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A Memoir of Love, Death, and the Radio
Jean Feraca’s road to self-fulfillment has been as quirky and demanding as the characters in her incredible memoir. A veteran of several decades of public radio broadcasting, Feraca is also a writer and a poet. She is a talk show host beloved for her unique mixture of the humanities, poetry, and journalism, and is the creator of the pioneering international cultural affairs radio program Here on Earth: Radio without Borders.
In this searing memoir, Feraca traces her own emergence. She pulls back the curtain on her private life, revealing unforgettable portraits of the characters in her brawling Italian-American family: Jenny, the grandmother, the devil woman who threw Casey Stengel down an excavation pit; Dolly, the mother, a cross between Long John Silver and the Wife of Bath, who in battling mental illness becomes the scourge of a Lutheran nursing home; and Stephen, the brilliant but troubled older brother, an anthropologist adopted by a Sioux tribe. In a new chapter that reinforces and ties together the book’s exploration of the multiple forms of love, Jean introduces us to Roger, a Wildman and her husband’s best friend with whom she, too, develops an extraordinary intimacy. A selection of fifteen of Feraca’s poems add counterpoint to her engaging prose.
Narrative, Affiliation, and Antiraciset Rhetoric
"Both from the Right and from the Left, we are stymied in talking well with one another about race and racism, by intransigent beliefs in our own goodness as well as by our conviction that such talk is useless. . . . White antiracist epistemology needs to begin not with our beliefs, but with our individual and collective awakening to that which we do not know."
Drawing on scholarship across disciplines ranging from writing and rhetoric studies to critical race theory to philosophy, I Hope I Join the Band examines the limits and the possibilities for performative engagement in antiracist activism. Focusing particularly on the challenges posed by raced-white identity to performativity, and moving between narrative and theoretical engagement, thebook names and argues for critical shifts in the understandings and rhetorical practices that attend antiracist activism.
The Civil War Letters of John Bennitt, M.D., Surgeon, 19th Michigan Infantry
In 1862 at the age of thirty-two, Centreville, Michigan, physician John Bennitt joined the 19th Michigan Infantry Regiment as an assistant surgeon and remained in military service for the rest of the war. During this time Bennitt wrote more than two hundred letters home to his wife and daughters sharing his careful and detailed observations of army life, his medical trials in the field and army hospitals, dramatic battles, and character sketches of the many people he encountered, including his regimental comrades, captured Confederates, and local citizens in southern towns. Bennitt writes about the war’s progress on both the battlefield and the home front, and also reveals his changing view of slavery and race. Bennitt traces the history of the 19th Michigan Infantry, from its mustering in Dowagiac in August 1862, its duty in Kentucky and Tennessee, its capture and imprisonment by Confederate forces, its subsequent exchange and reorganization, its participation in the Atlanta and the Carolinas campaigns, its place in the Grand Review in Washington, and the final mustering out in Detroit in June 1865. John Bennitt’s significant collection of letters sheds light not only on the Civil War but on the many aspects of life in a small Michigan town. Although a number of memoirs from Civil War surgeons have been published in the last decade, “I Hope to Do My Country Service” is the first of its kind from a Michigan regimental surgeon to appear in more than a century.
A Crustacean Odyssey
A consideration of the lobster in history, myth, art, literature, and cuisine Consider the lobster. An improbable icon, Mesozoic revenant, surrealist fetish, nightmare ornament, and gastronomic adventure, it has fascinated people throughout history. It may be an exaggeration to say that lobsters are a cultural obsession—but only slightly. I, Lobster dissects the place of the lobster in human affairs, through history, science, myth, art, literature, music, movies, and, of course, cuisine. Though not generally beautiful to human eyes, lobsters star in some of the most gorgeous works of art in the world, the still-lifes painted in the Low Countries during the seventeenth century. And while many of us would question their sex appeal, lobsters carried an erotic charge for artists of the twentieth century who, inspired by Freud, found many opportunities to think of them in that way. Nancy Frazier explores diverse facets of our fascination with the lobster, whether in art, myth, or science. She describes how the lobster lives in its natural surroundings: its food, sex life, social life, predators, and general behavior. But I, Lobster goes beyond what we think about and do to the lobster, to explore how lobsters speak to us as signs, symbols, metaphors, code words, myth, lore, and fantasy. With recipes drawn from such notable lobster connoisseurs as M. F. K. Fisher, Alice B. Toklas, and Craig Claiborne, I, Lobster is a quirky, charming, and weirdly fascinating compendium of lobster lore.
