Provides an important examination of Charles Chesnutt as a practitioner of realism
Although Chesnutt is typically acknowledged as the most prominent African American writer of the realist period, scholars have paid little attention to the central question of this study: what does it mean to call Chesnutt a realist? As a writer whose career was restricted by the dismal racial politics of his era, Chesnutt refused to conform to literary conventions for depicting race. Nor did he use his imaginative skills to evade the realities he and other African Americans faced. Rather, he experimented with ways of portraying reality that could elicit an appropriate, proportionate response to it, as Ryan Simmons demonstrates in extended readings of each of Chesnutt’s novels, including important unpublished works overlooked by previous critics.
In addition, Chesnutt and Realism addresses a curiously neglected subject in American literary studies—the relationship between American literary realism and race. By taking Chesnutt seriously as a contributor to realism, this book articulates the strategies by which one African American intellectual helped to de?ne the discourses that in?uenced his fate.
At the start of the eighteenth century, talk of literary "characters" referred as much to letters and typefaces as it did to persons in books. Yet by the nineteenth century, characters had become the equals of their readers, friends with whom readers might spend time and empathize.
Although the story of this shift is usually told in terms of the "rise of the individual," Deidre Shauna Lynch proposes an ingenious alternative interpretation. Elaborating a "pragmatics of character," Lynch shows how readers used transactions with characters to accommodate themselves to newly commercialized social relations. Searching for the inner meanings of characters allowed readers both to plumb their own inwardness and to distinguish themselves from others. In a culture of mass consumption, argues Lynch, possessing a belief in the inexpressible interior life of a character rendered one's property truly private.
Ranging from Defoe and Smollett to Burney and Austen, Lynch's account will interest students of the novel, literary historians, and anyone concerned with the inner workings of consumer culture and the history of emotions.
In The Enemy Within, Gilbert D. Chaitin deepens our understanding of the nature and sources of culture wars during the French Third Republic. The psychological trauma caused by the Ferry educational reform laws of 1880-1882, which strove to create a new national identity based on secular morality rather than God-given commandments, pitted Catholics against proponents of lay education and gave rise to novels by Bourget, Barrès, A. France, and Zola.
By deploying Lacanian concepts to understand the “erotics of politics” revealed in these novels, Chaitin examines the formation of national identity, offering a new intellectual history of the period and shedding light on the intimate relations among literature, education, philosophy, morality, and political order. The mechanisms described in The Enemy Within provide fresh insight into the affective structure of culture wars not only in the French Third Republic but elsewhere in the world today.
The antifascist exile beginning in 1933 led to a cooling among the émigrés of the artistic and literary modernist experiments of the Weimar Republic and to a return to realism and the traditional novel form. Epic and Exile examines the Popular Front– oriented cultural initiatives of the 1930s less in terms of their political strategy than in their function as a cultural and literary program for the exiles, implying a specific relationship to questions of artistic form, historical conceptions, and indeed the political as such. A popular front aesthetics is, Bivens argues, realist and modernist at once, and, in its focus on the opacities and contradictions of everyday life as a historical formation, it is particularly concerned with problems of the epic form.
Some of the most noteworthy graphic novels and comic books of recent years have been entirely autobiographical. In Graphic Subjects, Michael A. Chaney brings together a lively mix of scholars to examine the use of autobiography within graphic novels, including such critically acclaimed examples as Art Spiegelman’s Maus, David Beauchard’s Epileptic, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese.
These essays, accompanied by visual examples, illuminate the new horizons that illustrated autobiographical narrative creates. The volume insightfully highlights the ways that graphic novelists and literary cartoonists have incorporated history, experience, and life stories into their work. The result is a challenging and innovative collection that reveals the combined power of autobiography and the graphic novel.
Trollope’s mother, wife, and a friend he loved platonically most of his life provided him three very different views of the Victorian woman. And, according to Jane Nardin, they were responsible for the dramatic shift in his treatment of women in his novels.
