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Aemilia Lanyer Cover

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Aemilia Lanyer

Gender, Genre, and the Canon

edited by Marshall Grossman

Aemilia Lanyer was a Londoner of Jewish-Italian descent and the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain. But in 1611 she did something extraordinary for a middle-class woman of the seventeenth century: she published a volume of original poems.

Using standard genres to address distinctly feminine concerns, Lanyer's work is varied, subtle, provocative, and witty. Her religious poem "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" repeatedly projects a female subject for a female reader and casts the Passion in terms of gender conflict. Lanyer also carried this concern with gender into the very structure of the poem; whereas a work of praise usually held up the superiority of its patrons, the good women in Lanyer's poem exemplify worth women in general.

The essays in this volume establish the facts of Lanyer's life and use her poetry to interrogate that of her male contemporaries, Donne, Jonson, and Shakespeare. Lanyer's work sheds light on views of gender and class identities in early modern society. By using Lanyer to look at the larger issues of women writers working within a patriarchal system, the authors go beyond the explication of Lanyer's writing to address the dynamics of canonization and the construction of literary history.

Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women Cover

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Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women

The Tragedy of Immigration

Geoffrey W. Bakewell

This book offers a provocative interpretation of a relatively neglected tragedy, Aeschylus's Suppliant Women. Although the play's subject is a venerable myth, it frames the flight of the daughters of Danaus from Egypt to Greece in starkly contemporary terms, emphasizing the encounter between newcomers and natives. Some scholars read Suppliant Women as modeling successful social integration, but Geoffrey W. Bakewell argues that the play demonstrates, above all, the difficulties and dangers noncitizens brought to the polis.
            Bakewell's approach is rigorously historical, situating Suppliant Women in the context of the unprecedented immigration that Athens experienced in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The flow of foreigners to Attika increased under the Pisistratids but became a flood following liberation, Cleisthenes, and the Persian Wars. As Athenians of the classical era became increasingly aware of their own collective identity, they sought to define themselves and exclude others. They created a formal legal status to designate the free noncitizens living among them, calling them metics and calling their status metoikia. When Aeschylus dramatized the mythical flight of the Danaids from Egypt in his play Suppliant Women, he did so in light of his own time and place. Throughout the play, directly and indirectly, he casts the newcomers as metics and their stay in Greece as metoikia.
            Bakewell maps the manifold anxieties that metics created in classical Athens, showing that although citizens benefited from the many immigrants in their midst, they also feared the effects of immigration in political, sexual, and economic realms. Bakewell finds metoikia was a deeply flawed solution to the problem of large-scale immigration. Aeschylus's Argives accepted the Danaids as metics only under duress and as a temporary response to a crisis. Like the historical Athenians, they opted for metoikia because they lacked better alternatives.

Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present Cover

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Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present

“Beardsley’s book accomplishes to perfection what the writer intended.  It illuminates an area of history from a certain perspective as was never done before. . . . The distinguishing feature of his book is a n excitement over everything I aesthetics that has to do with symbols, meanings, language, and modes of interpretation.  And this excitement has brought to light facets of the history f the subject never noticed before, or at least, not so clearly.” —The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

The Aesthetics of the Ephemeral Cover

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The Aesthetics of the Ephemeral

Memory Theaters in Contemporary Barcelona

Jennifer Duprey

Analyzes theatrical texts and performances while providing political and historical mappings.

African Drama and Performance Cover

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African Drama and Performance

Edited by John Conteh-Morgan and Tejumola Olaniyan

African Drama and Performance is a collection of innovative and wide-ranging essays that bring conceptually fresh perspectives, from both renowned and emerging voices, to the study of drama, theatre, and performance in Africa. Topics range from studies of major dramatic authors and formal literary dramas to improvisational theatre and popular video films. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are analyzed as a kind of social performance, and aspects of African performance in the diaspora are also considered. This dynamic volume underscores theatre's role in postcolonial society and politics and reexamines performance as a form of high art and everyday social ritual.

Contributors are Akin Adesokan, Daniel Avorgbedor, Karin Barber, Nicholas Brown, Catherine Cole, John Conteh-Morgan, Johannes Fabian, Joachim Fiebach, Marie-José Hourantier, Loren Kruger, Pius Ngandu Nkashama, Isidore Okpewho, Tejumola Olaniyan, Ato Quayson, Sandra L. Richards, Wole Soyinka, Dominic Thomas, and Bob W. White.

African Short Stories: Vol 2 Cover

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African Short Stories: Vol 2

Chin Ce

Bequeathing an enduring tenet for the creative enterprise, African Short Stories vol 2 boldly seeks to upturn the status quo by the art of narration. Whether they are stories of the whistle blower estranged and yet sounding the warning for heaven and earth to hear, or a ragtag army fleeing in the wake of a monstrous reptilian onslaught upon her peace, there pervades a sense of ultimate victory in this collection. We can feel the gentle kick of a baby in the womb of a maiden in desperation, or we can muse at the two adolescent genii on the trail of their dreams from the sunset of mutual deceit into the daylight of true becoming. Victory is laid out in that awesome kindness of a total stranger which affirms the divinity latent in even our most harrowing existence. With thirty five stories in two parts these literary experiments compel attention to the courageous hearts and minds that brighten the African universe of narration. Their vibrant notes coming from all corners of north, west, east and south fill us with encouragement and optimism for the contemporary short fiction in Africa.