A German American's Fight against Hitler and Nazism
Kurt Frank Korf's story is one of the most unusual to come out of World War II. Although German-Americans were America's largest ethnic group, and German-Americans-including thousands of native-born Germans-fought bravely in all theaters, there are few full first-person accounts by German- Americans of their experiences during the 1930s and 1940s.Drawing on his correspondence and on oral histories and interviews with Korf, Patricia Kollander paints a fascinating portrait of a privileged young man forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1937 because the infamous Nuremburg Laws had relegated him to the status of second-degree mixed breed(Korf had one Jewish grandparent).Settling in New York City, Korf became an FBI informant, watching pro-Nazi leaders like Fritz Kuhn and the German-American Bund as they moved among the city's large German immigrant community. Soon after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany as an intelligence officer during the Battle of the Bulge, and as a prisoner of war camp administrator. After the war, Korf stayed on as a U.S. government attorney in Berlin and Munich, working to hunt down war criminals, and lent his expertise in the effort to determine the authenticity of Joseph Goebbels's diaries. Kurt Frank Korf died in 2000.Kollander not only draws a detailed portrait of this unique figure; she also provides a rich context for exploring responses to Nazism in Germany, the German-American position before and during the war, the community's later response to Nazism and its crimes, and the broader issues of ethnicity, religion, political ideology, and patriotism in 20th-century America. Patricia Kollander is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. She is the author of Frederick III: Germany's Liberal Emperor. I Must Be a Part of This Waris part of her ongoing research into the experiences of some fifteen thousand native-born Germans who served in the U.S. Army in World War II. John O'Sullivan was Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University.
Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
From the cultural critic Wired called “provocative and cuttingly humorous” comes a viciously funny, joltingly insightful collection of drive-by critiques of contemporary America where chaos is the new normal. Exploring the darkest corners of the national psyche and the nethermost regions of the self—the gothic, the grotesque, and the carnivalesque—Mark Dery makes sense of the cultural dynamics of the American madhouse early in the twenty-first century.
Here are essays on the pornographic fantasies of Star Trek fans, Facebook as Limbo of the Lost, George W. Bush’s fear of his inner queer, the theme-parking of the Holocaust, the homoerotic subtext of the Super Bowl, the hidden agendas of IQ tests, Santa’s secret kinship with Satan, the sadism of dentists, Hitler’s afterlife on YouTube, the sexual identity of 2001’s HAL, the suicide note considered as a literary genre, the surrealist poetry of robot spam, the zombie apocalypse, Lady Gaga, the Church of Euthanasia, toy guns in the dream lives of American boys, and the polymorphous perversity of Madonna’s big toe.
Dery casts a critical eye on the accepted order of things, boldly crossing into the intellectual no-fly zones demarcated by cultural warriors on both sides of America’s ideological divide: controversy-phobic corporate media, blinkered academic elites, and middlebrow tastemakers. Intellectually omnivorous and promiscuously interdisciplinary, Dery’s writing is a generalist’s guilty pleasure in an age of nanospecialization and niche marketing. From Menckenesque polemics on American society and deft deconstructions of pop culture to unflinching personal essays in which Dery turns his scalpel-sharp wit on himself, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts is a head-spinning intellectual ride through American dreams and American nightmares.
In this series of intricately related texts, internationally known poet, critic, and performance artist David Antin explores the experience of time—how it's felt, remembered, and recounted. These free-form talk pieces—sometimes called talk poems or simply talks—began as improvisations at museums, universities, and poetry centers where Antin was invited to come and think out loud. Serious and playful, they move rapidly from keen analysis to powerful storytelling to passages of pure comedy, as they range kaleidoscopically across Antin's experiences: in the New York City of his childhood and youth, the Eastern Europe of family and friends, and the New York and Southern California of his art and literary career. The author's analysis and abrasive comedy have been described as a mix of Lenny Bruce and Ludwig Wittgenstein, his commitment to verbal invention and narrative as a fusion of Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein. Taken together, these pieces provide a rich oral history of and critical context for the evolution of the California art scene from the 1960s onward.
Six Decades Among the Great Jazzmen
Al Rose has known virtually every noteworthy jazz musician of this century. For many of them he has organized concerts, composed songs that they later played or sang, and promoted their acts. He has, when called upon, bailed them out of jail, straightened out their finances, stood up for them at their weddings, and eulogized them at their funerals. He has caroused with them in bars and clubs from New Orleans to New York, from Paris to Singapore—and survived to tell the story. The result has been a lifetime of friendship with some of the music world's most engaging and rambunctious personalities. In I Remember Jazz, Rose draws on this unparallelled experience to recall, through brief but poignant vignettes, the greats and the near-greats of jazz. In a style that is always entertaining, unabashedly idiosyncratic, and frequently irreverent, he writes about Jelly Roll Morton and Bunny Berigan, Eubie Blake and Bobby Hackett, Earl Hines and Louis Armstrong, and more than fifty others. Rose was only twenty-two when he was first introduced to Jelly Roll Morton. He quickly discovered that they had more in common than a love of music. Something of a peacock at that age, Rose was dressed in a "polychromatic, green-striped suit, pink shirt with a detachable white collar, dubonnet tie, buttonhole, and handkerchief"—and so was Jelly Roll. About Eubie Blake, Rose notes that he was not only a superb musician but also a notorious ladies' man. Rose recalls asking the noted pianist when he was ninety-seven, "How old do you have to be before the sex drive goes?" Blake's reply: "You'll have to ask someone older than me." Once in 1947, Rose was asked to assemble a group of musicians to play at a reception to be hosted by President Truman at Blair House in Washington, D.C. The musicians included Muggsy Spanier, George Brunies, Pee Wee Russell, Pops Foster, and Baby DOdds. But the hit of the evening was President Truman himself, who joined the group on the piano to play "Kansas City Kitty" and the "Missouri Waltz." I Remember Jazz is replete with such amusing and affectionate anecdotes—vignettes that will delight all fans of the music. Al Rose does indeed remember jazz. And for that we can all be grateful.