Despite the importance of archives to the profession of history, there is very little written about actual encounters with them—about the effect that the researcher’s race, gender, or class may have on her experience within them or about the impact that archival surveillance, architecture, or bureaucracy might have on the histories that are ultimately written. This provocative collection initiates a vital conversation about how archives around the world are constructed, policed, manipulated, and experienced. It challenges the claims to objectivity associated with the traditional archive by telling stories that illuminate its power to shape the narratives that are “found” there.
Archive Stories brings together ethnographies of the archival world, most of which are written by historians. Some contributors recount their own experiences. One offers a moving reflection on how the relative wealth and prestige of Western researchers can gain them entry to collections such as Uzbekistan’s newly formed Central State Archive, which severely limits the access of Uzbek researchers. Others explore the genealogies of specific archives, from one of the most influential archival institutions in the modern West, the Archives nationales in Paris, to the significant archives of the Bakunin family in Russia, which were saved largely through the efforts of one family member. Still others explore the impact of current events on the analysis of particular archives. A contributor tells of researching the 1976 Soweto riots in the politically charged atmosphere of the early 1990s, just as apartheid in South Africa was coming to an end. A number of the essays question what counts as an archive—and what counts as history—as they consider oral histories, cyberspace, fiction, and plans for streets and buildings that were never built, for histories that never materialized.
Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Marilyn Booth, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Peter Fritzsche, Durba Ghosh, Laura Mayhall, Jennifer S. Milligan, Kathryn J. Oberdeck, Adele Perry, Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, John Randolph, Craig Robertson, Horacio N. Roque Ramírez, Jeff Sahadeo, Reneé Sentilles
In part a tour of California as a virtual laboratory for refining the circulation of capital, and in part an investigation of how the state's literati, with rare exception, reconceived economy in the name of class, gender, and racial privilege, this study will appeal to all students and scholars of California's—and the American West's—economic, environmental, and cultural past.
Social and political change is impossible in the absence of gifted male charismatic leadership—this is the fiction that shaped African American culture throughout the twentieth century. If we understand this, Erica R. Edwards tells us, we will better appreciate the dramatic variations within both the modern black freedom struggle and the black literary tradition.
By considering leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Barack Obama as both historical personages and narrative inventions of contemporary American culture, Edwards brings to the study of black politics the tools of intertextual narrative analysis as well as deconstruction and close reading. Examining a number of literary restagings of black leadership in African American fiction by W. E. B. Du Bois, George Schuyler, Zora Neale Hurston, William Melvin Kelley, Paul Beatty, and Toni Morrison, Edwards demonstrates how African American literature has contested charisma as a structuring fiction of modern black politics.
Though recent scholarship has challenged top-down accounts of historical change, the presumption that history is made by gifted men continues to hold sway in American letters and life. This may be, Edwards shows us, because while charisma is a transformative historical phenomenon, it carries an even stronger seductive narrative power that obscures the people and methods that have created social and political shifts.
For most North Americans—Canadians as well as Americans—the term "Western" evokes images of the frontier, brave sheriffs and ruthless outlaws, good cowboys and bad Indians. As Arnold E. Davidson shows in this groundbreaking study, a number of Canada’s most interesting and experimental Western writers parody, reverse, or otherwise defuse the paraphernalia of the classic U.S. Western. Lacking both a real and imagined frontier—Canadian settlers rode trains into the new territory, already policed by Mounties—the writers of Canadian Westerns were set a different task from their American counterparts and were subsequently freed to create some of the most complex and engrossing fiction yet produced in Canada. Davidson details the evolution of the U.S. and Canadian Western forms, tracing the divergence between the two as Canadian writers responded to their unique historical circumstances by reinventing the West as well as the Western and establishing a new literary landscape where author and reader could work out new possibilities of being. Surveying a range of texts by Canada’s most innovative writers, with special attention to women writers and Native stories of Coyote, he provides close readings of novels by Howard O’Hagan, Sheila Watson, Robert Kroetsch, Aritha van Herk, Anne Cameron, Peter Such, W. O. Mitchell, Beatrice Culleton, and Thomas King. A unique study, Coyote Country offers at one and the same time a theory of Canadian Western fiction, a history of crosscultural paradigms of the West as manifested in novels, and an intensive reading of some of Canada’s best literature.
