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Anne Sexton
Telling the Tale
Steven E. Colburn, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1988
Anne Sexton: Telling the Tale contains some of the best and most representative writing on the life and work of this poet. The volume spans the course of her career from the 1960 publication of To Bedlam and Park Way Back to the works that were published after her death in 1974. Of special interest to the scholar and critic are the studies focusing on the materials, themes, and techniques of Sexton's poetry, especially in relation to those of her predecessors and contemporaries.

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Battling Siki
A Tale of Ring Fixes, Race, and Murder in the 1920s
Peter Benson
University of Arkansas Press, 2008
Battling Siki (1887–1925) was once one of the four or five most recognizable black men in the world, and was written about in detail by such figures as Ring Lardner and his son John, Damon Runyon, and Westbrook Pegler. One can find his legacy in the name of a popular rock group, one of Che Guevara’s lieutenants, a character on Xena, Warrior Princess, and the Battling Siki Hotel in the fighter’s homeland, Senegal. Peter Benson’s biography of the first African to win a world championshipin boxing delves into the complex world of sports, race, colonialism, and the cult of personality in the early twentieth century. Born Amadu Fall, Siki was taken from Senegal to France by an actress and assumed the name Louis M’barick Fall. After an inauspicious beginning as a boxer, he served in World War I with distinction then returned to boxing and compiled a most impressive record (forty-three wins in forty-six bouts). Then, on September 24, 1922, at Paris’s Buffalo Velodrome, before forty thousand stunned spectators (including a young Ernest Hemingway, who wrote about the fight), Battling Siki, employing his trademark “windmill” punch, fought and defeated the reigning world and European light heavyweight champion, Georges Carpentier. The colorful Siki spent a fortune partying and carousing, was arrested for firing a pistol in the air, and was frequently seen on the streets of Paris, dressed in flashy clothes, walking his pet lion cubs on a leash. But he also provoked a scandal by exposing the corruption of the fight game in France, spoke out boldly against racisim, and was arrected for deliberately defying the code of racial segregation in the American South. Siki’s flamboyant image was largely created by newsmen. In fact, the real Siki, while he did certainly like to party, was also an intelligent and socially conscious person, who detested the media’s image of him as a simple-minded drunken savage. Offers rushed in for him to fight in the United States, maybe even against Jack Dempsey. But in a move many have called one of the strangest a fighter ever made, he fought Irishman Mike McTigue in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day—and lost. After losing his European title he came to the United States and fought without much success. He continued to drink and get into street brawls. On the evening of December 15, 1925, at the age of twenty-eight, he was shot and killed in Hell’s Kitchen in what some claimed was a gangland execution. Peter Benson’s biography beautifully captures Battling Siki’s amazing boxing career and sheds new light on the scandal surrounding his marriages and public behavior, his alleged participation in ring fixes, and the mystery surrounding his death.

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Beethoven's French Piano
A Tale of Ambition and Frustration
Tom Beghin
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Using a replica of Beethoven’s Erard piano, scholar and performer Tom Beghin launches a striking reinterpretation of a key period of Beethoven’s work.

In 1803 Beethoven acquired a French piano from the Erard Frères workshop in Paris. The composer was “so enchanted with it,” one visitor reported, “that he regards all the pianos made here as rubbish by comparison.” While Beethoven loved its sound, the touch of the French keyboard was much heavier than that of the Viennese pianos he had been used to. Hoping to overcome this drawback, he commissioned a local technician to undertake a series of revisions, with ultimately disappointing results. Beethoven set aside the Erard piano for good in 1810.
Beethoven’s French Piano returns the reader to this period of Beethoven’s enthusiasm for all things French. What traces of the Erard’s presence can be found in piano sonatas like his “Waldstein” and “Appassionata”? To answer this question, Tom Beghin worked with a team of historians and musicians to commission the making of an accurate replica of the Erard piano. As both a scholar and a recording artist, Beghin is uniquely positioned to guide us through this key period of Beethoven’s work. Whether buried in archives, investigating the output of the French pianists who so fascinated Beethoven, or seated at the keyboard of his Erard, Beghin thinks and feels his way into the mind of the composer, bringing startling new insights into some of the best-known piano compositions of all time.

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Beyond Mammoth Cave
A Tale of Obsession in the World's Longest Cave
James D. Borden and Roger W. Brucker
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

In Beyond Mammoth Cave: A Tale of Obsession in the World’s Longest Cave, James D. Borden and Roger W. Brucker provide gripping first-person accounts of the discoveries, including Roppel Cave, that made Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave three times longer than any other cave in the world.

Borden, a relative newcomer, and Brucker, a veteran explorer, bring a personal and sometimes conflicting view of their roles as adversaries in a race that lasted from 1972 through 1983 to find “big cave.” They describe hazardous adventures, precarious climbs, and close calls from falling rocks. The perils are many and the trek arduous as they squirm through muddy tubes, wade in neck-deep cold water, and crawl over sharp rocks and gritty sand. Theirs is a tale of agonizing endurance spiced by spectacular discoveries.

But the cave was not the sole obstacle. The explorations were complicated by political intrigue and the rivalry between the Kentucky-based Cave Research Foundation and the Central Kentucky Karst Coalition, each seeking to make discoveries and hide secrets. Extreme stress, of course, evoked extreme behavior, ranging from selfishness to sacrifice, from outrageous humor to the deadly serious response.

Beyond Mammoth Cave includes maps by Patricia Kambesis that show the progression of cave discoveries in relation to the topography. Original line drawings by well-known illustrator Linda Heslop capture the dark mystery of the exploration. The book features five black and white photographs as a color gallery of photographs.

A sequel to The Longest Cave by Brucker and Richard A. Watson, this book is a comprehensive update of the speleological investigations in the Mammoth Cave region. Brucker’s involvement provides continuity to the investigation.


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Border Beagles
A Tale of Mississippi
William Gilmore Simms
University of Arkansas Press, 1996
With its rich variety of major and minor characters, speaking the language and reflecting the mores of the frontier, Border Beagles emerged upon the American literary scene in 1840 with a freshness and a vitality that mark the best of the realistic and humorous Southern tradition.

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The Businessman
A Tale of Terror
Thomas M. Disch
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
The Businessman presents the sinister tale of Bob Glandier, a morally repulsive Twin Cities executive who murders his estranged wife and attempts to go back to business as usual, until she returns sets about arranging his divine retribution. With help from her dead mother and the ghost of poet John Berryman-thoroughly bored of suburban séances and all too eager to lend a hand-Giselle undertakes the elaborate, righteous, and wickedly amusing haunting of her husband. There is justice in the afterlife after all-at least in Minnesota.

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Crab Wars
A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Bioterrorism, and Human Health
William Sargent
University Press of New England, 2006
Surviving almost unmolested for 300 million years, the horseshoe crab is now the object of an intense legal and ethical struggle involving marine biologists, environmentalists, US government officials, biotechnologists, and international corporations. The source of this friction is the discovery 25 years ago that the blood of these ancient creatures serves as the basis for the most reliable test for the deadly and ubiquitous gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for life-threatening diseases like menengitis, typhoid, E. coli, Legionnaire’s Disease and toxic shock syndrome. Because every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate, a multimillion dollar industry has emerged involving the license to “bleed” horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. Since his youthful fascination with these ancient creatures, William Sargent has spent much of his life observing, studying, and collecting horseshoe crabs. As a result, he presents a thoroughly accessible insider’s guide to the discovery of the lysate test, the exploitation of the crabs at the hands of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, local fishing interests, and the legal and governmental wrangling over the creatures’ ultimate fate. In the end, the story of the horseshoe crab is a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences of scientific progress and the danger of self-regulated industries controlling a limited natural resource.

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Crab Wars
A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Ecology, and Human Health
William Sargent
Brandeis University Press, 2021
A timely look at the exploitation of a species that has helped with the development of countless drugs and is fast becoming endangered.
Because every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate, a multimillion-dollar industry has emerged involving the license to bleed horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. William Sargent presents a thoroughly accessible insider’s guide to the discovery of the lysate test, the exploitation of the horseshoe crab at the hands of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, local fishing interests, and the legal and governmental wrangling over the creatures’ ultimate fate. In the end, the story of the horseshoe crab is a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences of scientific progress and the danger of self-regulated industries controlling a limited natural resource. This new edition brings the story up to date as companies race to manufacture alternatives to the horseshoe crab blood, which is now essential for testing vaccines such as those developed to counter COVID-19. However, horseshoe crab populations are still dwindling, with profound implications not only for the future of the crabs themselves but also for the ecosystems that depend on them.

