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Penn State University Press
Don Quixote and the Western Tradition
Cervantes’s Don Quixote confronts us with a series of enigmas that, over the centuries, have divided even its most expert readers: Does the text pursue a serious or comic purpose? Does it promote the truth of history and the untruth of fiction, or the truth of poetry and the fictiveness of truth itself? In a book that will revise the way we read and debate Don Quixote, Charles D. Presberg discusses the trope of paradox as a governing rhetorical strategy in this most canonical of Spanish literary texts.
To situate Cervantes’s masterpiece within the centuries-long praxis of paradoxical discourse in the West, Presberg surveys its tradition in Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the European Renaissance. He outlines the development of paradoxy in the Spanish Renaissance, centering on works by Fernando de Rojas, Pero Mexía, and Antonio de Guevara. In his detailed reading of portions of Don Quixote, Presberg shows how Cervantes’s work enlarges the tradition of paradoxical discourse by imitating as well as transforming fictional and nonfictional models. He concludes that Cervantes’s seriocomic "system" of paradoxy jointly parodies, celebrates, and urges us to ponder the agency of discourse in the continued refashioning of knowledge, history, culture, and personal identity.
This engaging book will be welcomed by literary scholars, Hispanisists, historians, and students of the history of rhetoric and poetics.
Mennonite Writing in North America
For decades, the field of Mennonite literature has been dominated by the question of Mennonite identity. After Identity interrogates this prolonged preoccupation and explores the potential to move beyond it to a truly post-identity Mennonite literature.
The twelve essays collected here view Mennonite writing as transitioning beyond a tradition concerned primarily with defining itself and its cultural milieu. What this means for the future of Mennonite literature and its attendant criticism is the question at the heart of this volume. Contributors explore the histories and contexts—as well as the gaps—that have informed and diverted the perennial focus on identity in Mennonite literature, even as that identity is reread, reframed, and expanded.
After Identity is a timely reappraisal of the Mennonite literature of Canada and the United States at the very moment when that literature seems ready to progress into a new era.
In addition to the editor, the contributors are Ervin Beck, Di Brandt, Daniel Shank Cruz, Jeff Gundy, Ann Hostetler, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Royden Loewen, Jesse Nathan, Magdalene Redekop, Hildi Froese Tiessen, and Paul Tiessen.
The Demeter-Persephone Myth in Wharton, Cather, and Glasgow
A continuation of Josephine Donovan's exploration of American women's literary traditions, begun with New England Local Color Literature: A Women's Tradition, which treats the nineteenth-century realists, this work analyzes the writing of major women writers of the early twentieth century—Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and Ellen Glasgow.
The author sees the Demeter-Persephone myth as central to these writers' thematics, but interprets the myth in terms of the historical transitions taking place in turn-of-the-century America. Donovan focuses on the changing relationship between mothers and daughters—in particular upon the "new women's" rebellion against the traditional women's culture of their nineteenth-century mothers (both literary and literal). An introductory chapter traces the male-supremacist ideologies that formed the intellectual climate in which these women wrote.
Reorienting Wharton, Cather, and Glasgow within women's literary traditions produces major reinterpretations of their works, including such masterpieces as Ethan Frome, Summer, My Antonia, Barren Ground, and others.
Occultism in the Religious Culture of Early Modern England
What did it mean to believe in alchemy in early modern England? In this book, Bruce Janacek considers alchemical beliefs in the context of the writings of Thomas Tymme, Robert Fludd, Francis Bacon, Sir Kenelm Digby, and Elias Ashmole. Rather than examine alchemy from a scientific or medical perspective, Janacek presents it as integrated into the broader political, philosophical, and religious upheavals of the first half of the seventeenth century, arguing that the interest of these elite figures in alchemy was part of an understanding that supported their national—and in some cases royalist—loyalty and theological orthodoxy. Janacek investigates how and why individuals who supported or were actually placed at the traditional center of power in England’s church and state believed in the relevance of alchemy at a time when their society, their government, their careers, and, in some cases, their very lives were at stake.
Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in a Biopolitical Age
Today’s political controversy over immigration highlights the plight of the working class in this country as perhaps no other issue has recently done. The political status of immigrants exposes the power dynamics of the “new working class,” which includes the former labor aristocracy, women, and people of color. This new working class suffers exploitation in advanced industrial countries as the social cost of capitalism’s success in a neoliberal and globalized political economy. Paradoxically, as borders become more open, they are also increasingly fortified, subjecting many workers to the suspension of law.
In this book, Kathleen Arnold analyzes the role of the state’s “prerogative power” in creating and sustaining this condition of severe inequality for the most marginalized sectors of our population in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical literature from Locke to Marx and Agamben (whose notion of “bare life” features prominently in her construal of this as a “biopolitical” era), she focuses attention especially on the values of asceticism derived from the Protestant work ethic to explain how they function as ideological justification for the exercise of prerogative power by the state.
As a counter to this repressive set of values, she develops the notion of “authentic love” borrowed from Simone de Beauvoir as a possible approach for dealing with the complex issues of exploitation in liberal democracy today.
Intelligence Analysis and National Security Policy, 1936–1991
This survey of more than fifty years of national security policy juxtaposes declassified U. S. national intelligence estimates with recently released Soviet documents disclosing the views of Soviet leaders and their Communist allies on the same events. Matthias shows that U. S. intelligence estimates were usually correct but that our political and military leaders generally ignored them—with sometimes disastrous results. The book begins with a look back at the role of U. S. intelligence during World War II, from Pearl Harbor through the plot against Hitler and the D-day invasion to the "unconditional surrender" of Japan, and reveals how better use of the intelligence available could have saved many lives and shortened the war. The following chapters dealing with the Cold War disclose what information and advice U. S. intelligence analysts passed on to policy makers, and also what sometimes bitter policy debates occurred within the Communist camp, concerning Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, the turmoil in Eastern Europe, the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars in the Middle East, and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. In many ways, this is a story of missed opportunities the U. S. government had to conduct a more responsible foreign policy that could have avoided large losses of life and massive expenditures on arms buildups.
While not exonerating the CIA for its own mistakes, Matthias casts new light on the contributions that objective intelligence analysis did make during the Cold War and speculates on what might have happened if that analysis and advice had been heeded.
Jamaicans and Mexicans in the U.S. Labor Market
The H-2 program, originally based in Florida, is the longest running labor-importation program in the country. Over the course of a quarter-century of research, Griffith studied rural labor processes and their national and international effects. In this book, he examines the socioeconomic effects of the H-2 program on both the areas where the laborers work and the areas they are from, and, taking a uniquely humanitarian stance, he considers the effects of the program on the laborers themselves.