A fresh take on the dopplegänger and its place in Japanese film and literature—past and present
Since its earliest known use in German Romanticism in the late 1700s, the word Doppelgänger (double-walker) can be found throughout a vast array of literature, culture, and media. This motif of doubling can also be seen traversing historical and cultural boundaries. Double Visions, Double Fictions analyzes the myriad manifestations of the doppelgänger in Japanese literary and cinematic texts at two historical junctures: the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s and the present day.
According to author Baryon Tensor Posadas, the doppelgänger marks the intersection of the historical impact of psychoanalytic theory, the genre of detective fiction in Japan, early Japanese cinema, and the cultural production of Japanese colonialism. He examines the doppelgänger’s appearance in the works of Edogawa Rampo, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, and Akutagawa Ryunosuke, as well as the films of Tsukamoto Shin’ya and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, not only as a recurrent motif but also as a critical practice of concepts. Following these explorations, Posadas asks: What were the social, political, and material conditions that mobilized the desire for the doppelgänger? And how does the dopplegänger capture social transformations taking place at these historical moments?
Double Visions, Double Fictions ultimately reveals how the doppelgänger motif provides a fascinating new backdrop for understanding the enmeshment of past and present.
Over the past fifty years, Puerto Rican voters have roundly rejected any calls for national independence. Yet the rhetoric and iconography of independence have been defining features of Puerto Rican literature and culture. In the provocative new book Dream Nation, María Acosta Cruz investigates the roots and effects of this profound disconnect between cultural fantasy and political reality.
Bringing together texts from Puerto Rican literature, history, and popular culture, Dream Nation shows how imaginings of national independence have served many competing purposes. They have given authority to the island’s literary and artistic establishment but have also been a badge of countercultural cool. These ideas have been fueled both by nostalgia for an imagined past and by yearning for a better future. They have fostered local communities on the island, and still helped define Puerto Rican identity within U.S. Latino culture.
In clear, accessible prose, Acosta Cruz takes us on a journey from the 1898 annexation of Puerto Rico to the elections of 2012, stopping at many cultural touchstones along the way, from the canonical literature of the Generación del 30 to the rap music of Tego Calderón. Dream Nation thus serves both as a testament to how stories, symbols, and heroes of independence have inspired the Puerto Rican imagination and as an urgent warning about how this culture has become detached from the everyday concerns of the island’s people.
A volume in the American Literature Initiatives series
"Highly recommended . . . Holmes moves seamlessly from novelists like Charles Dickens to sociologists like Henry Mayhew to autobiographers like John Kitto."
"An absolutely stunning book that will make a significant contribution to both Victorian literary studies and disability studies."
---Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University
"Establishes that Victorian melodrama informs many of our contemporary notions of disability . . . We have inherited from the Victorians not pandemic disability, but rather the complex of sympathy and fear."
Tiny Tim, Clym Yeobright, Long John Silver---what underlies nineteenth-century British literature's fixation with disability? Melodramatic representations of disability pervaded not only novels, but also doctors' treatises on blindness, educators' arguments for "special" education, and even the writing of disabled people themselves. Drawing on extensive primary research, Martha Stoddard Holmes introduces readers to popular literary and dramatic works that explored culturally risky questions like "can disabled men work?" and "should disabled women have babies?" and makes connections between literary plots and medical, social, and educational debates of the day.
Martha Stoddard Holmes is Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at California State University, San Marcos.
The search for belief and meaning among nineteenth-century intellectuals
The nineteenth century’s explosion of scientific theories and new technologies undermined many deep-seated beliefs that had long formed the basis of Western society, making it impossible for many to retain the unconditional faith of their forebears. A myriad of discoveries—including Faraday’s electromagnetic induction, Joule’s law of conservation of energy, Pasteur’s germ theory, Darwin’s and Wallace’s theories of evolution by natural selection, and Planck’s work on quantum theory—shattered conventional understandings of the world that had been dictated by traditional religious teachings and philosophical systems for centuries.
