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Edinburgh Days, or Doing What I Want to Do

Sam Pickering

Part travelogue, part psychological self-study, Sam Pickering's Edinburgh Days, or Doing What I Want to Do is an open invitation to be led on a walking tour of Scotland's capital as well as through the labyrinth of the guide's swerving moods and memories. Along the way readers discern as much from Pickering's sensual observations of Scottish lives and landmarks as they do about what befalls the curious mind of an intellectual removed from the relations and responsibilities that otherwise delineate his days. Pickering spent the winter and spring of 2004 on a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, making his return to the city after a forty-year absence. Edinburgh Days maps the transition from his life in Connecticut, defined by family, academic appointments, and the recognition of neighbors and avid acolytes, to a temporary existence on foreign soil that is at once unsettlingly isolating and curiously liberating. Torn between labeling himself a tourist or a sojourner, Pickering opts to define himself as an "urban spelunker" and embarks on daily explorations of the city's museums, bookshops, pubs, antique stores, monuments, neighborhoods, and graveyards. His ambling tours include such recognizable sites as Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Castle Rock, the Museum of Childhood, the National Gallery, the Writers' Museum, the Museum of the People, the Huntly House, the John Knox House, the Royal Botanic Garden, and the Edinburgh Zoo. The holdings of city and university libraries present Pickering with the opportunity to revisit the works of a host of writers, both renowned and obscure, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Samuel Smiles, John Buchan, Tobias Wolfe, Russell Hoban, Patrick White, Hilaire Belloc, and Van Wyck Brooks. "I have long been a traveler in little things," he muses, and it is his fascination with minutiae that infuses this collection of essays with the dynamic descriptions, quirky observations, and jesting interludes that bring the historic city to life on the page and simultaneously recall the very best of Pickering's idiosyncratic style.

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The Egret's Plumes

Archibald Rutledge

Archibald Rutledge’s suspenseful story “The Egret’s Plumes” is a cautionary tale exalting the virtues of good sportsmanship, conservation of the natural world, and the universality of parental instincts. Fleeing the relentless plume hunters of their native Florida, a pair of exquisite snowy egrets make a new home—and then a new family—in the South Carolina lowcountry swamps of Blake’s Reserve. When the male egret is killed by a poacher, the female is left to defend her nest and raise their hatchlings. Will Ormond, a restless and reckless hunter and heir to the reserve’s plantation, spots the surviving egrets after a day of disappointments with his original prey. As he wades into the swamp to gain a better position for his kill shot with his only remaining cartridge, Will comes to recognize elements of his relationship with his own mother in the selfless devotion of the female egret to her young. In this moment of uncharacteristic hesitation, he also realizes that he is no longer alone in the brackish waters of the reserve and that the hunter may have become the hunted. “The Egret’s Plumes” is an inspiring, allegorical narrative that illuminates the pitfalls awaiting immoral acts and the saving virtues of selflessness and compassion. This short story was written for publication in an early twentieth-century boy’s magazine and was first collected in the privately printed Eddy Press edition of Old Plantation Days (c. 1913). Limited to just a few hundred copies, the Eddy Press edition is highly prized by Rutledge collectors and includes five stories—“Claws,” “The Doom of Ravenswood,” “The Egret’s Plumes,” “The Heart of Regal,” and “The Ocean’s Menace”—not found in the more widely available 1921 Stokes edition of Old Plantation Days. A project of the Humanities Council SC benefiting South Carolina literary programs, this new edition of The Egret’s Plumes is illustrated in handsome charcoal etchings by southern artist Stephen Chesley. Award-winning outdoors writerand noted Rutledge scholar Jim Casada provides the volume’s introduction, and outdoors writer and author Jacob F. Rivers III offers an afterword.

