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“Kevin Oberlin’s deft sonnets, like the Texas chanteuse they describe, are lively and picaresque, ‘nervy’ and ‘coy,’ and they unreel their story with dazzling speed.”—Michael Collier
“In sonnets so marvelously subtle and fluid that we don’t even wake up to the fact that they are sonnets, Kevin Oberlin guides us into the life of a girl in the spotlight. These little A-list marvels of craft open up the world of a young B-list Texas jazz singer, her over-the-top mother, her venues, her agent, and her creepy fans. Oberlin makes it clear that despite the details of hotels, cell phones, poker hands, and trips to the gym, these poems are more importantly about persistence, bravery, the sweat beneath the shine, and the act of singing itself. He’s written an ars poetica, a poet’s take on a singer’s soul. There’s no chaff here, only a handful of beautiful, flexible, elastic sonnets written with natural ease.”—Molly Peacock
“No star-struck lover or dark mistress inhabits these lively sonnets but a flesh-and-blood, poker-playing Texan with a cell phone, an agent, an anxious mother, and a load of her own worries as she tries to make it in the music business. From the Star Spangled Banner at a racetrack to the warm-up for B. B. King, Spotlit Girl is a nimble character study that captures both the craziness of a performer's life and the time-stopping intimacy between a vocalist and her audience. The singer's in the spotlight, and Kevin Oberlin has the focus and the dazzle to make her shine.”—Don Bogen
“Heather Kirn’s The Story You Tell Yourself may be a first book, but Kirn’s firm intelligence and lyrical artistry make poems that are clearly the confident work of an extraordinarily accomplished, even thrilling, poet. Kirn isn’t kidding when she says, audaciously, ‘I found a shape and made a world,/then crawled inside. Where else was I to live?’ Her poems make a world that is a pleasure to enter, inhabit, and learn from.” —Andrew Hudgins
“These poems are small miracles of naming that summon a world into existence. The poet doesn’t merely name things we know, she re-creates them. By speaking to a phone, she invents dialogue. By calling the birds as they fly south again, she raises a scene from her past. The past, in fact, haunts these pages, and yet the book feels resolutely triumphant. It teaches us how to celebrate in the midst of loss. Even ‘knowing the sun will erase it,’ we can move forward in the company of this amazing poet, writing our own ‘faint psalm[s] of unknowing.’”—Jeanne Murray Walker
The Art of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio
An important contribution to the field of American literary studies
“Groundbreaking work in Anderson scholarship in particular and, on the wider scene, in American literary studies.”<br /> —Robert Dunne, author of A New Book of the Grotesques: Contemporary Approaches to Sherwood Anderson’s Early Fiction
This critical study of Sherwood Anderson’s most famous and perhaps most widely taught work, Winesburg, Ohio, treats it as a thoroughly modernist novel examining the aesthetic nature of romantic identity.
Author Clarence Lindsay argues that Anderson’s famous theory of the Grotesque is a theory of American identity. Each of the small town’s grotesques in effect authors a romantic narrative that privileges the self. In trying to live their lives by that narrative, each enacts a romantic selfhood. Each of these romantic selfhoods is an aesthetic enterprise, complicated by all the aesthetic issues relating to artist and audience. Every crisis in the novel is an aesthetic crisis; every comedy, every tragedy is an aesthetic misstep of some sort. Lindsay proposes that all moral issues in Winesburg, Ohio are aesthetic; all aesthetic issues are moral. Winesburg’s narrator’s careful attention to characters’ romantic narratives of self provides an ironic scrutiny of not only the astonishing varieties of American romantic identity but also a painstaking interrogation of a variety of romantic discourses. Anderson’s radical formal innovation, the interrelated tale, was the perfect American form, not only allowing for the narrator’s “democracy of fascination” with the grotesques’ absolutely equal competing singularities but also providing for the comic juxtaposition of these claims on uniqueness, a jostling that subverts the traditional novel’s emphasis on the singular individual.
This first sustained critical analysis of this American classic restores Anderson to the top rank of American artists, placing him alongside other intense scrutinizers of American romanticism: Hawthorne, Melville, and Hemingway.
