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Actium and Augustus
The Politics and Emotions of Civil War
Robert Alan Gurval
University of Michigan Press, 1998
On 2 September 31 B.C.E., the heir of Julius Caesar defeated the forces of Antony and Cleopatra in a naval engagement at Actium. Despite the varied judgments this battle received in antiquity, common opinion held that Actium marked the start of a new era, a turning point in Roman history and, indeed, in Western civilization.
Actium and Augustus marks a turning point as well. Robert Alan Gurval's unusual approach is to examine contemporary views of the battle and its immediate political and social consequences. He starts with a consideration of the official celebration and public commemoration of the Actian victory and then moves on to other questions. What were the "Actian" monuments that Octavian erected on the battle site and later in Rome? What role did the Actian victory play in the political formation of the Principate and its public ideology? What was the response of contemporary poetry? Throughout, this volume concentrates on contemporary views of Actium and its results.
Written to include the general reader, Actium and Augustus presents a thoughtful examination of a complex period. All Greek and Latin quotations are translated, and extensive illustrations present graphic evidence about the issues Romans faced.
Robert Alan Gurval is Associate Professor of Classics, University of California, Los Angeles, and has been a recipient of the Rome Prize awarded by the American Academy in Rome.
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After the Fall
War and Occupation in Irène Némirovsky's Suite française
Nathan Bracher
Catholic University of America Press, 2010
In this work, the first critical monograph on Suite française, Nathan Bracher shows how, first amid the chaos and panic of the May-June 1940 debacle, and then within the unsettling new order of the German occupation, Némirovsky's novel casts a particularly revealing light on the behavior and attitudes of the French as well as on the highly problematic interaction of France's social classes
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Ambrose Bierce and the Dance of Death
Sharon Talley
University of Tennessee Press, 2009

Ambrose Bierce and the Dance of Death uses psychoanalytic theory in combination with historical, cultural, and literary contexts to examine the complex motif of death in a full range of Bierce’s writings. Scholarly interest in Bierce, whose work has long been undervalued, has grown significantly in recent years. This new book contributes to the ongoing reassessment by providing new contexts for joining the texts in his canon in meaningful ways.

Previous attempts to consider Bierce from a psychological perspective have been superficial, often reductive Freudian readings of individual stories such as “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and “The Death of Halpin Frayser.” This new volume not only updates these interpretations with insights from post-Freudian theorists but uses contemporary death theory as a framework to analyze the sources and expressions of Bierce’s attitudes about death and dying. This approach makes it possible to discern links among texts that resolve some of the still puzzling ambiguities that have—until now—precluded a fuller understanding of both the man and his writings.

Lively and engaging, Ambrose Bierce and the Dance of Death adds valuable new insights not only to the study of Bierce but to that of nineteenth-century American literature in general.

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America's Vietnam
The Longue Durée of U.S. Literature and Empire
Marguerite Nguyen
Temple University Press, 2018

America’s Vietnam challenges the prevailing genealogy of Vietnam’s emergence in the American imagination—one that presupposes the Vietnam War as the starting point of meaningful Vietnamese-U.S. political and cultural involvements. Examining literature from as early as the 1820s, Marguerite Nguyen takes a comparative, long historical approach to interpreting constructions of Vietnam in American literature. She analyzes works in various genres published in English and Vietnamese by Monique Truong and Michael Herr as well as lesser-known writers such as John White, Harry Hervey, and Võ Phiến. The book’s cross-cultural prism spans Paris, Saigon, New York, and multiple oceans, and its departure from Cold War frames reveals rich cross-period connections.

America’s Vietnam recounts a mostly unexamined story of Southeast Asia’s lasting and varied influence on U.S. aesthetic and political concerns. Tracking Vietnam’s transition from an emergent nation in the nineteenth century to a French colony to a Vietnamese-American war zone, Nguyen demonstrates that how authors represent Vietnam is deeply entwined with the United States’ shifting role in the world. As America’s longstanding presence in Vietnam evolves, the literature it generates significantly revises our perceptions of war, race, and empire over time.

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Anatomizing Civil War
Studies in Lucan's Epic Technique
Martin T. Dinter
University of Michigan Press, 2013

Imperial Latin epic has seen a renaissance of scholarly interest. This book illuminates the work of the poet Lucan, a contemporary of the emperor Nero who as nephew of the imperial adviser Seneca moved in the upper echelons of Neronian society. This young and maverick poet, whom Nero commanded to commit suicide at the age of 26, left an epic poem on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey that epitomizes the exuberance and stylistic experimentation of Neronian culture. This study focuses on Lucan's epic technique and traces his influence through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Martin T. Dinter's newest volume engages with Lucan's use of body imagery, sententiae, Fama (rumor), and open-endedness throughout his civil war epic. Although Lucan's Bellum Civile is frequently decried as a fragmented as well as fragmentary epic, this study demonstrates how Lucan uses devices other than teleology and cohesive narrative structure to bind together the many parts of his epic body.

Anatomizing Civil War places at center stage characteristics of Lucan's work that have so far been interpreted as excessive, or as symptoms of an overly rhetorical culture indicating a lack of substance. By demonstrating that they all contribute to Lucan's poetic technique, Martin T. Dinter shows how they play a fundamental role in shaping and connecting the many episodes of the Bellum Civile that constitute Lucan's epic body. This important volume will be of interest to students of classics and comparative literature as well as literary scholars. All Greek and Latin passages have been translated.

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Ashes of the Mind
War and Memory in Northern Literature, 1865-1900
Martin Griffin
University of Massachusetts Press, 2009
The memory of the American Civil War took many forms over the decades after the conflict ended: personal, social, religious, and political. It was also remembered and commemorated by poets and fiction writers who understood that the war had bequeathed both historical and symbolic meanings to American culture. Although the defeated Confederacy became best known for producing a literature of nostalgia and an ideological defensiveness intended to protect the South's own version of history, authors loyal to the Union also confronted the question of what the memory of the war signified, and how to shape the literary response to that individual and collective experience.

In Ashes of the Mind, Martin Griffin examines the work of five Northerners—three poets and two fiction writers—who over a period of four decades tried to understand and articulate the landscape of memory in postwar America, and in particular in that part of the nation that could, with most justification, claim the victory of its beliefs and values. The book begins with an examination of the rhetorical grandeur of James Russell Lowell's Harvard Commemoration Ode, ranges across Herman Melville's ironic war poetry, Henry James's novel of North-South reconciliation, The Bostonians, and Ambrose Bierce's short stories, and ends with the bitter meditation on race and nation presented by Paul Laurence Dunbar's elegy "Robert Gould Shaw." Together these texts reveal how a group of representative Northern writers were haunted in different ways by the memory of the
conflict and its fraught legacy.

Griffin traces a concern with individual and community loss, ambivalence toward victory, and a changing politics of commemoration in the writings of Lowell, Melville, James, Bierce, and Dunbar. What links these very different authors is a Northern memory of the war that became more complex and more compromised as the century went on, often replacing a sense of justification and achievement with a perception of irony and failed promise.
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AT HOME AT WAR
DOMESTICITY AND WORLD WAR I IN AMERICAN
JENNIFER HAYTOCK
The Ohio State University Press, 2003

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Cold Warriors
Manliness on Trial in the Rhetoric of the West
Suzanne Clark
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

Cold Warriors: Manliness on Trial in the Rhetoric of the West returns to familiar cultural forces—the West, anticommunism, and manliness—to show how they combined to suppress dissent and dominate the unruliness of literature in the name of a national identity after World War II. Few realize how much the domination of a “white male” American literary canon was a product not of long history, but of the Cold War. Suzanne Clark describes here how the Cold War excluded women writers on several levels, together with others—African American, Native American, poor, men as well as women—who were ignored in the struggle over white male identity.

Clark first shows how defining national/individual/American identity in the Cold War involved a brand new configuration of cultural history. At the same time, it called upon the nostalgia for the old discourses of the West (the national manliness asserted by Theodore Roosevelt) to claim that there was and always had been only one real American identity.

By subverting the claims of a national identity, Clark finds, many male writers risked falling outside the boundaries not only of public rhetoric but also of the literary world: men as different from one another as the determinedly masculine Ernest Hemingway and the antiheroic storyteller of the everyday, Bernard Malamud. Equally vocal and contentious, Cold War women writers were unwilling to be silenced, as Clark demonstrates in her discussion of the work of Mari Sandoz and Ursula Le Guin.

The book concludes with a discussion of how the silencing of gender, race, and class in Cold War writing maintained its discipline until the eruptions of the sixties. By questioning the identity politics of manliness in the Cold War context of persecution and trial, Clark finds that the involvement of men in identity politics set the stage for our subsequent cultural history.

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Coming Out of War
Poetry, Grieving, and the Culture of the World Wars
Janis P. Stout
University of Alabama Press, 2005

World War I is widely considered “the Great War” and World War II, “the Good War.” Janis Stout thinks of them as two parts of a whole that continues to engage historians and literary scholars searching for an understanding of both the actual war experiences and the modern culture of grief they embody. In Coming Out of War: Poetry, Grieving, and the Culture of the World Wars Stout argues that poetry, of all the arts, most fully captures and conveys those cultural responses.

While probing the work of such well known war poets as Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, and Randall Jarrell, Stout also highlights the impact of the wars on lesser studied, but equally compelling, sources such as the music of Charles Ives and Cole Porter, Aaron Copland and Irving Berlin. She challenges the commonplace belief that war poetry came only from the battlefield and was written only by men by examining the wartime writings of women poets such as Rose Macaulay, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. She also challenges the assumption that World War II did not produce poetry of distinction by studying the work of John Ciardi, Karl Shapiro, Louis Simpson, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens. While emphasizing aesthetic continuity between the wars, Stout stresses that the poetry that emerged from each displays a greater variety than is usually recognized.

A final chapter considers Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem as a culmination and embodiment of the anti-war tradition in 20th-century poetry and music, and speculates on the reasons why, despite their abundance and eloquence, these expressions of grief and opposition to war have effected so little change.
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Disarming the Nation
Women's Writing and the American Civil War
Elizabeth Young
University of Chicago Press, 1999
In a study that will radically shift our understanding of Civil War literature, Elizabeth Young shows that American women writers have been profoundly influenced by the Civil War and that, in turn, their works have contributed powerfully to conceptions of the war and its aftermath. Offering fascinating reassessments of works by white writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Margaret Mitchell and African-American writers including Elizabeth Keckley, Frances Harper, and Margaret Walker, Young also highlights crucial but lesser-known texts such as the memoirs of women who masqueraded as soldiers. In each case she explores the interdependence of gender with issues of race, sexuality, region, and nation.

