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The Aesthetic Life of Infrastructure
Race, Affect, Environment
Edited by Kelly M. Rich, Nicole M. Rizzuto, and Susan Zieger
Northwestern University Press, 2023

A critical reading of the unstable structures that organize biological and social life

This timely and radically interdisciplinary volume uncovers the aesthetics and politics of infrastructure. From roads and bridges to harbors and canals, infrastructure is conventionally understood as the public works that allow for the circulation of capital. Yet this naturalized concept of infrastructure, driven by capital’s restless expansion, is haunted by imperial tendencies to occupy territory, extract resources, and organize life. Infrastructure thus undergirds the living nexus of modernity in an ongoing project of racialization, affective embodiment, and environmental praxis. Rather than merely making visible infrastructure’s modes of power, however, The Aesthetic Life of Infrastructure brings literary methods to bear on the interpretive terrain, reading infrastructural space and temporalities to show that their aesthetic and sensorial experience cannot be understood apart from histories of production and political economies.

Building on critical infrastructure studies in anthropology, geography, and media studies, this collection demonstrates the field’s vitality to scholars working across the humanities, including in literary, visual, and cultural studies. By querying the presumed invisibility of infrastructure’s hidden life, the volume’s contributors revitalize ongoing literary debates about reading surface and depth. How, they ask, might infrastructure and aesthetics then function as epistemic tools for rethinking each other? And what urgency do they acquire in light of current crises that bear on death, whether biological, social, or planetary?

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Anna Karenina and Others
Liza Knapp
University of Wisconsin Press, 2018
Liza Knapp offers a fresh approach to understanding Tolstoy's construction of his novel Anna Karenina and how he creates patterns of meaning. Her analysis draws on works that were critical to his understanding of the interconnectedness of human lives, including The Scarlet Letter, Middlemarch, and Blaise Pascal's Pensées. Knapp concludes with a tour-de-force reading of Mrs. Dalloway as Virginia Woolf's response to Tolstoy's treatment of Anna Karenina and others.
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Architexts of Memory
Literature, Science, and Autobiography
Evelyne Ender
University of Michigan Press, 2005
In this impressively interdisciplinary study, Evelyne Ender revisits master literary works to suggest that literature can serve as an experimental laboratory for the study of human remembrance. She shows how memory not only has a factual basis but is inseparable from fictional and aesthetic elements. Beautifully written in accessible prose, and impressive in its scope, the book takes up works by Proust, Woolf, George Eliot, Nerval, Lou Andreas-Salome, and Sigmund Freud, getting to the heart of essential questions about mental images, empirical knowledge, and the devastations of memory loss in ways that are suggestive and profound. Architexts of Memory joins a growing body of work in the lively field of memory studies, drawing from clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, and neurobiology as well as literary studies.

"An important, cogently argued, subtle and rich study of a topic of great interest."
--Mieke Bal, University of Amsterdam

"A work of literary studies positioned at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Evelyne Ender's book brings fashionable cultural concerns to bear on traditional literary texts-her superb pedagogical skills lure and guide the reader through the most difficult psychoanalytical concepts."
--Nelly Furman, Cornell University

Evelyne Ender is Professor of French Studies, University of Washington. She is the author of Sexing the Mind: Nineteenth-Century Fictions of Hysteria.
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Atlantic Double-Cross
American Literature and British Influence in the Age of Emerson
Robert Weisbuch
University of Chicago Press, 1987
In this ambitious study of the intense and often adversarial relationship between English and American literature in the nineteenth century, Robert Weisbuch portrays the rise of American literary nationalism as a self-conscious effort to resist and, finally, to transcend the contemporary British influence.

Describing the transatlantic "double-cross" of literary influence, Weisbuch documents both the American desire to create a literature distinctly different from English models and the English insistence that any such attempt could only fail. The American response, as he demonstrates, was to make strengths out of national disadvantages by rethinking history, time, and traditional concepts of the self, and by reinterpreting and ridiculing major British texts in mocking allusions and scornful parodies.

Weisbuch approaches a precise characterization of this "double-cross" by focusing on paired sets of English and American texts. Investigations of the causes, motives, and literary results of the struggle alternate with detailed analyses of several test cases. Weisbuch considers Melville's challenge to Dickens, Thoreau's response to Coleridge and Wordsworth, Hawthorne's adaptation of Keats and influence on Eliot, Whitman's competition with Arnold, and Poe's reshaping of Shelley. Adding a new dimension to the exploration of an emerging aesthetic consciousness, Atlantic Double-Cross provides important insights into the creation of the American literary canon.
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Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture
Inventing National Literature
Gregory Jusdanis
University of Minnesota Press, 1991
Traces literature's function in the formation of the nation-state through the "belated" emergence of a national aesthetic culture in Greece.
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Beyond Greek
The Beginnings of Latin Literature
Denis Feeney
Harvard University Press, 2016

A History Today Best Book of the Year
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Horace, and other authors of ancient Rome are so firmly established in the Western canon today that the birth of Latin literature seems inevitable. Yet, Denis Feeney boldly argues, the beginnings of Latin literature were anything but inevitable. The cultural flourishing that in time produced the Aeneid, the Metamorphoses, and other Latin classics was one of the strangest events in history.

“Feeney is to be congratulated on his willingness to put Roman literary history in a big comparative context…It is a powerful testimony to the importance of Denis Feeney’s work that the old chestnuts of classical literary history—how the Romans got themselves Hellenized, and whether those jack-booted thugs felt anxiously belated or smugly domineering in their appropriation of Greek culture for their own purposes—feel fresh and urgent again.”
—Emily Wilson, Times Literary Supplement

“[Feeney’s] bold theme and vigorous writing render Beyond Greek of interest to anyone intrigued by the history and literature of the classical world.”
The Economist

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Beyond Tordesillas
New Approaches to Comparative Luso-Hispanic Studies
Richard A. Gordon and Robert Patrick Newcomb
The Ohio State University Press, 2017
Beyond Tordesillas: New Approaches to Comparative Luso-Hispanic Studies is the first volume of its kind to be published in English. Bringing together young and established scholars, it seeks to consolidate the vital work being done on the connections between the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds on both sides of the Atlantic. The volume builds from an understanding that Iberian and Latin American cultures are inherently transoceanic—having engaged in earlier eras in parallel, and sometimes interconnected, colonization projects around the world and more recently in postcolonial evaluations of these practices and their legacies.
 
The jumping-off point for Beyond Tordesillas is the critic Jorge Schwartz’s evocative call to arms, “Down with Tordesillas!” In this groundbreaking essay, Schwartz looks to the imaginary line created by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which divided the known world into Spanish and Portuguese spheres of influence, to stand in for generations of literary and cultural noncommunication between the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking spheres, and their attendant academic disciplines. This volume’s contributions range topically across continents, from the Iberian Peninsula to Latin American countries. They also range across genres, with studies that analyze fictional narrative, music, performance, and visual culture. Beyond Tordesillas forcefully challenges the disciplinary—and indeed, arbitrary—boundaries that for too long have separated Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies.
 