Fictions of Certitude: Science, Faith, and the Search for Meaning, 1840–1920 investigates the fin de siècle search for truth and meaning in a world that had been radically transformed. John S. Haller Jr. examines the moral and philosophical journeys of nine European and American intellectuals who sought deeper understanding amid such paradigmatic upheaval. Auguste Comte, John Henry Newman, Herbert Spencer, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley, John Fiske, William James, Lester Frank Ward, and Paul Carus all belonged to an age in which one world was passing, while another world that was both astounding and threatening was rising to take its place.
For Haller, what makes the work of these nine thinkers worthy of examination is how they strove in different ways to find certitude and belief in the face of an epochal sea change. Some found ways to reconceptualize a world in which God and nature coexist. For others, the challenge was to discern meaning in a world in which no higher power or purpose can be found. As explained by D. H. Myer, “The later Victorians were perhaps the last generation among English-speaking intellectuals able to believe that man was capable of understanding his universe, just as they were the first generation collectively to suspect that he never would.”
This study examines the interdependence of gender, sexuality and space in the early modern period, which saw the inception of architecture as a discipline and gave rise to the first custodial institutions for women, including convents for reformed prostitutes. Meanwhile, conduct manuals established prescriptive mandates for female use of space, concentrating especially on the liminal spaces of the home. This work traces literary prostitution in the Spanish Mediterranean through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from the rise of courtesan culture in several key areas through the shift from tolerance of prostitution toward repression. Kuffner’s analysis pairs canonical and noncanonical works of fiction with didactic writing, architectural treatises, and legal mandates, tying the literary practice of prostitution to increasing control over female sexuality during the Counter Reformation. By tracing erotic negotiations in the female picaresque novel from its origins through later manifestations, she demonstrates that even as societal attitudes towards prostitution shifted dramatically, a countervailing tendency to view prostitution as an essential part of the social fabric undergirds many representations of literary prostitutes. Kuffner’s analysis reveals that the semblance of domestic enclosure figures as a primary eroticstrategy in female picaresque fiction, allowing readers to assess the variety of strategies used by authors to comment on the relationship between unruly female sexuality and social order.
Although feminist ethnography is an emerging genre, the question of what the term means remains open. Recent texts that fall under this rubric rely on unexamined notions of "sisterhood" and the recovery of "lost" voices. Writing about her work with women in Southern India, Kamala Visweswaran addresses such troubled questions in the essays that make up Fictions of Feminist Ethnography. Blurring distinctions between ethnographic and literary genres, the author employs the narrative strategies of history, fiction, autobiography and biography, deconstruction, and postcolonial discourse to reveal the fictions of ethnography and the ethnography in fiction. In the process of reflecting on the nature of anthropology itself Visweswaran devises an experimental approach to writing feminist ethnography.
What sets this work apart from other self-reflexive feminist ethnographies is its rigorous engagement with the concrete inequalities, refusals, and misunderstandings between the author and the women she worked with in India. In each essay, she takes up the specific ellipses of power differentials in her field research and works out their epistemological consequences. The result is a series of contextualizations of the politics of identity in the field, at "home," and within the lives of women who particpated in the Indian nationalist movement. We learn in lucid detail about the partiality of knowledge and the inevitable difficulties and violations involved in representing the lives of women, both inside and outside the United States. Clearly and forcefully written, this book should be of interest not only to anthropologists but also to cultural theorists and critics, feminist scholars and writers, and other social scientists who grapple with epistemological and political issues in their fields.