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Elizabeth Sinkler Coxe's Tales from the Grand Tour, 1890-1910

Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClercq

The international adventures of a southern widow turned patron of historical discovery, Elizabeth Sinkler Coxe's Tales from the Grand Tour, 1890–1910 is a travelogue of captivating episodes in exotic lands as experienced by an intrepid American aristocrat and her son at the dawn of the twentieth century. A member of the prominent Sinkler family of Charleston and Philadelphia, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sinkler married into Philadelphia's wealthy Coxe family in 1870. Widowed just three years later, she dedicated herself to a lifelong pursuit of philanthropy, intellectual endeavor, and extensive travel. Heeding the call of their dauntless adventuresome spirits, Lizzie and her son, Eckley, set sail in 1890 on a series of odysseys that took them from the United States to Cairo, Luxor, Khartoum, Algiers, Istanbul, Naples, Vichy, and Athens. The Coxes not only visited the sites and monuments of ancient civilizations but also participated in digs, funded entire expeditions, and ultimately subsidized the creation of the Coxe Wing of Ancient History at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. A prolific correspondent, Lizzie conscientiously recorded her adventures abroad in lively prose that captures the surreal exhilarations and harsh realities of traversing the known and barely known worlds of Africa and the Middle East. She journeyed through foreign lands with various nieces in tow to expose them to the educational and social benefits of the Grand Tour. Her letters and recollections are complemented by numerous photographs and several original watercolor paintings.

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An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians

Benjamin Franklin V

In An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, Benjamin Franklin V documents the careers of South Carolina jazz and blues musicians from the nineteenth century to the present. The musicians range from the renowned (James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie), to the notable (Freddie Green, Josh White), to the largely forgotten (Fud Livingston, Josie Miles),to the obscure (Lottie Frost Hightower, Horace “Spoons” Williams), to the unknown (Vince Arnold, Johnny Wilson). Though the term “jazz” is commonly understood, if difficult to define, “blues” has evolved over time to include rhythm and blues, doo-wop, and soul music. Performers in these genres are represented, as are members of the Jenkins Orphanage bands of Charleston. The volume also treats nineteenth-century musicians who performed what might be called proto-jazz or proto-blues in string bands, medicine shows, vaudeville, and the like. Organized alphabetically, from Johnny Acey to Webster Young, the book’s entries include basic biographical information, South Carolina residences, career details, compositions, recordings as leaders and as band members, films, awards, Web sites, and lists of resources for additional reading. Franklin has ensured biographical accuracy to the greatest degree possible by consulting such sources as the census, military registers, passport applications, and other public documents including, when law permitted, death certificates. Information in these records permitted him to dispel myths and correct misinformation that have surrounded South Carolina’s musical history for generations.

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English Ethnicity and Culture in North America

David T. Gleeson

To many, English immigrants contributed nothing substantial to the varied palette of ethnicity in North America. While there is wide recognition of German American, French American, African American, and Native American cultures, discussion of English Americans as a distinct ethnic group is rare. Yet the historians writing in English Ethnicity and Culture in North America show that the English were clearly immigrants too in a strange land, adding their own hues to the American and Canadian characters. In this collection, editor David T. Gleeson and other contributors explore some of the continued links between England, its people, and its culture with North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These essays challenge the established view of the English having no “ethnicity,” highlighting the vibrancy of the English and their culture in North America. The selections also challenge the prevailing notion of the English as “invisible immigrants.” Recognizing the English as a distinct ethnic group, similar to the Irish, Scots, and Germans, also has implications for understanding American identity by providing a clearer picture of how Americans often have defined themselves in the context of Old World cultural traditions. Several contributors to English Ethnicity and Culture in North America track the English in North America from Episcopal pulpits to cricket fields and dance floors. For example Donald M. MacRaild and Tanja Bueltmann explore the role of St. George societies before and after the American Revolution in asserting a separate English identity across class boundaries. In addition Kathryn Lamontagne looks at English ethnicity in the working-class culture and labor union activities of workers in Fall River, Massachusetts. Ultimately all the work included here challenges the idea of a coherent, comfortable Anglo-cultural mainstream and indicates the fluid and adaptable nature of what it meant and means to be English in North America.

