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In recent years Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) has been fictionalized at least three times, perhaps most notably in Colm Tóibín's award-winning work The Master, a novelization of the life of Woolson's close friend Henry James. But Woolson was a literary star in her own right, publishing in the premier magazines of her day. She penned critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and poetry until her mysterious death in Venice at age fifty-three.
Sharon Dean has recompiled, dated, and, in many cases, physically reassembled all of Woolson’s extant correspondence from nearly forty sources. Dean's painstaking work presents the fullest picture we have of Woolson and functions as an important corrective to the fictional portrayals. In these letters one finds rich personal detail alongside ruminations on contemporary political and social conditions. A trenchant critic of the customs and mores of her age, Woolson, in her letters, offers a nuanced perspective on life as a woman and as a writer in the nineteenth century.
Ordinary Argentinians in the Dirty War
Under violent military dictatorship, Operation Condor and the Dirty War scarred Argentina from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, leaving behind a legacy of repression, state terror, and political murder. Even today, the now-democratic Argentine government attempts to repair the damage of these atrocities by making human rights a policy priority.
But what about the other Dirty War, during which Argentine civilians--including indigenous populations--and foreign powers ignored and even abetted the state's vicious crimes against humanity? In this groundbreaking new work, David Sheinin draws on previously classified Argentine government documents, human rights lawsuits, and archived propaganda to illustrate the military-constructed fantasy of bloodshed as a public defense of human rights.
Exploring the reactions of civilians and the international community to the daily carnage, Sheinin unearths how compliance with the dictatorship perpetuated the violence that defined a nation. This new approach to the history of human rights in Argentina will change how we understand dictatorship, democracy, and state terror.
For decades, a succession of military regimes and democratic governments in Brazil sought to shape the future of their society through the manipulation of urban spaces. Planned cities were built that reflected the ideals of high modernism, and urban designers and planners created clean-cut minimalist spaces that reflected the hope for an idyllic future in a still-developing nation. But these cities were criticized as "utopian dreams" in a country plagued with the urban realities of rampant sprawl and the infamous slums known as favelas.
In this international collection of essays, architects, urban planners, and scholars assess the legacy of Brazilian urbanism to date. They evaluate the country's experiments with modernism and examine how Brazilian cities are regenerating themselves within a democratic political framework that meets market and social demands, and respects place, culture, and history.
Political Opposition under Authoritarianism
Scholarship examining the governments in the Middle East and North Africa rarely focuses on opposition movements, since those countries tend to be ruled by a centralized, often authoritarian government. However, even in an oppressive state, there are civil society and oppositional forces at work. The contributors to Contentious Politics in the Middle East reveal how such forces emerge and are manifested in nondemocratic states across the region.
In most cases, the essays offer a comparative perspective, highlighting similarities across political borders. Providing historical context for current events, they examine the sociopolitical situations in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Algeria and analyze the role of Islam in Arab states' governments and in the opposition movements to them. They also demonstrate that not all opposition forces propose the overthrow of authority and point out the various forms opposition takes in societies that leave little room for political activism.
The contributors to the volume are drawn from countries across three continents and bring backgrounds in political science, conflict resolution, and history. Challenging the assertion that state-society relations are limited to coercive top-down arrangements in authoritarian regimes, the book will inspire debate on the topic of contentious political participation within the region as well as in similar settings throughout the world.
Religious, Scientific, and Cultural Dimensions
The Convergence of Judaism and Islam offers fifteen interdisciplinary studies that investigate the complex relationships between the cultures of Jews and Muslims during the medieval and early modern periods. They reveal that, for the most part, Jewish-Muslim relations were peaceful and involved intellectual and professional cooperation.
Eschewing a chronological approach and featuring contributions from European, Israeli, and North American scholars, including veterans and recent PhDs, the volume makes many fascinating and stimulating juxtapositions. To give one example, chapters on early Islam and the shaping of Jewish-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages shed light on the legal battles over the status of synagogues in twentieth-century Yemen or the execution of a fourteen-year-old girl in nineteenth-century Morocco.
Sure to provoke controversy and discussion, this volume focuses on a period of free exchange between these two cultures that resulted in some of the most seminal breakthroughs in math, science, and medicine the world has known.
Corra Harris (1869-1935) was one of the most widely published and nationally popular women writers in the United States. A Circuit Rider's Wife (1910) was Georgia's most celebrated novel for nearly three decades. Now little read and almost forgotten, Harris's life offers a fascinating glimpse into a world nearly unimaginable to us today.
In her writing, Harris poignantly and often humorously captured the paradoxes characteristic of the New South, a time and place of radically divergent goals. Pressed by national and economic demands to modernize, and regional desire to hold on to the past, leaders struggled at the turn of the century to reconcile competing goals. Issues of race, class, and gender found in Harris's writing were at the heart of the struggle.