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A Tale of Happy Endings
Jeri Quinzio
Reaktion Books, 2018
Let’s face it: roast beef and potatoes are all well and good, but for many of us, when it comes to gustatory delight, we’re all about dessert. Whether it’s a homemade strawberry shortcake in summer or a chef’s complex medley of sweets, dessert is the perfect finale to a meal. Most of us have a favorite, even those who seldom indulge. After all, sweet is one of the basic flavors—and one we seem hardwired to love.

Yet, as Jeri Quinzio reveals, while everyone has a taste for sweetness, not every culture enjoys a dessert course at the end of the meal. And desserts as we know them—the light sponge cakes of The Great British Baking Show, the ice creams, the steamed plum puddings—are neither as old nor as ubiquitous as many of us believe. Tracing the history of desserts and the way they, and the course itself, have evolved over time, Quinzio begins before dessert was a separate course—when sweets and savories were mixed on the table—and concludes in the present, when homey desserts are enjoying a revival, and as molecular gastronomists are creating desserts an alchemist would envy.

An indulgent, mouth-wateringly illustrated read featuring recipes; texts from chefs, writers, and diarists; and extracts (not the vanilla or almond variety) from cookbooks, menus, newspapers, and magazines, Dessert is a delectable happy ending for anyone with a curious mind—and an incorrigible sweet tooth.

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Emmanuel Appadocca; or, Blighted Life
A Tale of the Boucaneers
Maxwell Philip
University of Massachusetts Press, 1997
This 1854 novel traces a mulatto son's quest for vengeance against his white father, a sugar planter who abandoned him and his mother. Intent on redeeming his mother's honor and outraged by the cruelty and greed that slavery has engendered Appodacca sails the seas with a band of ruthless pirates on a ship named the Black Schooner. The novel, written by the important activist and intellectual Michel Maxwell Philip (1829-1888) deals with themes, symbols, and literary techniques that are reminiscent of other major authors such as Melville, Douglass, and Stowe. This new edition with scholarly commentaries and annotations will reorient our understanding of the development of Caribbean literature in relation to English and American literary production.

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Every Farm Tells a Story
A Tale of Family Values
Jerry Apps
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018
Jerry Apps details the virtues and hardships of rural living. 

“Do your chores without complaining. Show up on time. Do every job well. Always try to do better. Never stop learning. Next year will be better. Care for others, especially those who have less than you. Accept those who are different from you. Love the land.”

In this paperback edition of a beloved Jerry Apps classic, the rural historian captures the heart and soul of life in rural America. Inspired by his mother’s farm account books—in which she meticulously recorded every farm purchase—Jerry chronicles life on a small farm during and after World War II. Featuring a new introduction exclusive to this 2nd edition, Every Farm Tells a Story reminds us that, while our family farms are shrinking in number, the values learned there remain deeply woven in our cultural heritage. 

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A Face in the Rock
The Tale Of A Grand Island Chippewa
Loren Graham
Island Press, 1995
Eight miles long and four miles wide, Grand Island lies off the south shore of Lake Superior. It was once home to a sizable community of Chippewa Indians who lived in harmony with the land and with each other. Their tragic demise began early in the nineteenth century when their fellow tribesmen from the mainland goaded them into waging war against rival Sioux. The war party was decimated; only one young brave, Powers of the Air, lived to tell the story that celebrated the heroism of his band and formed the basis of the legend that survives today. Distinguished historian Loren R. Graham has spent more than forty years researching and reconstructing the poignant tale of Powers of the Air and his people. A Face in the Rock is an artful melding of human history and natural history; it is a fascinating narrative of the intimate relation between place and people.

Powers of the Air lived to witness the desecration of Grand Island by the fur and logging industries, the Christianization of the tribe, and the near total loss of the Chippewa language, history, and culture. Graham charts the plight of the Chippewa as white culture steadily encroaches, forcing the native people off the island and dispersing their community on the mainland. The story ends with happier events of the past two decades, including the protection of Grand Island within the National Forest system, and the resurgence of Chippewa culture.

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Figures of Resistance
Language, Poetry, and Narrating in The Tale of the Genji and Other Mid-Heian Texts
H. Richard Okada
Duke University Press, 1991
In this revisionist study of texts from the mid-Heian period in Japan, H. Richard Okada offers new readings of three well-known tales: The Tale of the Bamboo-cutter, The Tale of Ise, and The Tale of Genji. Okada contends that the cultural and gendered significance of these works has been distorted by previous commentaries and translations belonging to the larger patriarchal and colonialist discourse of Western civilization. He goes on to suggest that this universalist discourse, which silences the feminine aspects of these texts and subsumes their writing in misapplied Western canonical literary terms, is sanctioned and maintained by the discipline of Japanese literature.
Okada develops a highly original and sophisticated reading strategy that demonstrates how readers might understand texts belonging to a different time and place without being complicit in their assimilation to categories derived from Western literary traditions. The author’s reading stratgey is based on the texts’ own resistance to modes of analysis that employ such Western canonical terms as novel, lyric, and third-person narrative. Emphasis is also given to the distinctive cultural circles, as well as socio-political and genealogical circumstances that surrounded the emergence of the texts.
Indispensable readings for specialists in literature, cultural studies, and Japanese literature and history, Figures of Resistance will also appeal to general readers interested in the problems and complexities of studying another culture.

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A Tale of Magic and Friendship
Tess Weaver, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
University of Iowa Press, 2021
All the trout at the Fishtastic Theater School can breathe out of water—except for Etta, the school’s costume designer. No matter how hard she tries, Etta can’t unlock her Fishtastic magic. When the theater troupe swims down the Iowa River to perform at Iowa City’s Hancher Auditorium, Etta discovers something very important that they’ve left behind. Can Etta save the show even though she’s not magical?

Inspired by the fish sculptures installed along the walkways welcoming visitors to Hancher, Fishtastic! is a delightful blend of lovable characters and whimsical watercolor illustrations that celebrate the joy of discovering your own path to enchantment.

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Franklin Evans, or The Inebriate
A Tale of the Times
Walt Whitman
Duke University Press, 2007
Not many people know that Walt Whitman—arguably the preeminent American poet of the nineteenth century—began his literary career as a novelist. Franklin Evans, or The Inebriate: A Tale of the Times was his first and only novel. Published in 1842, during a period of widespread temperance activity, it became Whitman’s most popular work during his lifetime, selling some twenty thousand copies.

The novel tells the rags-to-riches story of Franklin Evans, an innocent young man from the Long Island countryside who seeks his fortune in New York City. Corrupted by music halls, theaters, and above all taverns, he gradually becomes a drunkard. Until the very end of the tale, Evans’s efforts to abstain fail, and each time he resumes drinking, another series of misadventures ensues. Along the way, Evans encounters a world of mores and conventions rapidly changing in response to the vicissitudes of slavery, investment capital, urban mass culture, and fervent reform. Although Evans finally signs a temperance pledge, his sobriety remains haunted by the often contradictory and unsettling changes in antebellum American culture.

The editors’ substantial introduction situates Franklin Evans in relation to Whitman’s life and career, mid-nineteenth-century American print culture, and many of the developments and institutions the novel depicts, including urbanization, immigration, slavery, the temperance movement, and new understandings of class, race, gender, and sexuality. This edition includes a short temperance story Whitman published at about the same time as he did Franklin Evans, the surviving fragment of what appears to be another unfinished temperance novel by Whitman, and a temperance speech Abraham Lincoln gave the same year that Franklin Evans was published.


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From Topic to Tale
Logic and Narrativity in the Middle Ages
Eugene VanceForeword by Wlad Godzich
University of Minnesota Press, 1987

From Topic to Tale was first published in 1987. 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.

The transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance has been discussed since the 1940s as a shift from a Latinate culture to one based on a vernacular language, and, since the 1960s, as a shift from orality to literacy. From Topic to Tale focuses on this multifaceted transition, but it poses the problem in different terms: it shows how a rhetorical tradition was transformed into a textual one, and ends ultimately in a discussion of the relationship between discourse and society.

The rise of French vernacular literacy in the twelfth century coincided with the emergence of logic as a powerful instrument of the human mind. With logic come a new concern for narrative coherence and form, a concern exemplified by the work of Chretien de Troyes. Many brilliant poetic achievements crystallized in the narrative art of Chretien, establishing an enduring tradition of literary technique for all of Europe. Eugene Vance explores the intellectual context of Chretien's vernacular literacy, and in particular, the interaction between the three "arts of language" (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) compromising the trivium. Until Vance, few critics have studied the contribution of logic to Chretiens poetics, nor have they assessed the ethical bond between rationalism and the new heroic code of romance.

Vance takes Chretien de Troyes' great romance, Yvain ou le chevalier au lion,as the centerpiece of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance. It is also central to his own thesis, which shows how Chretien forged a bold new vision of humans as social beings situated between beasts and angels and promulgated the symbolic powers of language, money, and heraldic art to regulate the effects of human desire. Vance's reading of the Yvain contributes not only to the intellectual history of the Middle Ages, but also to the continuing dialogue between contemporary critical theory and medieval culture.

Eugene Vance is professor of French and comparative literature at Emory University and principal editor of a University of Nebraska series, Regents Studies in Medieval Culture. Wlad Godzich is director of the Center for Humanistic Studies at the University of Minnesota and co-editor of the series Theory and History of Literature.


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"The God of Love’s Letter" and "The Tale of the Rose"
A Bilingual Edition. With Jean Gerson, “A Poem on Man and Woman,” Translated from the Latin by Thomas O’Donnell
Christine de Pizan
Iter Press, 2020
Christine de Pizan was born in Italy and moved to the French court of Charles V when she was four years old. She led a life of learning, stimulated by her reading and by her drive to engage with the cultural and political issues of her day. As a young widow she sought to support her family through writing, and she broke new ground by pursuing a life as an author and self-publisher, producing an astonishingly large and varied body of work. Her books, owned and read by some of the most important figures of her day, addressed politics, philosophy, government, ethics, the conduct of war, autobiography and biography, and religious subjects.

The God of Love’s Letter (1399), Christine de Pizan’s first defense of women, is arguably her most succinct statement about gender. It also rebukes the thirteenth-century Romance of the Rose and anticipates Christine’s City of Ladies. The Tale of the Rose (1402) responds to the growth in chivalric orders for the defense of women by arguing that women, not men, should choose members of the “Order of the Rose.” Both poems are freshly edited here from their earliest manuscripts and each is newly translated into English.

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Guy Rivers
A Tale of Georgia
William G. Simms
University of Arkansas Press, 1993
The first of William Gilmore Simms's Border Romance series, this is a vividly accurate and entertaining account of two very different societies in frontier Georgia during the height of the gold-rush era.

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Helen Halsey, or The Swamp State of Conelachita
A Tale of the Borders
William Gilmore Simms
University of Arkansas Press, 1998
In this novelette, William Gilmore Simms records one of the awful realities of America's early frontier, that of women trapped in ill-fated marriages. Forced into a union with her lover, Helen Halsey is exploited and victimized in a domestic situation from which there is no release.Utilizing the compression of the short novel form, Simms weaves elaborate plot lines of violence, romance, and intrigue to create a fast-moving, action-packed tale of an America just beginning its search for identity, justice, and spiritual truth. Edgar Allan Poe said of Simms that "in invention, in vigor, in movement, in the power of exciting interest, and in the artistical arrangement of his themes," he surpassed "any of his countrymen."

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I’ll Tell You a Tale
An Anthology
By J. Frank Dobie
University of Texas Press, 1981

I'll Tell You a Tale is a garland of some of Frank Dobie's best writing, put together by Isabel Gaddis, one of his former students at the University of Texas. The tales included are those the author himself liked best, and he even rewrote some of them especially for this anthology. Ben Carlton Mead has contributed 32 original line drawings to illustrate the stories.

These tales spring from the soil and folklore of our land; but more than this, they make the readers contemporary with the times, filling us with the wonder of something past and yet still with us. They are arranged topically into sections whose titles speak for them: "The Longhorn Breed," "Mustangs and Mustangers," "The Saga of the Saddle," "Characters and Happenings of Long Ago," "Animals of the Wild," "In Realms of Gold," and "Ironies."


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Language and Reality in Swift’s A Tale of a Tub
Frederik N. Smith
The Ohio State University Press, 1900

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The Last Tortoise
A Tale of Extinction in Our Lifetime
Craig B. Stanford
Harvard University Press, 2010

Tortoises may be the first family of higher animals to become extinct in the coming decades. They are losing the survival race because of what distinguishes them, in particular their slow, steady pace of life and reproduction.

The Last Tortoise offers an introduction to these remarkable animals and the extraordinary adaptations that have allowed them to successfully populate a diverse range of habitats—from deserts to islands to tropical forests. The shields that protect their shoulders and ribs have helped them evade predators. They are also safeguarded by their extreme longevity and long period of fertility. Craig Stanford details how human predation has overcome these evolutionary advantages, extinguishing several species and threatening the remaining forty-five.

At the center of this beautifully written work is Stanford’s own research in the Mascarene and Galapagos Islands, where the plight of giant tortoise populations illustrates the threat faced by all tortoises. He addresses unique survival problems, from genetic issues to the costs and benefits of different reproductive strategies. Though the picture Stanford draws is bleak, he offers reason for hope in the face of seemingly inevitable tragedy. Like many intractable environmental problems, extinction is not manifest destiny. Focusing on tortoise nurseries and breeding facilities, the substitution of proxy species for extinct tortoises, and the introduction of species to new environments, Stanford’s work makes a persuasive case for the future of the tortoise in all its rich diversity.


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A Law for the Lion
A Tale of Crime and Injustice in the Borderlands
By Beatriz de la Garza
University of Texas Press, 2003

"Esto no es cosa de armas" (this is not a matter for weapons). These were the last words of Don Francisco Gutiérrez before Alonzo W. Allee shot and killed him and his son, Manuel Gutiérrez. What began as a simple dispute over Allee's unauthorized tenancy on a Gutiérrez family ranch near Laredo, Texas, led not only to the slaying of these two prominent Mexican landowners but also to a blatant miscarriage of justice.

In this engrossing account of the 1912 crime and the subsequent trial of Allee, Beatriz de la Garza delves into the political, ethnic, and cultural worlds of the Texas-Mexico border to expose the tensions between the Anglo minority and the Mexican majority that propelled the killings and their aftermath. Drawing on original sources, she uncovers how influential Anglos financed a first-class legal team for Allee's defense and also discusses how Anglo-owned newspapers helped shape public opinion in Allee's favor. In telling the story of this long-ago crime and its tragic results, de la Garza sheds new light on the interethnic struggles that defined life on the border a century ago, on the mystique of the Texas Rangers (Allee was said to be a Ranger), and on the legal framework that once institutionalized violence and lawlessness in Texas.


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Life, Brazen and Garish
A Tale of Three Women
Dacia Maraini
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Three generations of women live together under the same roof. Though they are united by blood, each of the Cascadei women has a very different personality and way of expressing herself. Teenage daughter Lori scribbles impulsively in her diary, so eager to speed off on her moped that she rarely bothers with punctuation. Mother Maria, a professional translator, writes detailed and observant letters yet doesn’t see what is happening right in front of her. And grandmother Gesuina, a former stage actress, speaks into an audio recorder, giving a provocative and brutally candid performance for an imagined audience that might never listen. 
Life, Brazen and Garish offers a fresh take on the epistolary novel, telling the story of a family through the fragmented and disparate perspectives of daughter, mother, and grandmother. Yet even as each woman endures her private struggles with love and betrayal, youth and maturity, knowledge and ignorance, reality and illusion, the Cascadeis forge a solidarity that transcends generations. In turns heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, this novel is a triumph of narrative voice and literary style from one of Italy’s most renowned writers.