“Tornado is a book of ravishing and precise beauty. Death, said Wallace Stevens, is the mother of beauty, and so it is here; around the loss of a beloved sister in childhood, Ted Lardner has spun a radiant web of language by which he reveals what does not and cannot die, in the scale of nature above and underground, in the movements of time, and in the ongoing reach of human tenderness that ‘glides through our skins like a wave, lighting it up from inside.’”—Alicia Ostriker
“Ted Lardner enlarges our range of wonder. For him, the task is to bring the jolt of another world to us by showing us that a springtime apple tree is ‘a brain in flower’ that comes to us ‘from the other side of human language.’ Each line of Tornado sends out a beam that flashes in the line then bounces like sonar in the reader’s deeper parts where we keep our beloved dead. . . . It’s as if Lardner did not write on a keyboard but with a typewriter ball with images, not letters. The ‘tornado’ is his image for leaving, for an ‘intersection’ where the living pass beyond the visible yet begin the Orphic need for imagination. At the center of this vortex Ted Lardner creates the space where the dead still have their Being and make their Rilkean demand that we change our lives. This is a wonderful book.”—Bill Tremblay
Great Power Politics and the Korean Security Dilemma during and after the Cold War
A new study that sheds light on the history of a critical Cold War flashpoint
The fall of the Berlin Wall more than two decades ago brought an end to the Cold War for most of the world. But the legacy of that era remains unresolved on the divided Korean peninsula, which still presents a clear danger for the United States and its allies. Two triangular alliances—one comprised of the United States, South Korea, and Japan, and the other of Russia, China, and North Korea—lie at the heart of the security challenge and all efforts to pursue a final peace treaty.
Trilateralism and Beyond brings together a collection of essays by leading American, South Korean, and Japanese scholars that probe the historical dynamics formed and driven by the Korean security dilemma. Drawing on newly declassified documents secured by the National Security Archive’s Korea Project, along with new archival resources in China and former Warsaw Pact countries, the contributors examine the critical relationship between the United States and South Korea, exploring the delicate balancing act of bolstering the security alliance and fostering greater democracy in South Korea. The volume expands its focus to include Japan and a look at the history and future challenges of trilateral security cooperation on the peninsula; impending difficulties for security cooperation between the United States, South Korea, and Japan; and the trials that Russia and China have experienced in dealing with an often demanding, unpredictable ally in North Korea. The authors move beyond simple images of ideological support by the two great powers to draw a more complex and nuanced picture.
Trilateralism and Beyond offers an essential historical perspective on one of the most enduring challenges for U.S. foreign policy—ensuring stability on the tumultuous Korean peninsula.
The Atomic Bomb and Cold War Narratives
An engrossing analysis of the fiction of nuclear warIn Pat Frank’s 1959 novel Alas, Babylon, the character Helen says of her children: “All their lives, ever since they’ve known anything, they’ve lived under the shadow of war—atomic war. For them the abnormal has become normal.” The threat of nuclear annihilation was a constant source of dread during the Cold War, and in Under the Shadow, author David Seed examines how authors and filmmakers made repeated efforts in their work to imagine the unimaginable.
Seed discusses classics of the period like Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, but he also argues for recognition of less-known works such as Walter M. Miller’s depiction of historical cycles in A Canticle for Leibowitz, Bernard Wolfe’s black comedy of aggression in Limbo, or Mordecai Roshwald’s satirical depiction of technology running out of human control in Level 7. Seed relates these literary works to their historical contexts and to their adaptations in film. Two prime examples of this interaction between media are the motion pictures Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove, which dramatize the threat posed by the arms race to rationality and ultimate human survival.
Seed addresses the attempts made by characters to remap America as a central part of their efforts to understand the horrors of the war. A particular subset of future histories is also examined: accounts of a Third World War, which draw on the conventions of military history and reportage to depict probable war scenarios. Under the Shadow concludes with a discussion of the recent fiction of nuclear terrorism.
The American Expeditionary Forces in Memory and Remembrance
The Great War remembered
“This book is not a history of World War I, nor is it a history of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front. Rather, it is a collection of essays that examines how the wartime generation and those that followed have remembered or commemorated individuals, groups, and military organizations that comprised the AEF.”<br /> —from the Preface
When the United States declared war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. After the war, Pershing became the head of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the new government agency that commemorated the AEF’s exploits.
The essays comprising Unknown Soldiers are divided into three sections: “Remembering the AEF,” “Soldiers and Their Units in Battle and Beyond,” and “The AEF in Popular Memory.” The first section provides an overview of how Americans and the government have remembered, commemorated, and interpreted the history of the AEF, its battles, and its soldiers. The four essays in the second section shed light on how the doughboys fought, how they interacted with Allied soldiers, how the war shaped their postwar careers and memories, and how heroic feats became the stuff of myth and legend. The last section explores how the AEF has been remembered through popular literature, film, and music.