In depicting the complexities of Harris's era, her life, and her personality, historian Catherine Oglesby offers a remarkable insight into early twentieth-century literature and culture. She demonstrates the ways Harris's work and life both differed from and were the same as other southern women writers, and reveals the ways time and place intersect with race, class, gender, and other variables in the forging of identity.
Manhood and Humor in the Old South
Counterfeit Gentlemen is a stunning reappraisal of Southern manhood and identity that uses humor and humorists to carry the reader into the very heart of antebellum culture.
What does it mean to be a man in the pre–Civil War South? And how can we answer the question from the perspective of the early twenty-first century? John Mayfield does so by revealing how early nineteenth-century Southern humorists addressed the anxieties felt by men seeking to chart a new path between the old honor culture and the new market culture. Lacking the constraints imposed by journalism or proper literature, these writers created fictional worlds where manhood and identity could be tested and explored.
Preoccupied alternately by moonlight and magnolias and racism and rape, we have continually presented ourselves with an Old South so mirthless it couldn't breathe. If all Mayfield did was remind us that Old Southerners laughed, he would have accomplished something. But he also offers a sophisticated analysis of the social functions humor performed and the social anxieties it reflected.
The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
One of the twentieth century's most intriguing and complicated literary friendships was that between Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. In death, their reputations have reversed, but in the early 1940s Rawlings had already achieved wild success with her best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Yearling, while Hurston had published Their Eyes Were Watching God to unfavorable critical reviews.
When they met, both were at the height of their literary powers. Hurston appears to have sought out Rawlings as a writer who could understand her talent and as a potential patron and champion. Rawlings did become an advocate for Hurston, and by all accounts a warm friendship developed between the two. Yet at every turn, Rawlings's own racism and the societal norms of the Jim Crow South loomed on the horizon, until her friendship with Hurston transformed Rawlings's views on the subject and made her an advocate for racial equality.
Anna Lillios's Crossing the Creek is the first book to examine the productive and complex relationship between these two major figures. Is there truth to the story that Hurston offered to work as Rawlings's maid? Why did Rawlings host a tea for Hurston in St. Augustine? In what ways did each write the friendship into their novels? Using interviews with individuals who knew both women, as well as incisive readings of surviving letters, Lillios examines these questions and many others in this remarkable book.
Rounding Cape Horn in 1860
Cruise of the Dashing Wave recounts a harrowing 1860 clipper ship passage from Boston to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn, as recorded by Philip Hichborn, ship's carpenter, in his journal.
On board the Dashing Wave, even the disagreeable food was a blessing as it distracted the crew from the oppressive cruelty of the elements. The weather and heavy seas of Cape Horn pushed the sailors to their physical limits and often punctuated their watches with moments of despair, amazement, and fear.
Hichborn would later rise to become a major figure in the U.S. Navy, but on this, his first voyage, he was still unfamiliar with life aboard ship. As ship's carpenter, he was not obligated to stand watch at night, giving him unique opportunities to observe and make notes on an extraordinary cruise that weathered devastating gales, ice, and snow; the death of a crew member; and a near mutiny.
Most accounts of seafaring are written by captains, mates, or members of the forecastle crew, but this unusually candid account captures life aboard a nineteenth-century tall ship from the point of view of a landsman. As such, it lays bare the social and professional interactions of a team of strangers stressed to the point of rebellion and murder--revealing that the rigid traditional hierarchy of a ship could be challenged by a man of skill and personality.
Daily Life in the Twilight of the Revolution
Amelia Weinreb takes readers deep inside the everyday life of middle-class Cubans--arguably the majority of citizens on the island. Un-theorized and under-described, it is a group that is portrayed honestly, accurately, and empathetically.
The political and economic systems of Cuba in the post-Soviet period pose ongoing challenges to ordinary Cubans as they struggle in the waning years of the Castro regime. Weinreb demonstrates that the major reason they have been ignored in the scholarly literature is because remaining obscure is one of their strategies for coping with these challenges.
Weinreb has made repeated visits to the island, frequently living in local communities along with her family. Thus her ethnography of this "shadow public" is based upon traditional participant-observer methodology. Her experiences--from the clothesline, the back bedroom, the kitchen table, and the living room sofa--allow her an unprecedented opportunity to bring to outside readers the reality of daily life in Cuba, and she includes an epilogue that addresses citizen and consumer changes that have taken place since Raúl Castro became president in February 2008.
No other book reveals so much about the anxieties and clandestine plans that have shaped Cubans' lives during the final years of the Fidel Castro era.