What do ordinary citizens really think about issues of gender equality and gender roles? Combining data from both telephone surveys and in-depth focus groups, Ambition and Accommodation provides the most detailed portrait to date of how Americans, in particular American women, think they are faring in today's society.
By juxtaposing the voices of women and men from all walks of life, Sigel finds that women's perceptions of gender relations are complex and often contradictory. Although most women see gender discrimination pervading nearly all social interactions—private as well as public—they do not invariably feel that they personally have been its victims. They want to see discrimination ended, but believe that men do not necessarily share this goal. Women are torn, according to Sigel, between the desire to improve their positions relative to men and the desire to avoid open conflict with them. Their desire not to jeopardize their relations with men, Sigel holds, helps explain women's willingness to accommodate a less-than-egalitarian situation by, for example, taking on the second shift at home or by working harder than men on the job. Sigel concludes that, although men and women agree on the principle of gender equality, definitions as well as practice differ by gender.
This complex picture of how women, while not always content with the status quo, have chosen to accommodate to the world they must face every day is certain to provoke considerable debate.
Joseph G. Peterson Northern Illinois University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3616.E84288B43 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
During a deadly Chicago heat wave that’s claiming hundreds of lives, Robert, who’s stuck in his apartment alone, fears he’s going to be the next victim. In the apartment above him lives a shell-shocked Vietnam veteran who talks obsessively about the corpses of his war experience while alternately listening to Die Meistersinger and Madama Butterfly.
One day, Robert ventures forth into the searing heat to gas up his car. Immediately he encounters enigmatic Lucy who is trying to escape her brutal fiancé, Matthew Gliss. On a whim, Lucy invites Robert to her apartment where she shows him her mysterious tattoo and tells him of her dangerous life with Matthew Gliss. She warns Robert that if Matthew ever catches them together he should run, not walk, because Matthew won’t think twice of killing him.
So begins the risky, short-lived relationship that leads to a chilling climax. Each of Robert’s increasingly hallucinatory recollections of what happened during the heat wave leads him to profoundly question his own culpability.
Zofia Nalkowska Northern Illinois University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PG7158.N34G713 2016 | Dewey Decimal 891.85372
Available for the first time in English, Zofia Nalkowska’s Boundary was originally published as Granica in Poland in 1935. The modernist novel was widely discussed upon its publication and praised for its psychological realism and stylistic and compositional artistry. Over the years, it has been translated into several languages and made into a feature film, and remains a standard text in the Polish secondary school curriculum.
Nalkowska was a pioneer of feminist fiction in Central Europe. Her observation of inequality in the treatment of men and women is at the heart of Boundary, which explores a transgressive love affair and its repercussions. She perceived that men—especially of the upper and middle classes—felt free to have sexual relations with lower class women, whereas it was not socially acceptable for women of any class to have sexual relations outside of marriage, or even admit to enjoying sex. This meant that working class women were seduced and then abandoned when they became pregnant, leaving them with the stigma of illegitimate children and the problem of finding work. Meanwhile, the higher class wives found themselves betrayed.
While Boundary can be interpreted as a novel about power and its abuses, it contains several dimensions—philosophical, emotional, existential, moral—that render it a consummate piece of social criticism. An elegantly composed work of imaginative fiction, it does not preach or offer solutions. Ursula Phillips’s excellent translation will interest readers of early twentieth century novels and scholars and students of Polish literature, feminist studies, and European modernism.
In the late 1800s, Japanese leaders invited Unitarian missionaries to Japan to further modernization. Mohr looks at the debates sparked by the encounter between Unitarianism and Buddhism and considers how the idea of “universal truth” was used by both missionaries and by Japanese intellectuals and religious leaders to promote their own agendas.
Historians have traditionally neglected relationships between slave men and women during the antebellum period. In Chains of Love, historian Emily West remedies this situation by investigating the social and cultural history of slave relationships in the very heart of the South.
Focusing on South Carolina, West deals directly with the most intimate areas of the slave experience including courtship, love and affection between spouses, the abuse of slave women by white men, and the devastating consequences of forced separations. Slaves fought these separations through cross-gender bonding and cross-plantation marriages, illustrating West's thesis about slave marriage as a fierce source of resistance to the oppression of slavery in general.