Questo libro è stato tradotto grazie a un contributo del Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale italiano.
This book has been translated thanks to a contribution from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


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The Little Bulbs
A Tale of Two Gardens
Elizabeth A. Lawrence
Duke University Press, 1986
“A beautifully written book.”—The Garden Journal

“A few garden writers offer prose that goes beyond how to spade and spray to convey the experience and pleasures of gardening. The late Elizabeth Lawrence was such a writer.”—Southern Living

“First published in 1957 and out-of-print for many years, this is a delightfully written and enormously informative introduction to the fascinating variety of little bulbs available to the gardener. The author discusses a wide variety of plants, both familiar and little-known, including crocuses, species daffodils, hardy cyclamen and lily-family members such as Brodiaea, Bessera, and Calochortus.”—American Horticulturist


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Love after The Tale of Genji
Rewriting the World of the Shining Prince
Charo B. D'Etcheverry
Harvard University Press, 2007

The eleventh-century masterpiece The Tale of Genji casts a long shadow across the literary terrain of the Heian period (794-1185). It has dominated critical and popular reception of Heian literary production and become the definitive expression of the aesthetics, poetics, and politics of life in the Heian court.

But the brilliance of Genji has eclipsed the works of later Heian authors, who have since been displaced from the canon and relegated to critical obscurity.

Charo B. D'Etcheverry calls for a reevaluation of late Heian fiction by shedding new light upon this undervalued body of work. D'Etcheverry examines three representative texts—The Tale of Sagoromo, The Tale of the Hamamatsu Middle Counselor, and Nezame at Night—as legitimate heirs to the literary legacy of Genji and as valuable indexes to the literary tastes and readerly expectations that evolved over the Heian period.

Balancing careful analyses of plot, character, and motif with keen insights into the cultural and political milieu of the late Heian period, D'Etcheverry argues that we should read such works not as mere derivatives of a canonical text, but as dynamic fictional commentaries and variations upon the tropes and subplots that continue to resonate with readers of Genji.


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A Tale of the Real and Ideal, Blight and Bloom
Sylvester Judd
University of Massachusetts Press, 2009
Praised at the time as the most emphatically "American" book ever written, Margaret is a breathtaking combination of female bildungsroman, utopian novel, and historical romance. First published in 1845, Sylvester Judd's novel centers on the fictional New England village of Livingston, where the young Margaret Hart strives to escape the poverty and vice of her surroundings by learning from a mysterious teacher, the "Master," and by entwining herself with the powers of nature. But when Margaret's brother is tried and hanged for murder, this rural community collapses, forcing Margaret to face the temptations of an urban underworld and to confront the intrigue of her family history. Margaret is the story of a young woman's attempt to create a new social order, founded on beauty and truth, in a land plagued by violence, debauchery, and political instability.

As Gavin Jones points out in his new introduction, Margaret perhaps stands alone in its creation of a female character who grows in social rather than domestic power. The novel also remains unique in its exploration of transcendental philosophy in novelistic form. Part eco-criticism, part seduction novel, part temperance tract, and part social history, Margaret is a virtual handbook for understanding the literary culture of mid-nineteenth-century America, the missing piece in puzzling out connections between writers such as Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Thoreau.

Margaret was widely read and deeply influential on both British and American writers throughout the nineteenth century but controversial for its representations of alcoholism and capital punishment. Judd's novel remains resonant for today's readers as it overturns conventional views of the literary representation of women and the origins of the American Renaissance.

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Maurice, or The Fisher's Cot
A Tale
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
University of Chicago Press, 2000
In November 1997, a slight book sewn together with string was discovered in a palazzo in Italy. This was Maurice, the only children's story ever penned by Mary Shelley. Written two years after Frankenstein, Maurice is often read as a gloss of Shelley's personal family tragedies, bearing the same melancholy that distinguishes all of her works. As Claire Tomalin shows in her compelling introduction, it contributes greatly to the literary and biographical scholarship on this fascinating woman who was a significant writer in her own right as well as the wife of one of the world's greatest romantic poets.


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A Tale of Modern American Life
Sara L. Knox
Duke University Press, 1998
What exactly is it about murder that claims such a powerful hold on the American imagination? In this book, Sara L. Knox examines postwar America’s preoccupation with this act of violence. Demonstrating how American culture both consumes and produces tales of murder, Knox examines numerous relevant narratives—news stories, psychiatric testimony, legal transcripts, fictional accounts, and examples from the thriving literary genre of true crime.
In her approach to the telling of this cultural phenomenon, Knox draws on historical analysis and original research. She discusses such subjects as the continuing existence of capital punishment, the “sensational” American murderers Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez (aka the Honeymoon Killers), the connection between true crime books and romance narratives, and pulp murder novels of the 1930s and 1940s. Analyzing widespread interest in forensic psychiatry, sexuality, mortality, and the relation of gender to society’s reactions to murder, Knox refers to the early work of David Brion Davis, Bill Ellis, and Joel Black. While demonstrating how society’s focus has shifted from the act itself to the psychology of the murderer to the broader social forces at work, she discusses the writings of Willard Motley, William March, Curtis Bok, James Baldwin, and Kate Millett, among others.
Full of anecdotes and insights, Murder is a lively meditation on American culture that includes not only close critical readings of individual texts but also everyday matters of murder’s meaning. It will interest those involved with American studies, cultural studies, and true crime accounts.

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Popular Organization and Democracy in Rio De Janeiro
A Tale of Two Favelas
Robert Gay
Temple University Press, 1993
"Robert Gay's study is well done. It provides a detailed look at two different forms of popular political organization in Brazil and how they relate to the state, local people, parties, and politicians.... Gay allows the reader to catch a glimpse of the enormous varieties of ways in which popular organizations relate politics to contemporary Brazil. There is no comparable book on Latin American politics." --Scott Mainwaring, Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame This urban tale of survival illustrates two versions of active, organized, aggressive participation in the political process. Vila Brasil survives by exchanging votes for favors. The president of its neighborhood association promises political candidates that the favela will vote in masse for the highest bidder. Vila Brasil has maneuvered this power to become one of the best served favelas in the region--for the moment, at least. Vidigal, on the other hand, steadfastly refuses to support candidates who campaign on boasts or promises alone. Vote-selling, or buying, is not permitted. To do well in Vidigal, a politician must talk not only about providing electricity and water in the favela, but also about wages, education, and health care over the longer term. In analyzing the favela's different responses to the popular movement that confronted the military in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the author makes a significant contribution to literature about relationships among urban poor, political elites, and the state.

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Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java
A Tale of Two Villages
Ann R. Tickamyer
Ohio University Press, 2012

Women’s status in rural Java can appear contradictory to those both inside and outside the culture. In some ways, women have high status and broad access to resources, but other situations suggest that Javanese women lack real power and autonomy. Javanese women have major responsibilities in supporting their families and controlling household finances. They may also own and manage their own property. Yet these symbols and potential sources of independence and influence are determined by a culturally prescribed, state-reinforced, patriarchal gender ideology that limits women’s autonomy. Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java examines this contradiction as well as sources of stability and change in contemporary Javanese gender relations.

The authors conducted their research in two rural villages in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during three important historical and political periods: the end of the New Order regime; the transitional period of reformation; and the subsequent establishment of a democratic government. Their collaboration brings a unique perspective, analyzing how gender is constructed and reproduced and how power is exercised as Indonesia faces the challenges of building a new social order.


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Preserving the Spell
Basile's "The Tale of Tales" and Its Afterlife in the Fairy-Tale Tradition
Armando Maggi
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Fairy tales are supposed to be magical, surprising, and exhilarating, an enchanting counterpoint to everyday life that nonetheless helps us understand and deal with the anxieties of that life. Today, however, fairy tales are far from marvelous—in the hands of Hollywood, they have been stripped of their power, offering little but formulaic narratives and tame surprises.
If we want to rediscover the power of fairy tales—as Armando Maggi thinks we should—we need to discover a new mythic lens, a new way of approaching and understanding, and thus re-creating, the transformative potential of these stories. In Preserving the Spell, Maggi argues that the first step is to understand the history of the various traditions of oral and written narrative that together created the fairy tales we know today. He begins his exploration with the ur-text of European fairy tales, Giambattista Basile’s The Tale of Tales, then traces its path through later Italian, French, English, and German traditions, with particular emphasis on the Grimm Brothers’ adaptations of the tales, which are included in the first-ever English translation in an appendix. Carrying his story into the twentieth century, Maggi mounts a powerful argument for freeing fairy tales from their bland contemporary forms, and reinvigorating our belief that we still can find new, powerfully transformative ways of telling these stories.

