The University Press of Kentucky

Political Companions to Great American Authors

Patrick J. Deneen

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Go

Browse Books in Series:

Political Companions to Great American Authors

1

Results 1-10 of 10

:
restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Flannery O'Connor

edited by Henry T. Edmondson III. with contributions by John Sikes Jr., Benjamin B. Alexander, Michael L. Schroeder, Margaret Earley Whitt, George Piggford, Sarah Gordon, Ralph Wood, Marc Bosco, Farrell O'Gorman, Gary Cuiba, Henry T. Edmondson III, John R

Acclaimed author and Catholic thinker Flannery O'Connor (1925--1964) penned two novels, two collections of short stories, various essays, and numerous book reviews over the course of her life. Her work continues to fascinate, perplex, and inspire new generations of readers and poses important questions about human nature, ethics, social change, equality, and justice. Although political philosophy was not O'Connor's pursuit, her writings frequently address themes that are not only crucial to American life and culture, but also offer valuable insight into the interplay between fiction and politics.

A Political Companion to Flannery O'Connor explores the author's fiction, prose, and correspondence to reveal her central ideas about political thought in America. The contributors address topics such as O'Connor's affinity with writers and philosophers including Eric Voegelin, Edith Stein, Russell Kirk, and the Agrarians; her attitudes toward the civil rights movement; and her thoughts on controversies over eugenics. Other essays in the volume focus on O'Connor's influences, the principles underlying her fiction, and the value of her work for understanding contemporary intellectual life and culture.

Examining the political context of O'Connor's life and her responses to the critical events and controversies of her time, this collection offers meaningful interpretations of the political significance of this influential writer's work.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau

edited by Jack Turner

The writings of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) have captivated scholars, activists, and ecologists for more than a century. Less attention has been paid, however, to the author’s political philosophy and its influence on American public life. Although Thoreau’s doctrine of civil disobedience has long since become a touchstone of world history, the greater part of his political legacy has been overlooked. With a resurgence of interest in recent years, A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau is the first volume focused exclusively on Thoreau’s ethical and political thought. Jack Turner illuminates the unexamined aspects of Thoreau’s political life and writings. Combining both new and classic essays, this book offers a fresh and comprehensive understanding of Thoreau’s politics, and includes discussions of subjects ranging from his democratic individualism to the political relevance of his intellectual eccentricity. The collection consists of works by sixteen prominent political theorists and includes an extended bibliography on Thoreau’s politics. A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau is a landmark reference for anyone seeking a better understanding of Thoreau’s complex political philosophy.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Herman Melville

edited by Jason Frank

Herman Melville is widely considered to be one of America's greatest authors, and countless literary theorists and critics have studied his life and work. However, political theorists have tended to avoid Melville, turning rather to such contemporaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to understand the political thought of the American Renaissance. While Melville was not an activist in the traditional sense and his philosophy is notoriously difficult to categorize, his work is nevertheless deeply political in its own right. As editor Jason Frank notes in his introduction to A Political Companion to Herman Melville, Melville's writing "strikes a note of dissonance in the pre-established harmonies of the American political tradition."

This unique volume explores Melville's politics by surveying the full range of his work -- from Typee (1846) to the posthumously published Billy Budd (1924). The contributors give historical context to Melville's writings and place him in conversation with political and theoretical debates, examining his relationship to transcendentalism and contemporary continental philosophy and addressing his work's relevance to topics such as nineteenth-century imperialism, twentieth-century legal theory, the anti-rent wars of the 1840s, and the civil rights movement. From these analyses emerges a new and challenging portrait of Melville as a political thinker of the first order, one that will establish his importance not only for nineteenth-century American political thought but also for political theory more broadly.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to James Baldwin

edited by Susan J. McWilliams. with contributions by Susan J. McWilliams, Lawrie Balfour, P.J. Brendese, Susan J. McWilliams, Nicholas Buccola, George Shulman, Vincent Lloyd, Wilson Carey McWilliams, Joel Schlosser, Brian Norman, Ulf Schulenberg, Jack Tur

In seminal works such as Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, and The Fire Next Time, acclaimed author and social critic James Baldwin (1924--1987) expresses his profound belief that writers have the power to transform society, to engage the public, and to inspire and channel conversation to achieve lasting change. While Baldwin is best known for his writings on racial consciousness and injustice, he is also one of the country's most eloquent theorists of democratic life and the national psyche.

In A Political Companion to James Baldwin, a group of prominent scholars assess the prolific author's relevance to present-day political challenges. Together, they address Baldwin as a democratic theorist, activist, and citizen, examining his writings on the civil rights movement, religion, homosexuality, and women's rights. They investigate the ways in which his work speaks to and galvanizes a collective American polity, and explore his views on the political implications of individual experience in relation to race and gender.

This volume not only considers Baldwin's works within their own historical context, but also applies the author's insights to recent events such as the Obama presidency and the Black Lives Matter movement, emphasizing his faith in the connections between the past and present. These incisive essays will encourage a new reading of Baldwin that celebrates his significant contributions to political and democratic theory.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to John Steinbeck

edited by Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh and Simon Stow. with contributions by Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh, Zoe Trodd, Donna Kornhaber, Adrienne Akins, Charles Williams, Michael Gibbons, Roxanne Harde, James R. Swensen, Marijane Osborn, Lauren Onkey, Cyrus Ernesto

Though he was a recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, American novelist John Steinbeck (1902--1968) has frequently been censored. Even in the twenty-first century, nearly ninety years after his work first appeared in print, Steinbeck's novels, stories, and plays still generate controversy: his 1937 book Of Mice and Men was banned in some Mississippi schools in 2002, and as recently as 2009, he made the American Library Association's annual list of most frequently challenged authors. A Political Companion to John Steinbeck examines the most contentious political aspects of the author's body of work, from his early exploration of social justice and political authority during the Great Depression to his later positions regarding domestic and international threats to American policies. Featuring contemporaneous and present-day interpretations of his novels and essays by historians, literary scholars, and political theorists, this book covers the spectrum of Steinbeck's writing, exploring everything from his place in American political culture to his seeming betrayal of his leftist principles in later years.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson

edited by Shannon L. Mariotti and Joseph H. Lane Jr.