Making expert use of sources such as the Works Progress Administration narratives, slave autobiographies, slave owner records, and church records, this book-length study is the first to focus on the primacy of spousal support as a means for facing oppression. Chains of Love provides telling insights into the nature of the slave family that emerged from these tensions, celebrates its strength, and reveals new dimensions to the slaves' struggle for freedom.
This book traces changing gender relations in China from the tenth to fourteenth centuries by examining three critical categories of women: courtesans, concubines, and faithful wives. Bossler illustrates how these groups intersected and interacted with men, influencing the social, political, and intellectual life of the Song and Yuan dynasties.
Although breakups—whether celebrity or everyday—are a constant source of fascination, surprisingly little attention has been given to women who are cut loose in their later years. This is a book about (mostly) long-term relationships that have come apart. Each woman involved, the majority of whom are over sixty, tells of her experience through journal entries, essays, poetry, or stories. Although in many senses they have been abandoned, they have also been set free, untethered, and, for some, liberated sexually, mentally, or emotionally.
The book is divided into two major sections. The pieces in the first part are personal narratives. Among the varied voices, we hear from women in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships who have been left by their partners or who have decided to leave them. In the second section, the contributors look at being left and leaving from psychological, sociological, economic, sexual, medical, anthropological, and literary perspectives. Other essays explore the shared experiences of specific classes of women, such as single women, widows, or abandoned daughters.
Stephen and Robin Larsen, authors of A Fire in the Mind, the authorized biography of their friend Joseph Campbell, explore man-woman relationships, questing for the answer to the timeless question, "What do couples really want?"
The Larsens look to ancient wisdom -- the realm of mythology -- to solve the relationship riddle. Storytelling artists, they underline the powerful messages in the myths, folktales, and fairytales described in the book, stories that help heal wounds of gender wars. Experiential exercises the Larsens have developed deepen couples' spiritual bonds.
Readers "eavesdrop" on issues in the Larsens' own marriage; their dialogs about their own relating process bring passion and intimacy to the book.
College students hook up and have sex. That is what many students expect to happen during their time at university—it is part of growing up and navigating the relationship scene on most American campuses today. But what do you do when you’re a student at an evangelical university? Students at these schools must negotiate a barrage of religiously imbued undercurrents that impact how they think about relationships, in addition to how they experience and evaluate them. As they work to form successful unions, students at evangelical colleges balance sacred ideologies of purity, holiness, and godliness, while also dealing with more mainstream notions of popularity, the online world, and the appeal of sexual intimacy.
In From Single to Serious, Dana M. Malone shines a light on friendship, dating, and, sexuality, in both the ideals and the practical experiences of heterosexual students at U. S. evangelical colleges. She examines the struggles they have in balancing their gendered and religious presentations of self, the expectations of their campus community, and their desire to find meaningful romantic relationships.
Martha King Duke University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PQ4835.I7S7713 2000 | Dewey Decimal 853.912
One of the twentieth century’s greatest literary artists and winner of the Nobel prize in 1934, Luigi Pirandello wrote the novel Her Husband in 1911, before he produced any of the well-known plays with which his name is most often associated today. Her Husband—translated here for the first time into English—is a profoundly entertaining work, by turns funny, bitingly satirical, and tinged with anguish. As important as any of the other works in Pirandello’s oeuvre, it portrays the complexities of male/female relations in the context of a newly emerging, small but vocal Italian feminist movement. Evoking in vivid detail the literary world in Rome at the turn of the century, Her Husband tells the story of Silvia Roncella, a talented young female writer, and her husband Giustino Boggiolo. The novel opens with their arrival in Rome after having left their provincial southern Italian hometown following the success of Silvia’s first novel, the rather humorously titled House of Dwarves. As his wife’s self-appointed (and self-important) promoter, protector, counselor, and manager, Giustino becomes the primary target of Pirandello’s satire. But the couple’s relationship—and their dual career—is also complicated by a lively supporting cast of characters, including literary bohemians with avant-garde pretensions and would-be aristocratic esthetes who are all too aware of the newly acquired power of journalists and the publishing establishment to make or break their careers. Having based many of the characters—including Silvia and Giustino—on actual literary acquaintances of his, Pirandello reacted to the novel’s controversial reception by not allowing it to be reprinted after the first printing sold out. Not until after his death were copies again made available in Italy. Readers will find Her Husband eerily evocative of the present in myriad ways—not the least of which is contemporary society’s ongoing transformation wrought by the changing roles of men and women, wives and husbands.