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Reno, Las Vegas, and the Strip
A Tale of Three Cities
Eugene P. Moehring
University of Nevada Press, 2024
Eugene P. Moehring analyzes the development of Reno and Las Vegas since 1945 with special emphasis on the years after 1970. Major factors that shaped the development of both cities were the growth of corporate gaming and megaresorts and increased personal leisure and affluence. Moehring provides an engaging, informative, and readable history of the divergent paths that Reno and Las Vegas took over the past forty years. Reno, the nation’s gambling mecca in the 1950s, led the way, developing the successful tourist economy that Las Vegas later embraced. Through the 1970s the two cities resembled each other greatly, but Las Vegas grew to achieve global significance, while Reno slowly declined, searching for new industries to power its future. Moehring shows that the development of the Las Vegas Strip was crucial to southern Nevada’s success. The casinos, hotels, and entertainments of the Strip, and the workers they supported, formed a new urban center ringed by offices, residences, shopping, and a major university. In effect, it became a third metropolis, governed by county commissioners, larger than Reno and Las Vegas combined.

Moehring brings the story of the three cities to the present day, examining lessons learned from the Great Recession and the efforts under way in all three metropolises to diversify their economies. Moehring makes an important contribution with the only current study of Nevada’s cities, focusing on urban development issues rather than social history or the gaming industry. As the service economy continues to grow, not only in Nevada but throughout the United States, Moehring’s work has many implications for urban studies and particularly the study of urban development in other metropolitan areas.

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Richard Hurdis
A Tale of Alabama
Simms, William Gilmore
University of Arkansas Press, 1995
Originally published in 1838, Richard Hurdis portrays the "wild and savage" southwest frontier of the new Republic in the 1820s and 30s. When the narrator/protagonist Richard Hurdis daringly infiltrates the criminal network in an effort the stem the corruption and to avenge the brutal murder of his best friend, the scene is set for a powerful story. In Richard Hurdis, Simms the historian, the realist, and the novelist merge to create a memorable book.

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The Road to Wildcat
A Tale of Mountain Alabama
Eleanor Risley
University of Alabama Press, 2004

A remarkable chronicle of southern mountain life in the early 20th century

The Road to Wildcat recounts the travels in North Alabama in the mid-1920s of Eleanor Risley (suffering from diabetes), her asthmatic husband, Pierre, their dog, John, and a Chinese wheelbarrow named Sisyphus that held their travel goods. Advised to make the walking tour for improvement of their health, the group left Fairhope in south Alabama and walked hundreds of miles in the southern Appalachians for months, sleeping out under the stars at night, or in a canvas tent or an abandoned building, cooking their fresh-caught foods over campfires, and accepting the generosity and advice of the mountain people they met, some of them moonshiners and outlaws.
During their sojourn across the rural wilderness, they enjoyed fiddlin’ dances in rickety halls, joined Sacred Harp singers, learned about the grapevine telegraph, saw the dreadful effects of inbreeding, and attended “Snake Night” at Posey Holler (a religious revival that included snake handling). Published in segments in the Atlantic Monthly in 1928 and 1929 and then reorganized into book form, the travelogue is a colorful record of the culture, customs, and dialect of the southern mountaineers of that era.


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The Sheltered Quarter
A Tale of a Boyhood in Mecca
By Hamza Bogary
University of Texas Press, 1991

Hamza Bogary describes a bygone way of life that has now irreversibly disappeared. He speaks of life in Mecca before the advent of oil. Only partly autobiographical, the memoir is nevertheless rich in remembered detail based on Bogary's early observations of life in Mecca. He has transformed his knowledge into art through his sense of humor, empathy, and remarkable understanding of human nature. This work not only entertains; it also informs its readers about the Arabia of the first half of the twentieth century in a graphic and fascinating way. The narrator, young Muhaisin, deals with various aspects of Arabian culture, including education, pilgrimages, styles of clothing, slavery, public executions, the status of women, and religion. Muhaisin is frank in his language and vivid in his humor. The reader quickly comes to love the charming and mischievous boy in this universal tale.


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Sigurd and His Brave Companions
A Tale of Medieval Norway
Sigrid Undset
University of Minnesota Press, 2013

Inspired by tales of the hero Vilmund Vidutan and his fellow knights, Sigurd Jonsson and his young friends Ivar and Helge set out to reenact these exploits on their medieval Norwegian farm. They carve swords and lances and spend hours making shields. With a little imagination, a pasture becomes a battlefield, an old boar their greatest foe, and they pass many hours jousting and dueling. But when the summer is nearly over, the three boys stumble into real trouble and must prove their courage in an adventure all their own.

Written during Sigrid Undset’s time in New York, Sigurd and His Brave Companions will make medieval Norway come alive for young and old readers alike.


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Stalking the Big Bird
A Tale of Turkeys, Biologists, and Bureaucrats
Harley Shaw
University of Arizona Press, 2004
Merriam's turkey is a bird native to the southern Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, a subspecies that might seem at first blush an unlikely subject for intensive research. But as Harley Shaw well knows, no creature is exempt from the close scrutiny of biologists. Shaw is himself a research biologist perhaps best known for his book Soul among Lions. Although the wild turkey may be less charismatic than the puma, it offers an equal opportunity for Shaw to reflect on how we manage—or mismanage—wildlife. But while focusing on this big bird of the Southwest, his new book is really a field study of another rare species, the wildlife management professional. Stalking the Big Bird is a sober and seasoned view of what that rare breed is doing, and failing to do, in its efforts to protect the animals and landscapes that we love.

State and federal wildlife agencies have for some sixty years functioned under the belief that increased knowledge produced by research improves our ability to manage wildlife. Shaw suggests that the more we know about a species, the more difficult clear decisions may often become. He offers shrewd observations on the difficulties of interpreting and implementing research results in the face of pressures exerted by government bureaucracies, non-governmental organizations, and politically powerful loggers, ranchers, land developers, and environmentalists. He also shows that management of even a common game bird may be beyond the capabilities of responsible resource management agencies. Through stories about his own experiences studying Merriam's wild turkey—anecdotes about the foibles of field work and the bureaucratic boondoggles of wildlife management—Shaw reveals some of the complexities involved in wildlife research.

Drawing on a lifetime of work and reflection, his book shows that sound research and effective management of this animal—and, by extension, others—are severely hampered by political agendas, social misunderstandings, inappropriate research, and above all, human indifference. As entertaining as it is informative, Stalking the Big Bird will be of interest to environmentalists, hunters, and resource managers—or anyone confused by the practices of modern wildlife conservation. It will help both professionals and lay readers understand our relationship with one wild subspecies, and in the process get a better handle on the true goals in managing the wild.

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Stichus. Three-Dollar Day. Truculentus. The Tale of a Traveling-Bag. Fragments
Harvard University Press, 2011

Funny happenings.

The rollicking comedies of Plautus, who brilliantly adapted Greek plays for Roman audiences ca. 205–184 BC, are the earliest Latin works to survive complete and are cornerstones of the European theatrical tradition from Shakespeare and Molière to modern times. This fifth volume of a new Loeb edition of all twenty-one of Plautus’ extant comedies presents Stichus, Three-Dollar Day, Truculentus, The Tale of a Traveling-Bag, and fragments with freshly edited texts, lively modern translations, introductions, and ample explanatory notes.


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Tale of a Criminal Mind Gone Good
Nathan Lefler
St. Augustine's Press, 2021
In this concise and creative book, Nathan Lefler places G. K. Chesterton and René Girard in conversation on the art of being deceived. The campaign to get rid of (or mythicize) the Judaic and the Christian is not progress, it is a fog. Girard noted early on that returning preeminent status to the Judeo-Christian influence would have the (paradoxical) effect of clearing the air, such that humans might actually breathe and reason well again. 

