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Of Gravity & Angels Cover

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Of Gravity & Angels

Jane Hirshfield

A precise and passionate collection by a brave new voice in poetry.

Of Irony and Empire Cover

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Of Irony and Empire

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.

Of Little Comfort Cover

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Of Little Comfort

War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War

During and especially after World War I, the millions of black-clad widows on the streets of Europe’s cities were a constant reminder that war caused carnage on a vast scale. But widows were far more than just a reminder of the war’s fallen soldiers; they were literal and figurative actresses in how nations crafted their identities in the interwar era. In this extremely original study, Erika Kuhlman compares the ways in which German and American widows experienced their postwar status, and how that played into the cultures of mourning in their two nations: one defeated, the other victorious. Each nation used widows and war dead as symbols to either uphold their victory or disengage from their defeat, but Kuhlman, parsing both German and U.S. primary sources, compares widows’ lived experiences to public memory. For some widows, government compensation in the form of military-style awards sufficed. For others, their own deprivations, combined with those suffered by widows living in other nations, became the touchstone of a transnational awareness of the absurdity of war and the need to prevent it.

Of Memory and Desire Cover

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Of Memory and Desire

Stories

Gladys Swan

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.

Of Men and Marshes Cover

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Of Men and Marshes

Paul Errington

Standing with such environmental classics as Loren Eiseley’s The Immense Journey, his friend and mentor Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and Joseph Wood Krutch’s The Voice of the Desert, Paul Errington’s Of Men and Marshes remains an evocative reminder of the great beauty and intrinsic value of the glacial marshland. Prescient and stirring, steeped in insights from Errington’s biological fieldwork, his experiences as a hunter and trapper, and his days exploring the marshes of his rural South Dakota childhood, this vibrant work of nature writing reveals his deep knowledge of the marshland environments he championed.
 
Examining the marsh from a dynamic range of perspectives, Errington begins by inviting us to consider how immense spans of time, coupled with profound geological events, shaped the unique marshland ecosystems of the Midwest. He then follows this wetland environment across seasons and over the years, creating a compelling portrait of a natural place too little appreciated and too often destroyed. Reminding us of the intricate relationships between the marsh and the animals who call it home, Errington records his experiences with hundreds of wetland creatures. He follows minks and muskrats, snapping turtles and white pelicans, red foxes and blue-winged teals—all the while underscoring our responsibility to preserve this remarkable and fragile environment and challenging us to change the way we think about and value marshlands.
 

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.  

Of Men and Monsters Cover

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Of Men and Monsters

Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer

Richard Tithecott

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.

Of Mind and Matter Cover

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Of Mind and Matter

The Duality of National Identity in the German-Danish Borderlands

by Peter Thaler

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.

Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic Cover

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Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic

Claudia Baracchi

"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.

Of No Interest to the Nation Cover

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Of No Interest to the Nation

A Jewish Family in France, 1925-1945

Gilbert Michlin

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.

Of Others Inside: Insanity, Addiction And Belonging in America Cover

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Of Others Inside: Insanity, Addiction And Belonging in America

There is little doubt among scientists and the general public that homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are inter-related. In Of Others Inside, Darin Weinberg examines how these inter-relations have taken form in the United States. He links the establishment of these connections to the movement of mental health and addiction treatment from redemptive processes to punitive ones and back again, and explores the connection between social welfare, rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system.

Seeking to offer a new sociological understanding of the relationship between social exclusion and mental disability, Of Others Inside considers the general social conditions of homelessness, poverty, and social marginality in the U.S. Weinberg also explores questions about American perceptions of these conditions, and examines in great detail the social reality of mental disability and drug addiction without reducing people's suffering to simple notions of biological fate or social disorder.

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