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The Fight to Stop Election Fraud in Arkansas
Waiting for the Cemetery Vote begins with an overview chapter of Arkansas election fraud since the nineteenth century and then moves on to more specific examples of fraudulent activities over a dozen or so years that coincide with the onset of the modern progressive era in Arkansas. Author Tom Glaze, who was a trial lawyer battling election fraud during this time, is the ideal chronicler for this topic, bringing a memoirist’s intimate insight together with a wealth of historical knowledge. Glaze describes the manipulation of absentee ballots and poll-tax receipts; votes cast by the dead, children, and animals; forgeries of ballots from nursing homes; and threats to body or livelihood made to anyone who would dare question these activities or monitor elections. Deceptive practices used to control election results were disturbingly brazen in the gubernatorial elections in the 1960s and were especially egregious in Conway and Searcy Counties in the 1970s and in special elections for the state senate in Faulkner, Conway, and Van Buren Counties. A clean-election movement began in the early 1970s, led not by party or political leaders but by individual citizens. These vigilant and courageous Arkansans undertook to do what their public institutions persistently failed to: insure that elections for public office were honest and that the will of the people was scrupulously obliged. Prominent and colorful among these groups was a small band of women in Conway County who dubbed themselves the “Snoop Sisters” and took on the long-established corrupt machine of Sheriff Marlin Hawkins.
Englishness in 1852
Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England’s response to the Duke’s death. The Wake of Wellington considers Wellington’s spectacular funeral pageant in the fall of 1852—an unprecedented event that attracted one and a half million spectators to London—as a threshold event against which the life of the soldier-hero and High-Tory statesman could be re-viewed and represented. Canvassing a profuse and dramatically proliferating Wellingtoniana, Sinnema examines the various assumptions behind, and implications of, the Times’s celebrated claim that the Irish-born Wellington “was the very type and model of an Englishman.” The dead duke, as Sinnema demonstrates, was repeatedly caught up in interpretive practices that stressed the quasi-symbolic relations between hero and nation. The Wake of Wellington provides a unique view of how in death Wellington and his career were promoted as the consummation of a national destiny intimately bound up with Englishness itself, and with what it meant to be English at midcentury.
“I had a clock it woke all day,” writes Jonathan Thirkield at the outset of The Waker’s Corridor, a book that charts an assiduous attempt to recover lost time. Housed in elaborate and varied formal architectures, these poems navigate the disorder and gaps left by the violence of loss. All measures of time—psychological, personal, historical, numerical—collide and overlap in intensely lyrical verse. What results is a journey that winds through shifting lands and interiors, across theatrical stages and city streets, into voices and objects that emerge in sudden, vivid relief, and just as quickly disappear. By turns dreamlike and sternly rational, arcane and contemporary, intimate and dramatic, it is a book of blinding, austere, and beautiful awakenings.
Yes, it’s safe to go back to poetry. In fact, it’s highly recommended, thanks to Rex Wilder and his engaging first book of poems. Waking Bodies has already been praised by luminaries as diverse as the metrical Richard Wilbur and the asymmetrical Billy Collins for its qualities of pure enjoyment. The highly popular Collins, a Two-Term Poet Laureate of the United States, says, "In Rex Wilder's poetry, the tired English of everyday use comes back to us refreshed and full of its original surprise. In a world glutted with poetry, that Wilder has found a new way to say the old things is a notable achievement."
Feminist Voices in Children's Novels
The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.
Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.
Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.
Although Thoreau would never have encountered the Japanese haiku tradition, the way in which the most important ideas in Walden find expression in the most haikulike language suggests that Thoreau at Walden Pond and the haiku master Basho at his "old pond" might have drunk at the same well. Walden and the tradition of haiku share an aesthetic that embodies ideas in natural images, dissolves boundaries between self and world, emphasizes simplicity, and honors both solitude and humble, familiar objects. Marshall examines each of these aesthetic principles and offers a relevant collection of "found" haiku. In the second part of the book, he explains his process of finding the haiku in the text, breaking down each chapter of Walden to highlight the imagery and poetic language embedded in the most powerful passages.
Marshall's exploration not only provides a fresh perspective on haiku, but also sheds new light on Thoreau's much-studied text and lays the foundation for a clearer understanding of the aesthetics of American nature writing.
Essays on Thoreau
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved from his parents' house in Concord, Massachusetts, to a one-room cabin on land owned by his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. After 26 months he transformed his stay in the woods into one of the most famous events in American history. In Walden x 40, adopting Thoreau's own compositional method, Robert B. Ray takes up several questions posed in Walden. Thoreau developed his books from his lectures, and his lectures from his almost-daily journal notations of the world around him, with its fluctuating weather and appointed seasons, both forever familiar and suddenly brand new. Ray derives his 40 brief essays from the details of Walden itself, reading the book in the way that Thoreau proposed to explore his own life—deliberately. Ray demonstrates that however accustomed we have grown to its lessons, Walden continues to be as surprising as the November snowfall that, Thoreau reports, "covered the ground... and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter."