Susan Fenimore Cooper: Essays on Nature and Landscape. Ed. Rochelle Johnson and Daniel Patterson. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press. 2002. xxxiv, 131 pp. Cloth, $45.00; paper, $19.95.
These ten pieces, nine of which are reprinted for the first time since
Cooper's death, complement the famous Rural Hours (1850) by
providing a record of the development of Cooper's ideas on nature and
nature writing. This volume includes the preface and appendix to the
second edition of Rural Hours; the preface to Cooper's volume of
nature poetry, which chronicles the role of nature in writing throughout
history; and the series of essays, "Otsego Leaves," which represents
her mature vision.
A Southern Woman of Letters: The Correspondence of Augusta Jane Evans Wilson . Ed. Rebecca Grant Sexton. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 2002. xxxv, 205 pp. $29.95.
Although Wilson's work is seldom anthologized, her fourth novel,
St. Elmo, outsold all nineteenth-century novels except Uncle
Tom's Cabin. In addition to nine novels, Wilson wrote numerous
letters, some offering advice to leaders of the Confederacy, which
she ardently supported. Wilson wavered between expressing her opinions
capably and displaying the feminine deference she apparently considered
appropriate. These 112 letters to leaders, fans, friends, and family
offer a window into the life and times of a complicated woman.
Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader . Ed. Robert S. Levine. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press. 2003. x, 507 pp. Cloth, $55.00; paper, $24.95.
Delany's radical politics may be the reason he is less famous than
Frederick Douglass, with whom he worked on the North Star for
eighteen months, but Delany did much more than author the serial novel
Blake. This volume contains almost one hundred documents by and
about Delany, most out of print
[End Page 675]
for over a century, which treat Delany's work on the North Star,
as well as his own newspaper, Mystery, and on the project of
black emigration; his travels in the United States and Africa; and his
role in the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Mark Twain's Letters, Volume 6: 1874–1875 . CSE Approved. Ed. Michael B. Frank and Harriet Elinor Smith. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press. 2002. xxxix, 926 pp. $85.00.
The two years covered by the letters in this volume were mostly joyful
and prosperous for Samuel Clemens. He wrote The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer and articles for the Atlantic Monthly, published a book
of sketches, and enjoyed the tremendous success of his stage version of
The Gilded Age. He also welcomed a new daughter into the world
and moved with his family to a new home, where he spent much of his time,
having concluded an extended period of travel. This volume contains 348
letters, approximately half of which have never before been published.
The New Woman of Color: The Collected Writings of Fannie Barrier Williams, 1893–1918 . Ed. Mary Jo Deegan. DeKalb: Northern Illinois Univ. Press. 2002. lx, 162 pp. $38.00.
Fannie Barrier Williams was a well-educated black woman of the middle
class who, despite her relative privilege, was an enthusiastic advocate
for the rights of African Americans, especially women. Williams
was actively involved in the African American club movement, but her
acceptance as the first African American member of the Chicago Women's
Club reflected her belief in the social parity of blacks and whites. This
volume contains her brief autobiography and her writings about education,
employment, travel, art, and social settlements.
Analyzing Freud: Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle. Ed. Susan Stanford Friedman. New York: New Directions. 2002. lii, 615 pp. $37.95.
When H.D. came to Freud in the spring of 1933, her writing had stalled,
but by the end of their second series of sessions in the fall of 1934,
she had regained her creative focus. The vast majority of the 307 letters
included here are from H.D. to her companion Bryher. They chronicle
her psychoanalysis, revealing a Freud far less authoritarian than his
writings would suggest. Letters written by H.D., Bryher, Sigmund Freud,
Anna Freud, Ezra Pound, and others also capture the mounting tensions
developing with the rise of Hitler.
[End Page 676]
The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 14: Autobiography: "I Wonder As I Wander." Ed. Joseph McLaren. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press. 2003. xvi, 426 pp. $34.95.
Although published in 1956, this second volume in Hughes's autobiography
recounts events that occurred mostly from 1931 to 1937. Hughes wandered
a great deal during this period, most notably to Spain, where he covered
the Spanish Civil War for the Baltimore Afro-American, and to
the Soviet Union. McLaren suggests that Hughes constructs himself as a
"cultural-political witness" and that his travels in Europe, Asia, the
Americas, and the Caribbean furnished plenty of material for commentary.
Willa Cather Remembered . Ed. Sharon Hoover. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press. 2002. xxiii, 217 pp. Cloth, $45.00; paper, $19.95.
Because Cather chose to make her letters unavailable, those who would
acquaint themselves with her private life must look elsewhere. This
volume, which presents itself as a complement to literary studies and
biographies, assembles "lesser-known" reminiscences of Cather, drawn from
newspapers, journals, books, and some previously unpublished personal
recollections. The diversity of contributors, including editors, former
students, friends, relatives, and even pastors, provides a well-rounded,
if not always strictly accurate, portrait of the artist and the person.
Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters . Ed. Carla Kaplan. New York: Doubleday. 2002. ix, 880 pp. $40.00.
