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A Woman's Letters from the Ohio Frontier
In 1826 thirty-year-old Anna Briggs Bentley, her husband, and their six children left their close Quaker community and the worn-out tobacco farms of Sandy Spring, Maryland, for frontier Ohio. Along the way, Anna sent back home the first of scores of letters she wrote her mother and sisters over the next fifty years as she strove to keep herself and her children in their memories. With Anna's natural talent for storytelling and her unique, female perspective, the letters provide a sustained and vivid account of everyday domestic life on the Ohio frontier. She writes of carving a farm out of the forest, bearing many children, darning and patching the family clothes, standing her ground in religious controversy, nursing wounds and fevers, and burying beloved family and friends. Emily Foster presents these revealing letters of a pioneer woman in a framework of insightful commentary and historical context, with genealogical appendices.
The 1957 Riots and Cold War Foreign Policy
On May 23, 1957, US Army Sergeant Robert Reynolds was acquitted of murdering Chinese officer Liu Ziran in Taiwan. Reynolds did not deny shooting Liu but claimed self-defense and, like all members of US military assistance and advisory groups, was protected under diplomatic immunity. Reynolds's acquittal sparked a series of riots across Taiwan that became an international crisis for the Eisenhower administration and raised serious questions about the legal status of US military forces positioned around the world.
In American Justice in Taiwan, author Stephen G. Craft provides the first comprehensive study of the causes and consequences of the Reynolds trial and the ensuing protests. After more than a century of what they perceived as unfair treaties imposed by Western nations, the Taiwanese regarded the special legal status of resident American personnel with extreme distrust. While Eisenhower and his advisers considered Taiwan to be a vital ally against Chinese communism, the US believed that the Taiwanese government had instigated the unrest in order to protest the verdict and demand legal jurisdiction over GIs. Regardless, the events that transpired in 1957 exposed the enormous difficulty of applying the US's Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) across cultures.
Employing meticulous research from both Western and Chinese archives, Craft demonstrates that the riots were only anti-American in that the Taiwanese rejected the UCMJ, the affording of diplomatic immunity to occupying US forces, and the military courts' interpretation of self-defense. His compelling study provides a new lens through which to examine US--Taiwan relations in the 1950s, US policy in Asia, and the incredibly charged and complex question of the legal status of US troops on foreign soil.
Literature and science are two disciplines are two disciplines often thought to be unrelated, if not actually antagonistic. But Robert J. Scholnick points out that these areas of learning, up through the beginning of the nineteenth century, "were understood as parts of a unitary endeavor." By mid-century they had diverged, but literature and science have continued to interact, conflict, and illuminate each other. In this innovative work, twelve leaders in this emerging interdisciplinary field explore the long engagement of American writers with science and uncover science's conflicting meanings as a central dimension of the nation's conception of itself. Reaching back to the Puritan poet-minister-physician Edward Taylor, who wrote at the beginning of the scientific revolution, and forward to Thomas Pynchon, novelist of the cybernetic age, this collection of original essays contains essential work on major writers, including Franklin, Jefferson, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Twain, Hart Crane, Dos Passos, and Charles Olson. Through its exploration of the ways that American writers have found in science and technology a vital imaginative stimulus, even while resisting their destructive applications, this book points towards a reconciliation and integration within culture. An innovative look at a neglected dimension of our literary tradition, American Literature and Science stands as both a definition of the field and an invitation to others to continue and extend new modes of inquiry.