How I Got Him Back: A Novel
Valerie Sayers Northwestern University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3569.A94H69 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Mary Faith Rapple wonders when her lover will stop making promise he can’t keep—and leave his wife at last. But Mary Faith isn’t the only woman in town with man troubles, for everyone has someone they want, someone they can’t have, and someone they want to forget. Sayers has a gift for voice and the honest, gritty commentary about human behavior. This book offers her own version of the humor that Southern writers from Eudora Welty to Flannery O’Connor to Reynolds Price use so tellingly. Sayers’ novel is a skillful and well-crafted book which should appeal to readers of intelligent fiction.
From Agate Nesaule, acclaimed by writers across the globe from Doris Lessing to Tim O’Brien, comes a long-awaited novel. In Love with Jerzy Kosinski is a story of courage and persistence, exploring in fiction the themes that gripped readers of Nesaule’s award-winning memoir, A Woman in Amber.
After fleeing Latvia as a child, Anna Duja escapes Russian confinement in displaced persons camps and eventually arrives in America. Years later, she finds herself in a different kind of captivity on isolated Cloudy Lake, Wisconsin, living with her disarming but manipulative husband, Stanley.
Inspired by the transformation of Polish-Jewish émigré Jerzy Kosinski from persecuted wartime escapee to celebrity author in America, Anna slips away from Stanley and Cloudy Lake in small steps: learning to drive, making friends, moving to Madison, falling in love, and learning to forgive. Readers will applaud the book’s power, the beauty of its prose, and its strong evocation of a woman gradually finding her way in the wake of trauma.
Winner, the Chancellor’s Regional Literary Award, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
"A cool, comic survey of the sexual education of a young Hungarian, from his first encounter, as a twelve-year-old refugee with the American forces, to his unsatisfactory liaison with a reporter's wife in Canada at the belated end of his youth, when he was twenty-three . . . elegantly erotic, with masses of that indefinable quality, style . . . this has the real stuff of immortality."—B. A. Young, Punch
"A pleasure. Vizinczey writes of women beautifully, with sympathy, tact and delight, and he writes about sex with more lucidity and grace than most writers ever acquire."—Larry McMurtry, Houston Post
"Like James Joyce, who was as far from being a writer of erotica as Dostoevsky, Vizinczey has a refreshing message to deliver: Life is not about sex, sex is about life."—John Podhoretz, Washington Times
"The gracefully written story of a young man growing up among older women . . . although some passages may well arouse the reader, this novel brims with what the courts have termed "redeeming literary merit."—Clarence Petersen, Chicago Tribune
"A funny novel about sex, or rather (which is rarer) a novel which is funny as well as touching about sex . . . elegant, exact and melodious—has style, presence and individuality."—Isabel Quigly, Sunday Telegraph
"The delicious adventures of a young Casanova who appreciates maturity while acquiring it himself. In turn naive, sophisticated, arrogant, disarming, the narrator woos his women and his tale wins the reader."—Polly Devlin, Vogue
In the House
Lynn K. Kilpatrick University of Alabama Press, 2010 Library of Congress PS3611.I4528I5 2010 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
A collection of stories that limn the dangers of domesticity
In Lynn K. Kilpatrick’s In the House, anything can happen. A collection of shorts—lists, character sketches, directions, scripts, and instructions—In the House reveals the often conspicuous, yet frequently overlooked, dangers of relationships gone awry.
In a home suffused with fragility or in a kitchen surrounded by knives, Kilpatrick’s men and women navigate around one another’s eccentricities with caution, highlighting the unspoken desires and veiled needs of domestic routine. In these stories those desires collide, illuminating the dangers that can lurk in seemingly insignificant places such as the pantry, a basement, the Miss America pageant, dioramas, or in the mind of the one you love.
