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Narcissistic Narrative

The Metafictional Paradox

Linda Hutcheon, in this original study, examines the modes, forms and techniques of narcissistic fiction, that is, fiction which includes within itself some sort of commentary on its own narrative and/or linguistic nature. Her analysis is further extended to discuss the implications of such a development for both the theory of the novel and reading theory.

Having placed this phenomenon in its historical context Linda Hutcheon uses the insights of various reader-response theories to explore the “paradox” created by metafiction: the reader is, at the same time, co-creator of the self-reflexive text and distanced from it because of its very self-reflexiveness. She illustrates her analysis through the works of novelists such as Fowles, Barth, Nabokov, Calvino, Borges, Carpentier, and Aquin. For the paperback edition of this important book a preface has been added which examines developments since first publication.

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Narcissus Americana

Poems

Winner, 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize

Narcissus Americana sings and scraps and wrestles its way across various landscapes—abandoned quarries, art museums, lavish homes, and tar pits—in a quest to attain a more complex vision of what it means to be upwardly mobile.

These poems question the usefulness of wealth and ownership as markers of success. Taking wine fridges and fake flowers as emblems of capitalism’s failure to assuage human loneliness, the speakers in these poems find joy in shared meals and glasses of wine, and use moments of mutual attention to challenge notions of class in America. Intimacy is on display in “Cruising Altitude,” where the speaker finds a sublime communion between two disparate worldviews during an in-flight conversation with his father:

I ask if his certainty about humanity’s course gives
his life some kind of purpose. He doesn’t sleep well.
I know this. I quote Yeats. He quotes scripture.
Light balances on the wing and casts its yellow spell. . . .

Sharply written, and with an eye for form, these poems engage with heavy inquiry but also know better than to take themselves too seriously, making it possible for, say, dungeons to share space with donuts, as in the poem “Rancho La Brea.”

Mossotti’s timely book invites the reader to traverse America, and see the nation anew, on a journey marked simultaneously by critical scrutiny and deep affection.

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Narnia and the Fields of Arbol

The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis

Matthew T. Dickerson and David O'Hara

The remarkable breadth of C. S. Lewis’s (1898–1963) work is nearly as legendary as the fantastical tales he so inventively crafted. A variety of themes emerge in his literary output, which spans the genres of nonfiction, fantasy, science fiction, and children’s literature, but much of the scholarship examining his work focuses on religion or philosophy. Overshadowed are Lewis’s views on nature and his concern for environmental stewardship, which are present in most of his work. In Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis, authors Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara illuminate this important yet overlooked aspect of the author’s visionary work. Dickerson and O’Hara go beyond traditional theological discussions of Lewis’s writing to investigate themes of sustainability, stewardship of natural resources, and humanity’s relationship to wilderness. The authors examine the environmental and ecological underpinnings of Lewis’s work by exploring his best-known works of fantasy, including the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the three novels collectively referred to as the Space Trilogy. Taken together, these works reveal Lewis’s enduring environmental concerns, and Dickerson and O’Hara offer a new understanding of his pioneering style of fiction. An avid outdoorsman, Lewis deftly combined an active imagination with a deep appreciation for the natural world. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, the first book-length work on the subject, explores the marriage of Lewis’s environmental passion with his skill as a novelist and finds the author’s legacy to have as much in common with the agrarian environmentalism of Wendell Berry as it does with the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien. In an era of increasing concern about deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues, Lewis’s work remains as pertinent as ever. The widespread adaption of his work in film lends credence to the author’s staying power as an influential voice in both fantastical fiction and environmental literature. With Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, Dickerson and O’Hara have written a timely work of scholarship that offers a fresh perspective on one of the most celebrated authors in literary history.

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Narrating Demons, Transformative Texts

Rereading Genius in Mid-Century Modern Fictional Memoir

Narrating Demons, Transformative Texts: Rereading Genius in Mid-Century Modern Fictional Memoir, by Daniel T. O’Hara, acknowledges that the modern conception of literary genius is probably most lucidly expressed in the criticism of Lionel Trilling. But O’Hara also demonstrates that certain important and widely read mid-century modern fictional memoirs subversively return to an earlier conception that emphasizes the demonic nature of genius, a conception that is associated with the occult and the visionary and embraces the vision of evil articulated in earlier literature. O’Hara argues that Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus (1947), Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955), and William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959) all demonstrate an imagining of genius in art and in life that stands in stark and total opposition to the emerging post–World War II age of conformity. These influential works show that genius is inherently a dangerous reality, albeit a creative one. Despite its most transcendent appearances, the full immanence of this conception of demonic genius condemns the modern world to a Last Judgment that is every bit as severe as any envisioned in the Western religious traditions.