The Life and Films of Thomas Dixon
" Thomas Dixon has a notorious reputation as the writer of the source material for D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking and controversial 1915 feature film The Birth of a Nation . Perhaps unfairly, Dixon has been branded an arch-conservative and a racist obsessed with what he viewed as “the Negro problem.” As American Racist makes clear, however, Dixon was a complex, multitalented individual who, as well as writing some of the most popular novels of the early twentieth century, was involved in the production of some eighteen films. Dixon used the motion picture as a propaganda tool for his often outrageous opinions on race, communism, socialism, and feminism. His most spectacular production, The Fall of a Nation (1916), argues for American preparedness in the face of war and boasts a musical score by Victor Herbert, making it the first American feature film to have an original score by a major composer. Like the majority of Dixon’s films, The Fall of a Nation has been lost, but had it survived, it might well have taken its place alongside The Birth of a Nation as a masterwork of silent film. Anthony Slide examines each of Dixon’s films and discusses the novels from which they were adapted. Slide chronicles Dixon’s transformation from a major supporter of the original Ku Klux Klan in his early novels to an ardent critic of the modern Klan in his last film, Nation Aflame. American Racist is the first book to discuss Dixon’s work outside of literature and provide a wide overview of the life and career of this highly controversial twentieth-century southern populist. Anthony Slide is the author of numerous books, including Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses.
Belligerence, Protest, and Agony in Dixie
To fully comprehend the Vietnam War, it is essential to understand the central role that southerners played in the nation's commitment to the war, in the conflict's duration, and in the fighting itself. President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas and Secretary of State Dean Rusk of Georgia oversaw the dramatic escalation of U.S. military involvement from 1965 through 1968. General William Westmoreland, born and raised in South Carolina, commanded U.S. forces during most of the Johnson presidency. Widely supported by their constituents, southern legislators collectively provided the most dependable support for war funding and unwavering opposition to measures designed to hasten U.S. withdrawal from the conflict. In addition, southerners served, died, and were awarded the Medal of Honor in numbers significantly disproportionate to their states' populations.
In The American South and the Vietnam War, Joseph A. Fry demonstrates how Dixie's majority pro-war stance derived from a host of distinctly regional values, perspectives, and interests. He also considers the views of the dissenters, from student protesters to legislators such as J. William Fulbright, Albert Gore Sr., and John Sherman Cooper, who worked in the corridors of power to end the conflict, and civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Julian Bond, who were among the nation's most outspoken critics of the war. Fry's innovative and masterful study draws on policy analysis and polling data as well as oral histories, transcripts, and letters to illuminate not only the South's influence on foreign relations, but also the personal costs of war on the home front.
This study affords an entirely new view of the nature of modern popular entertainment. American vaudeville is here regarded as the carefully elaborated ritual serving the different and paradoxical myth of the new urban folk. It demonstrates that the compulsive myth-making faculty in man is not limited to primitive ethnic groups or to serious art, that vaudeville cannot be dismissed as meaningless and irrelevant simply because it fits neither the criteria of formal criticsm or the familiar patterns of anthropological study.
Using the methods for criticism developed by Susanne K. Langer and others, the author evaluates American vaudeville as a symbolic manifestation of basic values shared by the American people during the period 1885-1930. By examining vaudeville as folk ritual, the book reveals the unconscious symbolism basic to vaudeville-in its humor, magic, animal acts, music, and playlets, and also in the performers and the managers -- which gave form to the dominant American myth of success. This striking view of the new mass man as a folk and of his mythology rooted in the very empirical science devoted to dispelling myth has implications for the serious study of all forms of mass entertainment in America. The book is illustrated with a number of striking photographs.
In 1976 -- the bicentennial year -- Robert Penn Warren told Bill Moyers that he was "in love with America" but his love for the nation was more often than not troubled and angry. Warren once remarked that "any intelligent person is inclined to criticize his country more strongly than he will criticize anything else. And he should It's a way of criticizing himself, too.... Trying to live more intelligently, and more fully." In The American Vision of Robert Penn Warren, a noted Warren scholar traces the evolution of our first poet laureate's distinctive stance toward the American experiment in democracy, showing how Warren sought to balance off the claims of self and society in the New World.