Hurston was infamously performative, and while most, if not all, of these letters can be considered a type of performance, many are remarkably frank. And their sheer number—more than six hundred—offers insight into Hurston's complicated personality. They may not definitively explain her turn to reactionary politics, but they reveal a depth to her feminist inclination beyond the evidence in her other writings. Among the range of topics are the joys and complicated challenges for a writer trying to balance work and home and to support herself financially.
Mark Twain, Travel Books, and Tourism: The Tide of a Great Popular Movement . By Jeffrey Alan Melton. Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press. 2002. xv, 200 pp. $34.95.
This first full-length study of Twain's travel narratives begins with the
premise that they are central to Twain's career, not merely practice for
his fiction. Melton explicates Twain's five travel books in the context
of tourist theory and contemporary generic conventions. Written over
the course of thirty years,
[End Page 677]
these books chronicle the development of American tourism and,
implicitly, the rise of the United States as an internationally
significant political and cultural power.
The Pragmatic Whitman: Reimagining American Democracy . By Stephen John Mack. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press. 2002. xxii, 182 pp. $39.95.
"Walt Whitman has always been our most embarrassing poet," begins Stephen
Mack. Today, progressives who might otherwise wish to claim Whitman
make excuses for his patriotism, but Mack argues that this important
element of Whitman's philosophy is not inconsistent with his progressive
politics. Mack traces the development of Whitman's democratic vision,
from its early stage of celebrating an expansive individual freedom
in Leaves of Grass, through his recognition of the role of
human agency, to his attempt to balance the freedom he valued with the
need he perceived for some judicious form of collective government in
Charles W. Chesnutt and the Fictions of Race . By Dean McWilliams. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press. 2002. xii, 261 pp. $39.95.
With poststructuralist and critical race theory as a foundation,
McWilliams explicates Chesnutt's journals, short stories, and novels,
including three published posthumously, in the historical context revealed
by the workings of their language. Particularly attentive to Chesnutt's
prescient insights about race, McWilliams argues that Chesnutt, with
his interest in liminality and his modern conception of language, is
most accurately located on the cusp of the twentieth century.
Edith & Winnifred Eaton: Chinatown Missions and Japanese Romances . By Dominika Ferens. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press. 2002. xii, 221 pp. $34.95.
Although the Eaton sisters' fictions are often analyzed in a literary
context, judgments of them and of their work frequently include a measure
of politics. Edith is labeled good because authentic and Winnifred is
pegged a kind of race traitor. Ferens, in contrast, approaches their
work as ethnography, rejecting dichotomies of authentic-inauthentic in
favor of exploring factors such as the influence of missionary and travel
writing on the Eaton sisters' understanding and representation of race.
Constance Fenimore Woolson and Edith Wharton: Perspectives on Landscape and Art. By Sharon L. Dean. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press. 2002. xii, 268 pp. $35.00.
The first sustained comparison of these two writers, this study examines
their fiction and travel writing to establish their attitudes about
[End Page 678]
suggests that the more wealthy Wharton liked to control her environments
and that she tended to use landscape as a metaphor for exploring the
social and psychological dimensions of her characters. Woolson, in
contrast, resembles Thoreau in her ecological interest in the land.
Pragmatist Realism: The Cognitive Paradigm in American Realist Texts . By Sämi Ludwig. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press. 2002. x, 304 pp. Cloth, $55.00; paper, $22.95.
The formalist inclination of poststructuralist criticism inhibits its
appreciation of realism, which, Ludwig argues, is concerned with "the
negotiation of difference between experience and representation," rather
than simply with the possible variations of representation. He suggests,
for example, that Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi offers a
sophisticated "model of representation as an issue of navigation in
reality," using metaphors evocative of William James's pragmatism.
Modernity at Sea: Melville, Marx, Conrad in Crisis . By Cesare Casarino. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press. 2002. xli, 271 pp. Paper, $22.95.
Casarino argues that the ship in nineteenth-century sea narratives
constitutes a "heterotopia," Foucault's concept of a space in which all
sites of culture, in this case modernity, are represented, contested,
and inverted. Capital, homosociality, and race are some of the sites
of culture relevant within the space of the ship. Casarino applies this
theoretical framework in close readings of Melville's White Jacket
and Moby-Dick; Conrad's Nigger of the "Narcissus" and
The Secret Sharer; and Marx's Grundrisse.
The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray's Diary. By Jennifer Sinor. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press. 2002. xiv, 238 pp. Cloth, $49.95; paper, $19.95.
Ordinary writing, which assumes forms such as nonliterary diaries,
grocery lists, and memos, is, according to Sinor, typically disregarded,
even discarded, because it does not tell a story. Sinor argues that
in order to understand the value of ordinary writing, one must develop
strategies for evaluation that approach it on its own terms. She models
this method by reading her great-great-great aunt's diary in the context
of its dailiness, examining the relationship between temporality and
form and the power and purpose of recording life as it happens.
[End Page 679]
Person, Place, and World: A Late-Modern Reading of Robert Frost . English Literary Studies Monograph Series, No. 88. By Steven Frattali. Victoria, B.C.: Univ. of Victoria. 2002. 163 pp. Paper, $18.00.