"Fictions of Feminist Ethnography is an ambitious, experimental, comprehensive and learned book directed at a professional (anthropological) audience. I find the book thought-provoking and highly recommendable because of the sensitive, critical and sometimes even surprisingly innovative handling of 'data'. In addition to the sharp analyses, it succeeds in elegantly combining form and content, and in mastering the unification of literary criticism with identity politics and a sophisticated feminism." Folk - Journal of Danish Ethnographic Society
"The text provides an excellent resource for thinking about what constitutes 'reading,' 'writing,' and 'researching' from a feminist ethnographic positioning." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
"In reaching beyond traditional ethnographic form, Kamala Visweswaran places her own style of feminist ethnography at the nexus of feminist anthropology and literature-in the forms of autobiography, personal narrative, fable and fiction. By working through these 'experimental' forms Kamala Visweswaran puts her own theories of feminist ethnography into practice, calling traditional positivist ethnographic form into question, as well as the rather limited definitions of current experimental ethnography." Cross Cultural Poetics
Kamala Visweswaran is an assistant professor of anthropology in the graduate faculty at the New School for Social Research.
In Fictions of Land and Flesh Mark Rifkin explores the impasses that arise in seeking to connect Black and Indigenous movements, turning to speculative fiction to understand those difficulties and envision productive ways of addressing them. Against efforts to subsume varied forms of resistance into a single framework in the name of solidarity, Rifkin argues that Black and Indigenous political struggles are oriented in distinct ways, following their own lines of development and contestation. Rifkin suggests how movement between the two can be approached as something of a speculative leap in which the terms and dynamics of one are disoriented in the encounter with the other. Futurist fiction provides a compelling site for exploring such disjunctions. Through analyses of works by Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, Nalo Hopkinson, Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, and others, the book illustrates how ideas about fungibility, fugitivity, carcerality, marronage, sovereignty, placemaking, and governance shape the ways Black and Indigenous intellectuals narrate the past, present, and future. In turning to speculative fiction, Rifkin illustrates how speculation as a process provides conceptual and ethical resources for recognizing difference while engaging across it.
From the late seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth, no figure was more central to debates in England about the relations between the sexes than that of the modest woman. Drawing on a wide range of narratives from the period, Ruth Bernard Yeazell analyzes the multiple and conflicting wishes that were covered by talk of "modesty" and explores some of the most striking uses of a modest heroine.
Combining evidence from conduct books and ladies' magazines with the arguments of influential theorists like Hume, Rousseau, and Wollstonecraft, this book begins by asking why writers were devoted to the anxious remaking of women's "nature" and to codifying rules for their porper behavior. Fictions of Modesty shows how the culture at once tried to regulate young women's desires and effectively opened up new possibilities of subjectivity and individual choice.
Yeazell goes on to demonstrate that modest delaying actions inform a central tradition of English narrative. On the Continent, the English believed, the jeune fille went from the artificial innocence of the convent to an arranged marriage and adultery; the natural modesty of the Englishwoman, however, enabled her to choose her own mate and to marry both prudently and with affection. Rather than taking its narrative impetus from adultery, then, English fiction concentrated on courtship and the consciousness of the young woman choosing. After paired studies of Richardson's Pamela and Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (even Fanny Hill, Yeazell argues, is a modest English heroine at heart), Yeazell investigates what women novelists made of the virtues of modesty in works by Burney, Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Gaskell.
A speculative postscript briefly addresses the discourse of late nineteenth-century science in order to show how Darwin's theory of sexual selection and Havelock Ellis's psychology of sex replicate fictions of female modesty. While those who sought to codify modest behavior in previous centuries often appealed to Nature for support, our modern understanding of the natural, Yeazell suggests, owes something to the work of the novelists.
Sharply reasoned and witty, Fictions of Modesty will appeal to all those interested in women's studies, the English novel, and the continuing history of relations between the sexes.
Considering Sappho as a creature of translation and interpretation, a figment whose features have changed with social mores and aesthetics, Joan DeJean constructs a fascinating history of the sexual politics of literary reception. The association of Sappho with female homosexuality has made her a particularly compelling and yet problematic subject of literary speculation; and in the responses of different cultures to the challenge the poet presents, DeJean finds evidence of the standards imposed on female sexuality through the ages. She focuses largely though not exclusively on the French tradition, where the Sapphic presence is especially pervasive. Tracing re-creations of Sappho through translation and fiction from the mid-sixteenth century to the period just prior to World War II, DeJean shows how these renderings reflect the fantasies and anxieties of each writer as well as the mentalité of his or her day.