This book surveys the full six decades of Warren's career, combining close reading with a historian's eye for social and political context. While pointedly avoiding the reductive pitfalls of the "new historicism," Clark documents the informing role the Great Depression played in shaping Warren's attitudes toward art and politics, and he demonstrates the necessity of regarding Warren's major achievements in fiction and verse as forms of "public speech." Read in this light, Warren's vision offers a set of possibilities for renego¬tiating America's covenant with its Founders on new and pragmatic terms.
Based solidly on the best previous commentary on Warren and his work, Clark's study represents a new approach to its subject and incorporates insights and information garnered from the Warren Papers at Yale. A wide-ranging account of the interplay between an author's imagination and contemporary history, this book should prove of interest to all students of American culture, especially those concerned with the interrelationships of literature, politics, and ideology. Written in a lively and direct style, it will appeal to specialists and general readers alike.
The American Voice looks to find the vital edge of modern American writing. The journal, whose contributors come from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, often publishes work by writers denied access to mainstream journals. Writings from its pages have been regularly reprinted in prize annuals such as The Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry, and Best American Essays.
This fifteenth anniversary anthology collects eighty poems from some of the most original and daring writers of our time. The anthology's contributors range from the world famous Jorge Luis Borges, Marge Piercy, May Swenson to the newly emerging Marie Sheppard Williams, Suzanne Gardinier, Robyn Selman and from the nationally read Wendell Berry, Reynolds Price, Barbara Kingsolver to the distinctly regional George Ella Lyon, Jane Gentry, James Still.
This volume brings together some of the best selections from an award-winning journal, making clear why Small Press dubbed The American Voice one of the "most impressive journals in the country."
Women run wind tunnel experiments, direct air traffic, and fabricate airplanes. American women have been involved with flight from the beginning, but until 1940, most people believed women could not fly, that Amelia Earhart was an exception to the rule. World War II changed everything. "It is on the record thatwomen can fly as well as men," stated General Henry H. Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces. The question became "Should women fly?" Deborah G. Douglas tells the story of this ongoing debate and its impact on American history. From Jackie Cochran, whose perseverance led to the formation of the Women's Army Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II to the recent achievements of Jeannie Flynn, the Air Force's first woman fighter pilot and Eileen Collins, NASA's first woman shuttle commander, Douglas introduces a host of determined women who overcame prejudice and became military fliers, airline pilots, and air and space engineers. Not forgotten are stories of flight attendants, air traffic controllers, and mechanics. American Women and Flight since 1940 is a revised and expanded edition of a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum reference work. Long considered the single best reference work in the field, this new edition contains extensive new illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography.
Memory, Identity, Family, Space
American literature is no longer the refuge of the solitary hero. Like the society it mirrors, it is now a far richer, many-faceted explication of a complicated and diverse society -- racially, culturally, and ethnically interwoven and at the same time fractured and fractious.
Ten women writing fiction in America today -- Toni Cade Bambara, Joan Didion, Louise Erdrich, Gail Godwin, Mary Gordon, Alison Lurie, Joyce Carol Oates, Jayne Anne Phillips, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, and Mary Lee Settle -- represent that geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity that is distinctively American. Their differing perspectives on literature and the American experience have produced Erdrich's stolid North Dakota plainswomen; Didion's sun-baked dreamers and screamers; the urban ethnics -- Irish, Jewish, and black -- of Gordon, Schaeffer, and Bambara; Oates's small-town, often violent, neurotics; Lurie's intellectual sophisticates; and the southern survivors and victims, male and female, of Phillips, Settle, and Godwin.
The ten original essays in this collection focus on the traditional themes of identity, memory, family, and enclosure that pervade the fiction of these writers. The fictional women who emerge here, as these critics show, are often caught in the interwoven strands of memory, perceive literal and emotional space as entrapping, find identity elusive and frustrating, and experience the interweaving of silence, solitude, and family in complex patterns.
Each essay in this collection is followed by bibliographies of works by and about the writer in question that will be invaluable resources for scholars and general readers alike. Here is a readable critical discussion of ten important contemporary novelists who have broadened the pages of American literature to reflect more clearly the people we are.