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Blood Narrative
Indigenous Identity in American Indian and Maori Literary and Activist Texts
Chadwick Allen
Duke University Press, 2002
Blood Narrative is a comparative literary and cultural study of post-World War II literary and activist texts by New Zealand Maori and American Indians—groups who share much in their responses to European settler colonialism. Chadwick Allen reveals the complex narrative tactics employed by writers and activists in these societies that enabled them to realize unprecedented practical power in making both their voices and their own sense of indigeneity heard.
Allen shows how both Maori and Native Americans resisted the assimilationist tide rising out of World War II and how, in the 1960s and 1970s, they each experienced a renaissance of political and cultural activism and literary production that culminated in the formation of the first general assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He focuses his comparison on two fronts: first, the blood/land/memory complex that refers to these groups' struggles to define indigeneity and to be freed from the definitions of authenticity imposed by dominant settler cultures. Allen's second focus is on the discourse of treaties between American Indians and the U.S. government and between Maori and Great Britain, which he contends offers strong legal and moral bases from which these indigenous minorities can argue land and resource rights as well as cultural and identity politics.
With its implicit critique of multiculturalism and of postcolonial studies that have tended to neglect the colonized status of indigenous First World minorities, Blood Narrative will appeal to students and scholars of literature, American and European history, multiculturalism, postcolonialism, and comparative cultural studies.
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Border Writing
The Multidimensional Text
D. Emily HicksForeword by Neil Larsen
University of Minnesota Press, 1991

Border Writing was first published in 1991. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Until recently, literary theory has been grounded in the histories of English, French, German, and Spanish literature. The terms and models for the production of literature and its function in culture and society were decided in Western Europe, and any deviations were immediately marginalized. This Eurocentric view has been widely attached by postmodern, feminist, and postcolonial political practices.

Drawing on a variety of critical and theoretical sources, D. Emily Hicks employs the concept of border writing to consider the complexities of contemporary Latin American writing. With its emphasis on the multiplicity of languages and the problems of translation, border writing connotes a perspective that is no longer determined by neat distinctions. Hicks combines Deleuze and Guattari's notion of "deterritorialization" (the geographic, linguistic, or cultural displacement from one's own country, language, or native culture) with a holographic metaphor in provocative readings of Latin America writers, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Luisa Valenzuela, and Julio Cortazar. The result is a volume that forces the reader to consider the development of literature in terms of strategies and tactics that contribute to the production of meaning in culturally complex and politically repressive societies.

D. Emily Hicks is associate professor of English and comparative literature and a member of the Latin American studies faculty at San Diego State University. Neil Larsen is associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Northeastern University and the author of Modernism and Hegemony: A Materialist Critique of Aesthetic Agencies (Minnesota, 1990).

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Borges and Europe Revisited
Edited by Evelyn Fishburn
University of London Press, 1998

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Chinese Whispers
Toward a Transpacific Poetics
Yunte Huang
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Chinese Whispers examines multiple contact zones between the Anglophone and Sinophone worlds, investigating how poetry both enables and complicates the transpacific production of meaning.
 
In this new book, the noted critic and best-selling author Yunte Huang explores the dynamics of poetry and poetics in the age of globalization, particularly questions of translatability, universality, and risk in the transpacific context. “Chinese whispers” refers to an American children’s game dating to the years of the Cold War, a period in which everything Chinese, or even Chinese sounding, was suspect. Taking up various manifestations of the phrase in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Huang investigates how poetry, always to a significant degree untranslatable, complicates the transpacific production of meanings and values.

The book opens with the efforts of I. A. Richards, arguably the founder of Anglo-American academic literary criticism, to promote Basic English in China in the early twentieth century. It culminates by resituating Ernest Fenollosa’s famous essay “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry,” exploring the ways in which Chinese has historically enriched but also entrapped the Western conception of language.
 
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Comparative Literature and Classical Persian Poetics
Second Edition
Olga M. Davidson
Harvard University Press
Comparative Literature and Classical Persian Poetics applies comparative literary approaches to classical Persian traditions of composing and performing poetry and song. Olga M. Davidson focuses on epic, especially the classical epic Shāhnāma, composed in the early eleventh century CE by the poet Ferdowsi, and on the relationship of this epic to other genres that are found embedded in it. Included among these other genres are forms of verbal art that were originally composed without the aid of writing, such as women’s laments. Davidson explores the many ways in which the epic Shāhnāma incorporates oral poetic traditions in general. Surveying the current state of the art in oral poetic studies, she concentrates on applications of these studies to classical Persian prose as well as poetry. Of special interest is her critical analysis of both modern and ancient claims about the turning of prose into poetry. This second edition of the book contains an added chapter about “live” performances of the epic Shāhnāma.
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Conquest of the New Word
Experimental Fiction and Translation in the Americas
By Johnny Payne
University of Texas Press, 1993

Latin American fiction won great acclaim in the United States during the 1960s, when many North American writers and critics felt that our national writing had reached a low ebb. In this study of experimental fiction from both Americas, Johnny Payne argues that the North American reception of the "boom" in Latin American fiction distorted the historical grounding of this writing, erroneously presenting it as mainly an exotic "magical realism." He offers new readings that detail the specific, historical relation between experimental fiction and various authors' careful, deliberate deformations and reformations of the political rhetoric of the modern state.

Payne juxtaposes writers from Argentina and Uruguay with North American authors, setting up suggestive parallels between the diverse but convergent practices of writers on both continents. He considers Nelson Marra in conjunction with Donald Barthelme and Gordon Lish; Teresa Porzecanski with Harry Mathews; Ricardo Piglia with John Barth; Silvia Schmid and Manuel Puig with Fanny Howe and Lydia Davis; and Jorge Luis Borges and Luisa Valenzuela with William Burroughs and Kathy Acker.

With this innovative, dual-continent approach, Conquest of the New Word will be of great interest to everyone working in Latin American literature, women's studies, translation studies, creative writing, and cultural theory.

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Cowboys and Caudillos
Frontier Ideology of the Americas
Tom R. Sullivan
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
Suggesting that better understanding of conflicts between Anglo and Latin America can come from the study of their contrasting popular fictions, the author compares the traditional attachment in Latin America to government by a strong man—a caudillo—to the diametrically opposed expansionist frontier ideology of the United States—the cowboy—who makes space safe for Anglo colonization.
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Dialogues/Dialogi
Literary and Cultural Exchanges Between (Ex)Soviet and American Women
Susan Hardy Aiken, Adele Barker, Maya Koreneva, and Ekaterina Stetsenko
Duke University Press, 1993
Co-authored by Russian, Ukrainian, and American critics, Dialogues/Dialogi is the first fully collaborative and comparative study of American and (ex)Soviet women writers. Truly a dialogue, the book juxtaposes fiction by American and Soviet women from the 1960s to the present to reveal their similarities and differences and to show how questions of gender, race, and ethnicity are enacted in the societies and psyches each text represents. Begun in the early days of glasnost and completed in 1992, the book conveys the spirit and excitement of an unprecedented critical conversation conducted during a time of historic transformation.
Dialogues/Dialogi pairs stories by Tillie Olsen, Toni Cade Bambara, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Leslie Marmon Silko (reprinted here in full) with Russian stories by I. Grekova, Liudmila Petrushevskaya, Elena Makarova, and Anna Nerkagi, many of them appearing here for the first time in English. Exquisite in their stylistic and thematic variety, suggestive of the range of women's experience and fiction in both countries, each story is the subject of paired interpretive essays by an American and an (ex)Soviet critic from among the book's authors.
A colloquy of diverse voices speaking together in multiple, mutually illuminating exchanges, Dialogues/Dialogi testifies to the possibility of evolving relationships among women across borders once considered impassable.
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Do the Americas Have a Common Literature?
Gustavo Pérez Firmat, ed.
Duke University Press, 1990
This volume takes an important step toward the discovery of a common critical heritage that joins the diverse literatures of North America and Latin America. Traditionally, literary criticism has treated the literature of the Americas as “New World” literature, examining it in relation to its “Old World”—usually European—counterparts. This collection of essays redirects the Eurocentric focus of earlier scholarship and identifies a distinctive pan-American consciousness.
The essays here place the literature of the Americas in a hemispheric context by drawing on approaches derived from various schools of contemporary critical thought—Marxism, feminism, culture studies, semiotics, reception aesthetics, and poststructuralism. As part of their search for a distinctly New World literary idiom, the contributors engage not only the major North American and Spanish American writers, but also such “marginal” or “minor” literatures as Chicano, African American, Brazilian, and Québecois. In identifying areas of agreement and confluence, this work lays the groundwork for finding historical, ideological, and cultural homogeneity in the imaginative writing of the Americas.