Inequalities of Love uses the personal narratives of college-educated black women to describe the difficulties they face when trying to date, marry, and have children. While conventional wisdom suggests that all women, regardless of race, must sacrifice romance and family for advanced educations and professional careers, Averil Y. Clarke’s research reveals that educated black women’s disadvantages in romance and starting a family are consequences of a system of racial inequality and discrimination. The author analyzes the accounts of black women who repeatedly return to incompatible partners as they lose hope of finding “Mr. Right” and reject unwed parenting because it seems to affirm a negative stereotype of black women’s sexuality that is inconsistent with their personal and professional identities. She uses national survey data to compare college-educated black women’s experiences of romance, reproduction, and family to those of less-educated black women and those of white and Hispanic women with degrees. She reports that degreed black women’s lives include less marriage and sex, and more unwanted pregnancy, abortion, and unwed childbearing than college-educated white and Hispanic women. Black women’s romantic limitations matter because they constitute deprivation and constraint in romance and because they illuminate important links between race, class, and gender inequality in the United States. Clarke’s discussion of the inequities that black women experience in romance highlights the connections between individuals’ sexual and reproductive decisions, their performance of professional or elite class identities, and the avoidance of racial stigma.
Integrating the psychology of love and creativity, this pioneering book explores both how a couple’s involvement as lovers influences their creative collaboration and how working together affects their relationship. Representing a variety of genres—painting, sculpture, photography, and installation art—the celebrated couples profiled here include, among others, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, and Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel.
Intrigued by this process of "intimate creativity," psychologists Irving and Suzanne Sarnoff (themselves partners in love and work) decided to conduct in-depth interviews with partners in visual art because they defy the supremely individualistic tradition of their field. Whatever their age or sexual orientation, these artist-couples combine their talents to form a collective identity as a professional team. Passionately intense about their shared commitment, they communicate endlessly to resolve conflicts and reach consensus. Providing mutual validation and support, they increase their productivity and the quality of their work; they minimize their fear and frustration and enhance their pleasure in being together.
The authors also draw on historical and contemporary literature about similar couples, ranging from Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber to Gilbert and George to Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Stimulating and engaging, this book highlights the features of a unique collaborative process, considers the connection between creativity and sexuality, and suggests possibilities for any couple to expand their intimacy.
Last Words of the Holy Ghost
Matt Cashion University of North Texas Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3603.A866A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Listening to Mozart
Charles Wyatt University of Iowa Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3573.Y19L5 1995 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
With all the drama and complexity of a symphony, Listening to Mozart traces forty years in the life of flutist James Baxter. Many of the stories in this collection—actually a novel in stories—center on or revolve around James' relationship with Anna, a potter and artist. Each story is a separate movement, yet they combine to create a deeply textured whole work. The stories chronicle James' inward journey, as well as his life and loves, with a voice repeatedly transformed through the years.
“Bach Suite” serves as a prologue and deals with the split in consciousness that often accompanies musical performance. The story imitates the musical form it describes and tunes the reader's ear to the innermost thoughts of a musician. Each succeeding story introduces another episode in James' life—his music school days in Philadelphia with his first love, Zoe, his stint in the U.S. Marine Band during the Vietnam War when he meets Anna, his adventures with his friend Franklin, his experiences with the mysterious Dalawa, a trip with Anna to Toronto to immerse themselves in the culture and music of South India. James' friendships, affairs, experiences, and occasional angst resound in each story.
In all the stories, in all his relationships, James finds himself experiencing his life in much the way he experiences music. There is a moment for which he is waiting, yet for which he is never fully prepared, a moment which passes inexorably. Sometimes, in the rare musical experience, he is able to penetrate that moment and allow time to fall away. These moments are the signposts of his life, like the movements of the Bach suite, but unbidden, and they give him his only perspective and vision.
This original, highly readable book poses a clear distinction between our customary form of love, which almost guarantees failure, and higher, more generous ways of loving that can succeed and enrich both individuals and society as a whole. Love That Works draws on history, psychology, and the theology and science of love to offer a proposal on how to be successful in love and romance. It starts by showing why love fails to meet expectations, often ending sadly or even tragically.
Annemarie Schwarzenbach Seagull Books, 2011 Library of Congress PT2605.L25L9713 2011
Annemarie Schwarzenbach—journalist, novelist, antifascist, archaeologist, and traveler—has become a European cult figure for bohemian free spirits since the rediscovery of her works in the late 1980s. Lyric Novella is her story of a young man’s obsession with a Berlin variété actress. Despite having his future career mapped out for him in the diplomatic service, the young man begins to question all his family values under Sibylle’s spell. His family, future, and social standing become irrelevant when set against his overriding compulsion to pick her up every night from the theater so they can go for a drive.
