Patricia Meyer Spacks Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress Z1003.2.S63 2011 | Dewey Decimal 028.9
After retiring from a lifetime of teaching literature, Patricia Meyer Spacks embarked on a year-long project of rereading dozens of novels: childhood favorites, fiction first encountered in young adulthood and never before revisited, books frequently reread, canonical works of literature she was supposed to have liked but didn’t, guilty pleasures (books she oughtn’t to have liked but did), and stories reread for fun vs. those read for the classroom. On Rereading records the sometimes surprising, always fascinating, results of her personal experiment.
Spacks addresses a number of intriguing questions raised by the purposeful act of rereading: Why do we reread novels when, in many instances, we can remember the plot? Why, for example, do some lovers of Jane Austen’s fiction reread her novels every year (or oftener)? Why do young children love to hear the same story read aloud every night at bedtime? And why, as adults, do we return to childhood favorites such as The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, and the Harry Potter novels? What pleasures does rereading bring? What psychological needs does it answer? What guilt does it induce when life is short and there are so many other things to do (and so many other books to read)? Rereading, Spacks discovers, helps us to make sense of ourselves. It brings us sharply in contact with how we, like the books we reread, have both changed and remained the same.
The phrase “The Black Legend” was coined in 1912 by a Spanish journalist in protest of the characterization of Spain by other Europeans as a backward country defined by ignorance, superstition, and religious fanaticism, whose history could never recover from the black mark of its violent conquest of the Americas. Challenging this stereotype, Rereading the Black Legend contextualizes Spain’s uniquely tarnished reputation by exposing the colonial efforts of other nations whose interests were served by propagating the “Black Legend.”
A distinguished group of contributors here examine early modern imperialisms including the Ottomans in Eastern Europe, the Portuguese in East India, and the cases of Mughal India and China, to historicize the charge of unique Spanish brutality in encounters with indigenous peoples during the Age of Exploration. The geographic reach and linguistic breadth of this ambitious collection will make it a valuable resource for any discussion of race, national identity, and religious belief in the European Renaissance.
Rereading the Fossil Record presents the first-ever historical account of the origin, rise, and importance of paleobiology, from the mid-nineteenth century to the late 1980s. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, David Sepkoski shows how the movement was conceived and promoted by a small but influential group of paleontologists and examines the intellectual, disciplinary, and political dynamics involved in the ascendency of paleobiology. By tracing the role of computer technology, large databases, and quantitative analytical methods in the emergence of paleobiology, this book also offers insight into the growing prominence and centrality of data-driven approaches in recent science.
This book reexamines the trope of the machine in the garden first laid out in one of the founding texts of American studies by Leo Marx fifty years ago. The contributors to this volume explore the lasting influence of this concept on American culture and the arts, rereading it as a dialectic wherein nature is as much technologized as technology is naturalized. Extending the relevance of Marx’s theory from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, they examine filmic and literary representations of industrial, bureaucratic, and digital gardens; explore its role in the aftermath of the Civil War and of rural electrification during the New Deal; its significance in landscape art as well as in ethnic literatures; and discuss the historical premises and continued impact of Leo Marx’s groundbreaking study.
Rereading the New Criticism
Miranda B. Hickman and John D. McIntyre The Ohio State University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN98.N4R47 2012 | Dewey Decimal 801.95
Committed to rigorous “close reading” and engagement with the “text itself” rather than information “extrinsic” to the text, John Crowe Ransom and a group of colleagues in the American South of the 1930s established a vanguard approach to literary criticism they called the “New Criticism.” By the 1940s, New Critical methods had become the dominant pedagogy in departments of English at colleges and universities across America, enjoying disciplinary hegemony until the late 1960s, when an influx of new theoretical work in literary studies left the New Criticism in shadow. Inspired by a range of new commentary reconsidering the New Criticism (from critics including Jane Gallop, Terry Eagleton, Charles Altieri, and Camille Paglia), the essays in Rereading the New Criticism reevaluate the New Critical corpus, trace its legacy, and explore resources it might offer for the future of theory, criticism, and pedagogy. Addressing the work of New Critics such as Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, and Robert Penn Warren, as well as important forerunners of the New Critics such as I. A. Richards and William Empson, these ten essays shed new light on the genesis of the New Criticism and its significant contributions to the development of academic literary studies in North America; revisit its chief arguments and methods; interrogate received ideas about the movement; and consider how its theories and techniques might inform new methodologies for literary and cultural studies in the twenty-first century.
Although Francesco Petrarca's position as the "father" of Italian Renaissance humanism has long been acknowledged, the specific meanings of his works and his legacy remain matters of controversy. Basic questions about the tension between his devotion to secular pursuits and his respect for religious withdrawal, about the authenticity of his ostensibly autobiographical writings, and about his relationship to scholasticism still provoke sustained debate. Rereading the Renaissance, a study of Petrarch's uses of Augustine, uses methods drawn from history and literary criticism to establish a framework for exploring Petrarch's humanism by approaching it through it central practices of reading and writing.