Contributors. Lois Parkinson Zamora, David T. Haberly, José David Saldívar, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, José Piedra, Doris Sommer, Enrico Mario Santí, Eduardo González, John Irwin, Wendy B. Faris, René Prieto, Jonathan Monroe, Gustavo Pérez Firmat

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East-West Literary Imagination
Cultural Exchanges from Yeats to Morrison
Yoshinobu Hakutani
University of Missouri Press, 2017

This study traces the shaping presence of cultural interactions, arguing that American literature has become a hybridization of Eastern and Western literary traditions. Cultural exchanges between the East and West began in the early decades of the nineteenth century as American transcendentalists explored Eastern philosophies and arts. Hakutani examines this influence through the works of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. He further demonstrates the East-West exchange through discussions of the interactions by modernists such as Yone Noguchi, Yeats, Pound, Camus, and Kerouac.

Finally, he argues that African American literature, represented by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and James Emanuel, is postmodern. Their works exhibit their concerted efforts to abolish marginality and extend referentiality, exemplifying the postmodern East-West crossroads of cultures. A fuller understanding of their work is gained by situating them within this cultural conversation. The writings of Wright, for example, take on their full significance only when they are read, not as part of a national literature, but as an index to an evolving literature of cultural exchanges.

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Erin and Iran
Cultural Encounters between the Irish and the Iranians
H. E. Chehabi
Harvard University Press, 2015
In Erin and Iran, ten essays by North American and European scholars discuss parallel themes in and interactions between Irish and Iranian cultures. In the first section three essays explore common elements in pre-Christian Irish and pre-Islamic Iranian mythologies, common elements that have often been pointed out by scholars of Indo-European mythology but rarely examined in detail. In the following section four essays address literary subjects, ranging from medieval romances such as Tristan and Isolde and Vis and Ramin to twentieth-century novels such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Simin Daneshvar’s Savushun. In the last section three nineteenth-century travelogues are presented, two written by Irish travelers to Iran and one written by an Indo-Persian traveler to Ireland. Together, these studies constitute the first-ever collection of articles dealing with cultural encounters between the Irish and the Iranians.
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False Documents
Inter-American Cultural History, Literature, and the Lost Decade (1975–1992)
Frans Weiser
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
False Documents: Inter-American Cultural History, Literature, and the Lost Decade (1975–1992) examines the “return of history” that swept across the Americas during the final two decades of the Cold War as Latin American nations redemocratized and US multiculturalism responded to the conservative bicentennial backlash. Revising the predominantly economic and isolationist accounts of the era, Frans Weiser examines the work of journalists and academics from Hispanic America, Brazil, and the United States who adopted fiction to document recent national discord, repositioning challenges to self-determination in a postnational context.
After deconstructing economic accounts of the “two Americas" model of the hemisphere, including the lost decade (1981–1992) and the “end of history” (1975–1992), Weiser considers six case studies during the same period that reach very different conclusions by drawing on cultural history, including works by Tomás Eloy Martínez, Laura Antillano, Ana Maria Machado, Silviano Santiago, John Updike, and Jay Cantor. In order to expose how governments controlled and misrepresented recent events, these writers created false documents, or fake historical texts, that presented themselves as legitimate eyewitness accounts or archival documents. Weiser establishes how this alternative to postmodern irony more effectively galvanized citizen responses. As the first book to contextualize the parallel, hemispheric evolutions of postwar literary criticism and cultural historiography, False Documents responds to the methodological impasse between Latin American and American studies as well as the antagonism between history and literature, arguing that collaboration and synthesis are particularly vital at a moment when the humanities is increasingly under attack.
 
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Figures of the World
The Naturalist Novel and Transnational Form
Christopher Laing Hill
Northwestern University Press, 2020
Figures of the World: The Naturalist Novel and Transnational Form overturns Eurocentric genealogies and globalizing generalizations about “world literature” by examining the complex, contradictory history of naturalist fiction. Christopher Laing Hill follows naturalism’s emergence in France and circulation around the world from North and South America to East Asia. His analysis shows that transnational literary studies must operate on multiple scales, combine distant reading with close analysis, and investigate how literary forms develop on the move.
 
The book begins by tracing the history of naturalist fiction from the 1860s into the twentieth century and the reasons it spread around the world. Hill explores the development of three naturalist figures—the degenerate body, the self-liberated woman, and the social milieu—through close readings of fiction from France, Japan, and the United States. Rather than genealogies of European influence or the domination of cultural “peripheries” by the center, novels by Émile Zola, Tayama Katai, Frank Norris, and other writers reveal conspicuous departures from metropolitan models as writers revised naturalist methods to address new social conditions. Hill offers a new approach to studying culture on a large scale for readers interested in literature, the arts, and the history of ideas.
 
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Fishing by Obstinate Isles
Modern and Postmodern British Poetry and American Readers
Keith Tuma
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Fishing by Obstinate Isles explores the relations of recent British and American poetries, challenging American views of a British poetry dominated by antimodernism while discussing the role of rhetorics of national identity on both sides of the Atlantic in the persistence of these views. Devoting its most extensive commentary to a collection of British modernist and postmodernist poets, it attacks the relegation of British poetry to the zones of the quaint, making a compelling case for renewed engagements with fields of British poetry deserving of attention.
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Five Words
Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes
Roland Greene
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Blood. Invention. Language. Resistance. World. Five ordinary words that do a great deal of conceptual work in everyday life and literature. In this original experiment in critical semantics, Roland Greene considers how these words changed over the course of the sixteenth century and what their changes indicate about broader forces in science, politics, and other disciplines.

Rather than analyzing works, careers, or histories, Greene discusses a broad swath of Renaissance and transatlantic literature—including Shakespeare, Cervantes, Camões, and Milton—in terms of the development of these five words. Aiming to shift the conversation around Renaissance literature from current approaches to riskier enterprises, Greene also proposes new methods that take advantage of digital resources like full-text databases, but still depend on the interpreter to fashion ideas out of ordinary language. Five Words is an innovative and accessible book that points the field of literary studies in an exciting new direction.
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Imagined Dialogues
Eastern European Literature in Conversation with American and English Literature
Gordana Crnkovic
Northwestern University Press, 1999
By conducting "imagined dialogues" between selected literary works--Eastern Europeans like Kiš and Borowski on one hand, American and English writers like Cage and Ishiguro on the other--this book proposes an effective new way of reading literature, one that goes beyond the narrowing categories of contemporary critical trends. A new perspective on each of the works emerges, as well as a heightened sense of the liberating power of literature.
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INTERSECTING REALITIES FICTIONS WOOLF
& COLETTE
HELEN SOUTHWORTH
The Ohio State University Press, 2004

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Interventions into Modernist Cultures
Poetry from Beyond the Empty Screen
Amie Elizabeth Parry
Duke University Press, 2007
Interventions into Modernist Cultures is a comparative analysis of the cultural politics of modernist writing in the United States and Taiwan. Amie Elizabeth Parry argues that the two sites of modernism are linked by their representation or suppression of histories of U.S. imperialist expansion, Cold War neocolonial military presence, and economic influence in Asia. Focusing on poetry, a genre often overlooked in postcolonial theory, she contends that the radically fragmented form of modernist poetic texts is particularly well suited to representing U.S. imperialism and neocolonial modernities.

