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The Father Reimagined in Faulkner, Wright, O'Connor, and Morrison
In an original contribution to the psychoanalytic approach to literature, Doreen Fowler focuses on the fiction of four major American writers—William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, and Toni Morrison—to examine the father's function as a "border figure." Although the father has most commonly been interpreted as the figure who introduces opposition and exclusion to the child, Fowler finds in these literary depictions fathers who instead support the construction of a social identity by mediating between cultural oppositions.
Fowler counters the widely accepted notion that boundaries are solely sites of exclusion and offers a new theoretical model of boundary construction. She argues that boundaries are mysterious, dangerous, in-between places where a balance of sameness and difference makes differentiation possible. In the fiction of these southern writers, father figures introduce a separate cultural identity by modeling this mix of relatedness and difference. Fathers intervene in the mother-child relationship, but the father is also closely related to both mother and child. This model of boundary formation as a balance of exclusion and relatedness suggests a way to join with others in an inclusive, multicultural community and still retain ethnic, racial, and gender differences.
Fowler's model for the father's mediating role in initiating gender, race, and other social differences shows not only how psychoanalytic theory can be used to interpret fiction and cultural history but also how literature and history can reshape theory.
The Extraordinary Life of a Royal Governor in Revolutionary America--with Jacobites, Counterfeiters, Land Schemes, Shipwrecks, Scalping, Indian Politics, Runaway Slaves, and Two Illegal Royal Weddings
Dunmore's New World tells the stranger-than-fiction story of Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, whose long-neglected life boasts a measure of scandal and intrigue rare in the annals of the colonial world. Dunmore not only issued the first formal proclamation of emancipation in American history; he also undertook an unauthorized Indian war in the Ohio Valley, now known as Dunmore’s War, that was instrumental in opening the Kentucky country to white settlement. In this entertaining biography, James Corbett David brings together a rich cast of characters as he follows Dunmore on his perilous path through the Atlantic world from 1745 to 1809.
Dunmore was a Scots aristocrat who, even with a family history of treason, managed to obtain a commission in the British army, a seat in the House of Lords, and three executive appointments in the American colonies. He was an unusual figure, deeply invested in the imperial system but quick to break with convention. Despite his 1775 proclamation promising freedom to slaves of Virginia rebels, Dunmore was himself a slaveholder at a time when the African slave trade was facing tremendous popular opposition in Great Britain. He also supported his daughter throughout the scandal that followed her secret, illegal marriage to the youngest son of George III—a relationship that produced two illegitimate children, both first cousins of Queen Victoria.
Within this single narrative, Dunmore interacts with Jacobites, slaves, land speculators, frontiersmen, Scots merchants, poor white fishermen, the French, the Spanish, Shawnees, Creeks, patriots, loyalists, princes, kings, and a host of others. This history captures the vibrant diversity of the political universe that Dunmore inhabited alongside the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. A transgressive imperialist, Dunmore had an astounding career that charts the boundaries of what was possible in the Atlantic world in the Age of Revolution.
Journalism and the Practice of Literature in Mid-Victorian Britain
In The Dynamics of Genre, Dallas Liddle innovatively combines Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogic approach to genre with methodological tools from periodicals studies, literary criticism, and the history of the book to offer the first rigorous study of the relationship between mid-Victorian journalistic genres and contemporary poetry, the novel, and serious expository prose. Liddle shows that periodical genres competed both ideologically and economically with literary genres, and he studies how this competition influenced the midcentury writings and careers of authors including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Harriet Martineau, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, and the sensation novelists of the 1860s. Some Victorian writers directly adopted the successful genre forms and worldview of journalism, but others such as Eliot strongly rejected them, while Trollope launched his successful career partly by using fiction to analyze journalism’s growing influence in British society. Liddle argues that successful interpretation of the works of these and many other authors will be fully possible only when scholars learn to understand the journalistic genre forms with which mid-Victorian literary forms interacted and competed.
Reconsidering the Old Dominion
By highlighting emerging scholarship on neglected topics, this collection of original essays begins to rewrite the history of Virginia, the colonial Chesapeake, and early America, while setting a research agenda for the next decade and beyond.
Religious Freedom and Pluralism in Antebellum America
In Earnestly Contending, Dickson Bruce examines the ways in which religious denominations and movements in antebellum America coped with the ideals of freedom and pluralism that exerted such a strong influence on the larger, national culture. Despite their enormous normative power, these still-evolving ideals—themselves partly religious in origin—ran up against deeply entrenched concerns about the integrity of religious faith and commitment and the role of religion in society. The resulting tensions between these ideals and desires for religious consensus and coherence would remain unresolved throughout the period.
Focusing on that era’s interdenominational competition, Bruce explores the possibilities for and barriers to realizing ideals of freedom and pluralism in antebellum America. He examines the nature of religion from the perspectives of anthropology and cognitive sciences, as well as history, and uses this interdisciplinary approach to organize and understand specific tendencies in the antebellum period while revealing properties inherent in religion as a social and cultural phenomenon. He goes on to show how issues from that era have continued to play a role in American religious thinking, and how they might shed light on the controversies of our own time.
New European Approaches
One of the more frequently lodged, serious, and justifiable complaints about ecocritical work is that it is insufficiently theorized. Ecocritical Theory puts such claims decisively to rest by offering readers a comprehensive collection of sophisticated but accessible essays that productively investigate the relationship between European theory and ecocritique. With its international roster of contributors and subjects, it also militates against the parochialism of ecocritics who work within the limited canon of the American West. Bringing together approaches and orientations based on the work of European philosophers and cultural theorists, this volume is designed to open new pathways for ecocritical theory and practice in the twenty-first century.