The first comprehensive and interdisciplinary study of the prostitute in Latin American literature, Claire Thora Solomon’s book The Naturalist Prostitute and Her Avatars in Latin American Literature, 1880–2010 shows the gender, ethnic, and racial identities that emerge in the literary figure of the prostitute during the consolidation of modern Latin American states in the late nineteenth century in the literary genre of Naturalism. Solomon first examines how legal, medical, and philosophical thought converged in Naturalist literature of prostitution. She then traces the persistence of these styles, themes, and stereotypes about women, sex, ethnicity, and race in the twentieth and twenty-first century literature with a particular emphasis on the historical fiction of prostitution and its selective reconstruction of the past.
Fictions of the Bad Life illustrates how at very different moments—the turn of the twentieth century, the 1920s–30s, and finally the turn of the twenty-first century—the past is rewritten to accommodate contemporary desires for historical belonging and national identity, even as these efforts inevitably re-inscribe the repressed colonial history they wish to change.
In today’s academe, the fields of science and literature are considered unconnected, one relying on raw data and fact, the other focusing on fiction. During the period between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, however, the two fields were not so distinct. Just as the natural philosophers of the era were discovering in and adopting from literature new strategies and techniques for their discourse, so too were poets and storytellers finding inspiration in natural philosophy, particularly in astronomy.
A work that speaks to the history of science and literary studies, Fictions of the Cosmos explores the evolving relationship that ensued between fiction and astronomical authority. By examining writings of Kepler, Godwin, Hooke, Cyrano, Cavendish, Fontenelle, and others, Frédérique Aït-Touati shows that it was through the telling of stories—such as through accounts of celestial journeys—that the Copernican hypothesis, for example, found an ontological weight that its geometric models did not provide. Aït-Touati draws from both cosmological treatises and fictions of travel and knowledge, as well as personal correspondences, drawings, and instruments, to emphasize the multiple borrowings between scientific and literary discourses. This volume sheds new light on the practices of scientific invention, experimentation, and hypothesis formation by situating them according to their fictional or factual tendencies.
Four for a Quarter: Fictions
Michael Martone University of Alabama Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3563.A7414F68 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Four is the magic number in Michael Martone’s Four for a Quarter. In subject—four fifth Beatles, four tie knots, four retellings of the first Xerox, even the sex lives of the Fantastic Four—and in structure—the book is separated into four sections, with each section further divided into four chapterettes—Four for a Quarter returns again and again to its originating number, making chaos comprehensible and mystery out of the most ordinary.
Susan Steinberg University of Alabama Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3619.T4762H93 2006 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Hydroplane is a story collection filled with the urgency of erotic obsession. Its breathless voices, palpable in their desire, are propelled by monomania, rushing from one preoccupation into another: a garage, a painting class, a basketball game, boys. Their words take on kinetic force, an almost headlong momentum, as though, while reading, one were picking up speed, veering out of control. The past returns. Rumination are continuous. A stranger at a bus stop is indistinguishable from the narrator's deceased grandfather; party guests turn ghoulish, festivities merge with nightmares.
Each of Steinberg's stories builds as if telegraphed. Each sentence glissades into the next as though in perpetual motion, as characters, crippled by loss, rummage through their recollections looking for buffers to an indistinct future.
Xbox videogamer cholo cyberpunks. Infants who read before they talk. Vatos locos, romancing abuelos, border crossers and border smugglers, drug kingpins, Latina motorbike riders, philosophically musing tweens, and so much more.
The stories in this dynamic bilingual prose-art collection touch on the universals of romance, family, migration and expulsion, and everyday life in all its zany configurations. Each glimpse into lives at every stage—from newborns and children to teens, young adults, and the elderly—further submerges readers in psychological ups and downs. In a world filled with racism, police brutality, poverty, and tensions between haves and have-nots, these flashes of fictional insight bring gleaming clarity to life lived where all sorts of borders meet and shift.
