Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
Excursions into the Shenandoah Valley
In Learning the Valley, award-winning nature writer John Leland guides readers through the natural and human history of the Shenandoah Valley in twenty-five short essays on topics ranging from poison ivy and maple syrup to Stonewall Jackson and spelunking. Undergirding this dynamic narrative of place and time is a tale of selfdiscovery and relationship building as Leland's excursions into the valley lead him to a new awareness of himself and strengthen his bond with his young son, Edward. Spanning some two hundred miles through the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in western Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley is the prehistoric home of mastodons and giants sloths, the site of a storied Civil War campaign, and now a popular destination for outdoor adventures to be had beneath the oaks, chestnuts, hickories, maples, and centuries-old cedars. Leland offers informed perspectives on the valley's rich heritage, drawing from geology, biology, paleontology, climatology, and military and social history to present a compelling appreciation for the region's importance from prehistory to the present and to map the impact of humanity and nature on one another within this landscape. Leland's essays are grounded in recognizable landmarks including House Mountain, Massanutten Mountain, Maury River, Whistle Creek, Harpers Ferry, and Student Rock. Whether he is chronicling the European origins of the valley's so-called American boxwoods, commenting on the nineteenth-century fascination with sassafras, or recalling his son's first reactions to the Natural Bridge of Virginia and its ncompassing tourist developments, Leland uses keen insights, adroit research, and thoughtful literary and historical allusions to bring the "Big Valley" vibrantly to life. An amiable and accomplished tour guide, Leland readily shares all he has learned in his years among the woods, waters, and wildlife of the Shenandoah. But the heart of his narrative transcends the valley and invites readers to find their own sites of adventure and reflection, to revisit the wonders and mysteries to be found in their own backyards as a chance to, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, "live like a traveler at home."
Bloomsbury, Modernism, and China
Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes traces the romance of Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf, and Ling Shuhua, a writer and painter Bell met while teaching at Wuhan University in China in 1935. Relying on a wide selection of previously unpublished writings, Patricia Laurence places Ling, often referred to as the Chinese Katherine Mansfield, squarely in the Bloomsbury constellation. In doing so, she counters East-West polarities and suggests forms of understanding to inaugurate a new kind of cultural criticism and literary description. Laurence expands her examination of Bell and Ling's relationship into a study of parallel literary communities—Bloomsbury in England and the Crescent Moon group in China. Underscoring their reciprocal influences in the early part of the twentieth century, Laurence presents conversations among well-known British and Chinese writers, artists, and historians, including Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, G. L. Dickinson, Xu Zhimo, E. M. Forster, and Xiao Qian. In addition, Laurence's study includes rarely seen photographs of Julian Bell, Ling, and their associates as well as a reproduction of Ling's scroll commemorating moments in the exchange between Bloomsbury and the Crescent Moon group. While many critics agree that modernism is a movement that crosses national boundaries, literary studies rarely reflect such a view. In this volume Laurence links unpublished letters and documents, cultural artifacts, art, literature, and people in ways that provide illumination from a comparative cultural and aesthetic perspective. In so doing she addresses the geographical and critical imbalances—and thus the architecture of modernist, postcolonial, Bloomsbury, and Asian studies—by placing China in an aesthetic matrix of a developing international modernism.
Speech and the Coming of Wisdom in Ancient Greece
In Listening to the Logos, Christopher Lyle Johnstone provides an unprecedented comprehensive account of the relationship between speech and wisdom across almost four centuries of evolving ancient Greek thought and teachings—from the mythopoetic tradition of Homer and Hesiod to Aristotle's treatises. Johnstone grounds his study in the cultural, conceptual, and linguistic milieu of archaic and classical Greece, which nurtured new ways of thinking about and investigating the world. He focuses on accounts of logos and wisdom in the surviving writings and teachings of Homer and Hesiod, the Presocratics, the Sophists and Socrates, Isocrates and Plato, and Aristotle. Specifically Johnstone highlights the importance of language arts in both speculative inquiry and practical judgment, a nexus that presages connections between philosophy and rhetoric that persist still. His study investigates concepts and concerns key to the speaker's art from the outset: wisdom, truth, knowledge, belief, prudence, justice, and reason. From these investigations certain points of coherence emerge about the nature of wisdom—that wisdom includes knowledge of eternal principles, both divine and natural; that it embraces practical, moral knowledge; that it centers on apprehending and applying a cosmic principle of proportion and balance; that it allows its possessor to forecast the future; and that the oral use of language figures centrally in obtaining and practicing it. Johnstone's interdisciplinary account ably demonstrates that in the ancient world it was both the content and form of speech that most directly inspired, awakened, and deepened the insights comprehended under the notion of wisdom.