Combining literary analysis, cultural history, and feminist theory, Disarming the Nation argues that the Civil War functioned in women's writings to connect female bodies with the body politic. Women writers used the idea of "civil war" as a metaphor to represent struggles between and within women—including struggles against the cultural prescriptions of "civility." At the same time, these writers also reimagined the nation itself, foregrounding women in their visions of America at war and in peace. In a substantial afterword, Young shows how contemporary black and white women—including those who crossdress in Civil War reenactments—continue to reshape the meanings of the war in ways startlingly similar to their nineteenth-century counterparts.

Learned, witty, and accessible, Disarming the Nation provides fresh and compelling perspectives on the Civil War, women's writing, and the many unresolved "civil wars" within American culture today.
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Embodied Memory
The Theatre of George Tabori
Anat Feinberg
University of Iowa Press, 1999

Making use of invaluable archival material, Feinberg's biographical account is followed by a study of Tabori's experimental theatre work. As did prominent avant-gardists such as Grotowski or Chaikin, Tabori sought to open up new vistas in an otherwise mainstream theatre system. Feinberg pays special attention to Tabori's theatrical innovations, most movingly found in his Holocaust plays. There Feinberg shows the ways in which Tabori's theatre becomes a locus of remembrance (Gedächtnisort) and of unique, engaging memory-work (Erinnerungsarbeit).

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Emergency Writing
Irish Literature, Neutrality, and the Second World War
Anna Teekell
Northwestern University Press, 2018

Taking seriously Ireland’s euphemism for World War II, “the Emergency,” Anna Teekell’s Emergency Writing asks both what happens to literature written during a state of emergency and what it means for writing to be a response to an emergency.
 
Anchored in close textual analysis of works by Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O’Brien, Louis MacNeice, Denis Devlin, and Patrick Kavanagh, and supported by archival material and historical research, Emergency Writing shows how Irish late modernism was a response to the sociopolitical conditions of a newly independent Irish Free State and to a fully emerged modernism in literature and art. What emerges in Irish writing in the wake of Independence, of the Gaelic Revival, of Yeats and of Joyce, is a body of work that invokes modernism as a set of discursive practices with which to counter the Free State’s political pieties.
 
Emergency Writing provides a new approach to literary modernism and to the literature of conflict, considering the ethical dilemma of performing neutrality—emotionally, politically, and rhetorically—in a world at war.

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The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination
Edited by Claude J. Summers & Ted-Larry Pebworth
University of Missouri Press, 1999

The English civil wars loom large in seventeenth-century history and literature. This period, which culminated in the execution of a king, the dismantling of the Established Church, the inauguration of a commonwealth, and the assumption of rule by a lord protector, was one of profound change and disequilibrium. Focusing on writers as major as Milton, Marvell, Herrick, and Vaughan, and as misunderstood as Fane, Overton, and the poet Eliza, the fifteen essays in this collection discuss not only the representation of the civil wars but also the ways in which the civil wars were anticipated, refigured, and refracted in the century's literary imagination.

Although all of the essays are historically grounded and critically based, they vary widely in their historical perspectives and critical techniques, as well as in their scope and area of concentration. Six of the essays are on Royalist literary figures, six are on figures traditionally associated with the Parliamentarian side of the civil wars, two consider both, and the remaining essay examines how Royalist writers refashioned a puritan literary trope.

Unified through the contributors' concentration on "moderate" voices and their recurrent concerns with the ambiguities of literary response, The English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination provides an important understanding of the English civil wars' manifold and sometimes indirect presence in the literature of the period.

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Entertaining History
The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song
Edited by Chris Mackowski
Southern Illinois University Press, 2020
Popular media can spark the national consciousness in a way that captures people’s attention, interests them in history, and inspires them to visit battlefields, museums, and historic sites. This lively collection of essays and feature stories celebrates the novels, popular histories, magazines, movies, television shows, photography, and songs that have enticed Americans to learn more about our most dramatic historical era.

From Ulysses S. Grant’s Memoirs to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, from Roots to Ken Burns’s The Civil War, from “Dixie” to “Ashokan Farewell,” and from Civil War photography to the Gettysburg Cyclorama, trendy and well-loved depictions of the Civil War are the subjects of twenty contributors who tell how they and the general public have been influenced by them. Sarah Kay Bierle examines the eternal appeal of Gone with the Wind and asks how it is that a protagonist who so opposed the war has become such a figurehead for it. H. R. Gordon talks with New York Times–bestselling novelist Jeff Shaara to discuss the power of storytelling. Paul Ashdown explores ColdMountain’s value as a portrait of the war as national upheaval, and Kevin Pawlak traces a shift in cinema’s depiction of slavery epitomized by 12 Years a Slave. Tony Horwitz revisits his iconic Confederates in the Attic twenty years later.

The contributors’ fresh analysis articulates a shared passion for history’s representation in the popular media. The variety of voices and topics in this collection coalesces into a fascinating discussion of some of the most popular texts in the genres. In keeping with the innovative nature of this series, web-exclusive material extends the conversation beyond the book.

 
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Euripides and the Poetics of Sorrow
Art, Gender, and Commemoration in Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba
Charles Segal
Duke University Press, 1993
Where is the pleasure in tragedy? This question, how suffering and sorrow become the stuff of aesthetic delight, is at the center of Charles Segal's new book, which collects and expands his recent explorations of Euripides' art.
Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba, the three early plays interpreted here, are linked by common themes of violence, death, lamentation and mourning, and by their implicit definitions of male and female roles. Segal shows how these plays draw on ancient traditions of poetic and ritual commemoration, particularly epic song, and at the same time refashion these traditions into new forms. In place of the epic muse of martial glory, Euripides, Segal argues, evokes a muse of sorrows who transforms the suffering of individuals into a "common grief for all the citizens," a community of shared feeling in the theater.
Like his predecessors in tragedy, Euripides believes death, more than any other event, exposes the deepest truth of human nature. Segal examines the revealing final moments in Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba, and discusses the playwright's use of these deaths--especially those of women--to question traditional values and the familiar definitions of male heroism. Focusing on gender, the affective dimension of tragedy, and ritual mourning and commemoration, Segal develops and extends his earlier work on Greek drama. The result deepens our understanding of Euripides' art and of tragedy itself.
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A Family Occupation
Children of the War and the Memory of World War II in Dutch Literature of the 1980s
Jolanda Vaderwal Taylor
Amsterdam University Press, 1997
Many of today's Dutch writers were children during World War II. Even today, the traumatic childhood experience of enemy occupation is still central to the work of many of them. This interest cuts across the traditional boundaries between fiction, autobiography and the literature of trauma and recovery. A Family Occupation is the first English-language introduction to Dutch-language texts written by and about the 'Children of the War' and their cultural context. Their themes and literary conventions throw an interesting light on the Dutch approach to issues such as guilt and innocence, memory and narrative, national identity, child abuse and victimhood.
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Fourteen Landing Zones
Approaches to Vietnam War Literature
Philip K. Jason
University of Iowa Press, 1991

It is in the spirit of the LZ that the essayists in Fourteen Landing Zones approach the writings of the Vietnam War. These fourteen diverse and powerful works by some of today's leading critics in Vietnam studies begin to answer the question of how we will filter the writings of the Vietnam War—including fiction, poetry, drama, and memoirs. What will survive the process of critical acclaim and societal affirmation—and why? Included is an incisive introduction by Jason that provides an overview of the burgeoning body of Vietnam War literature and its peculiar life in the literary and academic marketplace. This strong, often emotional volume will be of particular importance to all those interested in the literature of the Vietnam War, contemporary literature, and contemporary culture and history.

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Grafting Helen
The Abduction of the Classical Past
Matthew Gumpert
University of Wisconsin Press, 2001
History is a love story: a tale of desire and jealousy, abandonment and fidelity, abduction and theft, rupture and reconciliation. This contention is central to Grafting Helen, Matthew Gumpert's original and dazzling meditation on Helen of Troy as a crucial anchor for much of Western thought and literature.
Grafting Helen looks at "classicism"—the privileged rhetorical language for describing cultural origins in the West—as a protracted form of cultural embezzlement. No coin in the realm has been more valuable, more circulated, more coveted, or more counterfeited than the one that bears the face of Helen of Troy. Gumpert uncovers Helen as the emblem for the past as something to be stolen, appropriated, imitated, extorted,  and coveted once again.
Tracing the figure of Helen from its classical origins through the Middle Ages, the French Renaissance, and the modern era, Gumpert suggests that the relation of current Western culture to the past is not like the act of coveting; it is the act of coveting, he argues, for it relies on the same strategies, the same defenses, the same denials, and the same delusions.
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The Heart of Achilles
Characterization and Personal Ethics in the Iliad
Graham Zanker
University of Michigan Press, 1996
In The Heart of Achilles, Graham Zanker addresses the task of reconstructing the ethical thought-world in which the characters of the Iliad live and move. It is only against this background, Zanker argues, that we can convincingly place the ethical status of the heroes and their actions. This in turn helps us to form a comprehensive view of the Iliad'scharacterization of its people, especially that of Achilles, by examining all his responses to the question of allegiance, the value of heroic prowess, and of life itself.
"[Zanker] investigates altruistic behavior in the epic with professional sophistication but in a way that makes his investigation available to a wide audience from undergraduates to advanced scholars. . . . [A] very useful interpretative study." --Choice
Graham Zanker is Senior Lecturer in Classics, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
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Hearts and Minds
Bodies, Poetry, and Resistance in the Vietnam Era
Bibby, Michael
Rutgers University Press, 1996

The early 1960s to the mid-1970s was one of the most turbulent periods in American history. The U.S. military was engaged in its longest, costliest overseas conflict, while the home front was torn apart by riots, protests, and social activism. In the midst of these upheavals, an underground and countercultural press emerged, giving activists an extraordinary forum for a range of imaginative expressions. Poetry held a prominent place in this alternative media. The poem was widely viewed by activists as an inherently anti-establishment form of free expression, and poets were often in the vanguards of political activism.

