste Land, Paterson, and H. D.'s Trilogy and Helen in Egypt, along with Lawrence's Plumed Serpent and the second version of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Pound's often- cited view that an epic is a poem that "includes history" does not define epic alone, for the books of biblical prophecy also contain history: the history of Israel's misdeeds and continuous redemption.
On the other hand, Martz suggests that the term prophecy should not be limited to works that foretell the future, arguing that the biblical prophet is concerned primarily with the present. The prophet is a reformer, a denouncer of evil, as well as a seer of possible redemption. He hears "voices" and transmits the message of those voices to his people, in the hope of moving them away from wickedness and toward the ways of truth. According to Martz, such was the mission that inspired Walt Whitman and that Whitman passed on to Pound, Eliot, Williams, and Lawrence. (H. D. found her own sources of inspiration in Greek and Egyptian lore.)
Martz's premise is that biblical prophecy, with its mingling of poetry and prose, its abrupt shifts from violent denunciation to exalted poetry, provides a precedent for the texture of these modernist works that will help readers to appreciate the mingling of "voices" and the complex mixture of elements. Examining their interrelationships and their common themes, Many Gods and Many Voices offers fresh insights into these modern writers.
Happel primarily lived and worked in the vigorous port city of Hamburg, which was a “media center” in terms of the access it offered to a wide library of books in public and private collections. Hamburg’s port status meant it buzzed with news and information, and Happel drew on this flow of data in his novels. His books deal with many topics of current interest—national identity formation, gender and sexualities, Western European encounters with neighbors to the East, confrontations with non-European and non-Western powers and cultures—and they feature multiple media, including news reports, news collections, and travel writings. As a result, Happel’s use of contemporary source material in his novels feeds our current interest in the impact of the production of knowledge on seventeenth-century narrative. Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel explores the narrative wealth and multiversity of Happel’s work, examines Happel’s novels as illustrative of seventeenth-century novel writing in Germany, and investigates the synergistic relationship in Happel’s writings between the booming print media industry and the evolution of the German novel.
The "Simple" stories, Langston Hughes's satirical pieces featuring Harlem's Jesse B. Semple, have been lauded as Hughes's greatest contribution to American fiction. In Not So Simple, Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper provides the first full historical analysis of the Simple stories.
Harper races the evolution and development of Simple from his 1943 appearance in Hughes's weekly Chicago Defender column through his 1965 farewell in the New York Post. Drawing on correspondence and manuscripts of the stories, Harper explores the development of the Simple collections, from Simple Speaks His Mind (1950) to Simple's Uncle Sam (1965), providing fresh and provocative perspectives on both Hughes and the characters who populate his stories.
Harper discusses the nature of Simple, Harlem's "everyman", and the way in which Hughes used his character both to teach fellow Harlem residents about their connection to world events and to give black literature a hero whose "day-after-day heroism" would exemplify greatness. She explores the psychological, sociological, and literary meanings behind the Simple stories, and suggests ways in which the stories illustrate lessons of American history and political science. She also examines the roles played by women in these humorously ironic fiction. Ultimately, Hughes's attitudes as an author are measured against the views of other prominent African American writers.
Demonstrating the richness and complexity of this Langston Hughes character and the Harlem he inhabited. Not So Simple makes an important contribution to the study of American literature.
A collection of essays that offers an intimate view of Larry McMurtry, America’s preeminent western novelist, through the eyes of a pantheon of writers he helped shape through his work over the course of his unparalleled literary life.
When he died in 2021, Larry McMurtry was one of America’s most revered writers. The author of treasured novels such as Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show, and coauthor of the screenplays for Brokeback Mountain and Streets of Laredo, McMurtry created unforgettable characters and landscapes largely drawn from his life growing up on the family’s hardscrabble ranch outside his hometown of Archer City, Texas. Pastures of the Empty Page brings together fellow writers to honor the man and his impact on American letters.
Paulette Jiles, Stephen Harrigan, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Lawrence Wright take up McMurtry’s piercing and poetic vision—an elegiac literature of place that demolished old myths of cowboy culture and created new ones. Screenwriting partner Diana Ossana reflects on their thirty-year book and screenwriting partnership; other contributors explore McMurtry’s reading habits and his passion for bookselling. And brother Charlie McMurtry shares memories of their childhood on the ranch. In contrast to his curmudgeonly persona, Larry McMurtry emerges as a trustworthy friend and supportive mentor. McMurtry was famously self-deprecating, but as his admirers attest, this self-described “minor regional writer” was an artist for the ages.
