The emphasis in this issue is on American literature. Stephen Adams offers compelling new insights into the criticism of Philip Freneau and invites readers to think about him in the context of both American poetic history and of the larger issues of nationalism and representation. One of our reviewers praised David Evans’s piece for successfully linking together “a little-known modern Western and the Moby-Dick of the genre, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.” Another reviewer cites the thought-provoking central argument for “theorizing and documenting modes of linguistic violence [in the two books] which run counter to the ostensible project of revisionist westerns to undo the violence of the conventional, formulaic western.” Evans’s close textual readings provide enough information and plot summary for the nonspecialist reader as well, a reviewer says, and he includes a “witty and persuasive” section on Kit Carson.
Kim Fortuny’s article adds important new insights about the time that James Baldwin spent in Turkey in the 1970s and offers critical analysis of how Baldwin’s views of the Vietnam War and America’s policies toward the Middle East evolved. Morgan Fritz, according to our reviewer, “makes an ambitious and useful contribution” to our understanding of the figure of the female orator in American and British literature of the second half of the nineteenth century. The reviewer adds that the treatment of the mesmeric qualities of female public speech is “particularly compelling,” and the readings of Hawthorne, Grand, and Robins are “deft and inspired.”
Finally, Sean Pryor’s essay attempts a recovery of the work of John Rodker for critical attention. Our reviewer calls that attempt “judicious and fair-minded” and also lauds the essay’s more expansive focus on the hymn as a secular verse form.
Because TSLL publishes articles without regard to period or genre, our issues often have a large historical range. We are particularly pleased in this issue to offer this more concentrated look at American writers, albeit writers of radically different modalities. [End Page 389]