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University of Iowa Press

Website: http://uiowapress.org/

Established in 1969, the University of Iowa Press is a well-regarded academic publisher serving scholars, students, and readers throughout the world with works of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. As the only university press in the state, Iowa is also dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the Midwest. For scholars and students, we publish reference and course books in the areas of archaeology, American studies, American history, literary studies, theatre studies, and the craft of writing.The UI Press is a place where first-class writing matters, whether the subject is Whitman or Shakespeare, prairie or poetry, memoirs or medical literature. We are committed to the vital role played by small presses as publishers of scholarly and creative works that may not attract commercial attention.


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University of Iowa Press

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The Emerald Horizon Cover

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The Emerald Horizon

The History of Nature in Iowa

In The Emerald Horizon, Cornelia Mutel combines lyrical writing with meticulous scientific research to portray the environmental past, present, and future of Iowa. In doing so, she ties all of Iowa's natural features into one comprehensive whole.

Since so much of the tallgrass state has been transformed into an agricultural landscape, Mutel focuses on understanding today’s natural environment by understanding yesterday’s changes. After summarizing the geological, archaeological, and ecological features that shaped Iowa’s modern landscape, she recreates the once-wild native communities that existed prior to Euroamerican settlement. Next she examines the dramatic changes that overtook native plant and animal communities as Iowa’s prairies, woodlands, and wetlands were transformed. Finally she presents realistic techniques for restoring native species and ecological processes as well as a broad variety of ways in which Iowans can reconnect with the natural world. Throughout, in addition to the many illustrations commissioned for this book, she offers careful scientific exposition, a strong sense of respect for the land, and encouragement to protect the future by learning from the past.

The “emerald prairie” that “gleamed and shone to the horizon’s edge,” as botanist Thomas Macbride described it in 1895, has vanished. Cornelia Mutel’s passionate dedication to restoring this damaged landscape—and by extension the transformed landscape of the entire Corn Belt—invigorates her blend of natural history and human history. Believing that citizens who are knowledgeable about native species, communities, and ecological processes will better care for them, she gives us hope—and sound suggestions—for the future.

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Emerson in His Own Time

A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, F

At his death, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) was universally acknowledged in America and England as “the Great Romancer.” Novels such as The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables and stories published in such collections as Twice-Told Tales continue to capture the minds and imaginations of readers and critics to this day. Harder to capture, however, were the character and personality of the man himself. So few of the essays that appeared in the two years after his death offered new insights into his life, art, and reputation that Hawthorne seemed fated to premature obscurity or, at least, permanent misrepresentation. This first collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew Hawthorne intimately or knew about him through reliable secondary sources rescues him from these confusions and provides the real human history behind the successful writer. 
    Remembrances from Elizabeth Peabody, Sophia Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, and twenty others printed in Hawthorne in His Own Time follow him from his childhood in Salem, through his years of initial literary obscurity, his days in the Boston and Salem Custom Houses, his service as U.S. Consul to Liverpool and Manchester and his life in the Anglo-American communities at Rome and Florence, to his late years as the “Great Romancer.” 
    In their enlightening introduction, editors Ronald Bosco and Jillmarie Murphy assess the postmortem building of Hawthorne’s reputation as well as his relationship to the prominent Transcendentalists, spiritualists, Swedenborgians, and other personalities of his time. By clarifying the sentimental associations between Hawthorne’s writings and his actual personality and moving away from the critical review to the personal narrative, these artful and perceptive reminiscences tell the private and public story of a remarkable life.

The Enigma of Ethnicity Cover

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The Enigma of Ethnicity

Another American Dilemma

In The Enigma of Ethnicity Wilbur Zelinsky draws upon more than half a century of exploring the cultural and social geography of an ever-changing North America to become both biographer and critic of the recent concept of ethnicity. In this ambitious and encyclopedic work, he examines ethnicity's definition, evolution, significance, implications, and entanglements with other phenomena as well as the mysteries of ethnic identity and performance.
Zelinsky begins by examining the ways in which “ethnic groups” and “ethnicity” have been defined; his own definitions then become the basis for the rest of his study. He next focuses on the concepts of heterolocalism—the possibility that an ethnic community can exist without being physically merged—and personal identity—the relatively recent idea that one can concoct one's own identity. In his final chapter, which is also his most provocative, he concentrates on the multifaceted phenomenon of multiculturalism and its relationship to ethnicity. Throughout he includes a close look at African Americans, Hispanics, and Jews as well as such less-studied groups as suburbanized Japanese, Cubans in Washington, Koreans, Lithuanian immigrants in Chicago, Estonians in New Jersey, Danish Americans in Seattle, and Finns.
Reasonable, nonpolemical, and straightforward, Zelinsky's text is invaluable for readers wanting an in-depth overview of the literature on ethnicity in the United States as well as a well-thought-out understanding of the meanings and dynamics of ethnic groups, ethnicity, and multiculturalism.