Hearts and Minds is the first book-length study of the poems of the Black Liberation, Women's Liberation, and GI Resistance movements during the Vietnam era. Drawing on recent cultural and literary theories, Bibby investigates the significance of images, tropes, and symbols of human bodies in activist  poetry. Many key political slogans of the period––"black is beautiful," "off our backs"––foreground the body. Bibby demonstrates that figurations of bodies marked important sites of social and political struggle.

Although poetry played such an important role in Vietnam-era activism, literary criticism has largely ignored most of this literature. Bibby recuperates the cultural-historical importance of Vietnam-era activist poetry, highlighting both its relevant contexts and revealing how it engaged political and social struggles that continue to motivate contemporary history. Arguing for the need to read cultural history through these "underground" texts, Hearts and Minds offers new grounds for understanding the recent history of American poetry and the role poetry has played as a medium of imaginative political expression.

 

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Hemingway’s Second War
Bearing Witness to the Spanish Civil War
Alex Vernon
University of Iowa Press, 2011

In 1937 and 1938, Ernest Hemingway made four trips to Spain to cover its civil war for the North American News Alliance wire service and to help create the pro-Republican documentary film The Spanish Earth. Hemingway’s Second War is the first book-length scholarly work devoted to this subject.

     Drawing on primary sources, Alex Vernon provides a thorough account of Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, a messy, complicated, brutal precursor to World War II that inspired Hemingway’s great novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. Vernon also offers the most sustained history and consideration to date of The Spanish Earth. Directed by Joris Ivens, this film was a landmark work in the development of war documentaries, for which Hemingway served as screenwriter and narrator.
      Contributing factual, textual, and contextual information to Hemingway studies in general and his participation in the war specifically, Vernon has written a critical biography for Hemingway’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War that includes discussion of the left-wing politics of the era and the execution of José Robles Pazos. Finally, the book provides readings ofFor Whom the Bell Tollsboth in historical context and on its own terms.
      Marked by both impressive breadth and accessibility, Hemingway’s Second War will be an indispensible resource for students of literature, film, journalism, and European history and a landmark work for readers of Ernest Hemingway.
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Hippota Nestor
Douglas Frame
Harvard University Press, 2009

This book is about the Homeric figure Nestor. This study is important because it reveals a level of deliberate irony in the Homeric poems that has hitherto not been suspected, and because Nestor’s role in the poems, which is built on this irony, is a key to the circumstances of the poems’ composition.

Nestor’s stories about the past, especially his own youth, often lack purpose on the surface of the poems, but with a slight shift of focus they provide a deep commentary on the present action of both poems. Nestor’s Homeric epithet, hippota, “the horseman,” permits the necessary refocus. The combination of epithet and name, hippota Nestor, has Indo-European roots, as a comparison with Vedic Sanskrit shows. Interpreted in the context of the Indo-European twin myth, Nestor’s role clearly points beyond itself to the key question in Homeric studies: the circumstances of the poems’ composition.

Nestor has a special relation to Ionia, where the Homeric poems were composed, and through Ionia to early Athens. The relationship between the Ionian city of Miletus and early Athens is particularly important. In addition to the role of these cities, the location of Nestor’s city Pylos, an ancient conundrum, is sharply illuminated by this new interpretation of Nestor’s Homeric role.

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The Holocaust of Texts
Genocide, Literature, and Personification
Amy Hungerford
University of Chicago Press, 2002
Why do we so often speak of books as living, flourishing, and dying? And what is at stake when we do so? This habit of treating books as people, or personifying texts, is rampant in postwar American culture. In this bracing study, Amy Hungerford argues that such personification has become pivotal to our contemporary understanding of both literature and genocide. Personified texts, she contends, play a particularly powerful role in works where the systematic destruction of entire ethnic groups is at issue.

Hungerford examines the implications of conflating texts with people in a broad range of texts: Art Spiegelman's Maus; Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451; the poetry of Sylvia Plath; Binjamin Wilkomirski's fake Holocaust memoir Fragments; and the fiction of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Don DeLillo. She considers the ethical consequences of this trend in the work of recent and contemporary theorists and literary critics as well, including Cathy Caruth, Jacqueline Rose, Jacques Derrida, and Paul de Man. What she uncovers are fundamentally flawed ideas about representation that underwrite and thus undermine powerful and commonly accepted claims about literature and identity. According to Hungerford, the personification of texts is ethically corrosive and theoretically unsound. When we exalt the literary as personal and construe genocide as less a destruction of human life than of culture, we esteem memory over learning, short-circuit debates about cultural change, lend credence to the illusion or metaphysics of presence, and limit our conception of literature and its purpose.

Ultimately, The Holocaust of Texts asks us to think more deeply about the relationship between reading, experience, and memorialization. Why, for instance, is it more important to remember acts of genocide than simply to learn about them? If literary works are truly the bearers of ontology, then what must be our conduct toward them? Considering difficult questions such as these with fresh logic, Hungerford offers us an invigorating work, one that will not only interest scholars of American and postwar literature, but students of the Holocaust and critical theory as well.
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Ideology in Cold Blood
A Reading of Lucan’s Civil War
Shadi Bartsch
Harvard University Press, 1997

Is Lucan’s brilliant and grotesque epic Civil War an example of ideological poetry at its most flagrant, or is it a work that despairingly proclaims the meaninglessness of ideology? Shadi Bartsch offers a startlingly new answer to this split debate on the Roman poet’s magnum opus.

Reflecting on the disintegration of the Roman republic in the wake of the civil war that began in 49 B.C., Lucan (writing during the grim tyranny of Nero’s Rome) recounts that fateful conflict with a strangely ambiguous portrayal of his republican hero, Pompey. Although the story is one of a tragic defeat, the language of his epic is more often violent and nihilistic than heroic and tragic. And Lucan is oddly fascinated by the graphic destruction of lives, the violation of human bodies—an interest paralleled in his deviant syntax and fragmented poetry. In an analysis that draws on contemporary political thought ranging from Hannah Arendt and Richard Rorty to the poetry of Vietnam veterans, as well as on literary theory and ancient sources, Bartsch finds in the paradoxes of Lucan’s poetry both a political irony that responds to the universally perceived need for, yet suspicion of, ideology, and a recourse to the redemptive power of storytelling. This shrewd and lively book contributes substantially to our understanding of Roman civilization and of poetry as a means of political expression.

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Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush
A Multitext Edition with Essays and Commentary
Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott
Harvard University Press, 2010
This edition, commentary, and accompanying essays focus on the tenth book of the Iliad, which has been doubted, ignored, and even scorned. Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott use approaches based on oral traditional poetics to illuminate many of the interpretive questions that strictly literary approaches find unsolvable. The introductory essays explain their textual and interpretive approaches and explicate the ambush theme within the whole Greek epic tradition. The critical texts (presented as a sequence of witnesses, including the tenth-century Venetus A manuscript and select papyri) highlight the individual witnesses and the variations they offer. The commentary demonstrates how the unconventional Iliad 10 shares in the oral traditional nature of the whole epic, even though its poetics are specific to its nocturnal ambush plot.
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Intervention Narratives
Afghanistan, the United States, and the Global War on Terror
Purnima Bose
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Intervention Narratives examines the contradictory cultural representations of the US intervention in Afghanistan that help to justify an imperial foreign policy. These narratives involve projecting Afghans as brave anti-communist warriors who suffered the consequences of American disengagement with the region following the end of the Cold War, as victimized women who can be empowered through enterprise, as innocent dogs who need to be saved by US soldiers, and as terrorists who deserve punishment for 9/11. Given that much of public political life now involves affect rather than knowledge, feelings rather than facts, familiar recurring tropes of heroism, terrorism, entrepreneurship, and canine love make the war easier to comprehend and elicit sympathy for US military forces. An indictment of US policy, Bose demonstrates that contemporary imperialism operates on an ideologically diverse cultural terrain to enlist support for the war across the political spectrum.
 
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James Joyce and the Irish Revolution
The Easter Rising as Modern Event
Luke Gibbons
University of Chicago Press, 2023
A provocative history of Ulysses and the Easter Rising as harbingers of decolonization.
 
When revolutionaries seized Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising, they looked back to unrequited pasts to point the way toward radical futures—transforming the Celtic Twilight into the electric light of modern Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses. For Luke Gibbons, the short-lived rebellion converted the Irish renaissance into the beginning of a global decolonial movement. James Joyce and the Irish Revolution maps connections between modernists and radicals, tracing not only Joyce’s projection of Ireland onto the world stage, but also how revolutionary leaders like Ernie O’Malley turned to Ulysses to make sense of their shattered worlds. Coinciding with the centenary of both Ulysses and Irish independence, this book challenges received narratives about the rebellion and the novel that left Ireland changed, changed utterly.
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John Steinbeck Goes to War
The Moon is Down as Propaganda
Donald V. Coers
University of Alabama Press, 2005

In March 1942, a desperate period for the allies in World War II, John Steinbeck published his propaganda novel The Moon is Down­—the story of ruthless invaders who overrun a militarily helpless country.  Throughout the novel, Steinbeck underscored both the fatal weakness of the “invincible” unnamed aggressors and the inherent power of the human values shard by the “conquered” people.

The Moon is Down created an immediate sensation among American literary critics; fierce debate erupted over Steinbeck’s uncommonly sympathetic portrayal of the enemy and the novel’s power as a vehicle for propaganda.  Fifty years later, Coers continues the debate, relying heavily on unpublished letters and personal interviews with the lawyers, book dealers, actors, publishers, and housewives associated with the resistance movements in Western Europe.  Clandestine translations of The Moon Is Down quickly appeared and were widely circulated under the noses of the Gestapo.   Coers documents the fate of Steinbeck’s novel in the hands of World War II resistance fighters and deepens our appreciation of Steinbeck’s unique ability to express the feelings of oppressed peoples.

