Classic Cornell University Press Books Available Open Access on Project MUSE

Project MUSE, in collaboration with Cornell University Press, offers the digital, fully-open-access availability of 20 classic titles from the Press’ distinguished catalog, on the Project MUSE platform. Funded via a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Humanities Open Book Program, the out-of-print titles – none previously available electronically – were carefully selected with input from subject specialists at the Cornell University Library for their enduring scholarly impact.

Cornell University Library and Press staff began the process of selecting twenty books to be digitized with the NEH grant by examining over two decades of the library’s circulation statistics for influential Press titles which are currently out-of-print. Scholars and subject specialists in selected fields were then asked to evaluate the list of prospective titles using both this quantitative data and their own knowledge of research and teaching needs in their specialty areas, to choose those books of greatest continuing interest and relevance. Read the original announcement here


Cornell University Press

Title List

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The 20 titles now available on MUSE:

  1. Bread and Circuses: Theories of Mass Culture as Social Decay, by Patrick Brantlinger (1983) - Brantlinger analyzes many of the most influential and representative theories of mass culture that have treated it as either a symptom or a cause of social decadence, ranging widely from Greek and Roman origins, through Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Ortega y Gasset, T. S. Eliot, and the theorists of the Frankfurt Institute, down to Marshall McLuhan and Daniel Bell. While not defending mass culture in its present form, Brantlinger argues that the view of culture implicit in negative classicism obscures the question of how the media can best be used to help achieve freedom and enlightenment on a truly democratic basis.
  2. Building a National Literature: The Case of Germany, 1830–1870, by Peter Uwe Hohendahl, translated by Renate Baron Franciscono (1989) - Hohendahl examines important elements in the making of a national literature, including the political and literary public sphere, the theory and practice of literary criticism, and the emergence of academic criticism as literary history.
  3. By Honor Bound: State and Society in Early Modern Russia, by Nancy Shields Kollmann (1999) - In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Russians from all ranks of society were bound together by a culture of honor. Here one of the foremost scholars of early modern Russia explores the intricate and highly stylized codes that made up this culture. She offers evidence for a new view of the relationship of state and society in the Russian empire, and her richly comparative approach enhances knowledge of statebuilding in premodern Europe. By presenting Muscovite state and society in the context of medieval and early modern Europe, she exposes similarities that blur long-standing distinctions between Russian and European history.
  4. Chaucer and the Poets: An Essay on Troilus and Criseyde, by Winthrop Wetherbee (1984) - In this sensitive reading of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Winthrop Wetherbee redefines the nature of Chaucer’s poetic vision. Using as a starting point Chaucer’s profound admiration for the achievement of Dante and the classical poets, Wetherbee sees the Troilus as much more than a courtly treatment of an event in ancient history—it is, he asserts, a major statement about the poetic tradition from which it emerges.
  5. Clarissa's Ciphers: Meaning and Disruption in Richardson's Clarissa, by Terry Castle (1982) - Terry Castle delineates the ways in which, in a world where only voice carries authority, Clarissa is repeatedly silenced, both metaphorically and literally. Drawing on feminist criticism and hermeneutic theory, Castles examines the question of authority in the novel. By tracing the patterns of abuse and exploitation that occur when meanings are arbitrarily and violently imposed, she explores the sexual politics of reading.
  6. The Electrification of Russia, 1880–1926, by Jonathan Coopersmith (1992) - The first full account of the widespread adoption of electricity in Russia, from the beginning in the 1880s to its early years as a state technology under Soviet rule. Coopersmith’s narrative of this crucial element in the modernization of Russia elucidates the deep-seated and chronic conflict between the utopianism of Soviet ideology and the reality of Soviet politics and economics.
  7. Images from the Region of the Pueblo Indians of North America, by Aby M. Warburg, translated by Michael P. Steinberg (1995) - Aby M. Warburg (1866–1929) is recognized not only as one of the century’s preeminent art and Renaissance historians but also as a founder of twentieth-century methods in iconology and cultural studies in general. Warburg’s 1923 lecture, first published in German in 1988 and now available in the first complete English translation, offers at once a window on his career, a formative statement of his cultural history of modernity, and a document in the ethnography of the American Southwest.
  8. The Institution of Criticism, by Peter Uwe Hohendahl (1982) - Drawing on the tradition of the Frankfurt School and on Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the public sphere, Hohendahl takes a close look at the social history of literary criticism in Germany since the eighteenth century, and sheds light on some of the important political and social forces that shape literature and culture. Including seven essays originally published in German, the book conveys the rich possibilities of the German perspective for those who employ American and French critical techniques and for students of contemporary critical theory.
  9. Literary Transcendentalism: Style and Vision in the American Renaissance, by Lawrence Buell (1973)
  10. Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures, by Leona Toker (1989) - According to Toker, most previous critics stressed either Nabokov’s concern with form or the humanistic side of his works, but rarely if ever the two together. In sensitive and revealing readings of ten novels, Toker demonstrates that the need to reconcile the human element with aesthetic or metaphysical pursuits is a constant theme of Nabokov’s and that the tension between technique and content is itself a key to his fiction.