Spartanburg, South Carolina, during the Confederacy
Most of what we know about how the Civil War affected life in the Confederacy is related to cities, troop movements, battles, and prominent political, economic, or military leaders. Far less is known about the people who lived in small Southern towns remote from marching armies or battles. Philip N. Racine explores life in one such place—Spartanburg, South Carolina—in an effort to reshape the contours of that great conflict. By 1864 life in most of the Confederacy, but especially in rural towns, was characterized by scarcity, high prices, uncertainty, fear, and bad-tempered neighbors. Shortages of food were common. People lived with constant anxiety that a soldiering father or son would be killed or wounded. Taxes were high, inflation was rampant, good news was scarce and seemed to always be followed by bad. The slave population was growing restive as their masters’ bad news was their good news. Army deserters were threatening lawlessness; accusations and vindictiveness colored the atmosphere and added to the anxiety, fear, and feeling of helplessness. Often people blamed their troubles on the Confederate government in faraway Richmond, Virginia. Racine provides insight into these events through personal stories: the plight of a slave; the struggles of a war widow managing her husband’s farm, ten slaves, and seven children; and the trauma of a lowcountry refugee’s having to forfeit a wealthy, aristocratic way of life and being thrust into relative poverty and an alien social world. All were part of the complexity of wartime Spartanburg District.
The Lost Woods is a collection of fifteen short stories, most of them set in and around the fictional small town of Sledge, South Carolina. The events narrated in the stories begin in the 1930s and continue to the present day. The stories aren’t accounts of hunting methods or legends of trophy kills—they are serious stories about hunting that are similar in style to William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses. The collection traces the evolution of two families—the Whites and the Chapmans— as well as the changes in hunting and land use of the past eighty years. Some of these stories are narrated in third person; others are told by a wide range of characters, from grown men to women and children, but only from one perspective—that of the hunter. As they walk the woods in search of turkey, deer, or raccoons, these characters seek something more than food. They seek a lost connection to some part of themselves. The title “the lost woods” is adapted from Cherokee myths and stories wherein man must return again and again to the woods to find the animals that were lost. Thereby, man finds not only food, but who he is. Through these stories, Rice reminds us that hunting is inextricably intertwined with who we are. As one of the oldest rituals that we as a species know, it reflects both our nobility and our depravity. Through it, we return again and again to find the lost woods inside ourselves.
The Fall of the South Carolina Rice Kingdom
In mapping the slow decline of the rice kingdom across the half-century following the Civil War, James H. Tuten offers a provocative new vision of the forces—agricultural, environmental, economic, cultural, and climatic—stacked against planters, laborers, and millers struggling to perpetuate their once-lucrative industry through the challenging postbellum years and into the hardscrabble twentieth century. Concentrating his study on the vast rice plantations of the Heyward, Middleton, and Elliott families of South Carolina, Tuten narrates the ways in which rice producers—both the former grandees of the antebellum period and their newly freed slaves—sought to revive rice production. Both groups had much invested in the economic recovery of rice culture during Reconstruction and the beginning decades of the twentieth century. Despite all disadvantages, rice planting retained a perceived cultural mystique that led many to struggle with its farming long after the profits withered away. Planters tried a host of innovations, including labor contracts with former slaves, experiments in mechanization, consolidation of rice fields, and marketing cooperatives in their efforts to rekindle profits, but these attempts were thwarted by the insurmountable challenges of the postwar economy and a series of hurricanes that destroyed crops and the infrastructure necessary to sustain planting. Taken together, these obstacles ultimately sounded the death knell for the rice kingdom. The study opens with an overview of the history of rice culture in South Carolina through the Reconstruction era and then focuses on the industry's manifestations and decline from 1877 to 1930. Tuten offers a close study of changes in agricultural techniques and tools during the period and demonstrates how adaptive and progressive rice planters became despite their conservative reputations. He also explores the cultural history of rice both as a foodway and a symbol of wealth in the lowcountry, used on currency and bedposts. Tuten concludes with a thorough treatment of the lasting legacy of rice culture, especially in terms of the environment, the continuation of rice foodways and iconography, and the role of rice and rice plantations in the modern tourism industry.
A Biography of Benjamin Elijah Mays
Civil rights activist, writer, theologian, preacher, and educator, Benjamin Elijah Mays (1894–1984) was one of the most distinguished South Carolinians of the twentieth century. He influenced the lives of generations of students as a dean and professor of religion at Howard University and as longtime president of Morehouse College in Atlanta. In addition to his personal achievements, Mays was also a mentor and teacher to Julian Bond, founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; future Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson; writer, preacher, and theologian Howard Washington Thurman; and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. In this comprehensive biography of Mays, John Herbert Roper, Sr., chronicles the harsh realities of Mays’s early life and career in the segregated South and crafts an inspirational, compelling portrait of one of the most influential African American intellectuals in modern history.
