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Accidental Gravity

Residents, Travelers, and the Landscape of Memory

Bernard Quetchenbach

Accidental Gravity is an essay collection that moves from the author's youth in upstate New York to the contemporary western United States, from urban and suburban places to wild lands. In the first section of the book, he focuses on suburban neighborhoods, "the places where tensions between human and animal nature, and between differing concepts of the natural world, come to the fore." In the second section, he juxtaposes these humanized places with Yellowstone National Park. Quetchenbach writes about current environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone area—wildlife, forest insects, invasive species, ever-increasing numbers of tourists—in the context of climate change and other contemporary pressures.

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The Accidental Revolutionary

George Whitefield and the Creation of America

Jerome Dean Mahaffey

Patriots. Founding Fathers. Revolutionaries. For many Americans, the colonial heroes deserve special celebratory reverence. Yet while Washington's leadership, Franklin's writings, and Revere's ride captivate us, the inspiration and influence George Whitefield instilled within the revolutionary spirits of early Americans is regrettably unknown.

In this refreshing biography, Jerome Dean Mahaffey deftly moves beyond Whitefield's colonial celebrity to show how his rhetoric and ministry worked for freedom, situating Whitefield alongside the most revolutionary founders. As this Anglican revivalist traveled among the colonies, he delivered exhilarating sermons deeply saturated with political implications—freedom from oppression, civil justice, communal cooperation. Whitefield helped to encourage in his listeners a longing for a new, uniquely American nationalism.

The Accidental Revolutionary tells the story of this forgotten founder, who may not have realized the repercussions of his words as he spoke them. Now, Mahaffey delicately shows that Whitefield converted colonists not just to Christianity but to a renewed sense of unification that ultimately made possible the American Revolution.

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Accounted For

Jeannine Savard

Accounted For is a collection of lyrical poems voiced by a multi-faceted persona negotiating the transience of self and the social and psychological illusions of time. Other selves are encountered—mirrored, intimated, drawn, or fully detailed, each opening a view to the fractures of psyche. Prayers, dreams, invocations, and meditations suggest a relationship with the Unseen that can breach the natural world with the power of image. Endless contingency and depth of vision characterize these poems, open wholly to the mysteries of life and death.

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The Ace of Lightning

Stories

Stephen-Paul Martin

Stephen-Paul Martin’s The Ace of Lightning is a series of interconnected stories focused on a turning point in Western history: the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria which triggered World War I, and the mysterious circumstances that led Gavrilo Princip to shoot and kill the heir apparent to one of Europe’s most powerful empires.
 
Far from being a conventional work of historical fiction, Martin’s collection asks readers to think about what truly constitutes history. What would the past look like if history was written under the influence of Mad Magazine and The Twilight Zone? What happens when the assassination in Sarajevo becomes “the assassination in Sarajevo,” when Gavrilo Princip becomes “Gavrilo Princip,” when the past and the present shape a textual future that looks suspiciously like a past that never was and a present that never is?

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Act of Contrition

Janice Holt Giles. foreword by Wade Hall

Act of Contrition focuses on the intimate relationship between Regina, a widow, and Michael, a young doctor whose wife left him for another man. Having found happiness in one another, they desire nothing more than to be together. Yet in the eyes of the Catholic Church, Michael is not free to divorce his wife and marry Regina. In an emotional climax Regina must decide if she loves Michael enough to give him up or if she'll force him to choose between her and God.

By modern standards, Giles's love scenes are tasteful, and the general atmosphere of ecumenism within today's Catholic Church renders moot many of the tensions in the novel. Yet in 1957 Giles's agent and publisher feared the work would cause "irreparable harm" to her reputation. As late as 1972 Giles was revising in the hopes of seeing the novel published. Finally her wish is fulfilled.

Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979), author of nineteen books, lived and wrote near Knifley, Kentucky, for thirty-four years. Her biography is Janice Holt Giles: A Writer's Life.

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ActivAmerica

Meagan Cass

Drawing from fairy tales, ghost stories, and science-fiction, the stories in ActivAmerica explore how we confront (and exert) power and re-imagine ourselves through sports and athletic activities. A group of girls starts an illicit hockey league in a conservative suburb. A recently separated woman must run a mile a day in order to maintain her new corporate health insurance. Children impacted by environmental disaster create a “mutant soccer team.” Two sisters are visited by an Olympic gymnast who demands increasingly dangerous moves from them. Sports allow the characters to form communities on soccer fields and hidden lakes, in overgrown backyards and across Ping-Pong tables. Throughout the collection, however, athletic risk also comes with unexpected, often unsettling results.

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Acts of Mind

Conversations with Contemporary Poets

“There have been any number of books of interview with contemporary writers, but none precisely like this one. The author/editor has somehow managed to get these very different poets to follow his lead and (in many cases for the first time anywhere) to reveal much about their intellectual habits, assumptions, and preconceptions.  In almost every case he has been able to get these poets to talk more openly and freely than anyone else has ever done.” – George Garrett

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Adapted for the Screen

The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Fiction and Film

Hsiu-Chuang Deppman

Contemporary Chinese films are popular with audiences worldwide, but a key reason for their success has gone unnoticed: many of the films are adapted from brilliant literary works. This book is the first to put these landmark films in the context of their literary origins and explore how the best Chinese directors adapt fictional narratives and styles for film. Contemporary Chinese films are popular with audiences worldwide, but a key reason for their success has gone unnoticed: many of the films are adapted from brilliant literary works. This book is the first to put these landmark films in the context of their literary origins and explore how the best Chinese directors adapt fictional narratives and styles for film. With her sophisticated blend of stylistic and historical analyses, Deppman brings much-needed nuance to current conversations about the politics of gender, class, and race in the work of the most celebrated Chinese writers and directors. Her pioneering study will appeal to all readers, general and academic, who have an interest in Chinese literature, cinema, and culture.

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Address

Elizabeth Willis

Address draws us into visible and invisible architectures, into acts of intimate and public address. These poems are concentrated, polyvocal, and sharply attentive to acts of representation; they take personally their politics and in the process reveal something about the way civic structures inhabit the imagination. Poisonous plants, witches, anthems, bees--beneath their surface, we glimpse the fragility of our founding, republican aspirations and witness a disintegrating landscape artfully transformed. If a poem can serve as a kind of astrolabe, measuring distances both cosmic and immediate, temporal and physical, it does so by imaginative, nonlinear means. Here, past and present engage in acts of mutual interrogation and critique, and within this dynamic Willis's poetry is at once complexly authoritative and searching: "so begins our legislation."

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An Address in Havana/Domicilio habanero

Selected Short Stories

by María Elena Llana, translated by Barbara Riess

“Solitary characters, afflicted by real or fictitious fears… a world plagued with absurdities… exceptional stories, told through an ironic perspective with humor and cruelty. Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.” Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her stories humorously represent a vision of the world through a palpable irony leading up to a subversive guffaw that, because of her scathing wit, may also be read as an anguished holler. This quality is at the heart of Llana’s stories teeming with specters of every type, dramatic or ridiculous, but always efficiently suggestive of circumstances underlying what we take for reality. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.

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