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Entitled to the Pedestal

Place, Race, and Progress in White Southern Women's Writing,1920-1945

In this searching study, Nghana Lewis offers a close reading of the works and private correspondences, essays, and lectures of five southern white women writers: Julia Peterkin, Gwen Bristow, Caroline Gordon, Willa Cather, and Lillian Smith. At the core of this work is a sophisticated reexamination of the myth of southern white womanhood.
    Lewis overturns the conventional argument that white women were passive and pedestal-bound. Instead, she argues that these figures were complicit in the day-to-day dynamics of power and authorship and stood to gain much from these arrangements at the expense of others.
    At the same time that her examination of southern mythology explodes received wisdom, it is also a journey of self-discovery. As Lewis writes in her preface, “As a proud daughter of the South, I have always been acutely aware of the region’s rich cultural heritage, folks, and foodstuffs. How could I not be? I was born and reared in Lafayette, Louisiana, where an infant’s first words are not ‘da-da’ and ‘ma-ma’ but ‘crawfish boil’ and ‘fais-do-do.’ . . . I have also always been keenly familiar with its volatile history.” Where these conflicting images—and specifically the role of white southern women as catalysts, vindicators, abettors, and antagonists—meet forms the crux of this study. As such, this study of the South by a daughter of the South offers a distinctive perspective that illuminates the texts in novel and provocative ways.

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Esther's Town

Deemer Lee

Esther's Town could be "Any Town, U.S.A.," for the equals of its cast of characters can be found in any small town. And here, as usual, was the town newspaper editor, the observing eye of all the foibles and peccadillos that form any town's history. Remembering all the years with love and humor, editor Deemer Lee chronicled the forty-four years he gathered and wrote news—forty-one of them as editor and publisher of his town's newspaper.

He dug into old records, recalled old times, and talked with old-timers. He illuminated the transition of a town, from Estherville’s pioneer settlement to the busy, active town it is today.

The excitement and fun begin with a story of bootleggers, Chautauqua meetings, and an accomplished arsonist—who achieves in less than two months the impressive score of burning seven barns and one feed store, with an unsuccessful attempt on the Methodist church. Scandinavians move in, build crude shelters for the first winter, and add their special characteristics to the town. The Irish arrive and stamp their mark on the whole territory. The circus comes to town and entrances everyone with its ancient pageantry. The railroads come through and add a rowdy element to the population. The Depression begins and farms see 11-cent corn, 108-degree heat, and a twister.

All these events, plus adventures with a massive meteorite and haunting river tragedies, create the drama and flow of small-town life, story by story, in a fascinating revelation of Americana. 

The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity in Asian American Poetry Cover

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The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity in Asian American Poetry

Poetry by Asian American writers has had a significant impact on the landscape of contemporary American poetry, and a book-length critical treatment of Asian American poetry is long overdue. In this groundbreaking book, Xiaojing Zhou demonstrates how many Asian American poets transform the conventional “I” of lyric poetry---based on the traditional Western concept of the self and the Cartesian “I”---to enact a more ethical relationship between the “I” and its others.Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas's idea of the ethics of alterity---which argues that an ethical relation to the other is one that acknowledges the irreducibility of otherness---Zhou offers a reconceptualization of both self and other. Taking difference as a source of creativity and turning it into a form of resistance and a critical intervention, Asian American poets engage with broader issues than the merely poetic. They confront social injustice against the other and call critical attention to a concept of otherness which differs fundamentally from that underlying racism, sexism, and colonialism. By locating the ethical and political questions of otherness in language, discourse, aesthetics, and everyday encounters, Asian American poets help advance critical studies in race, gender, and popular culture as well as in poetry.The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity is not limited, however, to literary studies: it is an invaluable response to the questions raised by increasingly globalized encounters across many kinds of boundaries.The Poets: Marilyn Chin, Kimiko Hahn, Myung Mi Kim, Li Young Lee, Timothy Liu, David Mura, and John Yau

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The Evolution of Walt Whitman

Now, nearly forty years after its original translation into English, Roger Asselineau's complete and magisterial biography of Walt Whitman will remind readers of the complex weave of traditions in Whitman scholarship. It is startling to recognize how much of our current understanding of Whitman was already articulated by Asselineau nearly half a century ago. Throughout its eight hundred pages, The Evolution of Walt Whitman speaks with authority on a vast range of topics that define both Whitman the man and Whitman the mythical personage. Remarkably, most of these discussions remain fresh and relevant, and that is in part because they have been so influential.