This is the first book in Sandra Gilbert’s Ad Feminam series to examine a male author. Nardin initially analyzes the novels Trollope wrote from 1855 to 1861, in which male concerns are central to the plot and women are angelic heroines, submissive and self-sacrificing. Even the titles of his novels written during this period are totally male oriented. The Three Clerks, Doctor Thorne, and The Bertrams all refer to men. Shortly after meeting Kate Field, Trollope wrote Orley Farm, which refers to the estate an angry woman steals from her husband and which marks a change in the attitudes toward women evident in his novels.
His next four books, The Small House at Allington, Rachel Ray, Can You Forgive Her?, and Miss Mackenzie, prove that women’s concerns had become central in his writing. Nardin examines specific novels written from 1861 to 1865 in which Trollope, with increasing vigor, subverts the conventional notions of gender that his earlier novels had endorsed.
Nardin argues that his novels written after 1865 and often recognized as feminist are not really departures but merely refinements of attitudes Trollope exhibited in earlier works.
Fisher places the work of George Eliot within the great evolution that constitutes the nineteenth-century English novel. He reports not only about her work, but about an evolving complex literary form. Fisher examines Eliot’s work as responding to “the loss of society,” the breakdown between public life and individua moral history. As trust in the community as a base of moral life weakens, decisive changes occur: the English novel accommodated itself to the disappearance of society and changed from the representation of individuals as members of a social order to the description of the self surrounded by collections of unrelated others.
Focusing on specific texts by Jamaica Kincaid, Maryse Condé, and Paule Marshall, this fascinating study explores the intricate trichotomous relationship between the mother (biological or surrogate), the motherlands Africa and the Caribbean, and the mothercountry represented by England, France, and/or North America. The mother-daughter relationships in the works discussed address the complex, conflicting notions of motherhood that exist within this trichotomy. Although mothering is usually socialized as a welcoming, nurturing notion, Alexander argues that alongside this nurturing notion there exists much conflict. Specifically, she argues that the mother-daughter relationship, plagued with ambivalence, is often further conflicted by colonialism or colonial intervention from the "other," the colonial mothercountry.
Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women offers an overview of Caribbean women's writings from the 1990s, focusing on the personal relationships these three authors have had with their mothers and/or motherlands to highlight links, despite social, cultural, geographical, and political differences, among Afro-Caribbean women and their writings. Alexander traces acts of resistance, which facilitate the (re)writing/righting of the literary canon and the conception of a "newly created genre" and a "womanist" tradition through fictional narratives with autobiographical components.
Exploring the complex and ambiguous mother-daughter relationship, she examines the connection between the mother and the mother's land. In addition, Alexander addresses the ways in which the absence of a mother can send an individual on a desperate quest for selfhood and a home space. This quest forces and forges the creation of an imagined homeland and the re-validation of "old ways and cultures" preserved by the mother. Creating such an imagined homeland enables the individual to acquire "wholeness," which permits a spiritual return to the motherland, Africa via the Caribbean. This spiritual return or homecoming, through the living and practicing of the old culture, makes possible the acceptance and celebration of the mother's land.
Alexander concludes that the mothers created by these authors are the source of diasporic connections and continuities. Writing/righting black women's histories as Kincaid, Condé, and Marshall have done provides a clearing, a space, a mother's land, for black women. Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women will be of great interest to all teachers and students of women's studies, African American studies, Caribbean literature, and diasporic literatures.
In this absorbing study—the first comprehensive exploration of the rhetoric of the novel—Zahava Karl McKeon investigates the complex interrelations of critical poetics, grammars, dialectics, and rhetorics to devise a systematic means of dealing with the structure of prose works as communicative objects. Using the vocabulary and conceptual resources of Aristotle and Cicero, she pursues this exploration to discover the kinds of arguments that characterize novels, to find a way of distinguishing novels from other discursive wholes, and to discriminate different genres of the novel. McKeon's arguments are supplemented by readings of a variety of texts, including the novels and stories of Gunter Grass, John Fowles, Robert Coover, and Flannery O'Connor.