Reading various works by U.S. expatriates Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, Parry compares the cultural politics of U.S. canonical modernism with alternative representations of temporality, hybridity, erasure, and sexuality in the work of the Taiwanese writers Yü Kwang-chung and Hsia Yü and the Asian American immigrant author Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Juxtaposing poems by Pound and Yü Kwang-chung, Parry shows how Yü’s fragmented, ambivalent modernist form reveals the effects of neocolonialism while Pound denies and obscures U.S. imperialism in Asia, asserting a form of nondevelopmental universalism through both form and theme. Stein appropriates discourses of American modernity and identity to represent nonnormative desire and sexuality, and Parry contrasts this tendency with representations of sexuality in the contemporary experimental poetry of Hsia Yü. Finally, Parry highlights the different uses of modernist forms by Pound in his Cantos—which incorporate a multiplicity of decontextualized and ahistorical voices—and by Cha in her 1982 novel Dictee, a historicized, multilingual work. Parry’s sophisticated readings provide a useful critical framework for apprehending how “minor modernisms” illuminate the histories erased by certain canonical modernist texts.

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Islamicate Sexualities
Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire
Kathryn Babayan
Harvard University Press, 2008

Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire explores different genealogies of sexuality and questions some of the theoretical emphases and epistemic assumptions affecting current histories of sexuality. Concerned with the dynamic interplay between cultural constructions of gender and sexuality, the anthology moves across disciplinary fields, integrating literary criticism with social and cultural history, and establishes a dialogue between historians (Kathryn Babayan, Frédéric Lagrange, Afsaneh Najmabadi, and Everett Rowson), comparative literary scholars (Sahar Amer and Leyla Rouhi), and critical theorists of sexualities (Valerie Traub, Brad Epps, and Dina al-Kassim).

As a whole, the anthology challenges Middle Eastern Studies with questions that have arisen in recent studies of sexualities, bringing into conversation Euro-American scholarship of sexuality with that of scholars engaged in studies of sexualities across a vast cultural (Iberian, Arabic, and Iranian) and temporal field (from the tenth century to the medieval and the modern).

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Joyce, Bakhtin, and the Literary Tradition
Toward a Comparative Cultural Poetics
M. Keith Booker
University of Michigan Press, 1997
Literary studies of James Joyce, perhaps more so than those of any other author, have been enriched by important developments in literary theory in the last twenty-five years. Noting a curious gap in this scholarship, M. Keith Booker brings the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, unquestionably one of the most important literary theorists of this century, to bear on Joyce's relationship to six of his literary predecessors. In clear and readable prose, Booker explores Joyce's dialogues not only with Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare, his three most obvious predecessors, but with Rabelais, Goethe, and Dostoevsky, three literary figures important in Bakhtin's theoretical work.
These six writers provide the opportunity to examine Joyce's work with regard to several of Bakhtin's most important concepts. If Homer represents the authority of epic, Rabelais represents for Bakhtin the subversive multivocal energies of carnivalesque genres. As opposed to his description of Dante's attempts to escape from historicity, Bakhtin figures Goethe as the epitome of engagement with the temporality of everyday history. And Bakhtin's generic denial of polyphony in the works of Shakespeare contrasts with Bakhtin's identification of Dostoevsky as the most polyphonic writer in all the world of literature.
Together, Booker's comparative readings suggest a Joyce whose works are politically committed, historically engaged, and socially relevant. In short, they suggest a Joyce whose work differs radically from conventional notions of modernist literature as culturally elitist, historically detached, and more interested in individual psychology than in social reality.
M. Keith Booker is Professor of English, University of Arkansas.
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Medieval Marvels and Fictions in the Latin West and Islamic World
Michelle Karnes
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A cross-cultural study of magical phenomena in the Middle Ages.
 
Marvels like enchanted rings and sorcerers’ stones were topics of fascination in the Middle Ages, not only in romance and travel literature but also in the period’s philosophical writing. Rather than constructions of belief accepted only by simple-minded people, Michelle Karnes shows that these spectacular wonders were near impossibilities that demanded scrutiny and investigation.
 
This is the first book to analyze a diverse set of writings on such wonders, comparing texts from the Latin West—including those written in English, French, Italian, and Castilian Spanish —with those written in Arabic as it works toward a unifying theory of marvels across different disciplines and cultures. Karnes tells a story about the parallels between Arabic and Latin thought, reminding us that experiences of the strange and the unfamiliar travel across a range of genres, spanning geographical and conceptual space and offering an ideal vantage point from which to understand intercultural exchange. Karnes traverses this diverse archive, showing how imagination imbues marvels with their character and power, making them at once enigmatic, creative, and resonant. Skirting the distinction between the real and unreal, these marvels challenge readers to discover the highest capabilities of both nature and the human intellect. Karnes offers a rare comparative perspective and a new methodology to study a topic long recognized as central to medieval culture.
 
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Mixing Race, Mixing Culture
Inter-American Literary Dialogues
Edited by Monika Kaup and Debra Rosenthal
University of Texas Press, 2002

Over the last five centuries, the story of the Americas has been a story of the mixing of races and cultures. Not surprisingly, the issue of miscegenation, with its attendant fears and hopes, has been a pervasive theme in New World literature, as writers from Canada to Argentina confront the legacy of cultural hybridization and fusion.

This book takes up the challenge of transforming American literary and cultural studies into a comparative discipline by examining the dynamics of racial and cultural mixture and its opposite tendency, racial and cultural disjunction, in the literatures of the Americas. Editors Kaup and Rosenthal have brought together a distinguished set of scholars who compare the treatment of racial and cultural mixtures in literature from North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America. From various angles, they remap the Americas as a multicultural and multiracial hemisphere, with a common history of colonialism, slavery, racism, and racial and cultural hybridity.

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Moorings and Metaphors
Figures of Culture and Gender in Black Women's Literature
Holloway, Karla F
Rutgers University Press, 1991
Moorings and Metaphors is one of the first studies to examine the ways that cultural tradition is reflected in the language and figures of black women's writing. In a discussion that includes the works of Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ntozake Shange, Buchi Emecheta, Octavia Butler, Efua Sutherland, and Gayl Jones, and with a particular focus on Toni Morrison's Beloved and Flora Nwapa's Efuru, Holloway follows the narrative structures, language, and figurative metaphors of West African goddesses and African-American ancestors as they weave through the pages of these writers' fiction. She explores what she would call the cultural and gendered essence of contemporary literature that has grown out of the African diaspora.