African Tales Cover

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African Tales

Compiled by Harold Scheub

The latest work from Harold Scheub, one of the world's leading scholars of African folktales, is the broadest collection yet assembled with tales from the entire continent of Africa, north to south. It brings together mythic, fantastic, and coming-of-age tales, some transcribed more than a hundred years ago, others dating to modern-day Africa. Scheub includes the work of storytellers from major African language groups, as well as many storytellers whose work is not often heard outside of Africa. This anthology offers a classroom-ready collection that should appeal to any scholar of African literature and culture. Realizing that these tales are part of a dying art, Scheub writes for the inner ear in everyone, bringing an oral tradition to life in written form.

African Women Writing Resistance Cover

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African Women Writing Resistance

An Anthology of Contemporary Voices

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

African Women Writing Resistance is the first transnational anthology to focus on women’s strategies of resistance to the challenges they face in Africa today.  The anthology brings together personal narratives, testimony, interviews, short stories, poetry, performance scripts, folktales, and lyrics. Thematically organized, it presents women’s writing on such issues as intertribal and interethnic conflicts, the degradation of the environment, polygamy, domestic abuse, the controversial traditional practice of female genital cutting, Sharia law, intergenerational tensions, and emigration and exile.
    Contributors include internationally recognized authors and activists such as Wangari Maathai and Nawal El Saadawi, as well as a host of vibrant new voices from all over the African continent and from the African diaspora. Interdisciplinary in scope, this collection provides an excellent introduction to contemporary African women’s literature and highlights social issues that are particular to Africa but are also of worldwide concern.  It is an essential reference for students of African studies, world literature, anthropology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and women’s studies.

After-Dinner Conversation Cover

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After-Dinner Conversation

The Diary of a Decadent

By José Asunción Silva

Lost in a shipwreck in 1895, rewritten before the author's suicide in 1896, and not published until 1925, José Asunción Silva's After-Dinner Conversation (De sobremesa) is one of Latin America's finest fin de siècle novels and the first one to be translated into English. Perhaps the single best work for understanding turn-of-the-twentieth-century writing in South America, After-Dinner Conversation is also cited as the continent's first psychological novel and an outstanding example of modernista fiction and the Decadent sensibility. Semi-autobiographical and more important for style than plot, After-Dinner Conversation is the diary of a Decadent sensation-collector in exile in Paris who undertakes a quest to find his beloved Helen, a vision whom his fevered imagination sees as his salvation. Along the way, he struggles with irreconcilable urges and temptations that pull him in every direction while he endures an environment indifferent or hostile to spiritual and intellectual pursuits, as did the modernista writers themselves. Kelly Washbourne's excellent translation preserves Silva's lush prose and experimental style. In the introduction, one of the most wide-ranging in Silva criticism, Washbourne places the life and work of Silva in their literary and historical contexts, including an extended discussion of how After-Dinner Conversation fits within Spanish American modernismo and the Decadent movement. Washbourne's perceptive comments and notes also make the novel accessible to general readers, who will find the work surprisingly fresh more than a century after its composition.

After Every War Cover

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After Every War

Twentieth-Century Women Poets

Eavan Boland

They are nine women with much in common--all German speaking, all poets, all personal witnesses to the horror and devastation that was World War II. Yet, in this deeply moving collection, each provides a singularly personal glimpse into the effects of war on language, place, poetry, and womanhood.

After Every War is a book of translations of women poets living in Europe in the decades before and after World War II: Rose Ausländer, Elisabeth Langgässer, Nelly Sachs, Gertrud Kolmar, Else Lasker-Schüler, Ingeborg Bachmann, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Dagmar Nick, and Hilde Domin. Several of the writers are Jewish and, therefore, also witnesses and participants in one of the darkest occasions of human cruelty, the Holocaust. Their poems, as well as those of the other writers, provide a unique biography of the time--but with a difference. These poets see public events through the lens of deep private losses. They chart the small occasions, the bittersweet family ties, the fruit dish on a table, the lost soul arriving at a railway station; in other words, the sheer ordinariness through which cataclysm is experienced, and by which life is cruelly shattered. They reclaim these moments and draw the reader into them.

The poems are translated and introduced, with biographical notes on the authors, by renowned Irish poet Eavan Boland. Her interest in the topic is not abstract. As an Irish woman, she has observed the heartbreaking effects of violence on her own country. Her experience has drawn her closer to these nine poets, enabling her to render into English the beautiful, ruminative quality of their work and to present their poems for what they are: documentaries of resilience--of language, of music, and of the human spirit--in the hardest of times.

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