This collection draws on primary sources from previously unheard voices, including memoirs, autobiographies, official records, and oral histories, to present the coherent story of the AEF’s experience and the memories they evoked. Unknown Soldiers will be a welcome addition to World War I literature and a solid addition to the fields of military history and the history of memory.
Diplomacy in the Progressive Era
A comprehensive history of the relationship between the United States and reformist Uruguay
Despite its fascinating history, the attention paid by North American historians to Uruguay, a nation nestled in the corner of South America between Argentina and Brazil, is scant when compared to that shown to its neighbors. A major portion of the Uruguayan story revolves around the figure of two-time president José Batlle y Ordoñez, who was the nation’s dominant political figure between 1903 and 1929. Historians have credited Batlle with creating the hemisphere’s first welfare state. Under his guidance, Uruguay passed laws in the area of workers’ rights, unemployment compensation, public education, public works, and voting expansion. Ever ambitious, Batlle sought to make Uruguay the world’s “model country.”
Uruguay and the United States, 1903–1929 is the first study to look at the political, social, and commercial relationship between Batlle’s Uruguay and the Progressive Era United States. Using government records from Montevideo and Washington, as well as newspapers, the personal papers of many of the key actors, and a variety of other sources, author James Knarr examines how this ideological and harmonious relationship developed between Batllistas in Uruguay and Progressives in the United States.
Through his analysis of diplomatic, commercial, and cultural bonds, Knarr comprehensively explores how Batlle’s liberal ideas, partially built on U.S. concepts, resulted in a relationship that brought rewards for both the United States and Uruguay. This work is a must read for historians of U.S. foreign relations and Latin America.
Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Politics of Representative Reality
An anthology of the best scholarship on the celebrated African American writer
A prolific nineteenth-century author, Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African American poet to gain national recognition. Praised by Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, and Frederick Douglass, who called him “the most promising colored man in America,” Dunbar intrigued readers and literary critics with his depictions of African Americans’ struggle to overcome a legacy of slavery and prejudice. His remarkably large body of work—he wrote eleven volumes of poetry, four short story collections, five novels, three librettos, and a play before his death at thirty-three—draws on the oral storytelling traditions of his ex-slave mother as well as his unconventional education at an all-white public school to explore the evolving identity of the black community and its place in post–Civil War America.
Willie Harrell has assembled a collection of essays on Dunbar’s work that builds on the research published over the last two decades. Employing an array of approaches to Dunbar’s poetic creations, these essays closely examine the self-motivated and dynamic effect of his use of dialect, language, rhetorical strategies, and narrative theory to promote racial uplift. They situate Dunbar’s work in relation to the issues of advancement popular during the Reconstruction era and against the racial stereotypes proliferating in the early twentieth century while demonstrating its relevance to contemporary literary studies.
We Wear the Mask will appeal to scholars and students of African American literature and poetry, as well as those interested in one of the most celebrated and widely taught African American authors.
Poems by Carolyn Creedon
“I’m moved by the way that Carolyn Creedon’s work treats experience as sacred. She won’t look away from difficult truths. She writes frankly about her own frustrations, longings, and heartbreaks, but she also recognizes the suffering of others—their secret grievances and griefs. The daily working world is here in full measure. And yet there’s an oddly religious feeling that keeps breaking through this volume, which cherishes the small things, the lesser divinities, and ends with a prayer. It heartens me to welcome this fiery and fervent book, this wet collection, into the world.” —Edward Hirsch, Judge
“I have long admired Carolyn Creedon’s work. Her first book is strong and vital. She is not like anyone else now publishing in our country. Her directness and immediacy make her a kind of legitimate granddaughter of the sublime Walt Whitman>—Harold Bloom .”
“Gleaming wet with all the fluids of life—the ‘high sweet sacrament that stank of blood and wine’—these astonishing poems defy us to separate the sacred from the profane, myths from the mundane, intellect from appetite. Language itself moves with a fluid energy, a breathtaking emotional velocity and formal dexterity, hot-wired by humor, fueled by hunger, cadence after cadence, as Creedon piles on the similes till the whole world wears her kind of trouble, her wild and brilliant apprehension.”
“Carolyn Creedon’s first book is a red-hot blast of truth. Her wildly various poems are carefully cooked yet manage to be slyly and earnestly raw. ‘I am the spilled-out impure grit, and the laundress of it,’ says the speaker in ‘Stone.’ Ever ballsy, Wet is also imbued with huge stabs of longing and precipitous tenderness. Whether in leaks or spurts or cataracts, this astonishing new voice holds nothing back.” —Ellen Doré Watson