Proceeding from a consideration of the imaginative textual languages of contemporary African-American and West African writers, Holloway asserts the intertextuality of black women's literature across two continents. She argues the subtext of culture as the source of metaphor and language, analyzes narrative structures and linguistic processes, and develops a combined theoretical/critical apparatus and vocabulary for interpreting these writers' works. The cultural sources and spiritual considerations that inhere in these textual languages are discussed within the framework Holloway employs of patterns of revision, (re)membrance, and recursion--all of which are vehicles for expressive modes inscribed at the narrative level. Her critical reading of contemporary black women's writing in the United States and West Africa is unique, radical, and sure to be controversial.
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New York-Paris
Whitman, Baudelaire, and the Hybrid City
Laure Katsaros
University of Michigan Press, 2012

As New York and Paris began to modernize, new modes of entertainment, such as panoramas, dioramas, and photography, seemed poised to take the place of the more complex forms of literary expression. Dioramas and photography were invented in Paris but soon spread to America, forming part of an increasingly universal idiom of the spectacle. This brave new world of technologically advanced but crudely mimetic spectacles haunts both Whitman's vision of New York and Baudelaire's view of Paris. In New York-Paris, Katsaros explores the images of the mid-nineteenth-century city in the poetry of both Whitman and Baudelaire and seeks to demonstrate that, by projecting an image of the other's city onto his own, each poet tried to resist the apparently irresistible forward momentum of modernity rather than create a paradigmatically happy mixture of "high" and "low" culture.

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Perfect Worlds
Utopian Fiction in China and the West
Douwe Fokkema
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
Perfect Worlds is an extensive, comparative study of utopian narratives in both the East and the West. Douwe Fokkema provides an elegant argument about the human impulse to imagine new and better worlds, astutely observing that the utopian imagination thrives in the context of secularization. Fokkema also tracks the rise of dystopian narratives, invoking authors as diverse as Margaret Atwood and Lao She, and provides a cogent evaluation of the role of imagined worlds in both Chinese and Euro-American fiction. A shrewd comparison of cultures, as well as a vivid account of cross-cultural influence, this volume is a welcome addition to the scholarly discourse on utopias.
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Politicizing Gender
Narrative Strategies in the Aftermath of the French Revolution
Kadish, Doris Y
Rutgers University Press, 1991
It is Doris Kadish's contention in this book that gender and politics went hand-in-hand in the nineteenth century; that nineteenth-century works can often be read as retellings of the French Revolution; and that the political meanings of these works can be gleaned through the study of narrative strategies that she chooses to call "semiotic readings." Building on the work of Marina Warner, Lynn Hunt, Joan Landes, Nancy Armstrong, Foucault and others, she shows how the strategy of politicizing gender during and after the revolution served many functions--among them to articulate representations of revolution, to form the nineteenth-century public sphere, to constitute bourgeois ideology, to distance the unruly masses, and ultimately, perhaps, to express a deep seated fear of women as a threat to the status quo.     Looking at the French and English novel, and even selected relevant paintings in this way, she is able to read much-read texts in new and refreshing ways. She shows us how a collective story or master narrative of the revolution was retold and refashioned throughout the century, even where we might least expect to find it. She looks first at small details in order to see the larger patterns, and is among the first to show us how semiotics may make a contribution to gender studies.
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Readings
The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kakfa, Kleist, Lispector, and Tsvetayeva
Helene Cixous
University of Minnesota Press, 1991
A leader in the feminist intellectual movement, Cixous presents this highly informative meditation on ethics and poetics which draws on philosophy and psychoanalysis
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Rediscovering The New World
Inter-American Literature in a Comparative Context
Earl E. Fitz
University of Iowa Press, 1991

The concept of "American" literature is not the exclusive province of any one nation. Thanks to the historical circumstances that governed the European conquest and settlement of the Americas, we can and should approach the writings of English and French Canada, the United States, Spanish America, and Brazil as a cohesive group of American literature, worthy of study without constant reference to European texts. Now, Rediscovering the New World makes a timely addition to this expanding field on Inter-American scholarship that should help lead tothe formation of a new canon.

This adventurous and ambitious work begins with an examination of Pre-Columbian literature (and shows that his powerful tradition remains alive and well in the twentieth century), then confronts the narratives of discovery and conquest, the New World epic, identity as the Ur-theme of American literature, miscegenation as another integral theme, and regionalism as a shaping force. Other striking these and juxtapositions include a comparison of Henry James and Machado de Assis as the first two great New World novelists, modernism as both a distinct literary movement and an amorphous body of aesthetic principles, and the conflict between "civilization" and "barbarism."

More in the exploratory spirit of the French Canadian voyageur than in the spirit of the conquistador, Rediscovering the New World is the first scholarly work in English to integrate an international set of American literary cultures. It should inspire other explorers as the field of Inter-American literary relations continues to evolve.

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The Return of Thematic Criticism
Werner Sollors
Harvard University Press, 1993

In the glory days of high modernist formalism it was anathema to speak about the content of a work of art. Those days are gone, and critical practice now is largely thematic practice. A focus on the themes of literature informs feminist, new historicist, ethnic, and even second-generation deconstructionist approaches. However, such practice is not always recognized. The specter of theoretically impoverished positivism still haunts thematic analysis, making it the approach to literature that dare not speak its name. This volume brings together for the first time an international group of writers, critics, and theoreticians who have thought deeply about this issue.

How can we determine the theme of a given text? May the focus on form be the theme of a certain moment? Can the motif be understood as a formal category? What operations permit us to say that three or four texts constitute variants of the same theme? The contributors challenge the conventional dismissal of “merely” thematic approaches and offer the reader different ways of tackling the issue of what a piece of writing is “about.”

The work here comes out of such diverse intellectual traditions as Russian film theory, French phenomenology, Foucault, narratology, the Frankfurt School, intellectual history (Geistesgeschichte), psychoanalytic criticism, linguistics, ideological criticism, Proppian folklore studies, and computerized plot summary models. In addition to a collection of aphorisms from Plato to Robert Coover and a group of general and theoretical essays, this volume contains examples of practical engagement with such topics as literary history, Shakespeare, autumn poetry, anti-Semitism, fading colors, bachelors, Richard Wagner, and the Mexican Revolution. No comparable volume exists.

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Rewriting Capitalism
Literature and the Market in Late Tsarist Russia and the Kingdom of Poland
Beth Holmgren
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998
In this ground-breaking book, Beth Holmgren examines how—in turn-of-the-century Russia and its subject, the Kingdom of Poland—capitalism affected the elitist culture of literature, publishing, book markets, and readership. Rewriting Capitalism considers how both “serious” writers and producers of consumer culture coped with the drastic power shift from “serious” literature to market-driven literature.
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The Secular Scripture
A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Harvard University Press, 1976

Northrop Frye’s thinking has had a pervasive impact on contemporary interpretations of our literary and cultural heritage. In his Anatomy of Criticism, a landmark in the history of modern critical theory, he demonstrated his genius for mapping out the realm of imaginative creation. In The Secular Scripture he turns again to the task of establishing a broad theoretical framework, bringing to bear his extraordinary command of the whole range of literature from antiquity to the present.

Romance, a mode of literature trafficking in such plot elements as mistaken identity, shipwrecks, magic potions, the rescue of maidens in distress, has tended to be regarded as hardly deserving of serious consideration; critics praise other aspects of the Odyssey, The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare’s last plays, and Scott’s Waverley novels, for example, while forgiving the authors’ indulgence in childishly romantic plots. Frye, however, discerns in the innumerable romantic narratives of the Western tradition an imaginative universe stretching from an idyllic world to a demonic one, and a pattern of action taking the form of a cyclical descent into and ascent out of the demonic realm. Romance as a whole is thus seen as forming an integrated vision of the world, a “secular scripture” whose hero is man, paralleling the sacred scripture whose hero is God.