Entrée G. K. Chesterton. If Girard recognizes the talent certain literary figures have for observing what celebrated philosophers fail to see, Chesterton is one of these men of real vision. Lefler in his match-making is interested in “Romance and the romantic,” and placing Girard and Chesterton in a kind of dialogue he draws a clearer concept of Romanticism.  Who is the Romatic hero? And why do we so badly need to know? If what Lefler sees in Chesterton and Girard requires “special pleading” on the part of the reader for the author to make himself more clear, Lefler obliges. He takes a sharp turn into the Father Brown stories and points the reader to Chesterton’s famous villain: Flambeau, the “colossus of crime”. The moral transition from sinner to saint in Flambeau is strikingly anti-Romantic and, with Girard in mind, also very much anti-mimetic. Or is it? Lefler argues that even Girard would have “inclined his own regal forehead in delight and awe” at Chesterton’s portrayal of the crowning Romantic quality and unlikely machete in an overgrown jungle of the self-intoxicated modern imagination––namely, humility. 

Lefler makes his mark in several places with this new study. As literary critic, both Chesterton and Girard are honored. As philosopher, Lefler speaks as if somehow he managed to find a pocket of unpolluted air to breath. As theologian, he betrays that he also loves what Chesterton and Girard loved. And as special service to the reader, the full text of Chesterton’s The Queer Feet is provided. 

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The Tale of Matsura
Fujiwara Teika’s Experiment in Fiction
Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Wayne P. Lammers
University of Michigan Press, 1992
Fujiwara Teika is known as the premier poet and literary scholar of the early 13th century. It is not so widely known that he also tried his hand at fiction: Mumyozoshi (Untitled Leaves; ca. 1201) refers to “several works” by Teika and then names Matsura no miya monogatari (The Tale of Matsura; ca. 1190) as the only one that can be considered successful. The work is here translated in full, with annotation.
Set in the pre-Nara period, The Tale of Matsura is the story of a young Japanese courtier, Ujitada, who is sent to China with an embassy and has a number of supernatural experiences while there. Affairs of the heart dominate The Tale of Matsura, as is standard for courtly tales. Several of its other features break the usual mold, however: its time and setting; the military episode that would seem to belong instead in a war tale; scenes depicting the sovereign’s daily audiences, in which formal court business is conducted; a substantial degree of specificity in referring to things Chinese; a heavy reliance on fantastic and supernatural elements; an obvious effort to avoid imitating The Tale of Genji as other late-Heian tales had done; and a most inventive ending. The discussion in the introduction briefly touches upon each of these features, and then focuses at some length on how characteristics associated with the poetic ideal of yoen inform the tale. Evidence relating to the date and authorship of the tale is explored in two appendixes.

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The Tale of the Missing Man
A Novel
Manzoor Ahtesham, translated from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum and Ulrike Stark
Northwestern University Press, 2018
Winner of the Global Humanities Translation Prize

The Tale of the Missing Man
(Dastan-e Lapata) is a milestone in Indo-Muslim literature. A refreshingly playful novel, it explores modern Muslim life in the wake of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Zamir Ahmad Khan suffers from a mix of alienation, guilt, and postmodern anxiety that defies diagnosis. His wife abandons him to his reflections about his childhood, writing, ill-fated affairs, and his hometown, Bhopal, as he attempts to unravel the lies that brought him to his current state (while weaving new ones).

A novel of a heroic quest gone awry, The Tale of the Missing Man artfully twists the conventions of the Urdu romance, or dastan, tradition, where heroes chase brave exploits that are invariably rewarded by love. The hero of Ahtesham’s tale, living in the fast-changing city of Bhopal during the 1970s and ’80s, suffers an identity crisis of epic proportions: he is lost, missing, and unknown both to himself and to others. The result is a twofold quest in which the fate of protagonist and writer become inextricably and ironically linked. The lost hero sets out in search of himself, while the author goes in search of the lost hero, his fictionalized alter ego.

New York magazine cited the book as one of “the world's best untranslated novels.” In addition to raising important questions about Muslim identity, Ahtesham offers a very funny and thoroughly self-reflective commentary on the modern author’s difficulties in writing autobiography.

The Global Humanities Translation Prize is awarded annually to a previously unpublished translation that strikes the delicate balance between scholarly rigor, aesthetic grace, and general readability, as judged by a rotating committee of Northwestern faculty, distinguished international scholars, writers, and public intellectuals. The Prize is organized by the Global Humanities Initiative, which is jointly supported by Northwestern University’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.


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A Tale of Three Villages
Indigenous-Colonial Interactions in Southwestern Alaska, 1740–1950
Liam Frink
University of Arizona Press, 2016
People are often able to identify change agents. They can estimate possible economic and social transitions, and they are often in an economic or social position to make calculated—sometimes risky—choices. Exploring this dynamic, A Tale of Three Villages is an investigation of culture change among the Yup’ik Eskimo people of the southwestern Alaskan coast from just prior to the time of Russian and Euro-North American contact to the mid-twentieth century.

Liam Frink focuses on three indigenous-colonial events along the southwestern Alaskan coast: the late precolonial end of warfare and raiding, the commodification of subsistence that followed, and, finally, the engagement with institutional religion. Frink’s innovative interdisciplinary methodology respectfully and creatively investigates the spatial and material past, using archaeological, ethnoecological, and archival sources.

The author’s narrative journey tracks the histories of three villages ancestrally linked to Chevak, a contemporary Alaskan Native community: Qavinaq, a prehistoric village at the precipice of colonial interactions and devastated by regional warfare; Kashunak, where people lived during the infancy and growth of the commercial market and colonial religion; and Old Chevak, a briefly occupied “stepping-stone” village inhabited just prior to modern Chevak. The archaeological spatial data from the sites are blended with ethnohistoric documents, local oral histories, eyewitness accounts of people who lived at two of the villages, and Frink’s nearly two decades of participant-observation in the region.

Frink provides a model for work that examines interfaces among indigenous women and men, old and young, demonstrating that it is as important as understanding their interactions with colonizers. He demonstrates that in order to understand colonial history, we must actively incorporate indigenous people as actors, not merely as reactors.

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A Tale of Two Bridges
The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridges of 1936 and 2013
Stephen Mikesell
University of Nevada Press, 2017

A Tale of Two Bridges is a history of two versions of the San Francisco—Oakland Bay Bridge: the original bridge built in 1936 and a replacement for the eastern half of the bridge finished in 2013. The 1936 bridge revolutionized transportation in the Bay Area and profoundly influenced settlement patterns in the region. It was also a remarkable feat of engineering. In the 1950s the American Society of Civil Engineers adopted a list of the “Seven Engineering Wonders” of the United States. The 1936 structure was the only bridge on the list, besting even the more famous Golden Gate Bridge. One of its greatest achievements was that it was built on time (in less than three years) and came in under budget. Mikesell explores in fascinating detail how the bridge was designed by a collection of the best-known engineers in the country as well as the heroic story of its construction by largely unskilled laborers from California, joined by highly skilled steel workers.

By contrast, the East Span replacement, which was planned between 1989 and 1998, and built between 1998 and 2013, fell victim to cost overruns in the billions of dollars, was a decade behind schedule, and suffered from structural problems that has made it a perpetual maintenance nightmare.

This is narrative history in its purest form. Mikesell excels at explaining highly technical engineering issues in language that can be understood and appreciated by general readers. Here is the story of two very important bridges, which provides a fair but uncompromising analysis of why one bridge succeeded and the other did not.


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A Tale of Two Capitalisms
Sacred Economics in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Supritha Rajan
University of Michigan Press, 2015
No questions are more pressing today than the ethical dimensions of global capitalism in relation to an unevenly secularized modernity. A Tale of Two Capitalisms offers a timely response to these questions by reexamining the intellectual history of capitalist economics during the nineteenth century. Rajan’s ambitious book traces the neglected relationships between nineteenth-century political economy, anthropology, and literature in order to demonstrate how these discourses buttress a dominant narrative of self-interested capitalism that obscures a submerged narrative within political economy. This submerged narrative discloses political economy’s role in burgeoning theories of religion, as well as its underlying ethos of reciprocity, communality, and just distribution.

Drawing on an impressive range of literary, anthropological, and economic writings from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century, Rajan offers an inventive, interdisciplinary account of why this second narrative of capitalism has so long escaped our notice. The book presents an unprecedented genealogy of key anthropological and economic concepts, demonstrating how notions of sacrifice, the sacred, ritual, totemism, and magic remained conceptually intertwined with capitalist theories of value and exchange in both sociological and literary discourses.

