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Islam, the West, and the Transcultural Invention of Africa
Of Irony and Empire is a dynamic, thorough examination of Muslim writers from former European colonies in Africa who have increasingly entered into critical conversations with the metropole. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, “the age of irony,” this book explores the political and symbolic invention of Muslim Africa and its often contradictory representations. Through a critical analysis of irony and resistance in works by writers who come from nomadic areas around the Sahara—Mustapha Tlili (Tunisia), Malika Mokeddem (Algeria), Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Senegal), and Tayeb Salih (Sudan)—Laura Rice offers a fresh perspective that accounts for both the influence of the Western, instrumental imaginary, and the Islamic, holistic one.
War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War
hese eleven compelling stories reveal the interplay and varying hues of two basic elements of human experience—memory and desire, Gladys Swan’s characters are frequently forced to shed their illusions as they struggle to shape their lives. The title story, like many of the others in the collection, has as its backdrop the beautiful but sometimes harsh landscape of the American Southwest. There a reclusive farmer known as Goat Man takes in a young Mexican boy as his companion. When the greed of a tax collector and the complicity of a community destroy Goat Man, the boy vanishes into the night but returns in the form of a legend, a reminder to the residents of the valley of their changing, crueler world. In another story a traveling carnival breaks down when a sandstorm does final damage to the dreams of the company, and a tired, almost defeated woman attempts to regroup and continue what has been so hopefully called “Carnival for the Gods.” An older couple, carrying their Jewish past to a “Land of Promise.” Discovers instead an alien territory and must struggle from day to day, one leaning to the past, the other inclining toward an unattainable vision of the future. In “The Ink Feather” a small, lonely girl, witness to endless quarrels between her mother and her much older brother, draws comfort from the world of her dolls and the prospect of adventure outside the mist-covered windows of her house. In “Getting an Education” a diffident young woman, “trying to be a student and to discover what she ought to be learning,” finds insight in the details of the lives around her, especially the secretive, eccentric existence of one of her professors. A widowed grandmother, in “Black Hole,” is impregnated during a chance encounter with a nameless stranger and shocks her family when she determines to give birth to and raise her child. Like that grandmother, all of the characters in these fictions—whether from the comfortable middle class or the fringes of society—are at odds with themselves and their world. It is Gladys Swan’s special gift that she can so seamlessly depict the particular terrors and wonders of their lives. This is a mesmerizing collection.
This classic of twentieth-century nature writing, a landmark work that is still a joy to read, offers a stirring portrait of the Midwest’s endangered glacial marshland ecosystems by one of the most influential biologists of his day. A cautionary book whose advice has not been heeded, a must-read of American environmental literature, Of Men and Marshes should inspire a new generation of conservationists.
Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer
Of Men and Monsters examines the serial killer as an American cultural icon, one that both attracts and repels. Richard Tithecott suggests that the stories we tell and the images we conjure of serial killers—real and fictional—reveal as much about mainstream culture and its values, desires, and anxieties as they do about the killers themselves.
The Duality of National Identity in the German-Danish Borderlands
Of Mind and Matter analyzes identity formation in the multicultural border region of Sleswig. It highlights the changeability of national sentiments and explores what has motivated local inhabitants to define themselves as Germans or Danes. The analysis focuses especially on the respective national minorities, among whom the transitional and flexible aspects of Sleswig identity surface most clearly.
"Baracchi has identified pivotal points around which the Republic operates; this allows a reading of the entire text to unfold.... a very beautifully written book." -- Walter Brogan
"... a work that opens new and timely vistas within the Republic.... Her approach... is thorough and rigorous." -- John Sallis
Although Plato's Republic is perhaps the most influential text in the history of Western philosophy, Claudia Baracchi finds that the work remains obscure and enigmatic. To fully understand and appreciate its meaning, she argues, we must attend to what its original language discloses. Through a close reading of the Greek text, attentive to the pervasiveness of story and myth, Baracchi investigates the dialogue's major themes. The first part of the book addresses issues of generation, reproduction, and decay as they apply to the founding of Socrates' just city. The second part takes up the connection between war and the cycle of life, employing a thorough analysis of Plato's rendition of the myth of Er. Baracchi shows that the Republic is concerned throughout with the complex but intertwined issues of life and war, locating the site of this tangled web of growth and destruction in the mythical dimension of the Platonic city.
A Jewish Family in France, 1925-1945
Gilbert Michlin’s sober text thoroughly documents the story of a Jewish immigrant family in France during the war years. Known as the country of enlightenment and human rights, France drew many Jews from Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century, including Michlin’s parents, who fled the harsh conditions of Poland in the mid-1920s. Michlin’s memoir evokes the golden years of his family’s life in prewar Paris, where he was born, but also reflects on the difficulties of being Jewish in France. His father learned this when French authorities rejected his request for naturalization on the symbolic pretext that he was “of no interest to the nation.” The rise of Nazi Germany, the German occupation of France, and the advent of the Vichy government and its anti-Jewish laws would soon follow, and in 1944 the Michlin family would be deported to Auschwitz. Very little memoir material is available in English detailing either the French Jewish experience during World War II or the experience of immigrants in France in the 1930s. Of No Interest to the Nation is a valuable book for students and scholars of Jewish and European history, the Holocaust, and European immigration during the first half of the twentieth century. First published in France in 2001, this translation also includes an afterword by Israeli scholar Zeev Sternhell, which provides incisive comments that place Michlin’s memoir within the larger context of contemporary French history.