The clarity of Northrop Frye’s perception, the scope and suggestiveness of his conceptualizing, the wit and grace of his style, have won him universal admiration.

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Slavic Excursions
Essays on Russian and Polish Literature
Donald Davie
University of Chicago Press, 1991

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Something and Nothingness
The Fiction of John Updike and John Fowles
John Neary
Southern Illinois University Press, 1992

John Neary shows that the theological dichotomy of via negativa (which posits the authentic experience of God as absence, darkness, silence) and via affirmativa (which emphasizes presence, images, and the sounds of the earth) is an overlooked key to examining and comparing the works of John Fowles and John Updike.

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of both Christian and secular existentialism within the modern theology of Barth and Levinas and the contemporary critical theory of Derrida and J. Hillis Miller, Neary demonstrates the ultimate affinity of these authors who at first appear such opposites. He makes clear that Fowles’s postmodernist, metafictional experiments reflect the stark existentialism of Camus and Sartre while Updike’s social realism recalls Kierkegaard’s empirical faith in a generous God within a kind of Christian deconstructionism.

Neary’s perception of uncanny similarities between the two authors—whose respective careers are marked by a series of novels that structurally and thematically parallel each other—and the authors’ shared long-term interest in existentialism and theology support both his critical comparison and his argument that neither author is "philosophically more sophisticated nor aesthetically more daring."

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Something We Have That They Don't
British and American Poetic Relations since 1925
Steve & Mark Clark & Ford
University of Iowa Press, 2004
There is some connexion
(I like the way the English spell it
They’re so clever about some things
Probably smarter generally than we are
Although there is supposed to be something
We have that they don’'t—'don’t ask me
What it is. . . .)
—John Ashbery, “Tenth Symphony”

Something We Have That They Don’t presents a variety of essays on the relationship between British and American poetry since 1925. The essays collected here all explore some aspect of the rich and complex history of Anglo-American poetic relations of the last seventy years. Since the dawn of Modernism poets either side of the Atlantic have frequently inspired each other’s developments, from Frost’s galvanizing advice to Edward Thomas to rearrange his prose as verse, to Eliot’s and Auden’s enormous influence on the poetry of their adopted nations (“whichever Auden is,” Eliot once replied when asked if he were a British or an American poet, “I suppose, I must be the other”); from the impact of Charles Olson and other Black Mountain poets on J. H. Prynne and the Cambridge School, to the widespread influence of Frank O'Hara and Robert Lowell on a diverse range of contemporary British poets. Clark and Ford’s study aims to chart some of the currents of these ever-shifting relations. Poets discussed in these essays include John Ashbery, W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, T. S. Eliot, Mark Ford, Robert Graves, Thom Gunn, Lee Harwood, Geoffrey Hill, Michael Hofmann, Susan Howe, Robert Lowell, and W. B. Yeats.

“Poetry and sovereignty,” Philip Larkin remarked in an interview of 1982, “are very primitive things”: these essays consider the ways in which even seemingly very “unprimitive” poetries can be seen as reflecting and engaging with issues of national sovereignty and self-interest, and in the process they pose a series of fascinating questions about the national narratives that currently dominate definitions of the British and American poetic traditions.

This innovative and exciting new collection will be of great interest to students and scholars of British and American poetry and comparative literature.
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The Space In-Between
Essays on Latin American Culture
Silviano Santiago
Duke University Press, 2001
Silviano Santiago has been a pioneer in the development of concepts crucial to the discourse of contemporary critical and cultural theory, especially postcolonial theory. The notions of “hybridity” and “the space in-between” have been so completely absorbed into current theory that few scholars even realize these terms began with Santiago. He was the first to introduce poststructuralist thought to Brazil—via his publication of the Glossario de Derrida and his role as a prominent teacher. The Space In-Between translates many of his seminal essays into English for the first time and, in the process, introduces the thought of one of Brazil’s foremost critics and theorists of the late twentieth century.
Santiago’s work creates a theoretical field that transcends both the study of a specific national literature and the traditional perspectives of comparative literature. He examines the pedagogical and modernizing mission of Western voyagers from the conquistadors to the present. He deconstructs the ideas of “original” and “copy,” unpacking their implications for the notions of so-called dominant and dominated cultures. Santiago also confronts questions of cultural dependency and analyzes the problems involved in the imposition of an alien European history, the cultural displacements experienced by the Indians through their religious conversion, and the hierarchical suppression of native and Afro-Brazilian values.
Elegantly written and translated, The Space In-Between will provide insights and perspectives that will interest cultural and literary theorists, postcolonial scholars, and other students of contemporary culture.
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Spain's Long Shadow
The Black Legend, Off-Whiteness, and Anglo-American Empire
Maria DeGuzman
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
England and the Netherlands, Spain's imperial rivals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, imagined Spain as cruel and degenerate barbarians of la leyenda negra (the Black Legend), in league with the powers of "blackest darkness" and driven by "dark motives." In Spain's Long Shadow, Maria DeGuzman explores how this convenient demonization made its way into American culture - and proved essential to the construction of whiteness. DeGuzman's work reaches from the late eighteenth century - in the wake of the American Revolution - to the present. Surveying a broad range of texts and images from Poe's "William Wilson" and John Singer Sargent's "El Jaleo" to Richard Wright's "Pagan Spain" and Kathy Acker's Don Quixote, Spain's Long Shadow shows how the creation of Anglo-American ethnicity as specifically American has depended on the casting of Spain as a colonial alter ego. The symbolic power of Spain in the American imagination, DeGuzman argues, is not just a legacy of that nation's colonial presence in the Americas; it lives on as well in the "blackness" of Spain and Spainards - in the assigning of people of Spanish origin to an "off-white" racial category that reserves the designation of white for Anglo-Americans.By demonstrating how the Anglo-American imagination needs Spain and Spainards as figures of attraction and repulsion, DeGuzman makes a compelling and illuminating case for treating Spain as the imperial alter ego of the United States. Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, ambitious in its chronological sweep, and elegant in its interpretation of literary and visual works, DeGuzman's book leads us to a powerful new understanding of the nature - and history - American ethnicity.
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The Surprising Effects of Sympathy
Marivaux, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley
David Marshall
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Through readings of works by Marivaux, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley, David Marshall provides a new interpretation of the eighteenth-century preoccupation with theatricality and sympathy. Sympathy is seen not as an instance of sensibility or natural benevolence but rather as an aesthetic and epistemological problem that must be understood in relation to the problem of theatricality.