Schwarzenbach’s clear, psychologically acute prose makes this novella an evocative narrative, with many intriguing parallels to her own life. In fact, she admitted after publication that her hero was in fact a young woman, not a man, leaving little doubt that Lyric Novella is a literary tale of lesbian love during socially and politically turbulent times.
Praise for the German Edition
“The subject of Annemarie Schwarzenbach’s story is not failed love— Sibylle’s apparent emotional coldness—but the failure of love—the protagonist’s helpless inability, in the crucial moment, to accept his human responsibility toward the beloved.”— Neue Zürcher Zeitung
“The work bears the face of its time, but it is so gentle, silent and veiled that one can barely exclude the person behind the mask. A mask is in fact this face, because the hero is a heroine who does not want to be seen.”—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Having multiple wives was one of the mainstays of male privilege during the Ming and Qing dynasties of late imperial China. Based on a comprehensive reading of eighteenth-century Chinese novels and a theoretical approach grounded in poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism, Misers, Shrews, and Polygamists examines how such privilege functions in these novels and provides the first full account of literary representations of sexuality and gender in pre-modern China. In many examples of rare erotic fiction, and in other works as well-known as Dream of the Red Chamber, Keith McMahon identifies a sexual economy defined by the figures of the "miser" and the "shrew"—caricatures of the retentive, self-containing man and the overflowing, male-enervating woman. Among these and other characters, the author explores the issues surrounding the practice of polygamy, the logic of its overvaluation of masculinity, and the nature of sexuality generally in Chinese society. How does the man with many wives manage and justify his sexual authority? Why and how might he escape or limit this presumed authority, sometimes to the point of portraying himself as abject before the shrewish woman? How do women accommodate or coddle the man, or else oppose, undermine, or remold him? And in what sense does the man place himself lower than the spiritually and morally superior woman? The most extensive English-language study of Chinese literature from the eighteenth century, this examination of polygamy will interest not only students of Chinese history, culture, and literature but also all those concerned with histories of gender and sexuality.
How are love, marriage, and desire changing? This collection confronts that question, examining how global cultural flows, changing gender relations, specific economic structures, and state policies are reshaping intimate life around the world. Grounded in cutting edge feminist anthropological theory, these essays discuss how women and men craft courtship, intimacy, and marriage around the world, situating intimate relations in their respective social and economic contexts and exposing the dynamics that are shared cross-culturally, as well as those characteristics that are specific to each site.
In this first comparative ethnographic look at the global transformation toward marital ideals characterized by emotional intimacy, companionship, and mutual choice—discussed here as "companionate marriage"—Modern Loves asks how this shift is occurring and explores the factors that promote and hinder it, just who is pushing for these more companionate relationships, and what advantages men and women see in modern love. The contributors analyze the intricate negotiations surrounding love, marriage, and sex in Mexico, India, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore, and Hong Kong and among Latino youth in East Los Angeles. Modern Loves presents the new global approach to kinship studies, examining both the microlevel practices that constitute and bind relationships and the macrolevel forces that shape the landscape of love.
Contributors: Margaret E. Bentley, Selina Ching Chan, Pamela I. Erickson, Jessica Gregg, Jennifer Higgins, Jennifer S. Hirsch, Wynne Maggi, Constance A. Nathanson, Gayatri Reddy, Daniel Jordan Smith, and Holly Wardlow
Jennifer S. Hirsch is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Holly Wardlow is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.
"What‘s love got to do with it? Hirsch and Wardlow answer this question by demonstrating the relevance—indeed, centrality—of the ideologies and practices surrounding romantic love and companionate marriage to the study of social transformation more broadly. The essays compiled in this volume explore the material, structural, and demographic underpinnings of the global shift in marital ideals while also tracing some of the sources of this marital shift in mass media, missionization, and the spread of individualism. The contributors of the chapters provide ethnographically rich examples of the ways in which people living in different societies interpret and act upon these global forces and images in sometimes overlapping and sometimes varying ways. This volume is an important and thoughtful contribution to the study of emotion, gender, kinship, and social change." —Laura M. Ahearn, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
"With its rich descriptions of the nuances in romantic love and its lucid analysis of the political economy of conjugal relations, this book will be widely read and loved by anthropologists as well as the concerned public."