Frederick Luis Aldama and graphic artists from Mapache Studios give shape to ugly truths in the most honest way, creating new perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about life in the borderlands of the Américas. Each bilingual prose-art fictional snapshot offers an unsentimentally complex glimpse into what it means to exist at the margins of society today. These unflinching and often brutal fictions crisscross spiritual, emotional, and physical borders as they give voice to all those whom society chooses not to see.
Lyric fictions by a master fabulist of America’s Midwest
The Moon over Wapakoneta is vintage Michael Martone, the visionary oracle of the American Midwest with the gift for discovering the marvelous in the mundane. In these stories Martone shows us how traveling across time zones from Ohio to Indiana is a form of time travel; how a beer bottle can serve as a kind of telescope, how Amish might power their spaceships with windmills as they travel through space and time. These stories capture the paradox of feeling that one is in the heart of the country while at the same time in the middle of nowhere, of natives who find themselves strangers in their once familiar, but now strange, lands.
On display is a love of obsolete technologies, small-town whimsy, home movies of proms and birthday parties, steam engines and baseball games. If Italo Calvino lived in Indiana rather than Italy, these are the fictions he might have made.
Out of Russia is the first scholarly work to focus on a group of writers who, over the past decade, have formed a distinct phenomenon: immigrants with cultural and linguistic roots in Russia who have chosen to write in the language of their adopted countries. The best known among these are Andreï Makine, who writes in French, Wladimir Kaminer, who writes in German, and Gary Shteyngart, who writes in English. Wanner also addresses the work of emerging immigrant writers active in North America, Germany, and Israel. He argues that it is in part by writing in a language other than their native Russian that these writers have made something of a commodity of their “Russianness.” That many of them also happen to be Jewish adds yet another layer to the questions of identity raised by their work. In situating these writers within broader contexts, Wanner explores such topics as migration, cultural hybrids, and the construction and perception of ethnicity.
Passing refers to the process whereby a person of one race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation adopts the guise of another. Historically, this has often involved black slaves passing as white in order to gain their freedom. More generally, it has served as a way for women and people of color to access male or white privilege. In their examination of this practice of crossing boundaries, the contributors to this volume offer a unique perspective for studying the construction and meaning of personal and cultural identities. These essays consider a wide range of texts and moments from colonial times to the present that raise significant questions about the political motivations inherent in the origins and maintenance of identity categories and boundaries. Through discussions of such literary works as Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, The Autobiography of an Ex–Coloured Man, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Hidden Hand, Black Like Me, and Giovanni’s Room, the authors examine issues of power and privilege and ways in which passing might challenge the often rigid structures of identity politics. Their interrogation of the semiotics of behavior, dress, language, and the body itself contributes significantly to an understanding of national, racial, gender, and sexual identity in American literature and culture. Contextualizing and building on the theoretical work of such scholars as Judith Butler, Diana Fuss, Marjorie Garber, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., Passing and the Fictions of Identity will be of value to students and scholars working in the areas of race, gender, and identity theory, as well as U.S. history and literature.
Contributors. Martha Cutter, Katharine Nicholson Ings, Samira Kawash, Adrian Piper, Valerie Rohy, Marion Rust, Julia Stern, Gayle Wald, Ellen M. Weinauer, Elizabeth Young
In Pirate Novels Nina Gerassi-Navarro examines an overlooked genre to reveal how history and fiction blend to address important isuses of nation building in nineteenth-century Spanish America. In the figure of the pirate, bold and heroic to some, cruel and criminal to others, she reveals an almost ideal character that came to embody the spirit of emerging nationhood and the violence associated with the struggle to attain it. Beginning with an overview of the history of piracy, Gerassi-Navarro traces the historical icon of the pirate through colonial-era chronicles before exploring a group of nineteenth-century Mexican, Colombian, and Argentine novels. She argues that the authors of these novels, in their reconstructions of the past, were less interested in accurate representations than in using their narratives to discuss the future of their own countries. In reading these pirate narratives as metaphors for the process of nation building in Spanish America, Gerassi-Navarro exposes the conflicting strains of a complex culture attempting to shape that future. She shows how these pirate stories reflect the on-going debates that marked the consolidation of nationhood, as well as the extent to which the narratives of national identity in Spanish America are structured in relation to European cultures, and the ways in which questions of race and gender were addressed. Providing new readings of the cultural and political paradigms that marked the literary production of nineteenth-century Spanish America, Pirate Novels uniquely expands the range of texts usually examined in the study of nation-building. It will interest literary scholars generally as well as those engaged in Latin American, colonial, and postcolonial studies.
