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Women, Art, and Family, 1740–1840
Connecticut women have long been noted for their creation of colorful and distinctive needlework, including samplers and family registers, bed rugs and memorial pictures, crewel-embroidered bed hangings and garments, silk-embroidered pictures of classical or religious scenes, quilted petticoats and bedcovers, and whitework dresses and linens. This volume offers the first regional study, encompassing the full range of needle arts produced prior to 1840. Seventy entries showcase more than one hundred fascinating examples--many never before published--from the Connecticut Historical Society's extensive collection of this early American art form. Produced almost exclusively by women and girls, the needle arts provide an illuminating vantage point for exploring early American women's history and education, including family-based traditions predating the establishment of formal academies after the American Revolution. Extensive genealogical research reveals unseen family connections linking various types of needlework, similar to the multi-generational male workshops documented for other artisan trades, such as woodworking or metalsmithing. Photographs of stitches, reverse sides, sketches, design sources, and related works enhance our understanding and appreciation of this fragile art form and the talented women who created it. An exhibition of needlework in this book will be held at the Connecticut Historical Society in late fall, 2010. Funding for this project has been provided by the Coby Foundation, Ltd., and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Connecticut Prison Association and the Search for Reformatory Justice looks at the role the Connecticut Prison Association played in the formation of the state’s criminal justice system. Now organized under the name Community Partners in Action (CPA), the Connecticut Prison Association was formed to ameliorate the conditions of criminal defendants and people in prison, improve the discipline and administration of local jails and state prisons, and furnish assistance and encouragement to people returning to their communities after incarceration. The organization took a leading role in prison reform in the state and was instrumental in a number of criminal justice innovations. Gordon S. Bates, former Connecticut Prison Association volunteer and executive director (1980–1998), offers a detailed history of this and similar voluntary associations and their role in fostering a rehabilitative, rather than a retributive, approach to criminal justice. First convened in 1875 as the Friends of Partners of Prisoners Society, then evolving into the Connecticut Prison Association and CPA, the organization has consistently advocated for a humane, rehabilitative approach to prisoner treatment.
The state of Connecticut boasts an extensive and active community of fife and drum groups. This musical tradition has its origins in the small military bands maintained by standing armies in Britain and Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--the drum was especially important as it helped officers train soldiers how to march, and was also used to communicate with troops across battlefields. Today fifers and drummers gather at conventions called "musters," which may include a parade and concerts featuring the various participating corps. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest muster ever was held in Deep River, Connecticut, in 1976. Musician and historian James Clark is the first to detail the colorful history of this unique music. This engaging book leads the reader through the history of the individual instruments and tells the story of this classic folk tradition through anecdotes, biographies, photographs, and musical examples.
Navy Secretary Gideon Welles Chronicles the Civil War
Gideon Welles, the Connecticut journalist-politician who served as Lincoln’s secretary of the navy, was not only an architect of Union victory but also a shrewd observer of people, issues, and events. Fortunately for posterity, he recorded many of his observations in his extensive diary. A Connecticut Yankee in Lincoln’s Cabinet brings together 250 of the most important and interesting excerpts from the diary, dealing with topics as varied as the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Marine Band’s concerts in Washington’s Lafayette Square, Lincoln’s sense of humor, rivalries among cabinet members, Welles’s often caustic opinions of prominent politicians and military leaders, demands for creation of a navy yard in his home state, the challenge of blockading 3,500 miles of Confederate coastline, the struggle against rebel commerce raiders, the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg, the Fort Pillow massacre of African American troops, and Lincoln’s assassination. Together, the excerpts provide a candid insider’s view of the Civil War as it unfolded, and an introduction provides the reader with context. Published by the Acorn Club.
From Material Text to Cultural Poetics
As one of the founding poets and editors of the Language School of poetry and one of its central theorists, Barrett Watten has consistently challenged the boundaries of literature and art. In The Constructivist Moment, he offers a series of theoretically informed and textually sensitive readings that advance a revisionist account of the avant-garde through the methodologies of cultural studies. His major topics include American modernist and postmodern poetics, Soviet constructivist and post-Soviet literature and art, Fordism and Detroit techno--each proposed as exemplary of the social construction of aesthetic and cultural forms. His book is a full-scale attempt to place the linguistic turn of critical theory and the self-reflexive foregrounding of language by the avant-garde since the Russian Formalists in relation to the cultural politics of postcolonial studies, feminism, and race theory. As such, it will provide a crucial revisionist perspective within modernist and avant-garde studies.
Continued is a selection of poems by Piotr Sommer, spanning his career to date. A kind of poetic utterance, these "talk poems" are devoid of any singsong quality yet faithfully preserve all the melodies and rhythms of colloquial speech. Events and objects of ordinary, everyday life are related and described by the speaker in a deliberately deadpan manner. Yet a closer look at the language he uses, with all its ironic inflections and subtle "intermeanings," reveals that the poem's "message" should be identified more with the way it is spoken than with what it says. The poems in this volume were translated into English with the help of other notable poets, writers, and translators, including John Ashbery, D.J. Enright, and Douglas Dunn.
Selected Early Poems
Co-winner of the 1983 National Book Award for Poetry, Country Music is comprised of eighty-eight poems selected from Charles Wright's first four books published between 1970 and 1977. From his first book, The Grave of the Right Hand, to the extraordinary China Trace, this selection of early works represents "Charles Wright's grand passions: his desire to reclaim and redeem a personal past, to make a reckoning with his present, and to conjure the terms by which we might face the future," writes David St. John in the forward. These poems, powerful and moving in their own right, lend richness and insight to Wright's recently collected later works. "In Country Music we see the same explosive imagery, the same dismantled and concentric (or parallel) narratives, the same resolutely spiritual concerns that have become so familiar to us in Wright's more recent poetry," writes St. John.
The Rider Quintet, vol. 4
In his Rider trilogy, Mark Rudman perfected a mixed genre form -- combining dialogue, lyric and prose. While employing some of the same techniques that have become "signature Rudman" -- the compact, colloquial line, dazzling shifts from popular culture to classical history -- The Couple also breaks new ground. This new book is a collection of discrete poems organized around four poem sequences, "Long-Stemmed Rose," "The Shallowness of the Lake," "Perseus Surprised, Andromeda Unbound," and "Fragile Craft." As the title suggests, the theme of relationships, both dark and erotically-charged, emerges here as Rudman's focus. The couples in the book include parents, lovers, a young boy and girl in elementary school, Perseus and Andromeda, Mary Ure and Robert Shaw, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Carl Freedman traces the fundamental and mostly unexamined relationships between the discourses of science fiction and critical theory, arguing that science fiction is (or ought to be) a privileged genre for critical theory. He asserts that it is no accident that the upsurge of academic interest in science fiction since the 1970s coincides with the heyday of literary theory, and that likewise science fiction is one of the most theoretically informed areas of the literary profession. Extended readings of novels by five of the most important modern science fiction authors illustrate the affinity between science fiction and critical theory, in each case concentrating on one major novel that resonates with concerns proper to critical theory.
Freedman's five readings are: Solaris: Stanislaw Lem and the Structure of Cognition; The Dispossessed: Ursula LeGuin and the Ambiguities of Utopia; The Two of Them: Joanna Russ and the Violence of Gender; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand: Samuel Delany and the Dialectics of Difference; The Man in the High Castle: Philip K. Dick and the Construction of Realities.