—Yunxiang Yan, Department of Anthropology, UCLA
"Modern Loves offers an overview of current scholarship on love in the context of sexual relationships cross-culturally, and provides a view of the complexity of varied aspects of emotion, social structure, and social change in contemporary sexual relationships. It clearly makes the case for a political economic understanding of the emergence of ideologies of love, marriage, and courtship as part of expanding global economies."
—Linda-Anne Rebhun, Department of Anthropology, Yale University
Odd Couples examines friendships between gay men and straight women, and also between lesbians and straight men, and shows how these "intersectional" friendships serve as a barometer for shifting social norms, particularly regarding gender and sexual orientation. Based on author Anna Muraco's interviews, the work challenges two widespread assumptions: that men and women are fundamentally different and that men and women can only forge significant bonds within romantic relationships. Intersectional friendships challenge a variety of social norms, Muraco says, including the limited roles that men and women are expected to play in one another's lives. Each chapter uses these boundary-crossing relationships to highlight how key social constructs such as family, politics, gender, and sexuality shape everyday interactions. Friendship itself—whether intersectional or not—becomes the center of the analysis, taking its place as an important influence on the social behavior of adults.
From teen dating to public displays of affection, from the "fishing girls" and "big moneys" that wander discos in search of romance to the changing shape of sex in the Chinese city, this is a book like no other. James Farrer immerses himself in the vibrant nightlife of Shanghai, draws on individual and group interviews with Chinese youth, as well as recent changes in popular media, and considers how sexual culture has changed in China since its shift to a more market-based economy.
More and more men and women in China these days are having sex before marriage, creating a new youth sex culture based on romance, leisure, and free choice. The Chinese themselves describe these changes as an "opening up" in response to foreign influences and increased Westernization. Farrer explores these changes by tracing the basic elements in talk about sex and sexuality in Shanghai. He then shows how Chinese youth act out the sometimes-contradictory meanings of sex in the new market society. For Farrer, sexuality is a lens through which we can see how China imagines and understands itself in the wake of increased globalization. Through personal storytelling, neighborhood gossip, and games of seduction, young men and women in Shanghai balance pragmatism with romance, lust with love, and seriousness with play, collectively constructing and individually coping with a new culture based on market principles. With its provocative glimpse into the sex lives of young Chinese, then, Opening Up offers something even greater: a thoughtful consideration of China as it continues to develop into an economic superpower.
The Red Sofa
Michèle Lesbre Seagull Books, 2017 Library of Congress PQ2672.E7356C3613 2016
In The Red Sofa, we meet Anne, a young woman setting off on the Trans-Siberian Railway in order to find her former lover, Gyl, who left twenty years before. As the train moves across post-Soviet Russia and its devastated landscapes, Anne reflects on her past with Gyl and their patriotic struggles, as well as on the neighbor she has just left behind, Clémence Barrot.
Rocked by the train’s movements Anne is moved by her memory of Clémence, who is old and whose memory is failing, but who has not lost her taste for life and adventure. Ensconced on her red sofa at home, Clémence loves to tell Anne her life story, mourning lost loved ones and celebrating the lives of brave, rebellious women who went before her. Eventually, Anne’s train trip returns her home having not found Gyl, but having found something much more meaningful—herself.
“A luminous novel about desire, a clear text about the joy of living.”—Prix Pierre Mac Orlan 2007
It is generally recognized that antebellum interracial relationships were “notorious” at the neighborhood level. But we have yet to fully uncover the complexities of such relationships, especially from freedwomen’s and children’s points of view. While it is known that Cincinnati had the largest per capita population of mixed race people outside the South during the antebellum period, historians have yet to explore how geography played a central role in this outcome. The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers made it possible for Southern white men to ferry women and children of color for whom they had some measure of concern to free soil with relative ease.
Some of the women in question appear to have been “fancy girls,” enslaved women sold for use as prostitutes or “mistresses.” Green focuses on women who appear to have been the latter, recognizing the problems with the term “mistress,” given its shifting meaning even during the antebellum period. Remember Me to Miss Louisa, among other things, moves the life of the fancy girl from New Orleans, where it is typically situated, to the Midwest. The manumission of these women and their children—and other enslaved women never sold under this brand—occurred as America’s frontiers pushed westward, and urban life followed in their wake. Indeed, Green’s research examines the tensions between the urban Midwest and the rising Cotton Kingdom. It does so by relying on surviving letters, among them those from an ex-slave mistress who sent
her “love” to her former master. This relationship forms the crux of the first of three case studies. The other two concern a New Orleans young woman who was the mistress of an aging white man, and ten Alabama children who received from a white planter a $200,000 inheritance (worth roughly $5.1 million in today’s currency). In each case, those freed people faced the challenges characteristic of black life in a largely hostile America.