In Novels of Displacement: Fiction in the Age of Global Capital, Marco Codebò assesses the state of fiction in our time, an age defined by the combined hegemony of global capital and software. Codebò argues that present-day displacement originates in the dualism of power that pervades our polarized society and in the sweeping deterritorialization that is affecting people, objects, and signs. As the ties between subjectivity and territory break, being in the world means being displaced. Rather than narrating how subjectivity can mark a place, novels of displacement convey the crisis of subjectivity’s connection to place.
Using four works as case studies—Bernardo Carvalho’s Nove noites, Daniel Sada’s Porque parece mentira la verdad nunca se sabe, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, and Mathias Énard’s Zone—Codebò investigates how globalization, displacement, and technology inform our understanding of subjectivity and one’s place in the world. Coming from different literary traditions––Brazilian-Portuguese, Spanish, English, and French–– Novels of Displacement traces the development of displacement caused by organized crime, migration, and war. Ultimately what emerges from this study is evidence of how cultures of untruth damage but do not destroy human agency.
Too often, Steinbeck’s work has been studied piecemeal, even when the intention was for a rounded view. In this study, Howard Levant analyzes the patterns in Steinbeck’s work, taking an approach that permits a judgment of each novel in the context of a greater appreciation of the shape of Steinbeck’s long career.
In Nadine Gordimer's view, the novel can present history as historians cannot. Moreover, this presentation is not fictional in the sense of being "untrue." Rather, fiction deals with an area of activity usually inaccessible to the sciences of greater externally: the area in which historical process is registered as the subjective experience of individuals in society; fiction give us "history from the inside." Gordimer's novels give us an extraordinary and unique insight into historical experience in the period in which she writes.
The Novels of Theodore Dreiser was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Relying heavily on the manuscripts and letters in the Dreiser Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Library, Professor Pizer seeks to establish the facts of the sources and composition of each of Dreiser's eight novels and to study the themes and form of the completed works. In this study he relates what can be discovered about the factual reality of a novel to its imaginative reality. His interpretation of the novels avoids the suggestion that there is a single overriding theme or direction in Dreiser's work and emphasizes that Dreiser deserves examination primarily on the basis of the individuality and worth of each of his novels. A separate chapter is devoted to each of the novels: Sister Carrie, Jennie Gerhardt, The "Genius," The Financier, The Titan, An American Tragedy, The Bulwark, and The Stoic.
A collection of essays on renowned French writers, including Sarraute, Renard, and Gide.
Iconic French novelist, playwright, and essayist Jean-Paul Sartre is widely recognized as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, and his work has remained relevant and thought-provoking through the decades. The Seagull Sartre Library now presents some of his most incisive philosophical, cultural, and literary critical essays in twelve newly designed and affordable editions.
In this collection of brief, insightful essays, we find ourselves face to face with Sartre the literary critic, as he carefully examines the works of renowned French writers such as François Mauriac, Nathalie Sarraute, Jean Giraudoux, and Jules Renard. Most moving is an essay on André Gide, written right after his death, in which Sartre writes, “We thought him scared and embalmed; he dies and we discover how alive he was.”
This revised and expanded edition of Beidler and Barton’s indispensable A Reader’s Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich builds on the sellout success of the first edition. Every serious reader of Erdrich’s fiction will want access to this comprehensive new edition, which includes valuable new material.
• Completely updated with information on four new novels published since the first edition: The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, The Master Butchers Singing Club, Four Souls, and The Painted Drum
• Easy-to-use genealogical charts for the various families
• A map and geographical details about the settings for the novels
• A detailed composite dictionary of characters (even including the minor characters)
• A glossary of all of the Ojibwe words, phrases, and sentences that Erdrich, an astoundingly versatile and energetic Native American author, uses in her panoply of novels
Between three and four thousand civilians, primarily Serbian and Jewish, were murdered in the Novi Sad massacre of 1942. Hungarian soldiers and gendarmes carried out the crime in the city and surrounding areas, in territory Hungary occupied after the German attack on Yugoslavia. The perpetrators believed their acts to be a contribution to a new order in Europe, and as a means to ethnically cleanse the occupied lands.
