As a young writer with neither profession nor money, William Wordsworth committed himself to a career as a poet, embracing what he believed was his destiny. But even the “giant Wordsworth,” as his friend and collaborator Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him, had his doubts. In Myself and Some Other Being, Daniel Robinson presents a young Wordsworth, as ambitious and insecure as any writer starting out, who was trying to prove to himself that he could become the great poet he desired to be and that Coleridge, equally brilliant and insecure, believed he already was.
Myself and Some Other Being is the story of Wordsworth becoming Wordsworth by writing the fragments and drafts of what would eventually become The Prelude, an autobiographical epic poem addressed to Coleridge that he hid from the public and was only published after his death in 1850. Feeling pressured to write the greatest epic poem of all time, a task set for him by Coleridge, Wordsworth feared that he was not up to the challenge and instead looked inside himself for memories and materials that he might make into poetry using the power of his imagination. What he found there was another Wordsworth—not exactly the memory of his younger self but rather “some other being” that he could adapt for an innovative kind of life-writing that he hoped would justify his writing life. By writing about himself and that other being, Wordsworth created an innovative autobiographical epic of becoming that is the masterpiece he believed he had failed to write.
In focusing on this young, ambitious, yet insecure Wordsworth struggling to find his place among other writers, Robinson ably demonstrates how The Prelude may serve as a provocative, instructive, and inspirational rumination on the writing of one’s own life. Concentrating on the process of Wordsworth’s endless revisions, the real literary business of creativity, Robinson puts Wordsworth forward as a model and inspiration for the next generation of writers.
Treating Old Testament stories as the product of an oral traditional world, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore sets biblical narrative in a broad cross-cultural context and reveals much about the richness and complexity of the ancient Israelite civilization that produced it.
Using a unique combination of biblical scholarship and folklore methodology, Susan Niditch tracks stories of biblical characters who become heroes against the odds, either through trickery or through native wisdom, physical prowess, and the help of human or divine agents. In this volume, originally published as Underdogs and Tricksters, Niditch examines three cross-sections of the Old Testament in detail: stories in Genesis in which patriarchs pretend that their wives are really their sisters; the contrasting stories of two younger sons, the trickster Jacob and the earnest underdog Joseph; and the story of Esther as a paradigm of feminine wisdom pitted against unjust authority.
Linking these Old Testament heroes to the legendary tricksters and underdogs of other cultures, Niditch shows how the Israelites' worldview and self-image are reflected in the way biblical authors tell their stories. Through a thoughtful analysis of style, content, narrative choices, and attitudes to issues of gender and political authority in biblical narrative, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore draws persuasive conclusions about the identity, location, and provenance of the stories' authors and their audiences.
As the initial US observer, David Rawson participated in the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha, Tanzania. Later, he served as US ambassador to Rwanda during the last months of the doomed effort to make them hold. Despite the intervention of concerned states in establishing a peace process and the presence of an international mission, UNAMIR, the promise of the Arusha Peace Accords could not be realized. Instead, the downing of Rwandan president Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994 rekindled the civil war and opened the door to genocide.
In Prelude to Genocide, Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences to seek out what went wrong. How did the course of political negotiations in Arusha and party wrangling in Kigali, Rwanda, bring to naught a concentrated international effort to establish peace? And what lessons are there for other international humanitarian interventions? The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis that is a milestone read on the Rwandan crisis and on what happens when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.
Published in partnership with the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
Hospices have played a critical role in transforming ideas about death and dying. Viewing death as a natural event, hospices seek to enable people approaching mortality to live as fully and painlessly as possible. Award-winning medical historian Emily K. Abel provides insight into several important issues surrounding the growth of hospice care. Using a unique set of records, Prelude to Hospice expands our understanding of the history of U.S. hospices. Compiled largely by Florence Wald, the founder of the first U.S. hospice, the records provide a detailed account of her experiences studying and caring for dying people and their families in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although Wald never published a report of her findings, she often presented her material informally. Like many others seeking to found new institutions, she believed she could garner support only by demonstrating that her facility would be superior in every respect to what currently existed. As a result, she generated inflated expectations about what a hospice could accomplish. Wald’s records enable us to glimpse the complexities of the work of tending to dying people.
At last we are beginning to learn as much about the French empire as the British, so that generalizations about imperialism need not continue to be skewed, as they hav,e been in the past, by drawing too many of our data from the British experience. The present study makes a major contribution in this direction, providing as it does the first nearly definitive account of a central series of episodes in the French, African, and Islamic experiences with imperialism.
Workers' compensation was arguably the first widespread social insurance program in the United States and the most successful form of labor legislation to emerge from the early Progressive Movement. Adopted in most states between 1910 and 1920, workers' compensation laws have been paving seen as the way for social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and eventually the broad network of social welfare programs we have today.
In this highly original and persuasive work, Price V. Fishback and Shawn Everett Kantor challenge widespread historical perceptions, arguing that, rather than being an early progressive victory, workers' compensation succeeded because all relevant parties—labor and management, insurance companies, lawyers, and legislators—benefited from the legislation. Thorough, rigorous, and convincing, A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation is a major reappraisal of the causes and consequences of a movement that ultimately transformed the nature of social insurance and the American workplace.