Richard III will always be central to English disability history as both man and myth—a disabled medieval king made into a monster by his nation’s most important artist.
In Richard III’s Bodies from Medieval England to Modernity, Jeffrey Wilson tracks disability over 500 years, from Richard’s own manuscripts, early Tudor propaganda, and x-rays of sixteenth-century paintings through Shakespeare’s soliloquies, into Samuel Johnson’s editorial notes, the first play produced by an African American Theater company, Freudian psychoanalysis, and the rise of disability theater. For Wilson, the changing meanings of disability created through shifting perspectives in Shakespeare’s plays prefigure a series of modern attempts to understand Richard’s body in different disciplinary contexts—from history and philosophy to sociology and medicine.
While theorizing a role for Shakespeare in the field of disability history, Wilson reveals how Richard III has become an index for some of modernity’s central concerns—the tension between appearance and reality, the conflict between individual will and external forces of nature and culture, the possibility of upward social mobility, and social interaction between self and other, including questions of discrimination, prejudice, hatred, oppression, power, and justice.
In this book, Robin Hackett examines portrayals of race, class, and sexuality in modernist texts by white women to argue for the existence of a literary device that she calls “Sapphic primitivism.” The works vary widely in their form and content and include Olive Schreiner’s proto-modernist exploration of New Womanhood, The Story of an African Farm; Virginia Woolf’s high modernist “play-poem,” The Waves; Sylvia Townsend Warner’s historical novel, Summer Will Show; and Willa Cather’s Southern pastoral, Sapphira and the Slave Girl. In each, blackness and working-class culture are figured to represent sexual autonomy, including lesbianism, for white women. Sapphic primitivism exposes the ways several classes of identification were intertwined with the development of homosexual identities at the turn of the century. Sapphic primitivism is not, however, a means of disguising lesbian content. Rather, it is an aesthetic displacement device that simultaneously exposes lesbianism and exploits modern, primitivist modes of self-representation. Hackett’s revelations of the mutual interests of those who study early twentieth-century constructions of race and sexuality and twenty-first-century feminists doing anti-racist and queer work are a major contribution to literary studies and identity theory.
Contributors. Richard K. Barksdale, Bernard W. Bell, Mary Kemp Davis, Peaches M. Henry, Betty Harris Jones, Rhett S. Jones, Julius Lester, Donnarae MacCann, Charles H. Nichols, Charles H. Nilon, Arnold Rampersad, David L. Smith, Carmen Dubryan, John H. Wallace, Kenny Jackson Williams, Fredrick Woodard
Advice on sex and marriage in the literature of antiquity and the middle ages typically stressed the negative: from stereotypes of nagging wives and cheating husbands to nightmarish visions of women empowered through marriage. Satiric Advice on Women and Marriage brings together the leading scholars of this fascinating body of literature. Their essays examine a variety of ancient and early medieval writers' cautionary and often eccentric marital satire beginning with Plautus in the third century B.C.E. through Chaucer (the only non-Latin author studied). The volume demonstrates the continuity in the Latin tradition which taps into the fear of marriage and intimacy shared by ancient ascetics (Lucretius), satirists (Juvenal), comic novelists (Apuleius), and by subsequent Christian writers starting with Tertullian and Jerome, who freely used these ancient sources for their own purposes, including propaganda for recruiting a celibate clergy and the promotion of detachment and asceticism as Christian ideals.
Warren S. Smith is Professor of Classical Languages at the University of New Mexico.
Since 2003 the characters from this story have had a highly visible presence in nearly every genre of popular culture: two major films, a literary sequel to the original adventures, a graphic novel featuring a grown-up Wendy Darling, and an Argentinean novel about a children's book writer inspired by J. M. Barrie. Simultaneously, Barrie surfaced as the subject of two major biographies and a feature film. The engaging essays in Second Star to the Right approach Pan from literary, dramatic, film, television, and sociological perspectives and, in the process, analyze his emergence and preservation in the cultural imagination.
The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children’s book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.