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Narrating Love and Violence

Women Contesting Caste, Tribe, and State in Lahaul, India

Himika Bhattacharya

Narrating Love and Violence is an ethnographic exploration of women’s stories from the Himalayan valley of Lahaul, in the region of Himachal Pradesh, India, focusing on how both, love and violence emerge (or function) at the intersection of gender, tribe, caste, and the state in India. Himika Bhattacharya privileges the everyday lives of women marginalized by caste and tribe to show how state and community discourses about gendered violence serve as proxy for caste in India, thus not only upholding these social hierarchies, but also enabling violence.
 
The women in this book tell their stories through love, articulated as rejection, redefinition and reproduction of notions of violence and solidarity. Himika Bhattacharya centers the women’s narratives as a site of knowledge—beyond love and beyond violence. This book shows how women on the margins of tribe and caste know both, love and violence, as agents wishing to re-shape discourses of caste, tribe and community.
 

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Narrating Narcos

Culiacán and Medellín

by Gabriela Polit Dueñas

Critical examination of cultural works as windows into the symbolic dimensions and representations of the narcotics world in Culiacán, Mexico, and Medellín, Colombia, two of the most notorious drug-producing areas of the Americas. Through text analyses, ethnographic fieldwork, and archival research, Polit Dueñas examines the impact and representation of new codes of ethics and morals associated with the drug trade. The analysis is a comparative view of the emerging forms in which fiction writers and artists represent violence and the culture of violence associated with narcotrafficking (both within and across class, racial, ethnic, gender, and generational lines) in both cities.

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Narrating the Law

A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories

By Barry Scott Wimpfheimer

In Narrating the Law Barry Scott Wimpfheimer creates a new theoretical framework for considering the relationship between law and narrative and models a new method for studying talmudic law in particular.

Works of law, including the Talmud, are animated by a desire to create clear usable precedent. This animating impulse toward clarity is generally absent in narratives, the form of which is better able to capture the subtleties of lived life. Wimpfheimer proposes to make these different forms compatible by constructing a narrative-based law that considers law as one of several "languages," along with politics, ethics, psychology, and others that together compose culture. A narrative-based law is capable of recognizing the limitations of theoretical statutes and the degree to which other cultural languages interact with legal discourse, complicating any attempts to actualize a hypothetical set of rules. This way of considering law strongly resists the divide in traditional Jewish learning between legal literature (Halakhah) and nonlegal literature (Aggadah) by suggesting the possibility of a discourse broad enough to capture both. Narrating the Law activates this mode of reading by looking at the Talmud's legal stories, a set of texts that sits uncomfortably on the divide between Halakhah and Aggadah. After noticing that such stories invite an expansive definition of law that includes other cultural voices, Narrating the Law also mines the stories for the rich descriptions of rabbinic culture that they encapsulate.

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Narrating Their Lives

Examining English Language Teachers' Professional Identities within the Classroom

Edited by Lia Kamhi-Stein

“…a groundbreaking book that will…engage, inform, and connect with present and future teachers and teacher educators.” ---Stephanie Vandrick, Foreword to Narrating Their Lives The field of TESOL has called attention to the ways that the issues of race and ethnicity, language status and power, and cultural background affect second language learners’ identities and, to some degree, those of teachers. In Narrating Their Lives, Kamhi-Stein examines the process of identity construction of classroom teachers so as to make connections between their personal and professional identities and their instructional practices. To do that, she has selected six autobiographical narratives from teachers who were once part of her TESL 570 (Educational Sociolinguistics) class in the MA TESOL program at California State University, Los Angeles. These six narratives cover a surprisingly wide range of identity issues but also touch on broader instructional themes that are part of teacher education programs. Because of the reflective nature of the narratives—with the teachers using their stories to better understand how their experiences shape what they do in the classroom—this volume includes provocative chapter-opening and reflective chapter-closing questions. An informative discussion of the autobiographical narrative assignment and the TESL 570 course (including supplemental course readings and assessment criteria) is also included.

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Narrative

Vol. 10 (2002) through current issue

Narrative is the official journal of The Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, the association for scholars interested in narrative. Narrative's broad range of scholarship includes the English, American, and European novel, nonfiction narrative, film, and narrative as used in performance art.

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Narrative after Deconstruction

Interrogating stories told about life after deconstruction, and discovering instead a kind of afterlife of deconstruction, Daniel Punday draws on a wide range of theorists to develop a rigorous theory of narrative as an alternative model for literary interpretation. Drawing on an observation made by Jean-François Lyotard, Punday argues that at the heart of narrative are concrete objects that can serve as “lynchpins” through which many different explanations and interpretations can come together. Narrative after Deconstruction traces the often grudging emergence of a post-deconstructive interest in narrative throughout contemporary literary theory by examining critics as diverse as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Elizabeth Grosz, and Edward Said. Experimental novelists like Ronald Sukenick, Raymond Federman, Clarence Major, and Kathy Acker likewise work through many of the same problems of constructing texts in the wake of deconstruction, and so provide a glimpse of this post-deconstructive narrative approach to writing and interpretation at its most accomplished and powerful.

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