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King of Sacrifice
Ritual and Royal Authority in the Iliad
Sarah Hitch
Harvard University Press, 2009
Descriptions of animal sacrifice in Homer offer us some of the most detailed accounts of this attempt at communication between man and gods. What is the significance of these scenes within the framework of the Iliad? This book explores the structural and thematic importance of animal sacrifice as an expression of the quarrel between Akhilleus and Agamemnon through the differing perspectives of the primary narrative and character speech. In the Iliad, animal sacrifice is incorporated into the primary narrative to bolster the royal authority of Agamemnon and further emphasize Akhilleus' isolation. The sacrifices embedded in character speech express frustration with the failure of reciprocity and the inability of sacrifice to influence the course of human events.
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The Language of War
Literature and Culture in the U.S. from the Civil War through World War II
James Dawes
Harvard University Press, 2005

The Language of War examines the relationship between language and violence, focusing on American literature from the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. James Dawes proceeds by developing two primary questions: How does the strategic violence of war affect literary, legal, and philosophical representations? And, in turn, how do such representations affect the reception and initiation of violence itself? Authors and texts of central importance in this far-reaching study range from Louisa May Alcott and William James to William Faulkner, the Geneva Conventions, and contemporary American organizational sociology and language theory.

The consensus approach in literary studies over the past twenty years has been to treat language as an extension of violence. The idea that there might be an inverse relation between language and violence, says Dawes, has all too rarely influenced the dominant voices in literary studies today. This is an ambitious project that not only makes a serious contribution to American literary history, but also challenges some of the leading theoretical assumptions of our day.

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The Literatures of the U.S.-Mexican War
Narrative, Time, and Identity
By Jaime Javier Rodríguez
University of Texas Press, 2010

The literary archive of the U.S.-Mexican War (1846–1848) opens to view the conflicts and relationships across one of the most contested borders in the Americas. Most studies of this literature focus on the war's nineteenth-century moment of national expansion. In The Literatures of the U.S.-Mexican War, Jaime Javier Rodríguez brings the discussion forward to our own moment by charting a new path into the legacies of a military conflict embedded in the cultural cores of both nations.

Rodríguez's groundbreaking study moves beyond the terms of Manifest Destiny to ask a fundamental question: How do the war's literary expressions shape contemporary tensions and exchanges among Anglo Americans, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans. By probing the war's traumas, anxieties, and consequences with a fresh attention to narrative, Rodríguez shows us the relevance of the U.S.-Mexican War to our own era of demographic and cultural change. Reading across dime novels, frontline battle accounts, Mexican American writings and a wide range of other popular discourse about the war, Rodríguez reveals how historical awareness itself lies at the center of contemporary cultural fears of a Mexican "invasion," and how the displacements caused by the war set key terms for the ways Mexican Americans in subsequent generations would come to understand their own identities. Further, this is also the first major comparative study that analyzes key Mexican war texts and their impact on Mexico's national identity.

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Long Shadows
The Second World War in British Fiction and Film
Edited by Petra Rau
Northwestern University Press, 2016
Few countries attribute as much importance to the Second World War and its memory as Britain; arguably nowhere else has this conflict developed such longevity in cultural memory and retained such presence in contemporary culture. Long Shadows is about how literature and film have helped shape this process in Britain. More precisely, the essays collected here suggest that this is a continuous work in progress, subject to transgenerational revisions, political expediencies, commercial considerations, and the vicissitudes of popular taste. It would indeed be more accurate to speak of the meanings (plural) that the war has been given at various moments in British cultural life. These semantic variations and fluctuations in cultural import are rooted in the specificity of the British war experience, in the political aftermath of the war in Europe, and in its significance for Britain’s postwar position on the global stage. In other words, the books and films discussed in these essays respond to how the war has been interpreted and remembered; what is at stake is the way in which the war has been emplotted as a hegemonic cultural narrative about Britain.
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Loyal Subjects
Bonds of Nation, Race, and Allegiance in Nineteenth-Century America
Duquette, Elizabeth
Rutgers University Press, 2010
When one nation becomes two, or when two nations become one, what does national affiliation mean or require? Elizabeth Duquette answers this question by demonstrating how loyalty was used during the U.S. Civil War to define proper allegiance to the Union. For Northerners during the war, and individuals throughout the nation after Appomattox, loyalty affected the construction of national identity, moral authority, and racial characteristics.

Loyal Subjects considers how the Civil War complicated the cultural value of emotion, especially the ideal of sympathy. Through an analysis of literary works written during and after the conflict-from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Chiefly About War Matters" through Henry James's The Bostonians and Charles Chestnutt's "The Wife of His Youth," to the Pledge of Allegiance and W.E.B. Du Bois's John Brown, among many others-Duquette reveals that although American literary criticism has tended to dismiss the Civil War's impact, postwar literature was profoundly shaped by loyalty.
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Mekong Diaries
Viet Cong Drawings and Stories, 1964-1975
Sherry Buchanan
University of Chicago Press, 2008
In May 1965, vice president Hubert Humphrey declared that “the Viet Cong has committed the most unbelievable acts of terrorism the world has ever known.” And throughout the long conflict in Vietnam, Americans similarly demonized the enemy fighters as reds, gooks, and fanatical killers. Offering a radically different view of these supposedly savage soldiers, Mekong Diaries presents never-before-published drawings, poems, letters, and oral histories by ten of the most celebrated Viet Cong war artists.
            These guerrilla artists—some military officers and some civilians—lived clandestinely with the fighters, moving camp alongside them, going on reconnaissance missions, and carrying their sketchbooks, ink, and watercolors into combat. Trained by professors from the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts who journeyed down the perilous Ho Chi Minh Trail to ensure a pictorial history of the war, they recorded battles and events from Operation Junction City to Khe Sanh to the Tet Offensive. They also sketched as the spirit moved them, rendering breathtaking landscapes, hut and bunker interiors, activities at base camps, troops on the move, portraits for the families of fallen soldiers, and the unimaginable devastation that the conflict left in its wake.
            Their collective record—which Sherry Buchanan skillfully compiles here—is an extraordinary historical and artistic document of people at war. As such, it serves as a powerful response to the self-centeredness of American accounts of Vietnam, filling a profound gap in our national memory by taking us into the misunderstood worlds of those whom we once counted among our worst enemies.
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"The Million Dead, Too, Summ'd Up"
Walt Whitman's Civil War Writings
Walt Whitman
University of Iowa Press, 2021
This book is the first to offer a comprehensive selection of Walt Whitman’s Civil War poetry and prose with a full commentary on each work. Ed Folsom and Christopher Merrill carry on a dialogue with Whitman (and with each other) as they invite readers to trace how Whitman’s writing about the Civil War develops, shifts, and manifests itself in different genres throughout the years of the war. The book offers forty selections of Whitman’s war writings, including not only the well-known war poems but also his prose and personal letters. Each are followed by Folsom’s critical examination and then by Merrill’s afterword, suggesting broader contexts for thinking about the selection.

The real democratic reader, Whitman said, “must himself or herself construct indeed the poem, argument, history, metaphysical essay—the text furnishing the hints, the clue, the start or frame-work,” because what is needed for democracy to flourish is “a nation of supple and athletic minds.” Folsom and Merrill model this kind of active reading and encourage both seasoned and new readers of Whitman’s war writings to enter into the challenging and exhilarating mode of talking back to Whitman, arguing with him, and learning from him.
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The Mourner's Song
War and Remembrance from the Iliad to Vietnam
James Tatum
University of Chicago Press, 2002
No matter when or where they are fought, all wars have one thing in common: a relentless progression to monuments and memorials for the dead. Likewise all art made from war begins and ends in mourning and remembrance. In The Mourner's Song, James Tatum offers incisive discussions of physical and literary memorials constructed in the wake of war, from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the writings of Stephen Crane, Edmund Wilson, Tim O'Brien, and Robert Lowell.

Tatum's touchstone throughout is the Iliad, not just one of the earliest war poems, but also one of the most powerful examples of the way poetry can be a tribute to and consolation for what is lost in war. Reading the Iliad alongside later works inspired by war, Tatum reveals how the forms and processes of art convert mourning to memorial. He examines the role of remembrance and the distance from war it requires; the significance of landscape in memorialization; the artifacts of war that fire the imagination; the intimate relationship between war and love and its effects on the ferocity with which soldiers wage battle; and finally, the idea of memorialization itself. Because all survivors suffer the losses of war, Tatum's is a story of both victims and victors, commanders and soldiers, women and men. Photographs of war memorials in Vietnam, France, and the United States beautifully augment his testimonials.

Eloquent and deeply moving, The Mourner's Song will speak to anyone interested in the literature of war and the relevance of the classics to our most pressing contemporary needs.
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Nature and Culture in the Iliad
The Tragedy of Hector
James M. Redfield
Duke University Press, 1994
By focusing on the story of Hector, James M. Redfield presents an imaginative perspective not only on the Iliad but also on the whole of Homeric culture. In an expansive discussion informed by a reinterpretation of Aristotle's Poetics and a reflection on the human meaning of narrative art, the analysis of Hector leads to an inquiry into the fundamental features of Homeric culture and of culture generally in its relation to nature. Through Hector, as the "true tragic hero of the poem," the events and themes of the Iliad are understood and the function of tragedy within culture is examined. Redfield's work represents a significant application of anthropological perspectives to Homeric poetry. Originally published in 1975 (University of Chicago Press), this revised edition includes a new preface and concluding chapter by the author.
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New Troy
Fantasies Of Empire In The Late Middle Ages
Sylvia Federico
University of Minnesota Press, 2003
Examines the political and literary uses of the Trojan legend in the medieval period. England in the late fourteenth century witnessed a large-scale social revolt, a lingering and seemingly hopeless war with France, and fierce factional conflicts in royal politics and London civic government--struggles in which all parties sought to justify their actions by claiming historical precedent. How the Trojan legend figured in these claims--and in competing assertions of authorial legitimacy, nationhood, and rule in the later Middle Ages--is the complex nexus of history, myth, literature, and identity that Sylvia Federico explores in this ambitious book. During the late medieval period, many European political and social groups took great pains to associate themselves with the ancient city; the claim on Troy, Federico asserts, was crucial to nationhood and was always a political act. Her book examines the poetry and prose of several late medieval authors, focusing particularly on how Chaucer's use of the Trojan legend helped to set the terms by which the Ricardian and Lancastrian periods were distinguished, and further helped to establish English literary history as a noble precedent in its own right. Federico's book affords remarkable insight into the workings of the medieval historical imagination. Sylvia Federico has taught at Washington State University and the University of Leeds. She currently lives in Maine.
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On War and Writing
Samuel Hynes
University of Chicago Press, 2018
     “In our imaginations, war is the name we give to the extremes of violence in our lives, the dark dividing opposite of the connecting myth, which we call love. War enacts the great antagonisms of history, the agonies of nations; but it also offers metaphors for those other antagonisms, the private battles of our private lives, our conflicts with one another and with the world, and with ourselves.”
 
