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Seventeen scholarly articles deal not only with Fitzgerald's novels but with his stories and essays as well, considering such topics as the Roman Catholic background of The Beautiful and Damned and the influence of Mark Twain on Fitzgerald's work and self-conception. The volume also features four personal essays by Fitzgerald's friends Budd Schulberg, Frances Kroll Ring, publisher Charles Scribner III, and writer George Garrett that shed new light on his personal and professional lives. Together these contributions demonstrate the continued vitality of Fitzgerald's work and establish new directions for ongoing discussions of his life and writing.
Vol. 11 (2013) through current issue
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review publishes essays on all aspects of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life and work. The journal serves both the specialist and the general reader with essays that broaden understanding of Fitzgerald’s writing and related topics. While the centrality of The Great Gatsby is recognized, the journal is also eager to advance interest in the breadth of Fitzgerald’s writing. The journal is published on behalf of F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.
“An Almost Theatrical Innocence”
“Fitzgerald’s work has always deeply moved me,” writes John T. Irwin. “And this is as true now as it was fifty years ago when I first picked up The Great Gatsby. I can still remember the occasions when I first read each of his novels; remember the time, place, and mood of those early readings, as well as the way each work seemed to speak to something going on in my life at that moment. Because the things that interested Fitzgerald were the things that interested me and because there seemed to be so many similarities in our backgrounds, his work always possessed for me a special, personal authority; it became a form of wisdom, a way of knowing the world, its types, its classes, its individuals.” In his personal tribute to Fitzgerald's novels and short stories, Irwin offers an intricate vision of one of the most important writers in the American canon. The third in Irwin's trilogy of works on American writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Fiction resonates back through all of his previous writings, both scholarly and poetic, returning to Fitzgerald's ongoing theme of the twentieth-century American protagonist's conflict between his work and his personal life. This conflict is played out against the typically American imaginative activity of self-creation, an activity that involves a degree of theatrical ability on the protagonist's part as he must first enact the role imagined for himself, which is to say, the self he means to invent. Irwin claims that Fitzgerald, because he was on the side of good breeding and lost causes, should be considered a Southern writer. It also includes a reading of The Great Gatsby that centers on the notion of desire, one that suggests, paradoxically, that the true object of desire is its lack of fulfillment. The work is suffused with elements of both Fitzgerald's and Irwin's biographies, and Irwin's immense erudition is on display throughout. Irwin seamlessly ties together details from Fitzgerald's life with elements from his entire body of work and considers central themes connected to wealth, class, work, love, jazz, acceptance, family, disillusionment, and life as theatrical performance.
“With a breadth and depth unsurpassed by any other cultural historian of the South, Lewis Simpson examines the writing of southerners Thomas Jefferson, John Randolph, Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, William Faulkner, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Arthur Crew Inman, William Styron, and Walker Percy. Simpson offers challenging essays of easy erudition blessedly free of academic jargon. . . . [They] do not propose to support an overall thesis, but simply explore the southern writer’s unique relationship with his or her region, bereft of myth and tradition, in the grasp of science and history.”—Library Journal
From the acclaimed author of Winter (Mirror) and Rehearsal in Black, Fables of Representation is a powerful collection of essays on the state of contemporary poetry, free from the stultifying theoretical jargon of recent literary history. With its title essay, "Fables of Representation," one of the most cogent studies ever written of the New York School of poets (a group that includes the influential poet John Ashbery), this book is required reading for anyone who seeks to understand the poetry and culture of the postmodern period. Author Paul Hoover's wide-ranging subjects include African-American interdisciplinary studies; the position of poetry in the electronic age; the notion of doubleness in the work of Harryette Mullen and others; the lyricism of the New York School poets; and the role of reality in American poetry. Hoover also introduces two provocative essays sure to generate attention and discussion: "The Postmodern Era: A Final Exam" and "The New Millennium: Fifty Statements on Literature and Culture." Paul Hoover is the editor of the anthology Postmodern American Poetry and author of nine poetry collections, including Totem and Shadow: New and Selected Poems and Viridian. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The Paris Review, among others. He is Poet-in-Residence at Columbia College, Chicago.
The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan
Since its early days of mass production in the 1850s, the sewing machine has been intricately connected with the global development of capitalism. Andrew Gordon traces the machine’s remarkable journey into and throughout Japan, where it not only transformed manners of dress, but also helped change patterns of daily life, class structure, and the role of women. As he explores the selling, buying, and use of the sewing machine in the early to mid-twentieth century, Gordon finds that its history is a lens through which we can examine the modern transformation of daily life in Japan. Both as a tool of production and as an object of consumer desire, the sewing machine is entwined with the emergence and ascendance of the middle class, of the female consumer, and of the professional home manager as defining elements of Japanese modernity.
Politics and Administration in the Biopolitical State
Fraudulence and Antebellum Print Culture
Literary histories typically celebrate the antebellum period as marking the triumphant emergence of American literature. But the period's readers and writers tell a different story: they derided literature as a fraud, an imposture, and a humbug, and they likened it to inflated currency, land bubbles, and quack medicine.
Excavating a rich archive of magazine fiction, verse satires, comic almanacs, false slave narratives, minstrel song sheets, and early literary criticism, and revisiting such familiar figures as Edgar Allan Poe, Davy Crockett, Fanny Fern, and Herman Melville, Lara Langer Cohen uncovers the controversies over literary fraudulence that plagued these years and uses them to offer an ambitious rethinking of the antebellum print explosion. She traces the checkered fortunes of American literature from the rise of literary nationalism, which was beset by accusations of puffery, to the conversion of fraudulence from a national dilemma into a sorting mechanism that produced new racial, regional, and gender identities. Yet she also shows that even as fraudulence became a sign of marginality, some authors managed to turn their dubious reputations to account, making a virtue of their counterfeit status. This forgotten history, Cohen argues, presents a dramatically altered picture of American literature's role in antebellum culture, one in which its authority is far from assured, and its failures matter as much as its achievements.
In Fabulae, Joy Katz interrogates the physical world, constructing a sensual and striking autobiography. She turns to the familiarity and strangeness of the female body, its surfaces and inner workings, often, although her subjects range from Thomas Jefferson to an Adam and Eve plagued with obsessive-compulsive disorder to the streets of New York’s diamond district. The poems, by turns funny and philosophical, point to how we suffer from desire: the danger, she writes, is that we might love the world “like heaven and be lost.” But they come back to delight in a flawed world especially the palpable beauty of words, and even the erotic shapes of the letterforms that make them up.
Romance in England after the Reformation
Romances were among the most popular books in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries among both Protestant and Catholic readers. Modeled after Catholic narratives, particularly the lives of saints, these works emphasized the supernatural and the marvelous, themes commonly associated with Catholicism. In this book, Tiffany Jo Werth investigates how post-Reformation English authors sought to discipline romance, appropriating its popularity while distilling its alleged Catholic taint. Charged with bewitching readers, especially women, into lust and heresy, romances sold briskly even as preachers and educators denounced them as papist. Protestant reformers, as part of their broader indictment of Catholicism, sought to redirect certain elements of the Christian tradition, including this notorious literary genre. Werth argues that through the writing and circulation of romances, Protestants repurposed their supernatural and otherwordly motifs in order to “fashion,” as Edmund Spenser writes, godly "vertuous" readers. Through careful examinations of the period’s most renowned romances—Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, William Shakespeare’s Pericles, and Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania—Werth illustrates how post-Reformation writers struggled to transform the literary genre. As a result, the romance, long regarded as an archetypal form closely allied with generalized Christian motifs, emerged as a result of the struggle as a central tenet of the religious controversies that divided Renaissance England.