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Eutaw Springs

The Final Battle of the American Revolution's Southern Campaign

Robert M. Dunkerly

The Battle of Eutaw Springs took place on September 8, 1781, and was among the last in the War of Independence. It was brutal in its combat and reprisals, with Continental and Whig militia fighting British regulars and Loyalist regiments. Although its outcome was seemingly inconclusive, the battle, fought near present-day Eutawville, South Carolina, contained all the elements that defined the war in the South. In Eutaw Springs: The Final Battle of the American Revolution’s Southern Campaign, Robert M. Dunkerly and Irene B. Boland tell the story of this lesser known and under-studied battle of the Revolutionary War’s Southern Campaign. Shrouded in myth and misconception, the battle has also been overshadowed by the surrender of Yorktown Eutaw Springs represented lost opportunities for both armies. The American forces were desperate for a victory in 1781, and Gen. Nathanael Greene finally had the ground of his own choosing. British forces under Col. Alexander Stewart were equally determined to keep a solid grip on the territory they still held in the South Carolina lowcountry. In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, both armies sustained heavy casualties with each side losing nearly 20 percent of its soldiers. Neither side won the hard-fought battle, and controversies plagued both sides in the aftermath. Dunkerly and Boland analyze the engagement and its significance within the context of the war’s closing months, study the area’s geology and setting, and recount the action using primary sources, aided by recent archaeology.

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The Ex-suicide

A Mountain Brook Novel

Katherine Clark

The Ex-Suicide, Katherine Clark’s fourth Mountain Brook novel, is a satirical comedy of manners about a prominent Alabama family living across the street from the Birmingham Country Club. The house happens to be where the writer Walker Percy lived as a child with his family until his father committed suicide in the attic with a shotgun. The only son of the current residents, Hamilton “Ham” Whitmire has several Ivy League degrees as well as a generous trust fund but is striving mainly to be an “ex-suicide,” as defined by Percy’s writings. As a result of Ham’s intellectual aspirations and philosophical principles, and thanks to his trust fund, he has succeeded only in figuring out what he does not want to do with his life. Unfortunately this comprises just about all known occupations, but especially any involving the family business, which his imperious, society-matron mother insists he take over from his aging father. When the novel opens, the thirty-seven-year-old son has recently returned to his hometown and taken a teaching position at a historically black college in the “other” Birmingham―not the one where he grew up. As an anxiety-ridden, panic-attack-prone depressive in a perpetual state of existential crisis, Ham must plan carefully how to get through each day without putting his life in the hands of the mental-health-care professionals. But, according to his mother, he must also take over the reins of the family business, get married, and carry on the family name. Ham isn’t in Birmingham long before he learns his college is also in an existential crisis and fighting to keep its doors open. Even worse, circumstances force him to take at least an interest in the family business. While seeking refuge and stability in the waiting room of his therapist’s office, he finds himself in the emotional thrall of a beautiful old flame who is in the midst of a devastating divorce. She is anxious to have Ham back in her life, at least as an escort, but probably more. Will Ham buckle under all the pressures―as Percy’s father famously did in the attic of what is now his parents’ home? Or will he be able to pull himself together and live up to society’s (and his mother’s) expectations? Fortunately Ham is one of Norman Laney’s former pupils, and Laney never gives up on a student. In the midst of Ham’s crisis, Laney steps into the breach in hopes that Ham chooses life as an ex-suicide.

