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In Dickens’s Hyperrealism, John R. Reed examines certain features of Dickens’s style to demonstrate that the Inimitable consciously resisted what came to be known as realism in the genre of the novel. Dickens used some techniques associated with realism, such as description and metonymy, to subvert the purposes usually associated with it. Reed argues that Dickens used such devices as personification and present-tense narration, which are anathema to the realist approach. He asserts that Dickens preferred a heightened reality, not realism. And, unlike the realism which seeks to mask authorial control of how readers read his novels, Dickens wanted to demonstrate, first openly, and later in his career more subtly, his command over his narratives. This book opens a new avenue for investigating Dickens’s mastery of his art and his awareness of its literary context. In addition, it reopens the whole issue of realism as a definition and examines the variety of genres that coexisted in the Victorian period.
A Spectrum of Possibilities
Dickinson’s Fascicles: A Spectrum of Possibilities is the first collection of essays dedicated exclusively to re-examining Emily Dickinson’s fascicles, the extant forty hand-crafted manuscript “books” consisting of the roughly 814 poems crafted during the most productive period in Dickinson’s writing life (1858-1864). Why Dickinson carefully preserved the fascicles despite her meticulous destruction of many of her early manuscript drafts is the central question contributors to this volume seek to answer. The collection opens with a central portion of Sharon Cameron’s 1992 book that was the first to abandon the until-then popular search for a single unifying narrative to explain the fascicles, inaugurating a new era of fascicle scholarship. Eight prominent Dickinson scholars contribute essays to this volume and respond vigorously and variously to Cameron's argument, proposing, for instance, that the fascicles represent Dickinson's engagement with the world around her, particularly with the Civil War, and that they demonstrate her continued experimentation with poetic form. Dickinson’s Fascicles is edited by Paul Crumbley and Eleanor Elson Heginbotham. Other contributors include Paula Bernat Bennett, Martha Nell Smith, Domhnall Mitchell, Ellen Louise Hart, Melanie Hubbard, and Alexandra Socarides who assess what constitutes a vast final frontier in the Dickinson literary landscape. Susan Howe provides a coda.
The Crisis fo Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism
Notwithstanding its now extensive, trans-disciplinary bibliography, the full reality of globalization remains less well understood than commonly thought. As an objective, secular phenomenon, globalization has continued to be obscured by ideological and rhetorical strategies that travel under the same name but posit it as simply the abstract-universal other of the local. Dislocalism: The Crisis of Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism makes such strategies and the global/local binary they reinforce into objects of critical analysis. Taking her title from a new theoretical concept at the heart of this critique, Sarika Chandra argues that the historically dominant position of the United States in the global order takes on a uniquely urgent and problematic form: globalization is experienced not only as external to the American “nation of nations” but also as something internal to it. Through close study of four discrete intellectual/cultural arenas from the 1980s to the present—management theory, the literature of immigration, travel writing, and narratives of the culinary exotic—Chandra further argues that an Americanized imperative to globalize results in a repositioning of the local to maintain national and institutional boundaries. To “dislocalize” becomes, simultaneously, to “dislocalize.” By mapping out the deeper, often hidden discursive ambiguities and historical specificities of an Americanized globalization, Dislocalism effectively redefines and re-orients the fields of American literary and cultural studies.
Displacement and the Somatics of Postcolonial Culture is Douglas Robinson’s study of postcolonial affect—specifically, of the breakdown of the normative (regulatory) circulation of affect in the refugee experience and the colonial encounter, the restructuring of that regulatory circulation in colonization, and the persistence of that restructuring in decolonization and intergenerational trauma. Robinson defines “somatics” as a cultural construction of “reality” and “identity” through the regulatory circulation of evaluative affect. This book is divided into three essays covering the refugee experience, colonization and decolonization, and intergenerational trauma. Each essay contains a review of empirical studies of its main topic, a study of literary representations of that topic, and a study of postcolonial theoretical spins. The literary representations in the refugee essay are a novel and short story by the Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat; in the colonization essay a short film by Javier Fesser and a novella by Mahasweta Devi (translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak); and in the intergenerational trauma essay novels by James Welch and Toni Morrison and a short story by Percival Everett. The first essay’s theoretical spins include Deleuze and Guattari on nomad thought and Iain Chambers on migrancy; the second’s, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and theories of postcolonial affect in Bhabha and Spivak; the third’s, work on historical trauma by Cathy Caruth and Dominic LaCapra.
A Chapter in the History of the Inexpressible
How did fears of cultural inadequacy play out in the English language after American independence and the War of 1812? Like many of his nineteenth-century contemporaries, essayist Walter Channing suggests that the country’s perceived deficiency in literature is due to a crucial overlap with England, that is, having “the same language with a nation, totally unlike it in almost every relation.” In Distancing English, Page Richards shows how these concerns of language are historically interwoven with the inexpressible. Often overlooked, the topos of the inexpressible redirects the ventriloquism of the English language. From its beginning, this topos combines the hyperbole of high expectations with the failure of inadequate words. In Charles Brockden Brown or George Tucker, it can register deficiency of “character” on and off the page, establishing important strategies of decenteredness also associated with modernism. In writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wallace Stevens, and John Berryman, the inexpressible seizes advantage from disadvantage. It runs through literary framing strategies and flexible shaggy dog humor. The 1855 preface to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remaps the topos and emerges as a significant achievement in the history of the inexpressible.
Collective Action and Procedural Choice in the New Legislative Process
Doing the Right Thing examines the use of extraordinary legislative procedures in four cases in the U.S. Congress to accomplish policy objectives that many political scientists would argue are impossible to achieve. It not only shows that Congress is capable of imposing parochial costs in favor of general benefits but it argues that Congress is able to do so in a variety of policy areas through the use of very different kinds of procedural mechanisms that are underappreciated. The book opens by developing a theory of procedural choice to explain why Congress chooses to delegate in differing degrees in dealing with similar kinds of policy problems. The theory is then applied to four narrative case studies—military base closures, the Yucca Mountain Project, NAFTA, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986—that both show the variety of factors that impact procedural choice and highlight how our national legislature was able to “do the right thing. The book concludes by pointing to the variety of ways in which Congress will be confronted with similar policy problems in the coming years and offering some lessons from these cases about what kinds of procedures and policy outcomes we might expect. In short, I find that Congress is remarkably adept at “doing the right thing,” even under difficult circumstances, but only when legislators are willing to manipulate procedures in all the necessary ways.
Interrogating the Times
Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times wrestles with the ghosts that continue to haunt our most pressing twenty-first-century concerns: how to reconceive imprisoning conceptions of sexuality and gender, how to define terrorism, how to locate the personal, and how to write on race and colonialism in an ever-slippery postmodern world. This collection of essays clearly establishes Lessing’s importance as a unique and necessary voice in contemporary literature and life. In tracing the evolution in Lessing’s representations of controversial subjects, this volume shows how new cultural and political contexts demand new solutions. Focusing on Lessing’s experiments with genre and on the ramifications of narrative itself, the collection asks readers to reformulate some of their most taken-for-granted assumptions about the contemporary world and their relation to it. Contributors to Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times assess Lessing’s vision of the past and its relevance for the future by revisiting texts from the beginning of her career onward while at the same time probing previous interpretations of these works. These reassessments reveal Lessing’s continued role as a gadfly who, in disrupting rigid constructions of right and wrong and of good and evil, forces her readers to move beyond “you are damned, we are saved” narratives. As rationales such as these continue to permeate global venues, Lessing’s oeuvre becomes increasingly relevant.
Popular Front Ideals and Aethetics in Children's Plays of the Federal Theatre Project
Dreaming America: Popular Front Ideals and Aesthetics in Children’s Plays of the Federal Theatre Project by Leslie Elaine Frost traces how the tumultuous politics of the late 1930s shaped the stories and staging of federally funded plays for children. Indeed, children’s theater was central to the Federal Theatre Project’s vision of building a national theater. Frost argues that representations of the child and childhood in the FTP children’s plays stage the hopes and anxieties of a nation destabilized by both economic collapse and technological advances. A declining economy and the first stagnant birthrate in three centuries yoked the national economy to the individual family. Profound disagreements over appropriate models of education and parenting, as well as over issues of ethnicity and class, constituted fundamental arguments over democratic values and social norms. Frost locates these plays within the immediate context of the production materials in the FTP archives, as well as within the broader culture of the Great Depression, drawing on disparate primary materials—from parenting magazines to strike literature to political journals—and referencing a range of popular events—from the Joe Louis/Max Schmeling fights to Hollywood movies. As the focus of Depression-era adult anxieties and hopes and as the embodiment of vigor, dynamism, and growth, children carried symbolic value both as the future of America and as the America of the future. Frost examines representative plays’ connections to other media, culture, and politics to situate their singular trajectories in the social history of the Federal Theatre Project and Popular Front culture.
Grace Harriet Macurdy, Pioneering Feminist Classical Scholar
In this biography, Barbara McManus recovers the intriguing life story of Grace Harriet Macurdy (1866–1946), Professor of Greek at Vassar College and the first woman classicist to focus her scholarship on the lives of ancient Greco-Roman women. Fondly known as “the Drunken Duchess,” although she never drank alcohol, Macurdy came from a poor family with no social, economic, or educational advantages. Moreover, she struggled with disability for decades after becoming almost totally deaf in her early fifties. Yet she became an internationally known Greek scholar with a long list of publications and close friends as renowned as Gilbert Murray and John Masefield. Through Macurdy’s eyes and experiences, McManus examines significant issues and developments from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, such as the opening of higher education to women, the erosion of gender and class barriers in the professions, the delicate balancing act between personal and professional life required of women, the marginalized role of women’s colleges in academic politics, and changes in the discipline and profession of Classics in response to the emerging role of women and new social conditions.
The Fight for Safe Cosmetics
Dying to Be Beautiful tells the story of how cosmetics came to be regulated in early-20th-century America. In 1906, the Food and Drug Administration was given the power to control food and drugs. Not until 1938 were other products that went into or onto the body, including cosmetics, similarly regulated. The intervening years saw death by depilatory and blindness by mascara and a rise in consumer and grassroots political activism. This book examines who fought for regulation of these inherently feminine products and why it took so long for their goals to be achieved. Gwen Kay argues that many activists, often at the grassroots level, set the stage for changes in legislation. The activists’ continued outrage, letters, negative press, books, and just plain attention to these matters allowed for the plodding Congressional committee hearings to transform into swift action in the face of a national crisis provoked by a lack of regulatory oversight. Ordinary citizens, doctors as individuals rather than as an association, government officials acting in a personal rather than an official capacity, and even manufacturers concerned about less- reputable industrial cousins tainting the cosmetic industry’s good name all supported the effort to regulate cosmetics. This is the first book that substantively examines the cosmetics industry in light of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. Dying to Be Beautiful pays particular attention to the problems caused by cosmetics and to the possible solutions offered, both before and after implementation of the 1938 law.