In marked contrast to other massacres, the Horthy regime investigated the incident and tried and convicted the commanding officers in 1943-44. Other trials would follow. During the 1960s, a novel and film telling the story of the massacre sparked the first public open debate about the Hungarian Holocaust.
This book examines public contentions over the Novi Sad massacre from its inception in 1942 until the final trial in 2011. It demonstrates how attitudes changed over time toward this war crime and the Holocaust through different political regimes and in Hungarian society. The book also views how the larger European context influenced Hungarian debates, and how Yugoslavia dealt with memories of the massacre.
In this revised edition of a volume originally published in 1989, Lawrence Broer extends his comprehensive critique of the body of writing by Kurt Vonnegut. Broer offers a broad psychoanalytic study of Vonnegut’s works from Player Piano to Hocus Pocus, taking a decisively new approach to the work of one of America’s most important, yet often misinterpreted writers. A compelling and original analysis, Sanity Plea, explores how Vonnegut incorporates his personal experiences into an art that is not defeatist, but rather creatively therapeutic and life-affirming.
At first glance, Beloved would appear to be the only “ghost story” among Toni Morrison’s nine novels, but as this provocative new study shows, spectral presences and places abound in the celebrated author’s fiction. Melanie R. Anderson explores how Morrison uses specters to bring the traumas of African American life to the forefront, highlighting histories and experiences, both cultural and personal, that society at large too frequently ignores.
Working against the background of magical realism, while simultaneously expanding notions of the supernatural within American and African American writing, Morrison peoples her novels with what Anderson identifies as two distinctive types of ghosts: spectral figures and social ghosts. Deconstructing Western binaries, Morrison uses the spectral to indicate power through its transcendence of corporality, temporality, and explication, and she employs the ghostly as a metaphor of erasure for living characters who are marginalized and haunt the edges of their communities. The interaction of these social ghosts with the spectral presences functions as a transformative healing process that draws the marginalized figure out of the shadows and creates links across ruptures between generations and between past and present, life and death. This book examines how these relationships become increasingly more prominent in the novelist’s canon—from their beginnings in The Bluest Eye and Sula, to their flowering in the trilogy that comprises Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise, and onward into A Mercy.
An important contribution to the understanding of one of America’s premier fiction writers, Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison demonstrates how the Nobel laureate’s powerful and challenging works give presence to the invisible, voice to the previously silenced, and agency to the oppressed outsiders who are refused a space in which to narrate their stories.
Adapts Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, as well as the latest in gender and psychoanalytic theory, to the major works of acclaimed southern writer Carson McCullers.
This innovative reconsideration of the themes of Carson McCullers's fiction argues that her work has heretofore suffered under the pall of narrow gothic interpretations, obscuring a more subversive agenda. By examining McCullers’s major novels—The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Café—Gleeson-White locates a radical and specific form of the grotesque in the author's fiction: the liberating and redemptive possibilities of errant gender roles and shifting sexuality. She does this by employing Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, which is both affirming and revolutionary, and thereby moves McCullers's texts beyond the 'gloom and doom' with which they have been charged for over fifty years.
The first chapter explores female adolescence by focusing on McCullers's tomboys in the context of oppressive southern womanhood. The second chapter analyzes McCullers's fascinating struggle to depict homosexual desire outside of traditional stereotypes. Gleeson-White then examines McCullers's portrayals of feminine and masculine gender through the tropes of cross-dressing, transvestism, and masquerade. The final chapter takes issue with earlier readings of androgyny in the texts to suggest a more useful concept McCullers herself called "the hybrid." Underpinning the whole study is the idea of a provocative, dynamic form of the grotesque that challenges traditional categories of normal and abnormal.
Because the characters and themes of McCullers's fiction were created in the 1940s and 1950s, a time of tension between the changing status of women and the southern ideal of womanhood, they are particularly fertile ground for a modern reexamination of this nature. Gleeson-White's study will be valued by scholars of American literature and gender and queer studies, by students of psychology, by academic libraries, and by readers of Carson McCullers. Strange Bodies is a thoughtful, highly credible analysis that adds dimension to the study of southern literature.