In particular, The Evolution of Walt Whitman inaugurated the study of Leaves of Grass as a lifelong work in progress, and it marked the end of the habit of talking about Leaves as if it were a single unified book. Asselineau saw Whitman's poetry “not as a body of static data but as a constantly changing continuum whose evolution must be carefully observed.” Throughout Evolution, Asselineau placed himself in the role of the observer, analyzing Whitman's development with a kind of scientific detachment. But behind this objective persona burned the soul of a risk taker who was willing to rewrite Whitman studies by bravely proposing what was then a controversial biographical source for Whitman's art—his homosexual desires.

The Evolution of Walt Whitman is a reminder that extraordinary works of criticism never exist in and of themselves. In this expanded edition, Roger Asselineau has provided a new essay summarizing his own continuing journey with Whitman. A foreword by Ed Folsom, editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly, regards Evolution as the genesis of contemporary Whitman studies.

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Exploring Buried Buxton

Archaeology of an Abandoned Iowa Coal Mining Town with a Large Black Population

Few sources before have dealt with the archaeology of African American settlements outside the Atlantic seaboard and the southern states. This book describes in detail the archaeological investigations conducted at the town site of Buxton, Iowa, a coal mining community inhabited by a significantly large population of blacks between 1900 and 1925.

David Gradwohl and Nancy Osborn present the archaeology of Buxton from “the group up” to articulate the material remains with the data acquired from archival studies and oral history interviews. They also examine the broader significance of the Buxton experience in terms of those who lived there and their children and grandchildren who have heard about Buxton all their lives.

The Extraordinary Work Of Ordinary Writing Cover

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The Extraordinary Work Of Ordinary Writing

Annie Ray's Diary

Exciting and beautifully crafted, The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing provides an entirely new way of viewing “ordinary writing,” the everyday writing we typically ignore or dismiss. It takes as its center the diary of Jennifer Sinor's great-great-great-aunt Annie Ray, a woman who homesteaded in the Dakotas in the late nineteenth century. Diaries such as this have long been ignored by scholars, who prefer instead to focus on diaries with literary features. Reading diaries through this lens gives privileged status to those that are coherently crafted and ignores the very diaries that define the form through their relentless inscription of dailiness.

Annie Ray’s diary is not literary. By considering her ordinary writing as a site of complex and strategic negotiations among the writer, the form of writing, and dominant cultural scripts, Sinor makes visible the extraordinary work of the ordinary writer and the sophistication of these texts. In providing a way to read diaries outside the limits and conventions of literature, she challenges our approaches to other texts as well. Furthermore, because ordinary writing is not crafted for aesthetic reception (in contrast to autobiography proper, memoirs, and literary diaries), it is a productive site for investigating how both writing and culture get made every day.

The book is truly original in its form: nontraditional, storied, creative. Sinor, an accomplished creative writer, includes her own memories as extended metaphors in partnership with critical texts along with excerpts from her aunt's diary. The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing will be a fascinating text for students of creative writing as well as of women's studies and diaries.

Family Bible Cover

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Family Bible

"Swimming and sex seemed a lot alike to me when I was growing up. You took off most of your clothes to do them and you only did them with people who were the same color as you. As your daddy got richer, you got to do them in fancier places." Starting with her father, who never met a whitetail buck he couldn't shoot, a whiskey bottle he couldn't empty, or a woman he couldn't charm, and her mother, who "invented road rage before 1960," Melissa Delbridge introduces us to the people in her own family bible. Readers will find elements of Southern Gothic and familiar vernacular characters, but Delbridge endows each with her startling and original interpretation. In this disarmingly unguarded and unapologetic memoir, she shows us what really happened in the "stew of religion and sex" that was 1960s Tuscaloosa.

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