Samuel Hynes knows war personally: he served as a Marine Corps pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross. He has spent his life balancing two careers: pilot and professor of literature. Hynes has written a number of major works of literary criticism, as well as a war-memoir, Flights of Passage, and several books about the World Wars. His writing is sharp, lucid, and has provided some of the most expert, detailed, and empathetic accounts of a disappearing generation of fighters and writers.
            On War and Writing offers for the first time a selection of Hynes’s essays and introductions that explore the traditions of war writing from the twentieth century to the present. Hynes takes as a given that war itself—the battlefield uproar of actual combat—is unimaginable for those who weren’t there, yet we have never been able to turn away from it. We want to know what war is really like: for a soldier on the Somme; a submariner in the Pacific; a bomber pilot over Germany; a tank commander in the Libyan desert. To learn, we turn again and again to the memories of those who were there, and to the imaginations of those who weren’t, but are poets, or filmmakers, or painters, who give us a sense of these experiences that we can’t possibly know.
           The essays in this book range from the personal (Hynes’s experience working with documentary master Ken Burns, his recollections of his own days as a combat pilot) to the critical (explorations of the works of writers and artists such as Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, and Cecil Day-Lewis). What we ultimately see in On War and Writing is not military history, not the plans of generals, but the feelings of war, as young men expressed them in journals and poems, and old men remembered them in later years—men like Samuel Hynes.
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The Other Side of Grief
The Home Front and the Aftermath in American Narratives of the Vietnam War
Maureen Ryan
University of Massachusetts Press, 2008
The lingering aftereffects of the Vietnam War resonate to this day throughout American society: in foreign policy, in attitudes about the military and war generally, and in the contemporary lives of members of the so-called baby boom generation who came of age during the 1960s and early 1970s. While the best-known personal accounts of the war tend to center on the experience of combat, Maureen Ryan's The Other Side of Grief examines the often overlooked narratives—novels, short stories, memoirs, and films—that document the war's impact on the home front.

In analyzing the accounts of Vietnam veterans, women as well as men, Ryan focuses on the process of readjustment, on how the war continued to insinuate itself into their lives, their families, and their communities long after they returned home. She looks at the writings of women whose husbands, lovers, brothers, and sons served in Vietnam and whose own lives were transformed as a result. She also appraises the experiences of the POWs who came to be embraced as the war's only heroes; the ordeal of Vietnamese refugees who fled their "American War" to new lives in the United States; and the influential movement created by those who committed themselves to protesting the war.

The end result of Ryan's investigations is a cogent synthesis of the vast narrative literature generated by the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Together those stories powerfully demonstrate how deeply the legacies of the war penetrated American culture and continue to reverberate still.
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Poetics of the First Punic War
Thomas Biggs
University of Michigan Press, 2020
Poetics of the First Punic War investigates the literary afterlives of Rome’s first conflict with Carthage. From its original role in the Middle Republic as the narrative proving ground for epic’s development out of verse historiography, to its striking cultural reuse during the Augustan and Flavian periods, the First Punic War (264–241 BCE) holds an underappreciated place in the history of Latin literature. Because of the serendipitous meeting of historical content and poetic form in the third century BCE, a textualized First Punic War went on to shape the Latin language and its literary genres, the practices and politics of remembering war, popular visions of Rome as a cultural capital, and numerous influential conceptions of Punic North Africa. Poetics of the First Punic War combines innovative theoretical approaches with advances in the philological analysis of Latin literature to reassess the various “texts” of the First Punic War, including those composed by Vergil, Propertius, Horace, and Silius Italicus. This book also contains sustained treatment of Naevius’ fragmentary Bellum Punicum (Punic War) and Livius Andronicus’ Odusia (Odyssey), some of the earliest works of Latin poetry. As the tradition’s primary Roman topic, the First Punic War is forever bound to these poems, which played a decisive role in transmitting an epic view of history.
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Points of Honor
Short Stories of the Great War by a US Combat Marine
Thomas Boyd, Edited and with an Introduction by Steven Trout
University of Alabama Press, 2018
A masterwork of World War I short stories portraying the experiences of Marines in battle.
 
Points of Honor: Short Stories of the Great War by a US Combat Marine is based on author Thomas Alexander Boyd’s personal experiences as an enlisted Marine. First published in 1925 and long out of print, this edition rescues from obscurity a vivid, kaleidoscopic vision of American soldiers, US Marines mostly, serving in a global conflict a century ago. It is a true forgotten masterpiece of World War I literature.
 
The stories in Points of Honor deal almost entirely with Marines in the midst of battle—or faced with the consequences of military violence. The eleven stories in this collection offer a panoramic view of war experience and its aftermath, what Boyd described as “a mass of more human happenings.” The themes are often antiheroic: dehumanization, pettiness, betrayal by loved ones at home, and the cruelty of military justice. But Boyd’s vision also accommodates courage and loyalty. Like all great works of war literature, this collection underscores the central paradox of armed conflict—its ability to bring out both the best and worst in human beings.
 
This reissue of Points of Honor is edited, annotated, and introduced by Steven Trout. Trout provides an overview of Thomas Boyd’s war experience and writing career and situates the stories within the broader context of World War I American literature.
 