  11. Proletarian Peasants: The Revolution of 1905 in Russia's Southwest, by Robert Edelman (1987) - Edelman’s subject is the peasantry of the right-bank Ukraine, and he uses local and regional archives seldom available to Western scholars to give a detailed picture of the ways in which the inhabitants of one of Russia’s most advanced agrarian regions expressed their discontent during the years 1905–1907. By the 1890s, the landlords of Russia’s Southwest had organized a highly successful capitalist form of agriculture, and Edelman demonstrates that their peasants responded to these dramatic economic changes by adopting many of the forms of political and social behavior generally associated with urban proletarians.
  12. Reappraisals: Shifting Alignments in Postwar Critical Theory, by Peter Uwe Hohendahl (1991) - A provocative account of the development of modern critical theory in Germany and the United States. Hohendahl interprets and subjects to critical scrutiny many of the central ideas of the Frankfurt School.
  13. Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses, by Ralph S. Clem (1986) - A volume in the series Studies in Soviet History and Society, this book is both a guide to the use of and a detailed index to the Russian census of 1897 and the Soviet censuses of 1926, 1959, 1970, and 1979. The first part of the book consists of essays by specialists on the USSR dealing with the use of census materials and the availability of data for research on ethnicity and language, marriage and the family, education and literacy, migration and organization, age structure, and occupations. The second part, a comprehensive index for all the published census, presents more than six hundred annotated entries for the census tables, a keyword index that enables researchers to find census data by subject, and a list of political-administrative units covered in each census.
  14. Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918–1929, by Michael David-Fox (1997) - Using archival materials never previously accessible to Western scholars, Michael David-Fox analyzes Bolshevik Party educational and research initiatives in higher learning after 1917. His fresh consideration of the era of the New Economic Policy and cultural politics after the Revolution explains how new communist institutions rose to parallel and rival conventional higher learning from the Academy of Sciences to the universities.
  15. Revolutionary Acts: Amateur Theater and the Soviet State, 1917-1938, by Lynn Mally (2000) - Mally reconstructs the history of the amateur stage in Soviet Russia from 1917 to the height of the Stalinist purges. Her book illustrates in fascinating detail how Soviet culture was transformed during the new regime's first two decades in power. Of all the arts, theater had a special appeal for mass audiences in Russia, and with the coming of the revolution it took on an important role in the dissemination of the new socialist culture.
  16. Rewolucja: Russian Poland, 1904–1907, by Robert E. Blobaum (1995) - The revolution of 1905 in the Russian-ruled Kingdom of Poland marked the consolidation of major new influences on the political scene. As he examines the emergence of a mass political culture in Poland, Robert E. Blobaum offers the first history in any Western language of this watershed period.
  17. Russian Formalism: A Metapoetics, by Peter Steiner (1984) - Examining Formalism in light of more recent developments in literary theory, Peter Steiner here offers the most comprehensive critique of Formalism to date. Steiner studies the work of the Formalists in terms of the major tropes that characterized their thought. Throughout, Steiner elucidates the basic principles of the Formalists and explores their contributions to the study of poetics, literary history, the theory of literary genre, and prosody. Russian Formalism is an authoritative introduction to the movement that was a major precursor of contemporary critical thought.
  18. Seductive Reasoning: Pluralism as the Problematic of Contemporary Literary Theory, by Ellen Rooney (1989) - A provocative look at contemporary Anglo-American literary theory, calling into question the critical consensus on pluralism’s nature and its status in literary studies. Drawing on the insights of Marxist and feminist critical theory and on the works of Althusser, Derrida, and Foucault, Rooney reads the pluralist’s invitation to join in a “dialogue” as a seductive gesture. Critics who respond find that they must seek to persuade all of their potential readers.
  19. The Self and Its Pleasures: Bataille, Lacan, and the History of the Decentered Subject, by Carolyn J. Dean (1992) - In this innovative cultural history, the author sheds light on the origins of poststructuralist thought, paying particular attention to the reinterpretation of the self by Jacques Lacan, Georges Bataille, and other French thinkers. Dean examines an array of evidence from medical texts and literary works alike. The Self and Its Pleasures offers a pathbreaking understanding of the boundaries between theory and history.
  20. Transfigured World: Walter Pater's Aesthetic Historicism, by Carolyn Williams (1989) - Exploring the intricacy and complexity of Walter Pater’s prose, Transfigured World challenges traditional approaches to Pater and shows precise ways in which the form of his prose expresses its content. Carolyn Williams asserts that Pater’s aestheticism and his historicism should be understood as dialectically interrelated critical strategies, inextricable from each other in practice.

How to Add the Books to Library Holdings

Libraries wishing to add the open access titles from Cornell to their online catalogs may download a set of free MARC records. The titles are fully indexed and discoverable in MUSE’s search and browse features, with metadata provided to all of MUSE’s discovery partners; they will share the same user-friendly interface with MUSE’s other book content and offer unlimited simultaneous usage, downloading, and printing.




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