Rajan supplies an original framework for discussing the ethical ideals that continue to inform contemporary global capitalism and its fraught relationship to the secular. Its revisionary argument brings new insight into the history of capitalist thought and modernity that will engage scholars across a variety of disciplines.

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A Tale of Two Colonies
What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda?
Virginia Bernhard
University of Missouri Press, 2011
In 1609, two years after its English founding, colonists struggled to stay alive in a tiny fort at Jamestown.John Smith fought to keep order, battling both English and Indians. When he left, desperate colonists ate lizards, rats, and human flesh. Surviving accounts of the “Starving Time” differ, as do modern scholars’ theories.
Meanwhile, the Virginia-bound Sea Venture was shipwrecked on Bermuda, the dreaded, uninhabited “Isle of Devils.” The castaways’ journals describe the hurricane at sea as well as murders and mutinies on land. Their adventures are said to have inspired Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
A year later, in 1610, the Bermuda castaways sailed to Virginia in two small ships they had built. They arrived in Jamestown to find many people in the last stages of starvation; abandoning the colony seemed their only option. Then, in what many people thought was divine providence, three English ships sailed into Chesapeake Bay. Virginia was saved, but the colony’s troubles were far from over.
Despite glowing reports from Virginia Company officials, disease, inadequate food, and fear of Indians plagued the colony. The company poured thousands of pounds sterling and hundreds of new settlers into its venture but failed to make a profit, and many of the newcomers died. Bermuda—with plenty of food, no native population, and a balmy climate—looked much more promising, and in fact, it became England’s second New World colony in 1612.
In this fascinating tale of England’s first two New World colonies, Bernhard links Virginia and Bermuda in a series of unintended consequences resulting from natural disaster, ignorance of native cultures, diplomatic intrigue, and the fateful arrival of the first Africans in both colonies. Written for general as well as academic audiences, A Tale of Two Colonies examines the existing sources on the colonies, sets them in a transatlantic context, and weighs them against circumstantial evidence.
From diplomatic correspondence and maps in the Spanish archives to recent archaeological discoveries at Jamestown, Bernhard creates an intriguing history. To weave together the stories of the two colonies, which are fraught with missing pieces, she leaves nothing unexamined: letters written in code, adventurers’ narratives, lists of Africans in Bermuda, and the minutes of committees in London. Biographical details of mariners, diplomats, spies, Indians, Africans, and English colonists also enrich the narrative. While there are common stories about both colonies, Bernhard shakes myth free from truth and illuminates what is known—as well as what we may never know—about the first English colonies in the New World.

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A Tale of Two Maidens
A Medieval French Story of Fate, Adventure, and the Hundred Years' War
Anne Echols
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000

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A Tale of Two Murders
Passion and Power in Seventeenth-Century France
James R. Farr
Duke University Press, 2005
As scandalous as any modern-day celebrity murder trial, the “Giroux affair” was a maelstrom of intrigue, encompassing daggers, poison, adultery, archenemies, servants, royalty, and legal proceedings that reached the pinnacle of seventeenth-century French society. In 1638 Philippe Giroux, a judge in the highest royal court of Burgundy, allegedly murdered his equally powerful cousin, Pierre Baillet, and Baillet’s valet, Philibert Neugot. The murders were all the more shocking because they were surrounded by accusations (particularly that Giroux had been carrying on a passionate affair with Baillet’s wife), conspiracy theories (including allegations that Giroux tried to poison his mother-in-law), and unexplained deaths (Giroux’s wife and her physician died under suspicious circumstances). The trial lasted from 1639 until 1643 and came to involve many of the most distinguished and influential men in France, among them the prince of Condé, Henri II Bourbon; the prime minister, Cardinal Richelieu; and King Louis XIII.

James R. Farr reveals the Giroux affair not only as a riveting murder mystery but also as an illuminating point of entry into the dynamics of power, justice, and law in seventeenth-century France. Drawing on the voluminous trial records, Farr uses Giroux’s experience in the court system to trace the mechanisms of power—both the formal power vested by law in judicial officials and the informal power exerted by the nobility through patron-client relationships. He does not take a position on Giroux’s guilt or innocence. Instead, he allows readers to draw their own conclusions about who did what to whom on that ill-fated evening in 1638.


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A Tale of Two Plantations
Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia
Richard S. Dunn
Harvard University Press, 2014

Forty years ago, after publication of his pathbreaking book Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn began an intensive investigation of two thousand slaves living on two plantations, one in North America and one in the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the archives, he has reconstructed the individual lives and collective experiences of three generations of slaves on the Mesopotamia sugar estate in Jamaica and the Mount Airy plantation in tidewater Virginia, to understand the starkly different forms slavery could take. Dunn’s stunning achievement is a rich and compelling history of bondage in two very different Atlantic world settings.

From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, life in Mesopotamia was shaped and stunted by deadly work regimens, rampant disease, and dependence on the slave trade for new laborers. At Mount Airy, where the population continually expanded until emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves were sold or moved to distant work sites, and families were routinely broken up. Over two hundred of these Virginia slaves were sent eight hundred miles to the Cotton South.

In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we can trace a Mesopotamia fieldhand through every stage of her bondage, and contrast her harsh treatment with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and clever quadroon granddaughter. We track a Mount Airy craftworker through a stormy life of interracial sex, escape, and family breakup. The details of individuals’ lives enable us to grasp the full experience of both slave communities as they labored and loved, and ultimately became free.


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A Tale of Two Viruses
Parallels in the Research Trajectories of Tumor and Bacterial Viruses
Neeraja Sankaran
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020

In 1965, French microbiologist André Lwoff was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on lysogeny—one of the two types of viral life cycles—which resolved a contentious debate among scientists about the nature of viruses. A Tale of Two Viruses is the first study of medical virology to compare the history of two groups of medically important viruses—bacteriophages, which infect bacteria, and sarcoma agents, which cause cancer—and the importance of Lwoff’s discovery to our modern understanding of what a virus is. Although these two groups of viruses may at first glance appear to have little in common, they share uniquely parallel histories. The lysogenic cycle, unlike the lytic, enables viruses to replicate in the host cell without destroying it and to remain dormant in a cell’s genetic material indefinitely, or until induced by UV radiation. But until Lwoff’s discovery of the mechanism of lysogeny, microbiologist Félix d’Herelle and pathologist Peyton Rous, who themselves first discovered and argued for the viral identity of bacteriophages and certain types of cancer, respectively, faced opposition from contemporary researchers who would not accept their findings. By following the research trajectories of the two virus groups, Sankaran takes a novel approach to the history of the development of the field of medical virology, considering both the flux in scientific concepts over time and the broader scientific landscapes or styles that shaped those ideas and practices.


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Troubled Ground
A Tale of Murder, Lynching, and Reckoning in the New South
Claude A. Clegg III
University of Illinois Press, 2010
In Troubled Ground, Claude A. Clegg III revisits a violent episode in his hometown's history that made national headlines in the early twentieth century but disappeared from public consciousness over the decades. Moving swiftly between memory and history, between the personal and the political, Clegg offers insights into southern history, mob violence, and the formation of American race ideology while coming to terms on a personal level with the violence of the past. Three black men were killed in front of a crowd of thousands in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1906, following the ax murder of a local white family for whom the men had worked. One of the lynchers was prosecuted for his role in the execution, the first conviction of its kind in North Carolina and one of the earliest in the country. Yet Clegg, an academic historian who grew up in Salisbury, had never heard of the case until 2002 and could not find anyone else familiar with the case. In this book, Clegg mines newspaper accounts and government records and links the victims of the 1906 case to a double-lynching in 1902, suggesting a complex history of lynching in the area while revealing the determination of the city to rid its history of a shameful and shocking chapter. The result is a multi-layered, deeply personal exploration of lynching and lynching prosecutions in the United States.

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Unreal Houses
Character, Gender, and Genealogy in the Tale of Genji
Edith Sarra
Harvard University Press, 2020

The Tale of Genji (ca. 1008), by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, is known for its sophisticated renderings of fictional characters’ minds and its critical perspectives on the lives of the aristocracy of eleventh-century Japan. Unreal Houses radically rethinks the Genji by focusing on the figure of the house. Edith Sarra examines the narrative’s fictionalized images of aristocratic mansions and its representation of the people who inhabit them, exploring how key characters in the Genji think about houses in both the architectural and genealogical sense of the word.