While the frequency with which Southern white men freed enslaved women and their children is now generally known, less is known about these men’s financial and emotional investments in them. Before the Civil War, a white Southern man’s pending marriage, aging body, or looming death often compelled him to free an African American woman and their children. And as difficult as it may be for the modern mind to comprehend, some kind of connection sometimes existed between these individuals. This study argues that such men—though they hardly stand excused for their ongoing claims to privilege—were hidden actors in freedwomen’s and children’s attempts to survive the rigors and challenges of life as African Americans in the years surrounding the Civil War. Green examines many facets of this phenomenon in the hope of revealing new insights about the era of slavery.
Historians, students, and general readers of US history, African American studies, black urban history, and antebellum history will find much of interest in this fascinating study.
Reuben, Reuben: A Novel
Peter De Vries University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3507.E8673R48 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Harking from the golden age of fiction set in American suburbia—the school of John Updike and Cheever—this work from the great American humorist Peter De Vries looks with laughter upon its lawns, its cocktails, and its slightly unreal feeling of comfort. A manic epic, Reuben, Reuben is really three books in one, tied together by a 1950s suburban Connecticut setting and hyper-literate cast of characters. A corruptible chicken farmer fearful for the fate of his beloved town, a womanizing poet from Wales (Dylan Thomas in disguise), and a hapless British poet-cum-actor-and-agent all take turns as narrator, revealing different, even conflicting views. But alcoholism, sexism, small-mindedness, and calamity challenge the high spirits of De Vries’s well-read suburbanites. Noted as much for his verbal fluidity and wordplay as for his ability to see humor through pain, De Vries will delight both new readers and old in this uproarious modern masterpiece.
Adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope, David Ives’s The School for Lies tells the comic tale of Frank, who shares with Molière’s Alceste a venomous hatred of the hypocrisy that surrounds him. Like his predecessor, Frank gets into trouble for insulting the work of a dreadful poet and falls in love with Celimene, a witty widow. In Ives’s madcap version, however, Celimene returns Frank’s affection because she wrongly believes him to be King Louis XIV’s bastard brother. Borrowing from Shakespeare, reality TV, and everything in between, The School for Lies is an inspired entertainment as well as a pointed study in self-delusion, all rendered in sparkling couplets.
Patricia Meyer Spacks guides readers to a deeper appreciation of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as they experience love, romance, and heartbreak. Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition includes numerous color reproductions that vividly recreate Jane Austen's world. This will be an especially welcome addition to the library of any Janeite.
Traveling on One Leg
Herta Muller Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PT2673.U29234R4513 1998 | Dewey Decimal 833.914
Winner, 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature
Irene is a fragile woman born to a German family in Romania, who has recently emigrated from her native country to West Germany. Politically and socially isolated, Irene moves within the orbit of three troubled men, while simultaneously embarking on an inner exploration of exile, homeland, and identity.
Troping the Body: Gender, Etiquette, and Performance is an interdisciplinary study of etiquette texts, conduct literature, and advice books and films. Gwendolyn Audrey Foster analyzes the work of such women authors as Emily Post, Christine de Pizan, Hannah Webster Foster, Emily Brontë , Frances E. W. Harper, and Martha Stewart as well as such women filmmakers as Lois Weber and Kasi Lemmons.
“ Specifically,” Foster notes, “ I was interested in the possibility of locating power and agency in the voices of popular etiquette writers.” Her investigation led her to analyze etiquette and conduct literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Within this wide scope, she redefines the boundaries of conduct literature through a theoretical examination of the gendered body as it is positioned in conduct books, etiquette texts, poetry, fiction, and film.
Drawing on Bakhtin, Gates, Foucault, and the new school of performative feminism to develop an interdisciplinary approach to conduct literature— and literature as conduct— Foster brings a unique perspective to the analysis of ways in which the body has been gendered, raced, and constructed in terms of class and sexuality.