Carol Quillen argues that the essential role of Augustine's words and authority in the expression of Petrarch's humanism is best grasped through a study of the complex textual practices exemplified in the writings of both men. Petrarch's reliance on Augustine is most evident in his ways of reading and in his strategies of argument. Secondly, she maintains that Petrarch's appropriation of Augustine's words is only intelligible in light of his struggle to legitimate his cultural ideals in the face of compelling opposition. Finally, Quillen shows how Petrarch's uses of Augustine can simultaneously uphold his humanist ideals and challenge the legitimacy of the assumptions on which those ideals were founded.
Interdisciplinary in scope and method, this volume speaks to important debates that span the humanities. Scholars of literary and historical studies, as well as those in the fields of classical studies, patristics, and comparative literature, will find in Rereading the Renaissance a solid contribution to their interests.
Carol Everhart Quillen is Associate Professor of History, Rice University.
Approximately fifty historical novels dealing with the American Revolution were published in the United States from 1896 to 1906. Benjamin S. Lawson critically examines the narrative strategies employed in these works and the ways in which fiction is made to serve the purpose of vivifying national history.
Writing within the conventions of the historical romance, these authors created plots that reflect the enveloping concerns of the War for Independence, such as the young American woman who often must choose between suitors on opposite sides in the wider conflict.
Lawson concludes that these works reassured readers of the worth of an Anglo-American heritage. They were escapist fantasies to the degree that they failed to confront contemporary realities of crisis and change: the New Immigration, urbanization and industrialization, labor strife, the plight of the poor, and agitation on behalf of women and ethnic minorities.
This book is a critically informed challenge to the traditional histories of rhetoric and to the current emphasis on Aristotle and Plato as the most significant classical voices in rhetoric. In it, Susan C. Jarratt argues that the first sophists—a diverse group of traveling intellectuals in the fifth century B.C.—should be given a more prominent place in the study of rhetoric and composition. Rereading the ancient sophists, she creates a new lens through which to see contemporary social issues, including the orality/literacy debate, feminist writing, deconstruction, and writing pedagogy.
The sophists’ pleasure in the play of language, their focus on historical contin-gency, and the centrality of their teaching for democratic practice were sufficiently threatening to their successors Plato and Aristotle that both sought to bury the sophists under philosophical theories of language. The censure of Plato and Aris-totle set a pattern for historical views of the sophists for centuries. Following Hegel and Nietzsche, Jarratt breaks the pattern, finding in the sophists a more progressive charter for teachers and scholars of reading and writing, as well as for those in the adjacent disciplines of literary criticism and theory, education, speech communication, and ancient history.
In tracing the historical interpretations of sophistic rhetoric, Jarratt suggests that the sophists themselves provide the outlines of an alternative to history-writing as the discovery and recounting of a set of stable facts. She sees sophistic use of narrative in argument as a challenge to a simple division between orality and literacy, current discussions of which virtually ignore the sophists. Outlining similarities between écriture féminine and sophistic style, Jarratt shows that contemporary feminisms have more in common with sophists than just a style; they share a rhetorical basis for deployment of theory in political action. In her final chapter, Jarratt takes issue with accounts of sophistic pedagogy focusing on technique and the development of the individual. She argues that, despite its employment by powerful demagogues, sophistic pedagogy offers a resource for today’s teachers interested in encouraging minority voices of resistance through language study as the practice of democracy.
Latin American intellectual history is largely founded on essayistic writing. Women’s essays have always formed a part of this rich tradition, yet they have seldom received the respect they merit and are often omitted entirely from anthologies. This volume and its earlier companion, Reinterpreting the Spanish American Essay: Women Writers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, seek to remedy that neglect. This book collects thirty-six notable essays by twenty-two women writers, including Flora Tristan, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Clorinda Matto de Turner, Victoria Ocampo, Alfonsina Storni, Rosario Ferré, Christina Peri Rossi, and Elena Poniatowska. All of the essays are here translated into English for the first time, many by the same scholars who wrote critical studies of the authors in the first volume. Each author’s work is also prefaced by a brief biographical sketch.
With much recent scholarship polarizing frontier novels into “popular” and “literary” camps, The Word Rides Again challenges the critical orthodoxy that such works have little in common, arguing instead that formulaic Western fictions can subtly (and even subversively) share cultural concerns with more highbrow brethren. Each chapter focuses on a writer who has traditionally been classified as either popular or artistic, reading a representative fictional work against prevailing scholarly trends. In this manner, Bret Harte’s sentimental stories become gender-bending experiments in which women assume male roles and even enjoy lesbian relationships. Owen Wister’s The Virginian is transmuted from a misogynistic diatribe into a complex meditation on the peculiarly American relation of violence to male identity. And even Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, rather than the apotheosis of a religious leader, becomes a somewhat standard version of the popular frontier story.
The Word Rides Again represents a significant departure from more traditional studies of frontier literature. It reaffirms the continuum between popular and literary texts and explores the ways that frontier novels have echoed, endorsed, and extended each other from the inception of the genre.