Points of Honor received strong reviews at the time of its initial publication and remains an overwhelming reading experience today. While each of the stories is a freestanding work of art, when read together they carry the force of a novel.
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The Power of Thetis and Selected Essays
Laura M. Slatkin
Harvard University Press, 2011
Laura Slatkin's influential and widely admired book, here published in a second edition together with six additional essays, explores the superficially minor role of Thetis in the Iliad. Highly charged allusions reverberate through the narrative and establish a constellation of themes that link the poem to other traditions. Slatkin uncovers alternative traditions about the power of Thetis and shows how an awareness of those myths brings a far greater understanding of Thetis's place in the thematic structure of the Iliad. The six additional essays included in this volume--some of them classics, some never before published--cover a broad range of topics in the study of the Greek Epic: the workings of genre in Hesiod and Homer; the poetics of exchange; and the nature of enmity and friendship. The volume also includes a study of the Hesiodic Catalog of Women and reflections on particular heroes, such as Diomedes and Odysseus.
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Private Fleming at Chancellorsville
The Red Badge of Courage and the Civil War
Perry Lentz
University of Missouri Press, 2006
Famous for its insight into a young, inexperienced soldier’s psychology, Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage has long been assumed to have been based on little more than magazine articles and veterans’ reminiscences. It also has been subject to various misreadings, including ones unduly influenced by fictional responses to the wars of the twentieth century. Perry Lentz now draws on more than three decades of teaching the novel and his own experience as a historical novelist to plumb the historical realities that actually shaped Crane’s work and to confront these misreadings.
Taking a new look at a classic work that many may feel they already know, Lentz shows how this apparently impressionistic novel is actually a faithful reflection of Civil War combat based on thorough knowledge about combat in general and the battle of Chancellorsville in particular. Anchoring the novel’s action firmly in the Civil War, Lentz challenges the long-standing assumption that Crane did little research for the novel, arguing that he made extensive use of contemporary sources to fashion an accurate depiction of Chancellorsville.
Rich with information about infantry combat in the Civil War, from uniforms and weaponry to formations and battlefield tactics, Lentz’s study invites readers to follow the exploits of Private Henry Fleming of the 304th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment as he and his fellow soldiers participate in this legendary battle. Lentz shows how Crane evokes a set of traditional responses from his reader and how close reading expands those responses. He examines Private Fleming’s adventures behind the lines of battle in terms of the historical situations in which they are set, then explains how Crane repeatedly entices readers into imposing their initial expectations and final evaluations upon the experiences of this particular soldier.
Lentz also investigates why the novel’s portrayal of its hero’s experiences on the second day of battle is sometimes ignored and always undervalued. By focusing on events both as they actually unfolded at Chancellorsville and as Crane depicted Fleming and his comrades experiencing them, he shows how these soldiers judge themselves, how others judge them, and how a reader can achieve a more sophisticated understanding of these judgments. Lentz’s work reclaims a place for this novel in the American canon and enhances our understanding of Crane, of a legendary battle, and of war literature in general.
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Reading the Middle Generation Anew
Culture, Community, and Form in Twentieth-Century American Poetry
Eric Haralson
University of Iowa Press, 2006
Ten original essays by advanced scholars and well-published poets address the middle generation of American poets, including the familiar---Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, and John Berryman---and various important contemporaries: Delmore Schwartz, Theodore Roethke, Robert Hayden, and Lorine Niedecker. This was a famously troubled cohort of writers, for reasons both personal and cultural, and collectively their poems give us powerful, moving insights into American social life in the transforming decades of the 1940s through the 1960s.In addition to having worked during the broad middle of the last century, these poets constitute the center of twentieth-century American poetry in the larger sense, refuting invidious connotations of “middle” as coming after the great moderns and being superseded by a proliferating postmodern experimentation. This middle generation mediates the so-called American century and its prodigious body of poetry, even as it complicates historical and aesthetic categorizations.Taking diverse formal and thematic angles on these poets---biographical-historical, deconstructionist, and more formalist accounts---this book re-examines their between-ness and ambivalence: their various positionings and repositionings in aesthetic, political, and personal matters. The essays study the interplay between these writers and such shifting formations as religious discourse, consumerism, militarism and war, the ideology of America as “nature's nation,” and U.S. race relations and ethnic conflicts. Reading the Middle Generation Anew also shows the legacy of the middle generation, the ways in which their lives and writings continue to be a shaping force in American poetry. This fresh and invigorating collection will be of great interest to literary scholars and poets.
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Reading the Wind
The Literature of the Vietnam War
Timothy J. Lomperis
Duke University Press, 1987
The decade following the American defeat in Vietnam has been filled with doubts about American politics and values, confusion over the lessons of the war, and anger about the physical and psychological suffering that occurred during the war as well as thereafter. In the years since the U.S. withdrawal, our need to make sense of Vietnam has prompted an outpouring of thinking and writing, from scholarly reappraisals of American foreign policy to highly personal accounts of participants. On the tenth anniversary of the final U. S. withdrawal, the Asia Society sponsored a conference on the Vietnam experience in American literature at which leading writers, critics, publishers, commentators, and academics wrestled with this phenomenon. Drawing on the synergy of this conference, Timothy J. Lomperis has produced an original work that focuses on the growing body of literature—including novels, personal accounts, and oral histories—which describes the experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam as well as the experience of veterans upon their return home.
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Reconstruction Fiction
Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain
Paula Derdiger
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
Reconstruction Fiction: Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain by Paula Derdiger assesses the impact of World War II and the welfare state on literary fiction by focusing on one of the defining issues of the postwar period: housing. Through compelling close readings and lively historical and cultural analysis, Derdiger argues that literary realism was a necessary, generative response to the war and welfare state since they impacted the built environment and landscape. Wartime decimation of buildings and streets called for reconstruction, and reconstruction called not just for bricks and mortar, architectural drawings, town plans, preservation schemes, and new policies but also for fiction that invited particular ways of inhabiting an environment that had been irrevocably changed. Derdiger argues that fiction, like actual buildings, creates a sheltered space for the mediation between individual subjects and the social and geographical environments that they encounter. Realist fiction, specifically, insists that such mediation is possible and that it is socially valuable. Covering writers spanning various social positions and aesthetic tendencies—including Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Patrick Hamilton, Doris Lessing, Colin MacInnes, and Elizabeth Taylor—Derdiger shows how these authors responded to the war with realistic technique, investing in external conditions just as much as or more than their characters’ interior lives. In doing so, their reconstruction fiction helped to shape postwar life.
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Re-Membering and Surviving
African American Fiction of the Vietnam War
Shirley A. James Hanshaw
Michigan State University Press, 2020
The first book-length critical study of the black experience in the Vietnam War and its aftermath, this text interrogates the meaning of heroism based on models from African and African American expressive culture. It focuses on four novels: Captain Blackman (1972) by John A. Williams, Tragic Magic (1978) by Wesley Brown, Coming Home (1971) by George Davis, and De Mojo Blues (1985) by A. R. Flowers. Discussions of the novels are framed within the historical context of all wars prior to Vietnam in which Black Americans fought. The success or failure of the hero on his identity quest is predicated upon the extent to which he can reconnect with African or African American cultural memory. He is engaged therefore in “re-membering,” a term laden with the specificity of race that implies a cultural history comprised of African retentions and an interdependent relationship with the community for survival. The reader will find that a common history of racism and exploitation that African Americans and Vietnamese share sometimes results in the hero’s empathy with and compassion for the so-called enemy, a unique contribution of the black novelist to American war literature.
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Scarlett's Women
Gone With the Wind and Its Female Fans
Taylor, Helen
Rutgers University Press, 1989
One of the most successful books ever published and the basis of one of the most popular and highly praised Hollywood films, Gone with the Wind has entered world culture in a way that few other stories have. The book was published in June 1936; the film premiered on December 15, 1939. The book has sold 25 million copies, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize. The film received eight Oscars and has been called the greatest movie ever made. Everyone has heard of GWTW. Most of us have seen the movie or read the novel. In this entertaining and informative book, Helen Taylor is the first to seek reasons for the film/novel's success among viewers/readers. The author asked GWTW fans to relate their experiences with the works, to explain their fascination with the story, to describe the impact GWTW has had on their lives. The results are astonishing and illuminating. In the United States and England, where the author conducted her research, women have to a remarkable degree claimed the story Margaret Mitchell wrote as their own. They name their children Rhett and Scarlett. They see in the lives of the men and women of GWTW their own lives, their own restlessness, their own aspirations for something better than marriage and motherhood. Helen Taylor not only explains the enduring appeal of the work, but also identifies different kinds of response at particular historical moments (especially World War II) and through the past five decades by women of different classes, races, and generations. The author also looks at the contemporary implications of the work's political conservatism, racism, and--paradoxically--feminism. The result is a book that is sophisticated, accessible, and revealing. Scarlett's Women is a book for eery fan, and for all students of film and popular culture.
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Scarlett's Women
Gone With the Wind and Its Female Fans
Taylor, Helen
Rutgers University Press, 1989
One of the most successful books ever published and the basis of one of the most popular and highly praised Hollywood films, Gone with the Wind has entered world culture in a way that few other stories have. The book was published in June 1936; the film premiered on December 15, 1939. The book has sold 25 million copies, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize. The film received eight Oscars and has been called the greatest movie ever made. Everyone has heard of GWTW. Most of us have seen the movie or read the novel. In this entertaining and informative book, Helen Taylor is the first to seek reasons for the film/novel's success among viewers/readers. The author asked GWTW fans to relate their experiences with the works, to explain their fascination with the story, to describe the impact GWTW has had on their lives. The results are astonishing and illuminating. In the United States and England, where the author conducted her research, women have to a remarkable degree claimed the story Margaret Mitchell wrote as their own. They name their children Rhett and Scarlett. They see in the lives of the men and women of GWTW their own lives, their own restlessness, their own aspirations for something better than marriage and motherhood. Helen Taylor not only explains the enduring appeal of the work, but also identifies different kinds of response at particular historical moments (especially World War II) and through the past five decades by women of different classes, races, and generations. The author also looks at the contemporary implications of the work's political conservatism, racism, and--paradoxically--feminism. The result is a book that is sophisticated, accessible, and revealing. Scarlett's Women is a book for eery fan, and for all students of film and popular culture.
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Search and Clear
Critical Responses to Selected Literature and Films of the Vietnam War
William J. Searle
University of Wisconsin Press, 1988
Search and Clear demonstrates that the seeds of war were implicit in American culture,  distinguishes between literature spawned by Vietnam and that of other conflicts, reviews the literary merits of works both well and little known, and explores the assumptions behind and the persistence of stereotypes associated with the consequences of the Vietnam War. It examines the role of women in fiction, the importance of gender in Vietnam representation, and the mythic patterns in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Essayists sharply scrutinize American values, conduct, and conscience as they are revealed in the craft of Tim O’Brien, Philip Caputo, Michael Herr, Stephen Wright, David Rabe, Bruce Weigl, and others.
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A Shadow on Our Hearts
Soldier-Poetry, Morality, and the American War in Vietnam
Adam Gilbert
University of Massachusetts Press, 2017
The American war in Vietnam was one of the most morally contentious events of the twentieth century, and it produced an extraordinary outpouring of poetry. Yet the complex ethical terrain of the conflict is remarkably underexplored, and the prodigious poetic voice of its American participants remains largely unheard. In A Shadow on Our Hearts, Adam Gilbert rectifies these oversights by utilizing the vast body of soldier-poetry to examine the war's core moral issues.

The soldier-poets provide important insights into the ethical dimensions of their physical and psychological surroundings before, during, and after the war. They also offer profound perspectives on the relationships between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people. From firsthand experiences, they reflect on what it meant to be witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of the war's violence. And they advance an uncompromising vision of moral responsibility that indicts a range of culprits for the harms caused by the conflict. Gilbert explores the powerful and perceptive work of these soldier-poets through the lens of morality and presents a radically alternative, deeply personal, and ethically penetrating account of the American war in Vietnam.
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Soldiers of the Pen
The Writers' War Board in World War II
Thomas Howell
University of Massachusetts Press, 2019
From 1942 to 1945, a small, influential group of media figures willingly volunteered their services to form the Writers' War Board (WWB), accepting requests from government agencies to create propaganda. Members included mystery writer Rex Stout, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, novelist and sports writer Paul Gallico, Book-of-the-Month Club editor and popular radio host Clifton Fadiman, and Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The WWB mobilized thousands of other writers across the country to spread its campaigns through articles, public appearances, radio broadcasts, and more.

The WWB received federal money while retaining its status as a private organization that could mount campaigns without government oversight. Historian Thomas Howell argues that this unique position has caused its history to fall between the cracks, since it was not recognized as an official part of the government's war effort. Yet the WWB's work had a huge impact on the nation's wartime culture, and this fascinating history will inform contemporary thinking on propaganda, the media, and American society.
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Song of Ourselves
Walt Whitman and the Fight for Democracy
Mark Edmundson
Harvard University Press, 2021

In the midst of a crisis of democracy, we have much to learn from Walt Whitman’s journey toward egalitarian selfhood.

Walt Whitman knew a great deal about democracy that we don’t. Most of that knowledge is concentrated in one stunning poem, Song of Myself.

Esteemed cultural and literary thinker Mark Edmundson offers a bold reading of the 1855 poem, included here in its entirety. He finds in the poem the genesis and development of a democratic spirit, for the individual and the nation. Whitman broke from past literature that he saw as “feudal”: obsessed with the noble and great. He wanted instead to celebrate the common and everyday. Song of Myself does this, setting the terms for democratic identity and culture in America. The work captures the drama of becoming an egalitarian individual, as the poet ascends to knowledge and happiness by confronting and overcoming the major obstacles to democratic selfhood. In the course of his journey, the poet addresses God and Jesus, body and soul, the love of kings, the fear of the poor, and the fear of death. The poet’s consciousness enlarges; he can see more, comprehend more, and he has more to teach.

In Edmundson’s account, Whitman’s great poem does not end with its last line. Seven years after the poem was published, Whitman went to work in hospitals, where he attended to the Civil War’s wounded, sick, and dying. He thus became in life the democratic individual he had prophesied in art. Even now, that prophecy gives us words, thoughts, and feelings to feed the democratic spirit of self and nation.

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Sophocles' Philoctetes and the Great Soul Robbery
Norman Austin
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

Norman Austin brings both keen insight and a life-long engagement with his subject to this study of Sophocles’ late tragedy Philoctetes, a fifth-century BCE play adapted from an infamous incident during the Trojan War. In Sophocles’ “Philoctetes” and the Great Soul Robbery, Austin examines the rich layers of text as well as context, situating the play within the historical and political milieu of the eclipse of Athenian power. He presents a study at once of interest to the classical scholar and accessible to the general reader. Though the play, written near the end of Sophocles’ career, is not as familiar to modern audiences as his Theban plays, Philoctetes grapples with issues—social, psychological, and spiritual—that remain as much a part of our lives today as they were for their original Athenian audience.