Even though women writers have been actively writing conduct and etiquette texts since the medieval period, few critical examinations of such literature exist in the fields of cultural studies and literary criticism. Thus, Foster’ s study fills a gap and does so uniquely in the existing literature. In examining these voices of authority over the body, Foster identifies the dialogic in the texts of this discipline that both supports and disrupts the hegemonic discourse of a gendered social order.
Welcome to Midvale, a city of liberal-minded (but not too liberal-minded) folk in the heart of Wisconsin. Midvale is home to Oliver Poole, lanky and gray-haired father of four sons, husband of Diana (a prominent divorce lawyer), left fielder for an over-the-hill softball team called the Old Hatters, and sole proprietor of a typewriter repair shop (a trade that one of his sons compares to singing folk music on the street and waiting for someone to drop a nickel in the hat). Midvale is home, too, to Annelise Scharfenberg, a thirty-something, sugar-craving, aspiring Buddhist who works as a late-night music-and-gab-show host at a fringe radio station. When Annelise, a collector of old-fashioned things, walks into Oliver’s shop bearing a typewriter scavenged from an alley, a romance ensues, with consequences both comic and tragic. Set during the early years of the Iraq war, The Typewriter Satyr is flush with colorful characters, including a Syrian coffeehouse owner who believes the Bush government is after him, a Buddhist monk who grew up in rural Wisconsin, a painter known as the Rabbit Master, and a homeless writer who roams the streets of Midvale in search of a missing shoe. In The Typewriter Satyr Dwight Allen has created a world that, as the novelist Michelle Huneven notes, “speaks to the powerful tides of longing and loneliness surging through all of us.”
Honorable Mention, Anne Powers Book Length Fiction, Council for Wisconsin Writers
Johnny is from New Jersey, and Kari is from Oslo. They meet in New York in the late 1950s and soon fall in love, get married, and move to Asbury Park, where their life unfolds like a dream: Kari gives birth to two beautiful daughters, and Johnny is a wildly successful entrepreneur. Everything begins to unravel, though, when Johnny’s business partner commits suicide and their company plunges into bankruptcy. Then a deadly accident claims their daughters. Reeling from the tragedy and seeking a new beginning, Johnny and Kari move to Norway. But they can’t escape their trauma as it continues to take a toll on their marriage, especially as Johnny struggles to find his place in a foreign country. The Weather Changed, Summer Came and So On is a haunting novel about love, loss, and identity that focuses on the survival of trauma. Translated beautifully from its original Norwegian by Diane Oatley, it constructs and inhabits a liminal world as the protagonists seek to stay afloat amid grief and estrangement. This is a gripping, heartbreaking story that will move readers with its timelessness and universal relevance.
This thoughtful, engaging collection showcases the best nonfiction prose produced by one of the nation's most observant and incisive writers.
This collection of warm, heartfelt essays from award-winning novelist Vicki Covington chronicles the multitude of "in between" moments in the writer's life. These are her stolen moments in between the writing of four novels-Gathering Home, Bird of Paradise, Night Ride Home, and The Last Hotel for Women; in between coauthoring the edgy memoir Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage with her husband Dennis Covington; in between raising two daughters; in between her husband's struggle with cancer and the author's own heart attack; in between a life full of trials and triumphs, disappointments and celebrations - moments that, as Covington demonstrates here, are always rich and revealing.
In the title essay, the author questions why all seven middle-class women who live on her street confess at a neighborhood cookout that in the past 48 hours each of them has cried. In "A Southern Thanksgiving," Covington reflects on the "family dance" that is Thanksgiving in the South: "In the North they put their crazy family members in institutions, but in the South we put them in the living room for everyone to enjoy." In "My Mother's Brain," the author recounts the onset of Alzheimer's in her mother and how, with the spread of the disease, an untapped vein of love is revealed.
Some of these essays were written as weekly newspaper columns for the Birmingham News. Others were written for specific literary occasions, such as the First Annual Eudora Welty Symposium. They are divided into six thematic sections: "Girls and Women," "Neighborhood," "Death," "The South," "Spiritual Matters," and "Writing."
Throughout, as Covington casts her candid, attentive eye on a situation, confusion yields to comprehension, fear flourishes into faith, and anger flows into understanding. In memorializing the small moments of her life, she finds that they are far from peripheral; indeed, they are central to a life full of value and meaning.