Placing novels in the context of eighteenth-century writing about theater, fiction, and painting, Marshall argues that an unusual variety of authors and texts were concerned with the possibility of entering into someone else's thoughts and feelings. He shows how key eighteenth-century works reflect on the problem of how to move, touch, and secure the sympathy of readers and beholders in the realm of both "art" and "life." Marshall discusses the demands placed upon novels to achieve certain effects, the ambivalence of writers and readers about those effects, and the ways in which these texts can be read as philosophical meditations on the differences and analogies between the experiences of reading a novel, watching a play, beholding a painting, and witnessing the spectacle of someone suffering. The Surprising Effects of Sympathy traces the interaction of sympathy and theater and the artistic and philosophical problems that these terms represent in dialogues about aesthetics, moral philosophy, epistemology, psychology, autobiography, the novel, and society.
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The Tao and the Logos
Literary Hermeneutics, East and West
Longxi Zhang
Duke University Press, 1992
Questions of the nature of understanding and interpretation—hermeneutics—are fundamental in human life, though historically Westerners have tended to consider these questions within a purely Western context. In this comparative study, Zhang Longxi investigates the metaphorical nature of poetic language, highlighting the central figures of reality and meaning in both Eastern and Western thought: the Tao and the Logos. The author develops a powerful cross-cultural and interdisciplinary hermeneutic analysis that relates individual works of literature not only to their respective cultures, but to a combined worldview where East meets West.
Zhang's book brings together philosophy and literature, theory and practical criticism, the Western and the non-Western in defining common ground on which East and West may come to a mutual understanding. He provides commentary on the rich traditions of poetry and poetics in ancient China; equally illuminating are Zhang's astute analyses of Western poets such as Rilke, Shakespeare, and Mallarmé and his critical engagement with the work of Foucault, Derrida, and de Man, among others.
Wide-ranging and learned, this definitive work in East-West comparative poetics and the hermeneutic tradition will be of interest to specialists in comparative literature, philosophy, literary theory, poetry and poetics, and Chinese literature and history.
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Territorializing Manchuria
The Transnational Frontier and Literatures of East Asia
Miya Qiong Xie
Harvard University Press, 2022

Xiao Hong, Yom Sang-sop, Abe Kobo, and Zhong Lihe—these iconic literary figures from China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan all described Manchuria extensively in their literary works. Now China’s Northeast but a contested frontier in the first half of the twentieth century, Manchuria has inspired writers from all over East Asia to claim it as their own, employing novel themes and forms for engaging nation and empire in modern literature. Many of these works have been canonized as quintessential examples of national or nationalist literature—even though they also problematize the imagined boundedness and homogeneity of nation and national literature at its core.

Through the theoretical lens of literary territorialization, Miya Xie reconceptualizes modern Manchuria as a critical site for making and unmaking national literatures in East Asia. Xie ventures into hitherto uncharted territory by comparing East Asian literatures in three different languages and analyzing their close connections in the transnational frontier. By revealing how writers of different nationalities constantly enlisted transnational elements within a nation-centered body of literature, Territorializing Manchuria uncovers a history of literary co-formation at the very site of division and may offer insights for future reconciliation in the region.

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Textual Confrontations
Comparative Readings in Latin American Literature
Alfred J. Mac Adam
University of Chicago Press, 1987
In this masterful experiment in truly comparative literary criticism, Alfred J. Mac Adam establishes Latin America's place in the Western literary tradition. By juxtaposing Latin American and Anglo-American texts, he shows how Latin American literature has gone beyond the context of Hispanic letters to borrow from, exploit, and finally extend the Western tradition.

Mac Adam describes the changes that have taken place in Latin American literature since the time of Modernismo (roughly 1880-1920), when Spanish American writers tried to update their literary language by imitating foreign, mostly French, literature. Since then, as he demonstrates, Latin American writing has achieved a pioneering status by means of a different kind of imitation—parody—whereby it gives back to the former centers of Western culture their own writing, now distorted and reshaped into something new.
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Toward a Latina Feminism of the Americas
Repression and Resistance in Chicana and Mexicana Literature
By Anna Marie Sandoval
University of Texas Press, 2008

Weaving strands of Chicana and Mexicana subjectivities, Toward a Latina Feminism of the Americas explores political and theoretical agendas, particularly those that undermine the patriarchy, across a diverse range of Latina authors. Within this range, calls for a coalition are clear, but questions surrounding the process of these revolutionary dialogues provide important lines of inquiry. Examining the works of authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Laura Esquivel, Carmen Boullosa, and Helena María Viramontes, Anna Sandoval considers resistance to traditional cultural symbols and contemporary efforts to counteract negative representations of womanhood in literature and society.

Offering a new perspective on the oppositional nature of Latina writers, Sandoval emphasizes the ways in which national literatures have privileged male authors, whose viewpoint is generally distinct from that of women—a point of departure rarely acknowledged in postcolonial theory. Applying her observations to the disciplinary, historical, and spatial facets of literary production, Sandoval interrogates the boundaries of the Latina experience. Building on the dialogues begun with such works as Sonia Saldivar-Hull's Feminism on the Border and Ellen McCracken's New Latina Narrative, this is a concise yet ambitious comparative approach to the historical and cultural connections (as well as disparities) found in Chicana and Mexicana literature.

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The Traffic In Poems
Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Transatlantic Exchange
McGill, Meredith L
Rutgers University Press, 2008
The transatlantic crossing of people and goods shaped nineteenth-century poetry in surprising ways that cannot be fully understood through the study of separate national literary traditions. American and British poetic cultures were bound by fascination, envy, influence, rivalry, recognition, and piracy, as well as by mutual fantasies about and competition over the Caribbean.

Drawing on examples such as Felicia Hemans's elaboration of the foundational American myth of Plymouth Rock, Emma Lazarus's ambivalent welcome of Europe's cast-off populations, black abolitionist Mary Webb's European performances of Hiawatha, and American reprints of Robert Browning and George Meredith, the eleven essays in this book focus on poetic depictions of exile, slavery, immigration, and citizenship and explore the often asymmetrical traffic between British and American poetic cultures.
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Translating the Garden
By M. R. Ghanoonparvar
University of Texas Press, 2002

Translating a work of literature from one language to another is an art form, in which the translated work becomes a "conduit" through which the reader of one language may pass into the cultural world of another. For the translator, the process of translation offers an intimate experience of the text that is perhaps unavailable even to the author. And yet, as M. R. Ghanoonparvar observes at the outset of this book, "every translation is inevitably a failure, with occasional moments of success."

In Translating the Garden, Ghanoonparvar allows readers to watch him in the process of translating Shahrokh Meskub's Goftogu dar Bagh(Dialogue in the Garden) from Persian into English. This short philosophical work uses a conversation between a writer and a painter to explore Persian perceptions of art, literature, nature, identity, and spirituality. As he translates the text, Ghanoonparvar discusses the myriad decisions that a literary translator faces, from word choices to the problems of conveying cultural concepts and deciphering authorial intent. He also compares some of his translated passages with those of other translators to highlight the uniqueness of each act of translation. The complete English translation of Dialogue in the Garden rounds out the volume.

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Travelers, Immigrants, Inmates
Essays in Estrangement
Frances Bartkowski
University of Minnesota Press, 1995

Travelers, Immigrants, Inmates was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Identities are always mistaken; yet they are as necessary as air to sustain life in and among communities. Frances Bartkowski uses travel writings, U.S. immigrant autobiographies, and concentration camp memoirs to illustrate how tales of dislocation present readers with a picture of the complex issues surrounding mistaken identities. In turn, we learn much about the intimate relation between language and power.

Combining psychoanalytic and political modes of analysis, Bartkowski explores the intertwining of place and the construction of identities. The numerous writings she considers include André Gide's Voyage to the Congo, Eva Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Sandra Cisneros's House on Mango Street, Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road and Tell My Horse, and Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz.

Elegantly written and incisive, Travelers, Immigrants, Inmates stands at the crossroads of contemporary discussions about ethnicity, race, gender, nationalism, and the politics and poetics of identity. It has much to offer readers interested in questions of identity and cultural differences.

Frances Bartkowski is associate professor of English and director of women's studies at Rutgers University in Newark. She is the author of Feminist Utopias (1989).