Born at the turn of the century in rural Edgefield County, South Carolina, Mays was the youngest son of former slaves turned tenant farmers. At just four years of age, he experienced the brutal injustice of the Jim Crow era when he witnessed the bloody 1898 Phoenix Riot, sparked by black citizens’ attempts to exercise their voting rights.
In the early 1930s Mays discovered the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and traveled to India in 1938 to confer with him about his methods of nonviolent protest. An honoree of the South Carolina Hall of Fame and recipient of forty-nine honorary degrees, Mays strived tirelessly against racial prejudices and social injustices throughout his career. In addition to his contributions to education and theology, Mays also worked with the National Urban League to improve housing, employment, and health conditions for African Americans, and he played a major role in the integration of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
With honest appreciation and fervent admiration for Mays’s many accomplishments and lasting legacy, Roper deftly captures the heart and passion of his subject, his lifelong quest for social equality, and his unwavering faith in the potential for good in the American people.
South Africa's Struggle for a Democratic Rhetoric
In Managing Vulnerability, Richard C. Marback analyzes the tension surrounding the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa through a rhetorical lens. Marback studies the heart of South Africa’s desire for reconciliation and contends that this goal could be achieved only through the creation of a language of vulnerability in which former enemies become open to the influence of each other, to the constraints of their respective circumstances, and to the prospects of a shared future. Through a series of informative case studies, Marback illustrates how the cultivation of openness and the management of vulnerability take shape through the circulation of artifacts, symbols, and texts that give empowering expression to virtues of connectedness over the temptations of individual autonomy. Marback discusses the construction and impact of the narrative tours of Robben Island, the silencing of Robert Sobukwe, the debates over a proposed Freedom Monument, a brief gesture of ubuntu from Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela to Eugene de Kock, and the transformation of the title character in the film adaptation of the 1980 novel Tsotsi. Ultimately, Marback contends, finding a means to manage vulnerability is both the immediate success of and the ongoing challenge to South African democracy and is indicative of the nature of rhetoric in democracies in general and in contemporary civic life.
The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte
More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte is the first comprehensive book on the life and work of one of today’s most renowned watercolorists. From Whyte’s earliest paintings in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania, to the riveting portraits of her southern neighbors, historian Martha R. Severens provides us with an intimate look into the artist’s private world. With more than two hundred full-color images of Whyte’s paintings and sketches, as well as comparison works by masters such as Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and John Singer Sargent, Severens clearly illustrates how Whyte’s art has been shaped and how the artist forged her own place in the world today. Though Whyte’s academic training in Philadelphia was in oil painting, she learned the art of watercolor on her own—by studying masterworks in museums. Today Whyte’s style of watercolor painting is a unique blend of classical realism and contemporary vision, as seen in her intimate portraits of Southern blue-collar workers and elderly African American women in the South Carolina lowcountry. “For me ideas are more plentiful than the hours to paint them, and I worry that I cannot get to all of my thoughts before they are forgotten or are pushed aside by more pressing concerns,” explains Whyte. “Some works take time to evolve. Like small seeds the paintings might not come to fruition until several years later, after there has been ample time for germination.” Using broad sweeping washes as well as miniscule brushstrokes, Whyte directs the viewer’s attention to the areas in her paintings she deems most important. Murky passages of neutral colors often give way to areas of intense detail and color, giving the works a variety of edges and poetic focus. Several paintings included in the book are accompanied by enlarged areas of detail, showcasing Whyte’s technical mastery. More Than a Likeness is replete with engaging artwork and inspiring text that mark the mid-point in Whyte’s artistry. Of what she will paint in the future, the artist says, “I have always believed that as artists we don’t choose our vocation, style, or subject matter. Art chooses us.”
The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle
Mosaic of Fire examines the personal and artistic interactions of four innovative American modernist women writers—Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle—all active in the Greenwich Village cultural milieu of the first half of the twentieth century. Caroline Maun traces the mutually constructive, mentoring relationships through which these writers fostered each other's artistic endeavors and highlights the ways in which their lives and works illustrate issues common to women writers of the modernist era. The feminist vision of poet-activist and editor Lola Ridge led her to form friendships with women writers of considerable talent, influencing this circle with the aesthetic and feminist principles outlined in her 1919 lecture, "Woman and the Creative Will." Ridge first encountered the work of Evelyn Scott when she accepted several of Scott's poems for publication in Others, and wrote a favorable review of her novel The Narrow House. Ridge also took notice of novice writer Kay Boyle shortly after Boyle's arrival in New York, hiring Boyle as an assistant at Broom. Almost a decade later, Scott introduced poet Charlotte Wilder to Ridge, inaugurating a sustaining friendship between the two. Mosaic of Fire examines how each of these writers was energized by the aesthetic innovations that characterized the modernist period and how each was also attentive to her writing as a method to encourage social change. Maun maps the ebb and flow of their friendships and careers, documenting the sometimes unequal nature of support and affection across this group of talented women artists.