Marilynne Robinson is arguably one of the most important writers of our time. Her voice resonates across the richly imagined American landscapes within which she grounds her stories of love and loss, alienation and belonging, injustice and redemption. Robinson's award-winning body of work -- including Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award -- has cultivated admiration all over the world, offering readers new and profound interpretations of the meanings of transience, presence, convention, and resistance.

In A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson, Shannon L. Mariotti and Joseph H. Lane Jr. assemble both rising and established political theorists to explore the juxtaposition of Robinson's nonfiction works and her novels, and to examine their connections to contemporary political issues. The collection analyzes Robinson's writings on American democracy, community, and freedom, and it includes an engrossing interview with the author specifically conducted for this volume. From an exploration of the democratic potential in being a "housekeeper of homelessness" to a study of models of action against racial injustice, this volume provides fascinating new insights into Robinson's work and how it reflects and reassesses American political culture and theory.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson

edited by Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk

From before the Civil War until his death in 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson was renowned—and renounced—as one of the United States’ most prominent abolitionists and as a leading visionary of the nation’s liberal democratic future. Following his death, however, both Emerson’s political activism and his political thought faded from public memory, replaced by the myth of the genteel man of letters and the detached sage of individualism. In the 1990s, scholars rediscovered Emerson’s antislavery writings and began reviving his legacy as a political activist. A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is the first collection to evaluate Emerson’s political thought in light of his recently rediscovered political activism. What were Emerson’s politics? A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson authoritatively answers this question with seminal essays by some of the most prominent thinkers ever to write about Emerson—Stanley Cavell, George Kateb, Judith N. Shklar, and Wilson Carey McWilliams—as well as many of today’s leading Emerson scholars. With an introduction that effectively destroys the “pernicious myth about Emerson’s apolitical individualism” by editors Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk, A Political Companion to Emerson reassesses Emerson’s famous theory of self-reliance in light of his antislavery politics, demonstrates the importance of transcendentalism to his politics, and explores the enduring significance of his thought for liberal democracy. Including a substantial bibliography of work on Emerson’s politics over the last century, A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is an indispensable resource for students of Emerson, American literature, and American political thought, as well as for those who wrestle with the fundamental challenges of democracy and liberalism.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Saul Bellow

edited by Gloria L. Cronin and Lee Trepanier

Saul Bellow is one of the twentieth century's most influential, respected, and honored writers. His novels The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler's Planet won the National Book Award, and Humboldt's Gift was awarded the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In addition, his plays garnered popular and critical acclaim, and some were produced on Broadway. Known for his insights into life in a post-Holocaust world, Bellow's explorations of modernity, Jewish identity, and the relationship between art and society have resonated with his readers, but because his writing is not overtly political, his politics have largely been ignored.

A Political Companion to Saul Bellow examines the author's novels, essays, short stories, and letters in order to illuminate his evolution from liberal to neoconservative. It investigates Bellow's exploration of the United States as a democratic system, the religious and ideological influences on his work, and his views on race relations, religious identity, and multiculturalism in the academy. Featuring a fascinating conclusion that draws from interviews with Bellow's sons, this accessible companion is an excellent resource for understanding the political thought of one of America's most acclaimed writers.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Walker Percy

edited by Peter Augustine Lawler and Brian A. Smith

In 1962, Walker Percy (1916--1990) made a dramatic entrance onto the American literary scene when he won the National Book Award for fiction with his first novel, The Moviegoer. A physician, philosopher, and devout Catholic, Percy dedicated his life to understanding the mixed and somewhat contradictory foundations of American life as a situation faced by the wandering and won-dering human soul. His controversial works combined existential questioning, scientific investigation, the insight of the southern stoic, and authentic religious faith to produce a singular view of humanity's place in the cosmos that ranks among the best American political thinking.

An authoritative guide to the political thought of this celebrated yet complex American author, A Political Companion to Walker Percy includes seminal essays by Ralph C. Wood, Richard Reinsch II, and James V. Schall, S.J., as well as new analyses of Percy's view of Thomistic realism and his reaction to the American pursuit of happiness. Editors Peter Augustine Lawler and Brian A. Smith have assembled scholars of diverse perspectives who provide a necessary lens for interpreting Percy's works. This comprehensive introduction to Percy's "American Thomism" is an indispensable resource for students of American literature, culture, and politics.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Political Companion to Walt Whitman

Edited by John E. Seery

The works of Walt Whitman have been described as masculine, feminine, postcolonial, homoerotic, urban, organic, unique, and democratic, yet arguments about the extent to which Whitman could or should be considered a political poet have yet to be fully confronted. Some scholars disregard Whitman’s understanding of democracy, insisting on separating his personal works from his political works. A Political Companion to Walt Whitman is the first full-length exploration of Whitman’s works through the lens of political theory. Editor John E. Seery and a collection of prominent theorists and philosophers uncover the political awareness of Whitman’s poetry and prose, analyzing his faith in the potential of individuals, his call for a revolution in literature and political culture, and his belief in the possibility of combining heroic individualism with democratic justice. A Political Companion to Walt Whitman reaches beyond literature into political theory, revealing the ideology behind Whitman’s call for the emergence of American poets of democracy.

1

Results 1-10 of 10

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

Political Companions to Great American Authors

Content Type

  • (10)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access