From College to Nation
In The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson, James Axtell brings together essays by eight leading historians and one historically minded political scientist to examine the long, formative academic phase of Wilson’s career and its connection to his relatively brief tenure in politics. Together, the essays provide a greatly revised picture of Wilson’s whole career and a deeply nuanced understanding of the evolution of his educational, political, and social philosophy and policies, the ordering of his values and priorities, and the seamless link between his academic and political lives.
The contributors shed light on Wilson’s unexpected rise to the governorship of New Jersey and the presidency, and how he prepared for elective office through his long study of government and the practice of academic politics, which he deemed no less fierce than that of Washington. In both spheres he was enormously successful, propelling a string of progressive and Progressive reforms through faculty and legislative forums. Only after he was beset by health problems and events beyond his control did he fail to push his academic and postwar agendas to their logical, idealistic conclusions.
Contributors: James Axtell, College of William and Mary * Victoria Bissell Brown, Grinnell College * John Milton Cooper Jr., University of Wisconsin * Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University * W. Bruce Leslie, SUNY–Brockport * Adam R. Nelson, University of Wisconsin * Mark R. Nemec, Forrester Research * John R. Thelin, University of Kentucky * Trygve Throntveit, Harvard University
Reading the New Editions
In recent years, a series of major collections of posthumous writings by Elizabeth Bishop--one of the most widely read and discussed poets of the twentieth century--have been published, profoundly affecting how we look at her life and work. The hundreds of letters, poems, and other writings in these volumes have expanded Bishop‘s published work by well over a thousand pages and placed before the public a "new" Bishop whose complexity was previously familiar to only a small circle of scholars and devoted readers. This collection of essays by many of the leading figures in Bishop studies provides a deep and multifaceted account of the impact of these new editions and how they both enlarge and complicate our understanding of Bishop as a cultural icon.
Contributors: Charles Berger, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville * Jacqueline Vaught Brogan, University of Notre Dame * Angus Cleghorn, Seneca College * Jonathan Ellis, University of Sheffield * Richard Flynn, Georgia Southern University * Lorrie Goldensohn * Jeffrey Gray, Seton Hall University * Bethany Hicok, Westminster College * George Lensing, University of North Carolina * Carmen L. Oliveira * Barbara Page, Vassar College * Christina Pugh, University of Illinois at Chicago * Francesco Rognoni, Catholic University in Milan * Peggy Samuels, Drew University * Lloyd Schwartz, University of Massachusetts, Boston * Thomas Travisano, Hartwick College * Heather Treseler, Worcester State University * Gillian White, University of Michigan
When the American poet Elizabeth Bishop arrived in Brazil in 1951 at the age of forty, she had not planned to stay, but her love affair with the Brazilian aristocrat Lota de Macedo Soares and with the country itself set her on another course, and Brazil became her home for nearly two decades. In this groundbreaking new study, Bethany Hicok offers Bishop’s readers the most comprehensive study to date on the transformative impact of Brazil on the poet’s life and art. Based on extensive archival research and travel, Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil argues that the whole shape of Bishop’s writing career shifted in response to Brazil, taking on historical, political, linguistic, and cultural dimensions that would have been inconceivable without her immersion in this vibrant South American culture.
Hicok reveals the mid-century Brazil that Bishop encountered--its extremes of wealth and poverty, its spectacular topography, its language, literature, and people--and examines the Brazilian class structures that placed Bishop and Macedo Soares at the center of the country’s political and cultural power brokers. We watch Bishop develop a political poetry of engagement against the backdrop of America’s Cold War policies and Brazil’s political revolutions. Hicok also offers the first comprehensive evaluation of Bishop’s translations of Brazilian writers and their influence on her own work. Drawing on archival sources that include Bishop’s unpublished travel writings and providing provocative new readings of the poetry, Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil is a long-overdue exploration of a pivotal phase in this great poet’s life and work.
Desegregation and Resegregation in Norfolk's Public Schools
In Elusive Equality, Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Charles H. Ford place Norfolk, Virginia, at the center of the South's school desegregation debates, tracing the crucial role that Norfolk’s African Americans played in efforts to equalize and integrate the city’s schools. The authors relate how local activists participated in the historic teacher-pay-parity cases of the 1930s and 1940s, how they fought against the school closures and "Massive Resistance" of the 1950s, and how they challenged continuing patterns of discrimination by insisting on crosstown busing in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite the advances made by local activists, however, Littlejohn and Ford argue that the vaunted "urban advantage" supposedly now enjoyed by Norfolk’s public schools is not easy to reconcile with the city’s continuing gaps and disparities in relation to race and class.
In analyzing the history of struggles over school integration in Norfolk, the authors scrutinize the stories told by participants, including premature declarations of victory that laud particular achievements while ignoring the larger context in which they take place. Their research confirms that Norfolk was a harbinger of national trends in educational policy and civil rights.
Drawing on recently released archival materials, oral interviews, and the rich newspaper coverage in the Journal and Guide, Virginian-Pilot, and Ledger-Dispatch, Littlejohn and Ford present a comprehensive, multidimensional, and unsentimental analysis of the century-long effort to gain educational equality. A historical study with contemporary implications, their book offers a balanced view based on a thorough, sober look at where Norfolk’s school district has been and where it is going.