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Trespasses
Selected Writings
Masao Miyoshi
Duke University Press, 2010
Trespasses presents key writings of the Tokyo-born literary scholar Masao Miyoshi, one of the most important postwar intellectuals to link culture with politics and a remarkable critical voice within the academy. For more than four decades, Miyoshi worked outside the mainstream, trespassing into new fields, making previously unseen connections, and upending naive assumptions. With an impeccable sense of when a topic or discussion had lost its critical momentum, he moved on to the next question, and then the next after that, taking on matters of literary form, cross-cultural relations, globalization, art and architecture, the corporatization of the university, and the threat of ecological disaster. Trespasses reveals the tremendous range of Miyoshi’s thought and interests, shows how his thinking transformed over time, and highlights his recurring concerns.

This volume brings together eleven selections of Miyoshi’s previously published writing, a major new essay, a critical introduction to his life and work, and an interview in which Miyoshi reflects on the trajectory of his thought and the institutional history of modern Japan studies. In the new essay, “Literary Elaborations,” he provides a masterful overview of the nature of the contemporary university, closing with a call for a global environmental protection studies that would radically reconfigure academic disciplines and merge the hard sciences with the humanities and the social sciences. In the other, chronologically arranged selections, Miyoshi addresses cross-culture relations between Japan and the United States, English literary studies in Japan, and Japan studies in the U.S., as well as the organization of urban space and the integrity of art and architecture in aggressively marketed-oriented environments. Trespasses is an invaluable introduction to the work of a fearless cultural critic.

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Ulysses in Black
Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature
Patrice D. Rankine
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008

In this groundbreaking work, Patrice D. Rankine asserts that the classics need not be a mark of Eurocentrism, as they have long been considered. Instead, the classical tradition can be part of a self-conscious, prideful approach to African American culture, esthetics, and identity. Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their white counterparts, African American authors have been students of classical languages, literature, and mythologies by such writers as Homer, Euripides, and Seneca.

Ulysses in Black closely analyzes classical themes (the nature of love and its relationship to the social, Dionysus in myth as a parallel to the black protagonist in the American scene, misplaced Ulyssean manhood) as seen in the works of such African American writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Countee Cullen. Rankine finds that the merging of a black esthetic with the classics—contrary to expectations throughout American culture—has often been a radical addressing of concerns including violence against blacks, racism, and oppression. Ultimately, this unique study of black classicism becomes an exploration of America’s broader cultural integrity, one that is inclusive and historic.

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

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The Viet Nam War/The American War
Images and Representations in Euro-American and Vietnamese Exile Narratives
Renny Christopher
University of Massachusetts Press, 1996
This book seeks to reformulate the canon of writings on what is called "the Viet Nam War" in America and "the American War" in Viet Nam. Until recently, the accepted canon has consisted almost exclusively of American white male combat narratives, which often reflect and perpetuate Asian stereotypes. Renny Christopher introduces material that displays a bicultural perspective, including works by Vietnamese exile writers and by lesser-known Euro-Americans who attempt to bridge the cultural gap.

Christopher traces the history of American stereotyping of Asians and shows how Euro-American ethnocentricity has limited most American authors' ability to represent fairly the Vietnamese in their stories. By giving us access to Vietnamese representations of the war, she creates a context for understanding the way the war was experienced from the "other" side, and she offers perceptive, well-documented analyses of how and why Americans have so emphatically excised the Vietnamese from narratives about a war fought in their own country.
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Virtual Americas
Transnational Fictions and the Transatlantic Imaginary
Paul Giles
Duke University Press, 2002
Arguing that limited nationalist perspectives have circumscribed the critical scope of American Studies scholarship, Virtual Americas advocates a comparative criticism that illuminates the work of well-known literary figures by defamiliarizing it—placing it in unfamiliar contexts. Paul Giles looks at a number of canonical nineteenth- and twentieth-century American writers by focusing on their interactions with British culture. He demonstrates how American authors from Herman Melville to Thomas Pynchon have been compulsively drawn to negotiate with British culture so that their nationalist agendas have emerged, paradoxically, through transatlantic dialogues. Virtual Americas ultimately suggests that conceptions of national identity in both the United States and Britain have emerged through engagement with—and, often, deliberate exclusion of—ideas and imagery emanating from across the Atlantic.

Throughout Virtual Americas Giles focuses on specific examples of transatlantic cultural interactions such as Frederick Douglass’s experiences and reputation in England; Herman Melville’s satirizing fictions of U.S. and British nationalism; and Vladimir Nabokov’s critique of European high culture and American popular culture in Lolita. He also reverses his perspective, looking at the representation of San Francisco in the work of British-born poet Thom Gunn and Sylvia Plath’s poetic responses to England. Giles develops his theory about the need to defamiliarize the study of American literature by considering the cultural legacy of Surrealism as an alternative genealogy for American Studies and by examining the transatlantic dimensions of writers such as Henry James and Robert Frost in the context of Surrealism.

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The White Trash Menace and Hemispheric Fiction
Ramón E. Soto-Crespo
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
The White Trash Menace and Hemispheric Fiction uncovers a rich archive of “white trash” fiction in the Caribbean and its surrounding regions. After the abolition of slavery, affluent white planters underwent a period of identity crisis where wealth no longer maintained their privileges, and yet they did not belong to the group of newly freed peoples. Ramón E. Soto-Crespo analyzes the literary legacy of those who came under the label of “white trash.” This book argues that during the mid-twentieth century, “white trash” started off as a trope in pulp fiction and subsequently became absorbed into what we now think of as canonical literature. In The White Trash Menace, Soto-Crespo pairs novels from William Faulkner and Jean Rhys with pulp authors such as Edgar Mittelholzer and Kyle Onstott in order to provide an alternate account of the literary development of race and class in the Americas. Together these works constitute a circum-Atlantic, white-trash world of letters: a hemispheric network of decapitalized whiteness that challenges how we imagine literary history by departing from nation-based models of aesthetic development. By providing a genealogy of literary circulation, The White Trash Menace likewise challenges conventional understandings of “white trash,” and more broadly challenges our understanding of literature, class, and race in the Americas.  
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front cover of Written Voices, Spoken Signs
Written Voices, Spoken Signs
Tradition, Performance, and the Epic Text
Egbert J. Bakker
Harvard University Press, 1997

Written Voices, Spoken Signs is a stimulating introduction to new perspectives on Homer and other traditional epics. Taking advantage of recent research on language and social exchange, the nine essays in this volume focus on performance and audience reception of oral poetry.

These innovative essays by leading scholars of Homer, oral poetics, and epic invite us to rethink some key concepts for an understanding of traditional epic poetry. Egbert Bakker examines the epic performer's use of time and tense in recounting a past that is alive. Tackling the question of full-length performance of the monumental Iliad, Andrew Ford considers the extent to which the work was perceived as a coherent whole in the archaic age. John Miles Foley addresses questions about spoken signs and the process of reference in epic discourse, and Ahuvia Kahane studies rhythm as a semantic factor in the Homeric performance. Richard Martin suggests a new range of performance functions for the Homeric simile. And Gregory Nagy establishes the importance of one feature of epic language, the ellipsis. These six essays centered on Homer engage with fundamental issues that are addressed by three essays primarily concerned with medieval epic: those by Franz Bäuml on the concept of fact; by Wulf Oesterreicher on types of orality; and by Ursula Schaefer on written and spoken media. In their Introduction the editors highlight the underlying approach and viewpoints of this collaborative volume.

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