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Southern Women Novelists and the Civil War
Trauma and Collective Memory in the American Literary Tradition since 1861
Sharon Talley
University of Tennessee Press, 2014
During and after the Civil War, southern women played a critical role in shaping the South’s
evolving collective memory by penning journals and diaries, historical accounts, memoirs,
and literary interpretations of the war. While a few of these writings—most notably Mary
Chesnut’s diaries and Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone with the Wind—have been studied in
depth by numerous scholars, until now there has been no comprehensive examination of
Civil War novels by southern women. In this welcome study, Sharon Talley explores works
by fifteen such writers, illuminating the role that southern women played in fashioning
cultural identity in the region.

Beginning with Augusta Jane Evans’s Macaria and Sallie Rochester Ford’s Raids and
Romance of Morgan and His Men
, which were published as the war still raged, Talley offers
a chronological consideration of the novels with informative introductions for each time
period. She examines Reconstruction works by Marion Harland, Mary Ann Cruse, and
Rebecca Harding Davis, novels of the “Redeemed” South and the turn of the century by
Mary Noailles Murfree, Ellen Glasgow, and Mary Johnston, and narratives by Evelyn Scott,
Margaret Mitchell, and Caroline Gordon from the Modern period that spanned the two
World Wars. Analysis of Margaret Walker’s Jubilee (1966), the first critically acclaimed Civil
War novel by an African American woman of the South, as well as other post–World War
II works by Kaye Gibbons, Josephine Humphreys, and Alice Randall, offers a fitting conclusion
to Talley’s study by addressing the inaccuracies in the romantic myth of the Old South
that Gone with the Wind most famously engraved on the nation’s consciousness.

Informed by feminist, poststructural, and cultural studies theory, Talley’s close readings
of these various novels ultimately refute the notion of a monolithic interpretation of
the Civil War, presenting instead unique and diverse approaches to balancing “fact” and
“fiction” in the long period of artistic production concerning this singular traumatic event
in American history.

Sharon Talley, professor of English at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, is the author
of Ambrose Bierce and the Dance of Death and Student Companion to Herman Melville. Her
articles have appeared in American Imago, Journal of Men’s Studies, and Nineteenth-Century
Prose.
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The Taste for Nothingness
A Study of Virtus and Related Themes in Lucan's Bellum Civile
R. Sklenar
University of Michigan Press, 2003
Lucan, the young and doomed epic poet of the Age of Nero, is represented by only one surviving work, the Bellum Civile, which takes as its theme the civil war that destroyed the Roman Republic. An epic unlike any other, it rejects point by point the aesthetics of Vergil's Aeneid and describes a society and a cosmos plunged into anarchy. Language was a casualty of this anarchy. All terminological certitudes were lost, including those that traditionally attach to the Latin word virtus: heroism on the battlefield, rectitude in the conduct of life.
The Taste for Nothingness traces Lucan's own analytical method by showing how virtus and related concepts operate--or rather, fail to operate--in Lucan's appropriations and distortions of the traditional epic-battle narrative; in the philosophical commitment of Cato the Younger; and in the personalities of the two antagonists, Pompey and Caesar. Much recent scholarship has reached a consensus that Lucan's literary method is mimetic, that his belief in a chaotic cosmos produces a poetics of chaos. While accepting many of the recent findings about Lucan's view of language and the universe, The Taste for Nothingness also allows an even bolder Lucan to emerge: a committed aesthete who regards art as the only realm in which order is possible.
Robert Sklenár is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classical Studies, Tulane University.
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The Temptation of Despair
Tales of the 1940s
Werner Sollors
Harvard University Press, 2014

In Germany, the years immediately following World War II call forward images of obliterated cities, hungry refugees, and ghostly monuments to Nazi crimes. The temptation of despair was hard to resist, and to contemporary observers the road toward democracy in the Western zones of occupation seemed rather uncertain. Drawing on a vast array of American, German, and other sources—diaries, photographs, newspaper articles, government reports, essays, works of fiction, and film—Werner Sollors makes visceral the experiences of defeat and liberation, homelessness and repatriation, concentration camps and denazification.

These tales reveal writers, visual artists, and filmmakers as well as common people struggling to express the sheer magnitude of the human catastrophe they witnessed. Some relied on traditional images of suffering and death, on Biblical scenes of the Flood and the Apocalypse. Others shaped the mangled, nightmarish landscape through abstract or surreal forms of art. Still others turned to irony and black humor to cope with the incongruities around them. Questions about guilt and complicity in a totalitarian country were raised by awareness of the Holocaust, making “After Dachau” a new epoch in Western history.

The Temptation of Despair is a book about coming to terms with the mid-1940s, the contradictory emotions of a defeated people—sorrow and anger, guilt and pride, despondency and resilience—as well as the ambiguities and paradoxes of Allied victory and occupation.

[more]

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This Is All I Choose to Tell
History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature
Authored by Isabelle T. Pelaud
Temple University Press, 2010

In the first book-length study of Vietnamese American literature, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud probes the complexities of Vietnamese American identity and politics. She provides an analytical introduction to the literature, showing how generational differences play out in genre and text. In addition, she asks, can the term Vietnamese American be disassociated from representations of the war without erasing its legacy?

Pelaud delineates the historical, social, and cultural terrains of the writing as well as the critical receptions and responses to them. She moves beyond the common focus on the Vietnam war to develop an interpretive framework that integrates post-colonialism with the multi-generational refugee, immigrant, and transnational experiences at the center of Vietnamese American narratives.

Her readings of key works, such as Andrew Pham's Catfish and Mandala and Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge show how trauma, racism, class and gender play a role in shaping the identities of Vietnamese American characters and narrators.

[more]

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To Fight Aloud Is Very Brave
American Poetry and the Civil War
Faith Barrett
University of Massachusetts Press, 2012
Focusing on literary and popular poets, as well as work by women, African Americans, and soldiers, this book considers how writers used poetry to articulate their relationships to family, community, and nation during the Civil War. Faith Barrett suggests that the nationalist "we" and the personal "I" are not opposed in this era; rather they are related positions on a continuous spectrum of potential stances. For example, while Julia Ward Howe became famous for her "Battle Hymn of the Republic," in an earlier poem titled "The Lyric I" she struggles to negotiate her relationship to domestic, aesthetic, and political stances.

Barrett makes the case that Americans on both sides of the struggle believed that poetry had an important role to play in defining national identity. She considers how poets created a platform from which they could speak both to their own families and local communities and to the nations of the Confederacy, the Union, and the United States. She argues that the Civil War changed the way American poets addressed their audiences and that Civil War poetry changed the way Americans understood their relationship to the nation.
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Today the Struggle
Literature and Politics in England during the Spanish Civil War
By Katharine Bail Hoskins
University of Texas Press, 1969

Many writers, from Aristophanes to Joseph Heller, have written about politics. But at certain periods in history, often at times of conflict and turmoil, writers have consciously used their literary talents to support or oppose a specific cause. The 1930s, a decade of widespread social and political breakdown, was such a period.

Today the Struggle examines the political involvement of those leading British writers who dedicated their talents to the defense of Nationalists or Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and who saw that war as symbolic of their own Right-Left dialogue.

Conservatives like William Butler Yeats and T. S. Eliot and Roman Catholics like Evelyn Waugh were passionately anti-Communist. They viewed fascism as a bulwark against communism but were unwilling to support the Franco cause actively. Other pro-Nationalists were not so hesitant: Roy Campbell and Wyndham Lewis were ardent participants in the fight against the British left wing.

Pro-Loyalists, united only in their antifascism, ranged from conservative to anarchist in political commitment. Their literary contributions included fine poems by W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, experimental drama by Auden and Christopher Isherwood, and impassioned prose by Rex Warner, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley.

Katharine Hoskins’s principal interest in Today the Struggle is to discover how and why certain writers supported specific political actions, to ascertain the effectiveness of their efforts, and to evaluate the influence of these efforts on their work.

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Total Mobilization
World War II and American Literature
Roy Scranton
University of Chicago Press, 2019
 
Since World War II, the story of the trauma hero—the noble white man psychologically wounded by his encounter with violence—has become omnipresent in America’s narratives of war, an imaginary solution to the contradictions of American political hegemony. In Total Mobilization, Roy Scranton cuts through the fog of trauma that obscures World War II, uncovering a lost history and reframing the way we talk about war today.
 
Considering often overlooked works by James Jones, Wallace Stevens, Martha Gellhorn, and others, alongside cartoons and films, Scranton investigates the role of the hero in industrial wartime, showing how such writers struggled to make sense of problems that continue to plague us today: the limits of American power, the dangers of political polarization, and the conflicts between nationalism and liberalism. By turning our attention to the ways we make war meaningful—and by excavating the politics implicit within the myth of the traumatized hero—Total Mobilization revises the way we understand not only World War II, but all of postwar American culture.
 
 
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Transgenerational Remembrance
Performance and the Asia-Pacific War in Contemporary Japan
Jessica Nakamura
Northwestern University Press, 2020

In Transgenerational Remembrance, Jessica Nakamura investigates the role of artistic production in the commemoration and memorialization of the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945) in Japan since 1989. During this time, survivors of Japanese aggression and imperialism, previously silent about their experiences, have sparked contentious public debates about the form and content of war memories.

The book opens with an analysis of the performance of space at Yasukuni Shinto Shrine, which continues to promote an anachronistic veneration of the war. After identifying the centrality of performance in long-standing dominant narratives, Transgenerational Remembrance offers close readings of artistic performances that tackle subject matter largely obscured before 1989: the kamikaze pilot, Japanese imperialism, comfort women, the Battle of Okinawa, and Japanese American internment. These case studies range from Hirata Oriza’s play series about Japanese colonial settlers in Korea and Shimada Yoshiko’s durational performance about comfort women to Kondo Aisuke’s videos and gallery installations about Japanese American internment.

Working from theoretical frameworks of haunting and ethics, Nakamura develops an analytical lens based on the Noh theater ghost. Noh emphasizes the agency of the ghost and the dialogue between the dead and the living. Integrating her Noh-inflected analysis into ethical and transnational feminist queries, Nakamura shows that performances move remembrance beyond current evidentiary and historiographical debates.

