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A Novel in Stories
Catina’s Haircut: A Novel in Stories spans four generations of a peasant family in the brutal poverty of post-Unification southern Italy and in an immigrant’s United States. The women in these tales dare to cross boundaries by discovering magical leaps inherent in the landscape, in themselves, and in the stories they tell and retell of family tragedy at a time of political unrest. Through an oral tradition embedded in the stone of memory and the flow of its reinvention, their passionate tale of resistance and transformation courses forward into new generations in a new world.
A woman threatens to join the land reform struggle in her Calabrian hill town, against her husband’s will, during a call for revolution in 1919. A brother and sister turn to the village sorceress in Fascist Italy to bring rain to their father’s drought-stricken farm. In Pittsburgh, new immigrants witness a miraculous rescue during the Great Flood of 1936. A young girl courageously dives into the Allegheny River to save her grandfather’s only memento of the old country. With only broken English to guide her, a widow hops a bus in search of live chickens to cook for Easter dinner in her husband’s memory. An aging woman in the title story is on a quest to cut the ankle-length hair as hard as the rocky soil of Calabria in a drought. A lonely woman who survived World War II bombings in her close-knit village, struggles to find community as a recent immigrant. A daughter visits her mother’s hill town to try and fulfill a wish for her to see the Fata Morgana. These haunting images permeate Corso’s linked stories of loss, hope, struggle, and freedom.
An official selection of The Sons of Italy® Book Club
Toulouse Observed, 1738-1780
From public executions to religious processions to political festivities, Toulouse's ceremonial life was remarkably rich in the decades prior to the French Revolution. In an engaging portrait that conveys this provincial city in all its splendor and misery, Robert Schneider explores how Toulouse's civic and community life was represented in the stagings of various ceremonies. His inquiry is based on the unpublished diaries of Pierre Barthès, a Latin tutor who was both a devout Catholic and a monarchist, and who recorded forty years of public activity in ways that reflected the mounting social tensions of his times. By analyzing Barthès's accounts, Schneider demonstrates how the variety of ceremonial forms embodied different ritual dynamics and represented contrasting values.
The author focuses most intently on the differences between the solemn religious procession, which was highly participatory and represented local concerns, and the more celebratory festival, which vaunted the monarchy and turned the people into passive spectators. He examines the theatrical nature of often hastily orchestrated religious parades winding through neighborhood streets, then considers the monarchy's use of plazas for staged entertainment, particularly for awe-inspiring displays of fireworks. Schneider argues that the festival proved a successful tool in imposing the symbols of the centralized state on Toulouse's public life, but that both the procession and the festival incorporated powerful ceremonial forms that proved politically useful for the Revolution.
French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy
As France begins to confront the new challenges of the post-Cold War era, the time has come to examine how French security policy has evolved since Charles de Gaulle set it on an independent course in the 1960s. Philip Gordon shows that the Gaullist model, contrary to widely held beliefs, has lived on--but that its inherent inconsistencies have grown more acute with increasing European unification, the diminishing American military role in Europe, and related strains on French military budgets. The question today is whether the Gaullist legacy will enable a strong and confident France to play a full role in Europe's new security arrangements or whether France, because of its will to independence, is destined to play an isolated, national role.
Gordon analyzes military doctrines, strategies, and budgets from the 1960s to the 1990s, and also the evolution of French policy from the early debates about NATO and the European Community to the Persian Gulf War. He reveals how and why Gaullist ideas have for so long influenced French security policy and examines possible new directions for France in an increasingly united but potentially unstable Europe.
Life, Love, and Literature
When he committed suicide at age forty-one, Cesare Pavese (1908–1950) was one of Italy’s best-known writers. A poet, novelist, literary critic, and translator, he had been profoundly influenced in his early years by American literature. But later he grew disaffected with American culture, coming to see it as materialistic and shallow. This book, the first full-length English-language study of Pavese in twenty years, examines his life and the evolution of his views of America through a chronological reading of his works.
