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The Yard of Wit

Male Creativity and Sexuality, 1650-1750

By Raymond Stephanson

Literary composition is more than an intellectual affair. Poetry has long been said to spring from the heart, while aspiring writers are frequently encouraged to write "from the gut." Still another formulation likens the poetic imagination to the pregnant womb, in spite of the fact that most poets historically have been male. Offering a rather different set of arguments about the forces that shape creativity, Raymond Stephanson examines how male writers of the Enlightenment imagined the origins, nature, and structures of their own creative impulses as residing in their virility. For Stephanson, the links between male writing, the social contexts of masculinity, and the male body—particularly the genitalia—played a significant role in the self-fashioning of several generations of male authors.

Positioning sexuality as a volatile mechanism in the development of creative energy, The Yard of Wit explains why male writers associated their authorial work—both the internal site of creativity and its status in public—with their genitalia and reproductive and erotic acts, and how these gestures functioned in the new marketplace of letters. Using the figure and writings of Alexander Pope as a touchstone, Stephanson offers an inspired reading of an important historical convergence, a double commodification of male creativity and of masculinity as the sexualized male body.

In considering how literary discourses about male creativity are linked to larger cultural formations, this elegant, enlightening book offers new insight into sex and gender, maleness and masculinity, and the intricate relationship between the male body and mind.

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Yasukuni Shrine

History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar

Akiko Takenaka

This is the first extensive English-language study of Yasukuni Shrine as a war memorial. It explores the controversial shrine's role in waging war, promoting peace, honoring the dead, and, in particular, building Japan's modern national identity. It traces Yasukuni's history from its conceptualization in the final years of the Tokugawa period and Japan's wars of imperialism to the present. Author Akiko Takenaka departs from existing scholarship on Yasukuni by considering various themes important to the study of war and its legacies through a chronological and thematic survey of the shrine, emphasizing the spatial practices that took place both at the shrine and at regional sites associated with it over the last 150 years. Rather than treat Yasukuni as a single, unchanging ideological entity, she takes into account the social and political milieu, maps out gradual transformations in both its events and rituals, and explicates the ideas that the shrine symbolizes. Takenaka illuminates the ways the shrine's spaces were used during wartime, most notably in her reconstructions, based on primary sources, of visits by war-bereaved military families to the shrine during the Asia-Pacific War. She also traces important episodes in Yasukuni's postwar history, including the filing of lawsuits against the shrine and recent attempts to reinvent it for the twenty-first century. Through a careful analysis of the shrine's history over one and a half centuries, her work views the making and unmaking of a modern militaristic Japan through the lens of Yasukuni Shrine. Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar is a skilled and innovative examination of modern and contemporary Japan's engagement with the critical issues of war, empire, and memory. It will be of particular interest to readers of Japanese history and culture as well as those who follow current affairs and foreign relations in East Asia. Its discussion of spatial practices in the life of monuments and the political use of images, media, and museum exhibits will find a welcome audience among those engaged in memory, visual culture, and media studies.

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Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings

James Baker Hall

James Baker Hall's blackly comic coming-of-age novel has been denied, by unfortunate circumstances surrounding its original 1964 publication, its rightful place alongside classics such as Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in the canon of essential late-twentieth-century American fiction.

Set in Lexington, Kentucky, the story unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Yates Paul. He becomes consumed with revelations about his inattentive father's loneliness, his grandmother's stormy relationship with his boisterous alcoholic uncle, and the frustration of being the best photography assistant in town when no one else knows it. In pursuing his career and falling in love with women twice his age, the precocious Yates falls back on Walter Mittyesque daydreams to cope with a frequently humorous, sometimes dark, world. Long respected among literary insiders, sought after but nearly impossible to obtain, this "lost" classic will finally reach the wider audience it deserves.

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Yaxcabá and the Caste War of Yucatán

An Archaeological Perspective

Rani T. Alexander

Rani Alexander's study of the Caste War of Yucatan (1847-1901) uses archaeological evidence, ethnography, and history to explore the region's processes of resistance.

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Integration in a Deep-Southern Town

Willie Morris

In 1970 Brown v. Board of Education was sixteen years old, and fifteen years had passed since the Brown II mandate that schools integrate “with all deliberate speed.” Still, after all this time, it was necessary for the U.S. Supreme Court to order thirty Mississippi school districts—whose speed had been anything but deliberate—to integrate immediately. One of these districts included Yazoo City, the hometown of writer Willie Morris. Installed productively on “safe, sane Manhattan Island,” Morris, though compelled to write about this pivotal moment, was reluctant to return to Yazoo and do no less than serve as cultural ambassador between the flawed Mississippi that he loved and a wider world. “I did not want to go back,” Morris wrote. “I finally went home because the urge to be there during Yazoo’s most critical moment was too elemental to resist, and because I would have been ashamed of myself if I had not.” The result, Yazoo, is part reportage, part memoir, part ethnography, part social critique—and one of the richest accounts we have of a community’s attempt to come to terms with the realities of seismic social change. As infinitely readable and nuanced as ever, Yazoo is available again, enhanced by an informative foreword by historian Jenifer Jensen Wallach and a warm and personal afterword on Morris’s writing life by his widow, JoAnne Prichard Morris.