Reproductive technology spans techniques ranging from cloning, surrogate motherhood, egg donation, and prenatal testing. In the early nineties, when public debate about this topic was new, the discourse focused on the moral and ethical issues that these new technologies evoked. Less than a decade later, the editors in Playing Dolly state, ethical questions seem less urgent. Enormous changes have taken place in the way that reproduction is represented, understood, and discussed.
The pieces, which range from the biomedical to the sociocultural and include even fiction, reflect the shift in public perception of these complex topics. They testify to the increasing acceptance of reproductive technology, and the resulting reduction in concern over the ethical issues raised by technological intervention.
Playing in the Shadows considers the literature engendered by postwar Japanese authors’ robust cultural exchanges with African Americans and African American literature. The Allied Occupation brought an influx of African American soldiers and culture to Japan, which catalyzed the writing of black characters into postwar Japanese literature. This same influx fostered the creation of organizations such as the Kokujin kenkyu no kai (The Japanese Association for Negro Studies) and literary endeavors such as the Kokujin bungaku zenshu (The Complete Anthology of Black Literature). This rich milieu sparked Japanese authors’—Nakagami Kenji and Oe Kenzaburo are two notable examples—interest in reading, interpreting, critiquing, and, ultimately, incorporating the tropes and techniques of African American literature and jazz performance into their own literary works. Such incorporation leads to literary works that are “black” not by virtue of their representations of black characters, but due to their investment in the possibility of technically and intertextually black Japanese literature. Will Bridges argues that these “fictions of race” provide visions of the way that postwar Japanese authors reimagine the ascription of race to bodies—be they bodies of literature, the body politic, or the human body itself.
In the global imagination, Paris is the city's glamorous center, ignoring the Muslim residents in its outskirts except in moments of spectacular crisis such as terrorist attacks or riots. But colonial immigrants and their French offspring have been a significant presence in the Parisian landscape since the 1940s. Expanding the narrow script of what and who is Paris, Laila Amine explores the novels, films, and street art of Maghrebis, Franco-Arabs, and African Americans in the City of Light, including fiction by Charef, Chraïbi, Sebbar, Baldwin, Smith, and Wright, and such films as La haine, Made in France, Chouchou, and A Son.
Spanning the decades from the post–World War II era to the present day, Amine demonstrates that the postcolonial other is both peripheral to and intimately entangled with all the ideals so famously evoked by the French capital—romance, modernity, equality, and liberty. In their work, postcolonial writers and artists have juxtaposed these ideals with colonial tropes of intimacy (the interracial couple, the harem, the Arab queer) to expose their hidden violence. Amine highlights the intrusion of race in everyday life in a nation where, officially, it does not exist.
The recent fiction of Spanish America has been widely acclaimed for its experimental and revolutionary qualities. In Reclaiming the Author, Lucille Kerr studies the sources of power of this newly emergent literature in her detailed examination of the critical concept of "the author." Kerr considers how Spanish American narratives raise questions about authorial identity and activity through the different figures of the author they propose. These author-figures, she maintains, both complement and contradict notions of authority that exist outside of the world of fiction. By focusing on works by well-known Spanish American authors—Cortazar, Donoso, Fuentes, Poniatowska, Puig, and Vargas Llosa—Kerr shows how the Spanish Americans have formed a radical poetics of the author. Her readings demonstrate how exemplary Spanish American texts, such as Rayuela, Terra nostra, and El hablador, call into question the author as a unitary or uniform, and therefore unproblematical, figure. Individually and together, Kerr's readings reclaim "the author" as a complex critical concept encompassing diverse, conflicting, even competitive roles.