Through close readings of the Genji and other Heian narratives, Unreal Houses elucidates the literary fabrication of social, architectural, and affective spaces and shows how the figure of the house contributes to the structuring of narrative sequences and the expression of relational nuances among fictional characters. Combining literary analysis with the history of gender, marriage, and the built environment, Sarra opens new perspectives on the architectonics of the Genji and the feminine milieu that midwifed what some have called the world’s first novel.


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View from the Fazenda
A Tale of the Brazilian Heartlands
Ellen Bromfield Geld
Ohio University Press, 2012

“I imagine everyone has a center of gravity,” says Ellen Bromfield Geld. “Something which binds one to the earth and gives sense and direction to what one does.” For Ellen, this center is a writing table before a window that looks out upon groves of pecan trees and mahogany-colored cattle in seas of grass. The place is Fazenda Pau D’Alho, Brazil, where she and her husband, Carson, have lived and farmed since 1961.

Healing the ravaged coffee plantation, rearing five children, exploring the outposts, the Gelds have created a dynamic yet peaceful life far from Ellen’s native Ohio. Their practice of sustainable agriculture, and Ellen’s plea for the preservation of Brazil’s remaining wilderness areas, reflect the legacy of her father, the novelist and farm visionary Louis Bromfield. Their shared vision is crystallized in her account of a cattle drive across the Pantanal, the vast flood plain on Brazil’s side of the Paraguay River. She describes a two-hundred year symbiosis between ranchers and a fragile ecosystem that is being threatened by development.

View from the Fazenda is distilled from fifty years of living in Brazil, weaving daily life on the farm into her quest to understand a nation. It portrays a true melting pot of people who—as conquerers, immigrants, or slaves, their blood and history mingled with those of native Indians—have created the character of Brazil. This huge, diverse county, living in several eras at the same time, is ever changing through its people’s amazing ability to “find a way.”

Ellen Bromfield Geld evokes the land and people of Brazil and offers readers an invigorating glimpse into a soulful life. “It seems to me that being a bit of a poet is perhaps the only way one can survive as a farmer,” she explains. “For in the end, more than anything, farming is a way of life you either love or become bitter enduring.”


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Wicked Takes the Witness Stand
A Tale of Murder and Twisted Deceit in Northern Michigan
Mardi Link
University of Michigan Press, 2015
On a bitterly cold afternoon in December 1986, a Michigan State trooper found the frozen body of Jerry Tobias in the bed of his pickup truck. The 31-year-old oil field worker and small-time drug dealer was curled up on his side on the truck’s bare metal, pressed against the tailgate, clad only in jeans, a checkered shirt, and cowboy boots. Inside the cab of the truck was a fresh package of expensive steaks from a local butcher shop—the first lead in a case that would be quickly lost in a thicket of bungled forensics, shady prosecution, and a psychopathic star witness out for revenge.

Award-winning author Mardi Link’s third book of Michigan true crime, Wicked Takes the Witness Stand, unravels this mysterious and still unsolved case that sucked state police and local officials into a morass of perjury and cover-up and ultimately led to the separate conviction and imprisonment of five innocent men. This unbelievable story will leave the reader shocked and aching for justice.

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A Tale Of The Civil War
Robert Penn Warren
University of Tennessee Press, 2001
“A moving and disturbing work—one which goes beyond events, to brood upon their meanings.”—Samuel Hynes, New York Times Book Review

In the summer of 1863, Adam Rosenzweig leaves a Bavarian ghetto and sails for the United States to fight for the North in the Civil War. Fired by a revolutionary idealism inherited from his father, he hopes to aid a cause that he believes to be as simple as he knows it to be just.

Over the course of his journey, Adam becomes witness to a world whose complexity does not readily conform to his ideals of liberty. When his twisted foot attracts unwanted attention on his voyage to America, he is threatened with return to Europe. He jumps ship in New York, only to be caught up in the violence and horror of the anti-draft riots. Eventually he reaches the Union Army, serving not as a soldier but as a civilian provisioner’s assistant. Adam’s encounters with others—among them a wealthy benefactor, a former slave, an exiled Southerner, a bushwacker and his wife—further challenge the absolutism that informs his view of the world and of his place in it.

First published in 1961, Wilderness remains a profoundly provocative meditation on the significance of the Civil War and the varieties of human experience. This new edition of the novel includes an insightful introductory essay by James H. Justus, Distringuished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University and author of The Achievement of Robert Penn Warren.

The Author: Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989)was born in Kentucky and studied at Vanderbilt and Oxford Universities. As a novelist, teacher, poet, and critic, he became one of America’s most celebrated men of letters and the only writer to receive Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and fiction. In addition to Wilderness, his novels included All the King’s Men, World Enough and Time, and Band of Angels.

front cover of Yosano Akiko and The Tale of Genji
Yosano Akiko and The Tale of Genji
G. G. Rowley
University of Michigan Press, 2000
Yosano Akiko (1878–1942) has long been recognized as one of the most important literary figures of prewar Japan. Her renown derives principally from the passion of her early poetry and from her contributions to 20th-century debates about women. This emphasis obscures a major part of her career, which was devoted to work on the Japanese classics and, in particular, the great Heian period text The Tale of Genji. Akiko herself felt that Genji was the bedrock upon which her entire literary career was built, and her bibliography shows a steadily increasing amount of time devoted to projects related to the tale. This study traces for the first time the full range of Akiko’s involvement with The Tale of Genji.
The Tale of Genji provided Akiko with her conception of herself as a writer and inspired many of her most significant literary projects. She, in turn, refurbished the tale as a modern novel, pioneered some of the most promising avenues of modern academic research on Genji, and, to a great extent, gave the text the prominence it now enjoys as a translated classic. Through Akiko’s work Genji became, in fact as well as in name, an exemplum of that most modern of literary genres, the novel. In delineating this important aspect of Akiko’s life and her bibliography, this study aims to show that facile descriptions of Akiko as a “poetess of passion” or “new woman” will no longer suffice.

front cover of Yosano Akiko and The Tale of Genji
Yosano Akiko and The Tale of Genji
G. G. Rowley
University of Michigan Press, 2000
Yosano Akiko (1878–1942) has long been recognized as one of the most important literary figures of prewar Japan. Her renown derives principally from the passion of her early poetry and from her contributions to 20th-century debates about women. This emphasis obscures a major part of her career, which was devoted to work on the Japanese classics and, in particular, the great Heian period text The Tale of Genji. Akiko herself felt that Genji was the bedrock upon which her entire literary career was built, and her bibliography shows a steadily increasing amount of time devoted to projects related to the tale. This study traces for the first time the full range of Akiko’s involvement with The Tale of Genji.

The Tale of Genji provided Akiko with her conception of herself as a writer and inspired many of her most significant literary projects. She, in turn, refurbished the tale as a modern novel, pioneered some of the most promising avenues of modern academic research on Genji, and, to a great extent, gave the text the prominence it now enjoys as a translated classic. Through Akiko’s work Genji became, in fact as well as in name, an exemplum of that most modern of literary genres, the novel. In delineating this important aspect of Akiko’s life and her bibliography, this study aims to show that facile descriptions of Akiko as a “poetess of passion” or “new woman” will no longer suffice.

front cover of Young Tel Aviv
Young Tel Aviv
A Tale of Two Cities
Anat Helman
Brandeis University Press, 2012
Practical Zionism in the Mandate era (1920–1948) is usually associated with agricultural settlements (kibbutzim), organized socialist workers, and the creation of a formal high culture. This book fills a gap in historical research by presenting a different type of practical Zionism in Jewish Palestine—urban, middle-class, and created by popular and informal daily practices. While research on Tel Aviv has so far been confined to “positivist” historical description or focused nostalgically on local myths, Helman’s book reconstructs and analyzes the city’s formative decades on various levels, juxtaposing historical reality with cultural images and ideological doctrines. Topics include the city’s physical portrait, major public events, consumer culture, patterns of leisure and entertainment, and urban subcultures.

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