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Ye That Are Men Now Serve Him

Radical Holiness Theology and Gender in the South

Modernity remade much of the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and was nowhere more transformational than in the American South. In the wake of the Civil War, the region not only formed new legal, financial, and social structures, but citizens of the South also faced disorienting uncertainty about personal identity and even gender itself. Ye That Are Men Now Serve Him traces the changes in southern gender roles during the New South period of 1877–1915 and demonstrates that religion is the key to perceiving how constructions of gender changed.
The Civil War cleaved southerners from the culture they had developed organically during antebellum decades, raising questions that went to the very heart of selfhood: What does it mean to be a man? How does a good woman behave? Unmoored from traditional anchors of gender, family, and race, southerners sought guidance from familiar sources: scripture and their churches. In Ye That Are Men Now Serve Him, Colin Chapell traces how concepts of gender evolved within the majority Baptist and Methodist denominations as compared to the more fluid and innovative Holiness movement.
Grounded in expansive research into the archives of the Southern Baptist Convention; Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the Holiness movement, Chapell’s writing is also enlivened by a rich trove of primary sources: diaries, sermons, personal correspondence, published works, and unpublished memoirs. Chapell artfully contrasts the majority Baptist and Methodist view of gender with the relatively radical approaches of the emerging Holiness movement, thereby bringing into focus how subtle differences in belief gave rise to significantly different ideas of gender roles.
Scholars have explored class, race, and politics as factors that contributed to contemporary southern identity, and Chapell restores theology to its intuitive place at the center of southern identity. Probing and illuminating, Ye That Are Men Now Serve Him offers much of interest to scholars and readers of the South, southern history, and religion.

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A Year at the Helm of the United Nations General Assembly

A Vision for our Century

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

From September 2011 to September 2012, Ambassador Nasser Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar presided over the 66th session of the “world’s parliament” – the United Nations General Assembly. It was a critical moment in international affairs as the UN responded to a range of global challenges, from the world financial crisis to the Arab Spring. In�A Year at the Helm of the General Assembly, Al-Nasser presents a high-level look inside the organization, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, its successes and struggles. He recounts dramatic moments, such as replacing the Libyan delegation, and a tireless schedule of overseas travel, including joint visits with the Secretary-General to Libya and Somalia. His work takes him from major international summits such as the Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Rio+20) to the European Parliament, which he was the first General Assembly President to address, to academic institutions from Oxford to Moscow to Morocco.
Al-Nasser structures the book as he did his 66th session, around four main themes or “pillars:” mediation, UN reform, natural disaster prevention and response, and sustainable development.He offers a wide range of recommendations to intergovernmental institutions, to states, to the public sector, and to individuals. Al-Nasser was determined to leave behind a General Assembly that the people of the world could look up to and depend on. This volume is a testament to all that he accomplished in that regard, and a unique resource for those interested in knowing more about the world’s most representative body at a crucial moment in history.

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A Year from Monday

New Lectures and Writings

John Cage

Includes lectures, essays, diaries and other writings, including "How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)" and "Juilliard Lecture."

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The Year I Was Peter the Great

1956—Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia

Marvin Kalb

A chronicle of the year that changed Soviet Russia—and molded the future path of one of America's pre-eminent diplomatic correspondents

1956 was an extraordinary year in modern Russian history. It was called “the year of the thaw”—a time when Stalin’s dark legacy of dictatorship died in February only to be reborn later that December. This historic arc from rising hope to crushing despair opened with a speech by Nikita Khrushchev, then the unpredictable leader of the Soviet Union. He astounded everyone by denouncing the one figure who, up to that time, had been hailed as a “genius,” a wizard of communism—Josef Stalin himself. Now, suddenly, this once unassailable god was being portrayed as a “madman” whose idiosyncratic rule had seriously undermined communism and endangered the Soviet state.

This amazing switch from hero to villain lifted a heavy overcoat of fear from the backs of ordinary Russians. It also quickly led to anti-communist uprisings in Eastern Europe, none more bloody and challenging than the one in Hungary, which Soviet troops crushed at year’s end.

Marvin Kalb, then a young diplomatic attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, observed this tumultuous year that foretold the end of Soviet communism three decades later. Fluent in Russian, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, he went where few other foreigners would dare go, listening to Russian students secretly attack communism and threaten rebellion against the Soviet system, traveling from one end of a changing country to the other and, thanks to his diplomatic position, meeting and talking with Khrushchev, who playfully nicknamed him Peter the Great.

In this, his fifteenth book, Kalb writes a fascinating eyewitness account of a superpower in upheaval and of a people yearning for an end to dictatorship.

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A Year in White

Cultural Newcomers to Lukumi and Santería in the United States

C. Lynn Carr

In the Afro-Cuban Lukumi religious tradition—more commonly known in the United States as Santería—entrants into the priesthood undergo an extraordinary fifty-three-week initiation period. During this time, these novices—called iyawo—endure a host of prohibitions, including most notably wearing exclusively white clothing. In A Year in White, sociologist C. Lynn Carr, who underwent this initiation herself, opens a window on this remarkable year-long religious transformation. In her intimate investigation of the “year in white,” Carr draws on fifty-two in-depth interviews with other participants, an online survey of nearly two hundred others, and almost a decade of her own ethnographic fieldwork, gathering stories that allow us to see how cultural newcomers and natives thought, felt, and acted with regard to their initiation. She documents how, during the iyawo year, the ritual slowly transforms the initiate’s identity. For the first three months, for instance, the iyawo may not use a mirror, even to shave, and must eat all meals while seated on a mat on the floor using only a spoon and their own set of dishes. During the entire year, the iyawo loses their name and is simply addressed as “iyawo” by family and friends. Carr also shows that this year-long religious ritual—which is carried out even as the iyawo goes about daily life—offers new insight into religion in general, suggesting that the sacred is not separable from the profane and indeed that religion shares an ongoing dynamic relationship with the realities of everyday life. Religious expression happens at home, on the streets, at work and school. Offering insight not only into Santería but also into religion more generally, A Year in White makes an important contribution to our understanding of complex, dynamic religious landscapes in multicultural, pluralist societies and how they inhabit our daily lives.

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