Throughout American history there has been an oddly close relationship between the seductive appeals of narrative fiction and those of political rhetoric and advocacy. The aim of Stories of Nation: Fictions, Politics, and the American Experience is to explore what political narratives and the cultural poetics behind them reveal about the way our personal and intimate lives are deeply connected with the public arena and the political process.
The first section of the book, “The Politics of Fictions,” contains essays focused on works of fiction consciously dramatizing the political realm. The second group of contributions, “The Fictions of Politics,” explores structures and motifs from the narrative arts in discourses of American political life, and the interactions of public institutions and policy with forms of fictional representation, from novels to popular music and TV drama.
The essays presented here broaden the conversation in American literary studies about what constitutes “the political” in literature and culture by reintroducing the dimension of institutional or representative politics. Likewise, Stories of Nation aims to repair the lines of communication between the idea that all fiction is political, and the view that political speech is a subgenre of literature all the more in need of examination in a highly polarized society.
The range of perspectives in Stories of Nation will engage students of literature, popular culture, and politics alike.
MARTIN GRIFFIN is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of Ashes of the Mind: War and Memory in Northern Literature, 1865–1900 (2009) and co-author, with Constance DeVereaux, of Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy: Once Upon a Time in a Globalized World (2013).
CHRISTOPHER HEBERT is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Tennessee and is former senior acquisitions editor at the University of Michigan Press. He is the author of the novels Angels of Detroit (2016) and The Boiling Season (2012).
"A stunning, brilliant, absolutely compelling reading of Woolf through the lens of Kleinian and Freudian psychoanalytic debates about the primacy of maternality and paternality in the construction of consciousness, gender, politics, and the past, and of psychoanalysis through the lens of Woolf's novels and essays. In addition to transforming our understanding of Woolf, this book radically expands our understanding of the historicity and contingent construction of psychoanalytic theory and our vision of the potential of psychoanalytic feminism."—Nancy J. Chodorow, University of California at Berkeley
"Virginia Woolf and the Fictions of Psychoanalysis brings Woolf's extraordinary craftsmanship back into view; the book combines powerful claims about sexual politics and intellectual history with the sort of meticulous, imaginative close reading that leaves us, simply, seeing much more in Woolf's words than we did before. It is the most exciting book on Woolf to come along in some time."—Lisa Ruddick, Modern Philology
Questions of female development shape women’s studies in many fields as women seek to define those forces which mold their experiences. Surprisingly, this is the first book to study systematically and from a comparative perspective the female novel of development, or Bildungsroman. Prevailing definitions of the Bildungsroman derive from the conceptions of development based on male experience. The book offers an expanded generic model that incorporates the distinctively female patterns of realization and failed realization which emerge from the limited social opportunities depicted in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novel and from the particular features of women’s maturation as revealed by recent feminist psychoanalytic research.
What Begins with Bird, by Noy Holland, is both an investigation of family relationships and a sophisticated study of language and rhythm. Holland creates an exhilarating tension between the satisfactions of meaning and the attenuated beauty of lyric, making her fiction felt as deeply as it is understood. An unstable sister whose misconceived pregnancy replays the endless nightmare of childhood siblings and a wrecked marriage occasioning the misery of a horse: these are the frozen events around which Holland's words congeal. The poetry of her images, powerful but immediately absorbed, can bring consciousness to a standstill: "By then I've reached her: Sister spluttering, spitting out the plug of snow. Her mouth is bleeding. Her face is the grotesque of a face, a soul in flames, some rung of hell, and she is sobbing, spit puddling under her tongue." The Faulknerian echoes of Holland's prose invoke a dreamscape, a panorama enclosing barns and men and guns and Mother, as she trudges the cold hills in her nightgown. This writing is exquisite, a gorgeousness as unforgettable as a stabbing pain or the after-image of a howl in the pitch of night.