 
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A Trauma Artist
Tim O'Brien and the Fiction of Vietnam
Mark A. Heberle
University of Iowa Press, 2001

A Trauma Artist examines how O'Brien's works variously rewrite his own traumatization during the war in Vietnam as a never-ending fiction that paradoxically "recovers" personal experience by both recapturing and (re)disguising it. Mark Heberle considers O'Brien's career as a writer through the prisms of post-traumatic stress disorder, postmodernist metafiction, and post-World War II American political uncertainties and public violence.

Based on recent conversations with O'Brien, previously published interviews, and new readings of all his works through 1999, this book is the first study to concentrate on the role and representation of trauma as the central focus of all O'Brien's works, whether situated in Vietnam, in post-Vietnam America, or in the imagination of protagonists suspended between the two. By doing so, Heberle redefines O'Brien as a major U.S. writer of the late twentieth century whose representations of self-damaging experiences and narratives of recovery characterize not only the war in Vietnam but also relationships between fathers and sons and men and women in the post-traumatic culture of the contemporary United States.

[more]

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Traveler, There Is No Road
Theatre, the Spanish Civil War, and the Decolonial Imagination in the Americas
Lisa Jackson-Schebetta
University of Iowa Press, 2017
Traveler, There Is No Road offers a compelling and complex vision of the decolonial imagination in the United States from 1931 to 1943 and beyond. By examining the ways in which the war of interpretation that accompanied the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) circulated through Spanish and English language theatre and performance in the United States, Lisa Jackson-Schebetta demonstrates that these works offered alternative histories that challenged the racial, gender, and national orthodoxies of modernity and coloniality. Jackson-Schebetta shows how performance in the US used histories of American empires, Islamic legacies, and African and Atlantic trades to fight against not only fascism and imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s, but modernity and coloniality itself.

This book offers a unique perspective on 1930s theatre and performance, encompassing the theatrical work of the Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Spanish diasporas in the United States, as well as the better-known Anglophone communities. Jackson-Schebetta situates well-known figures, such as Langston Hughes and Clifford Odets, alongside lesser-known ones, such as Erasmo Vando, Franca de Armiño, and Manuel Aparicio. The milicianas, female soldiers of the Spanish Republic, stride on stage alongside the male fighters of the Lincoln Brigade. They and many others used the multiple visions of Spain forged during the civil war to foment decolonial practices across the pasts, presents, and futures of the Americas. Traveler conclusively demonstrates that theatre and performance scholars must position US performances within the Americas writ broadly, and in doing so they must recognize the centrality of the hemisphere’s longest-lived colonial power, Spain. 
 
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The Unwritten War
American Writers and the Civil War
Daniel Aaron
University of Alabama Press, 2003

In The Unwritten War, Daniel Aaron examines the literary output of American writers—major and minor—who treated the Civil War in their works. He seeks to understand why this devastating and defining military conflict has failed to produce more literature of a notably high and lasting order, why there is still no "masterpiece" of Civil War fiction.

In his portraits and analyses of 19th- and some 20th-century writers, Aaron distinguishes between those who dealt with the war only marginally—Henry Adams, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain-and those few who sounded the war's tragic import—Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and William Faulkner. He explores the extent to which the war changed the direction of American literature and how deeply it entered the consciousness of American writers. Aaron also considers how writers, especially those from the South, discerned the war's moral and historical implications.

The Unwritten War was originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1973. The New Republic declared, [This book's] major contribution will no doubt be to American literary history. In this respect it resembles Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore and is certain to become an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to explore the letters, diaries, journals, essays, novels, short stories, poems-but apparently no plays-which constitute Civil War literature. The mass of material is presented in a systematic, luminous, and useful way.
 



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Veteran Narratives and the Collective Memory of the Vietnam War
John A. Wood
Ohio University Press, 2016

In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath. Instead, veterans’ accounts are mined for colorful quotes and then dropped from public discourse; are accepted as factual sources with little attention to how memory, no matter how authentic, can diverge from events; or are not contextualized in terms of the race, gender, or class of the narrators.

Veteran Narratives and the Collective Memory of the Vietnam War is a landmark study of the cultural heritage of the war in Vietnam as presented through the experience of its American participants. Crossing disciplinary borders in ways rarely attempted by historians, John A. Wood unearths truths embedded in the memoirists’ treatments of combat, the Vietnamese people, race relations in the United States military, male-female relationships in the war zone, and veterans’ postwar troubles. He also examines the publishing industry’s influence on collective memory, discussing, for example, the tendency of publishers and reviewers to privilege memoirs critical of the war. Veteran Narratives is a significant and original addition to the literature on Vietnam veterans and the conflict as a whole.

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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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Visions of War
World War II in Popular Literature and Culture
M. Paul Holsinger
University of Wisconsin Press, 1992
For Americans World War II was “a good war,” a war that was worth fighting. Even as the conflict was underway, a myriad of both fictional and nonfictional books began to appear examining one or another of  the raging battles. These essays  examine some of the best literature and popular culture of World War II. Many of the studies focus on women, several are about children, and all concern themselves with the ways that the war changed lives. While many of the contributors concern themselves with the United States, there are essays about Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Japan.
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Walt Whitman's Reconstruction
Poetry and Publishing between Memory and History
Martin T. Buinicki
University of Iowa Press, 2012

 For Walt Whitman, living and working in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, Reconstruction meant not only navigating these tumultuous years alongside his fellow citizens but also coming to terms with his own memories of the war. Just as the work of national reconstruction would continue long past its official end in 1877, Whitman’s own reconstruction would continue throughout the remainder of his life as he worked to revise his poetic project—and his public image—to incorporate the disasters that had befallen the Union. In this innovative and insightful analysis of the considerable poetic and personal reimagining that is the hallmark of these postwar years, Martin Buinicki reveals the ways that Whitman reconstructed and read the war.

 
The Reconstruction years would see Whitman transformed from newspaper editor and staff journalist to celebrity contributor and nationally recognized public lecturer, a transformation driven as much by material developments in the nation as by his own professional and poetic ambitions while he expanded and cemented his place in the American literary landscape. Buinicki places Whitman’s postwar periodical publications and business interests in context, closely examining his “By the Roadside” cluster as well as MemorandaDuring the War and Specimen Days as part of his larger project of personal and artistic reintegration. He traces Whitman’s shifting views of Ulysses S. Grant as yet another way to understand the poet’s postwar life and profession and reveals the emergence of Whitman the public historian at the end of Reconstruction.
 
Whitman’s personal reconstruction was political, poetic, and public, and his prose writings, like his poetry, formed a major part of the postwar figure that he presented to the nation. Looking at the poet’s efforts to absorb the war into his own reconstruction narrative, Martin Buinicki provides striking new insights into the evolution of Whitman’s views and writings.
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The War Complex
World War II in Our Time
Marianna Torgovnick
University of Chicago Press, 2005
The recent dedication of the World War II memorial and the sixtieth-anniversary commemoration of D-Day remind us of the hold that World War II still has over America's sense of itself. But the selective process of memory has radically shaped our picture of the conflict. Why else, for instance, was a 1995 Smithsonian exhibition on Hiroshima that was to include photographs of the first atomic bomb victims, along with their testimonials, considered so controversial? And why do we so readily remember the civilian bombings of Britain but not those of Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo?

Marianna Torgovnick argues that we have lived, since the end of World War II, under the power of a war complex—a set of repressed ideas and impulses that stems from our unresolved attitudes toward the technological acceleration of mass death. This complex has led to gaps and hesitations in public discourse about atrocities committed during the war itself. And it remains an enduring wartime consciousness, one most recently animated on September 11.

Showing how different events from World War II became prominent in American cultural memory while others went forgotten or remain hidden in plain sight, The War Complex moves deftly from war films and historical works to television specials and popular magazines to define the image and influence of World War II in our time. Torgovnick also explores the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, the emotional legacy of the Holocaust, and the treatment of World War II's missing history by writers such as W. G. Sebald to reveal the unease we feel at our dependence on those who hold the power of total war. Thinking anew, then, about how we account for war to each other and ourselves, Torgovnick ultimately, and movingly, shows how these anxieties and fears have prepared us to think about September 11 and our current war in Iraq.
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Writing Vietnam, Writing Life
Caputo, Heinemann, O'Brien, Butler
Tobey C. Herzog
University of Iowa Press, 2008
Phillip Caputo, Larry Heinemann, Tim O’Brien, and Robert Olen Butler: four young midwestern Americans coming of age during the 1960s who faced a difficult personal decision—whether or not to fight in Vietnam. Each chose to participate. After coming home, these four veterans became prizewinning authors telling the war stories and life stories of soldiers and civilians. The four extended conversations included in Writing Vietnam, Writing Life feature revealing personal stories alongside candid assessments of each author’s distinct roles as son, soldier, writer, and teacher of creative writing.

As Tobey Herzog's thoughtful interviews reveal, these soldier-authors have diverse upbringings, values, interests, writing careers, life experiences, and literary voices. They hold wide-ranging views on, among other things, fatherhood, war, the military, religion, the creative process, the current state of the world, and the nature of both physical and moral courage. For each author, the conversation and richly annotated chronology provide an overview of the writer’s life, the intersection of memory and imagination in his writing, and the path of his literary career. Together, these four life stories also offer mini-tableaux of the fascinating and troubling time of 1960s and 1970s America. Above all, the conversations reveal that each author is linked forever to the Vietnam War, the country of Vietnam, and its people.
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Young Lions
How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel
Leah Garrett
Northwestern University Press, 2015

Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Awards in the American Jewish Studies category 
Winner, 2017 AJS Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Modern Jewish History and Culture: Africa, Americas, Asia, and Oceania


Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel shows how Jews, traditionally castigated as weak and cowardly, for the first time became the popular literary representatives of what it meant to be a soldier and what it meant to be an American. Revisiting best-selling works ranging from Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead to Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and uncovering a range of unknown archival material, Leah Garrett shows how Jewish writers used the theme of World War II to reshape the American public’s ideas about war, the Holocaust, and the role of Jews in postwar life. In contrast to most previous war fiction these new “Jewish” war novels were often ironic, funny, and irreverent and sought to teach the reading public broader lessons about liberalism, masculinity, and pluralism.

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