The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate recounts how a newspaper reporter with dreams of becoming a serious novelist first brought to life Joe and Frank Hardy, who became two of the most famous characters in children’s literature.
Embarrassed by his secret identity as the author of the Hardy Boys books, Leslie McFarlane admitted it to no one-his son pried the truth out of him years later. Having signed away all rights to the books, McFarlane never shared in the wild financial success of the series. Far from being bitter, however, late in life McFarlane took satisfaction in having helped introduce millions of children to the joys of reading.
Commenting on the longevity of the Hardy Boys series, the New York Times noted, “Mr. McFarlane breathed originality into the Stratemeyer plots, loading on playful detail.”
Author Marilyn Greenwald gives us the story of McFarlane’s life and career, including for the first time a compelling account of his writing life after the Hardy Boys. A talented and versatile writer, McFarlane adapted to sweeping changes in North American markets for writers, as pulp and glossy magazines made way for films, radio, and television. It is a fascinating and inspiring story of the force of talent and personality transcending narrow limits.
Scholars since Paden have commented on the anxieties embedded in Tennyson's poetry, but this is the first study to examine them systematically. Within each poem Goslee discovers a vulnerable authorial presence threatened by some Other—a personification of divine, sexual, or natural power—which encroaches upon it from the fringes of the poem's imaginative universe. This Other is always interpreted, humanized, or conciliated by some mediating figure, yet the more effectively the mediator confronts an otherwise alien cosmos, the more alien he or she becomes to the authorial presence.
Goslee's approach toward understanding the conflict between Tennyson and the characters he creates includes elements of formalism, psychodynamics, and literary history without being narrowly confined to any one of these. His subtle, elegant reading mediates between those critics who stress authorial intention (e.g., Reed's Perception and Design) and the growing number of critics who follow E. D. H. Johnson in claiming that Tennyson wrote more subversively than he wanted to admit. This original, highly suggestive volume will be important for all Victorian scholars and literary critics.
Mary O’Connell examines the role of socially constructed masculinity in John Updike’s Rabbit tetralogy—Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest—which comprises the longest and most comprehensive representation of masculinity in American literature and places Updike firmly with the precursors of the contemporary movement among men to reevaluate their cultural inheritance.
A disturbing element exists, O’Connell determines, in both the texts of the Rabbit novels and in the critical community that examines them. In the novels, O’Connell finds substantial evidence to demonstrate patterns of psychological and physical abuse toward women, citing as the culminating example the mounting toll of literally or metaphorically dead women in the texts. Critics who characterize Updike as a nonviolent writer who strangely overlooks Rabbit’s repressive and violent behaviors avoid a discomforting but crucial aspect of Updike’s portrait.
Because the critical verdict of nonviolence in Updike’s novels contrasts sharply with the string of female corpses, O’Connell deems that something within the text or culture—or both—is seriously amiss.
Although she examines negative aspects of Rabbit’s behavior, O’Connell avoids the oversimplification of labeling Updike a misogynist. Instead, she looks closely at the forces shaping Rabbit’s gender identity as well as at the ways he experiences masculinity and the ways his gender identity affects his personal and spiritual development, his relationships, and, ultimately, his society. She shows how Updike challenges stereotypical masculinity, revealing its limitations and proscriptions as the source of much unhappiness for both men and women. Further, she substantiates the relation between gender, form, structure, perspective, and language use in the novels, alerting the reader to the ambivalence arising from the male author’s examination of masculinity.
O’Connell maintains that Updike does more than write Rabbit as a stereotypical male; he instead explores in depth his character’s habitually flawed ways of seeing and responding to the world. As she discusses these issues, O’Connell uses the term patriarchy in its broadest sense to refer to the practice of centralizing the male and marginalizing the female in all areas of human life. Patriarchal ideology—the assumptions, values, ideas, and patterns of thought that perpetuate the arrangement—is written as hidden text, permeating every aspect of culture, particularly language, from which it spreads to other signifying systems.
Contrary to conventional critical wisdom, Updike is not a straightforward writer; the Rabbit novels create meaning by challenging, undermining, and qualifying their own explicit content. Updike claims that his novels are "moral debates with the reader," and according to O’Connell, the resisting reader, active and skeptical, is the one most likely to discover what Rabbit conceals and to register the nuances of layered discourse.
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