Society, Culture, and Territory in the Saxon-Bohemian Borderlands, 1870-1946
Changing Places is an interesting meditation on the varying identities and rights claimed by residents of borderlands, the limits placed on the capacities of nation-states to police their borders and enforce national identities, and the persistence of such contact zones in the past and present. It is an extremely well-written and engaging study, and an absolute pleasure to read. ---Dennis Sweeney, University of Alberta "Changing Places offers a brilliantly transnational approach to its subject, the kind that historians perennially demand of themselves but almost never accomplish in practice." ---Pieter M. Judson, Swarthmore College Changing Places is a transnational history of the birth, life, and death of a modern borderland and of frontier peoples' changing relationships to nations, states, and territorial belonging. The cross-border region between Germany and Habsburg Austria---and after 1918 between Germany and Czechoslovakia---became an international showcase for modern state building, nationalist agitation, and local pragmatism after World War I, in the 1930s, and again after 1945. Caitlin Murdock uses wide-ranging archival and published sources from Germany and the Czech Republic to tell a truly transnational story of how state, regional, and local historical actors created, and eventually destroyed, a cross-border region. Changing Places demonstrates the persistence of national fluidity, ambiguity, and ambivalence in Germany long after unification and even under fascism. It shows how the 1938 Nazi annexation of the Czechoslovak "Sudetenland" became imaginable to local actors and political leaders alike. At the same time, it illustrates that the Czech-German nationalist conflict and Hitler's Anschluss are only a small part of the larger, more complex borderland story that continues to shape local identities and international politics today. Caitlin E. Murdock is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach. Jacket Credit: Cover art courtesy of the author
Charcot in Morocco is the first-ever publication of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot’s travel diary of his 1887 trip to Morocco. Considered the father of neuropathology, Charcot (1825–1893) is a seminal character in the history of neurology and psychology. His Moroccan travel diary includes his “objective” observations of the local Jewish community, which only fortified his assumptions about the relationship between race and neuropathology. These became a conspicuous feature of his ideas about the hereditary origins of nervous ailments. His ideas – taught as doctrine to a vast audience, including a young Sigmund Freud – reveal the convergence of clinical observation and European anti-Semitism at the end of the nineteenth century.
Including an enlightening critical introduction by renowned Charcot expert Toby Gelfand, Charcot in Morocco provides new insights into the personality of this influential figure and his perspectives on the “Orient” and its inhabitants.
Francesc Eiximenis and the Court Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Iberia
In Chariots of Ladies, Nuria Silleras-Fernandez traces the development of devotion and female piety among the Iberian aristocracy from the late Middle Ages into the Golden Age, and from Catalonia to the rest of Iberia and Europe via the rise of the Franciscan Observant movement. A program of piety and morality devised by Francesc Eiximenis, a Franciscan theologian, royal counselor, and writer in Catalonia in the 1390s, came to characterize the feminine ideal in the highest circles of the Iberian aristocracy in the era of the Empire. As Eiximenis's work was adapted and translated into Castilian over the century and a half that followed, it became a model of devotion and conduct for queens and princesses, including Isabel the Catholic and her descendants, who ruled over Portugal and the Spanish Empire of the Hapsburgs.
Silleras-Fernandez uses archival documentation, letters, manuscripts, incunabula, and a wide range of published material to clarify how Eiximenis's ideas on gender and devotion were read by Countess Sanxa Ximenis d'Arenós and Queen Maria de Luna of Aragon and how they were then changed by his adaptors and translators in Castile for new readers (including Isabel the Catholic and Juana the Mad), and in sixteenth-century Portugal for new patronesses (Juana’s daughter, Catalina of Habsburg, and Catalina’s daughter, Maria Manuela, first wife of Philip II). Chariots of Ladies casts light on a neglected dimension of encounter and exchange in Iberia from the late fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries.
British Guiana's Struggle for Independence
Informed by the first use of many British, U.S., and Guyanese archival sources, Palmer's work details Jagan's rise and fall, from his initial electoral victory in the spring of 1953 to the aftermath of the British-orchestrated coup d'état that led to the suspension of the constitution and the removal of Jagan's independence-minded administration. Jagan's political odyssey continued--he was reelected to the premiership in 1957--but in 1964 he fell out of power again under intense pressure from Guianese, British, and U.S. officials suspicious of Marxist influences on the People's Progressive Party, the popular nationalist party founded in 1950 by Jagan and his activist wife, Janet Rosenberg. But Jagan's political life was not over--after decades in the opposition, he became Guyana's president in 1992.
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the development of Dawson's thinking on questions that remain of contemporary importance
In Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France, Tracy Adams offers a reevaluation of Christine de Pizan’s literary engagement with contemporary politics. Adams locates Christine’s works within a detailed narrative of the complex history of the dispute between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, the two largest political factions in fifteenth-century France. Contrary to what many scholars have long believed, Christine consistently supported the Armagnac faction throughout her literary career and maintained strong ties to Louis of Orleans and Isabeau of Bavaria. Adams claims that Christine’s writings not only voiced support for Louis and Isabeau in opposition to John of Burgundy, but also contributed to defining kingship and creating authority in France’s turbulent political climate. In addition, Christine promoted, defended, and profoundly affected the nature of female regency as it developed in France from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Alternating between chapters focusing on the historical context of the Armagnac-Burgundian feud at different moments, and chapters offering close readings of Christine’s poetry and prose, Adams shows the ways in which the writer was closely engaged with and influenced the volatile politics of her time.