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Extravagant Postcolonialism

Modernism and Modernity in Anglophone Fiction, 1958-1988

Brian T. May

Brian T. May argues that, contrary to widely held assumptions of postcolonial literary criticism, a distinctive subset of postcolonial novels significantly values and scrupulously explores a healthy individuality. These “extravagant” postcolonial works focus less on collective social reality than on the intimate subjectivity of their characters. Their authors, most of whom received some portion of a canonical western education, do not subordinate the ambitions of their fiction to explicit political causes, but they do create a cosmopolitan rhetorical focus suitable to their well-educated, “western trained,” audiences. May pursues this argument by scrutinizing novels composed during the thirty-year post-independence postcolonial era of Anglophone fiction, a period that began with the Nigerian Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and that ended, many would say, with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 publication of the Rushdie Fatwa. He contends that the postcolonial authors under consideration—Naipaul, Rushdie, Achebe, Rhys, Gordimer, and Coetzee—inherited modernism and refashioned it. His account of their work demonstrates how it reflects and transfigures modernists such as Conrad, Eliot, Yeats, Proust, Joyce and Beckett. Tracing the influence of humanistic virtues and the ethical and aesthetic significance of individualism, May demonstrates that these works of “extravagant postcolonialism” are less postcolonial than they are a continuation and evolution of modernism.

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Ezra and the Law in History and Tradition

Lisbeth S. Fried

The historical Ezra was sent to Jerusalem as an emissary of the Persian monarch. What was his task? According to the Bible, the Persian king sent Ezra to bring the Torah, the five books of the Laws of Moses, to the Jews. Modern scholars have claimed not only that Ezra brought the Torah to Jerusalem, but that he actually wrote it, and in so doing Ezra created Judaism. Without Ezra, they say, Judaism would not exist. In Ezra and the Law in History and Tradition, Lisbeth S. Fried separates historical fact from biblical legend. Drawing on inscriptions from the Achaemenid Empire, she presents the historical Ezra in the context of authentic Persian administrative practices and concludes that Ezra, the Persian official, neither wrote nor edited the Torah, nor would he even have known it. The origin of Judaism, so often associated with Ezra by modern scholars, must be sought elsewhere. After discussing the historical Ezra, Fried examines ancient, medieval, and modern views of him, explaining how each originated, and why. She relates the stories told about Ezra by medieval Christians to explain why their Greek Old Testament differs from the Hebrew Bible, as well as the explanations offered by medieval Samaritans concerning how their Samaritan Bible varies from the one the Jews use. Church Fathers as well as medieval Samaritan writers explained the differences by claiming that Ezra falsified the Bible when he rewrote it, so that in effect, it is not the book that Moses wrote but something else. Moslem scholars also maintain that Ezra falsified the Old Testament, since Mohammed, the last judgment, and Heaven and Hell are revealed in it. In contrast Jewish Talmudic writers viewed Ezra both as a second Moses and as the prophet Malachi. In the process of describing ancient, medieval, and modern views of Ezra, Fried brings out various understandings of God, God’s law, and God’s plan for our salvation.

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F Troop and Other Citadel Stories

Tom Worley

From its founding in 1842 the Citadel has been steeped in tradition. There have been changes through the years, but the basics of the military code and the plebe system have remained constant. Citadel graduate Tom Worley has crafted this collection of short stories about life at the South Carolina military academy during the 1960s. While the stories are fictional, they are inspired in part by his days as a student on the college campus. With humor and dramatic clarity, Worley reveals the harshness of the plebe system, how success is achieved through perseverance, and the character-building benefits of a Citadel education. The seventeen stories included in the volume are told from the perspective of two main characters—cadets Pete Creger and Sammy Graham—who are members of F Company. By turns surprising and entertaining, the collected stories range from the emotional and physical trials of being a knob in the plebe system, the brutality of hazing, and the fear and fun of company pranks, to the friendship and camaraderie the system fosters and the tremendous pride shared by those who wear the coveted Citadel ring. Best known for its Corps of Cadets, the Citadel attracts students who desire a college education in a classical military system in which leadership and character training are essential parts of the overall experience. Any romanticized notion of military bravado is quickly shattered the moment students set foot on campus and their parents drive away. Many cadets are left wondering, “What have I signed up for?” Worley’s stories shed light on the pain and the pride, explaining why, he says, “most cadets at the Citadel hated the place while they were there and loved everything about it once they’d graduated. They were bonded together for life. Perhaps that’s the greatest thing the Citadel did for them.”

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