Frattali uses close readings of individual poems to support a reading
of Frost's Collected Poems. He suggests that Frost's work moves
outward from "its initial late-Romantic self-involvement" toward a
"post-anthropocentric" understanding of the human being's small place
within the natural world. Perception and liminality are two secondary
themes that Frattali identifies in Frost's work.
Classes on Ernest Hemingway . By Matthew J. Bruccoli. Columbia: Thomas Cooper Library, Univ. of South Carolina. 2002. 247 pp. No price available.
This volume comprises transcriptions of Bruccoli's 1982 Hemingway
seminar at the University of South Carolina. Bruccoli treats several
of Hemingway's major novels, including The Sun Also Rises, A
Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as
several of the short stories.
John Reed & the Writing of Revolution . By Daniel W. Lehman. Athens: Ohio Univ. Press. 2002. xii, 294 pp. Cloth, $55.00; paper, $24.95.
John Reed is best known and most frequently studied as an early promoter
of the American Communist movement. Lehman applies his expertise in
nonfiction studies to produce a reading of Reed's work. Lehman compares
notes and drafts to published pieces to ascertain the relation between raw
data and literary nonfiction and to demonstrate Reed's craft as a writer.
The Conning of America: The Great War and American Popular Literature . By Patrick J. Quinn. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Rodopi. 2001. x, 261 pp. $51.00.
Quinn argues that much of American popular literature of the
pre–World War I period was little more than propaganda that goaded
the American public into supporting a war that benefited big companies
but meant primarily risk and loss for most families. He examines, in
particular, the characterization of the Germans as barbaric imperialists
whose threat could extend even to American shores in contrast with the
characterization of the Allies as bearers of a culture that must be
protected and strengthened by the United States.
Memorial Fictions: Willa Cather and the First World War. By Steven Trout. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press. 2002. ix, 225 pp. $40.00.
Despite winning the 1923 Pulitzer Prize, Cather's novel One of Ours
has been the object of scathing criticism from its publication to the
present. In recent decades, a few supporters have argued that what many
read as sentimental is
[End Page 680]
actually ironic. Trout situates his study between these two poles,
seeking to account for these dramatically divergent readings and the
novel's power by interpreting it in different contexts, specifically,
in terms of an "iconography of remembrance" and as a meditation on
the War's role in the development of American national identity and
legend. Trout also argues for the reexamination of The Professor's
House in relation to the First World War.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Life . By Andrew Hook. New York: Palgrave. 2002. xiii, 194 pp. $35.00.
For Fitzgerald, Hook suggests, personal life and writing were inextricably
linked. This connection provided creative inspiration, but it also
resulted in a tension between the demands of art and a desire to live
life to its fullest. Hook tracks the development of this tension in his
account of Fitzgerald's life and work.
Te Ata: Chickasaw Storyteller, American Treasure . By Richard Green. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press. 2002. xiii, 353 pp. $34.95.
Although Te Ata grew up at a tribal boarding school, she perceived the
value of the stories her father told. This consciousness, combined
with her own dramatic talent, led Te Ata to a long and successful
career, during which she performed these stories at the White House,
at Stratford-on-Avon, on reservations, and for schools, clubs, and
other organizations. Using Ata's letters and personal papers, Green,
a Chickasaw tribal historian, recounts the story of her life.
Racial Politics and Robert Penn Warren's Poetry . By Anthony Szczesiul. Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida. 2002. x, 253 pp. $55.00.
Szczesiul diverges from the common critical characterization of Warren's
career as an organic progression, arguing instead that changes in Warren's
poetry result from self-reflective aesthetic crises that correspond
to shifts in his politics. Szczesiul is particularly attentive to
the ten-year hiatus in Warren's poetic career, when his aesthetic was
transformed from modernism to neoromanticism and his political commitments
from segregation to integration.
One Writer's Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty . By Suzanne Marrs. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press. 2002. xxi, 280 pp. Cloth, $59.95; paper, $24.95.
As scholar, archivist, and friend of Welty, Marrs is uniquely suited
to examine connections between Welty's life and fiction. Marrs analyzes
eight of Welty's novels, including A Curtain of Green and The
Optimist's Daughter, describing
[End Page 681]
the role that political upheavals of her time and her relationships
(especially with her mother and her circle of friends) played in the
development of her fiction.
Narrating Knowledge in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction . By Donald E. Hardy. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 2003. xv, 199 pp. $29.95.
Hardy employs some of the methodologies of corpus linguistics, analyzing
"dependent clauses and presupposition," "not negation and
supposition," and "nonfinite complements and implication" to develop an
argument about the limits of knowledge in O'Connor's fiction.
Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Reading and Writing . By Bart Eeckhout. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press. 2002. xi, 303 pp. $42.50.
The question of limits is evoked both within Stevens's poetry and by the
multiplicity of interpretations offered in response to it. Accordingly,
this study explores the limits of poetic signification, incorporating and
synthesizing considerable Stevens criticism in the process. Eeckhout's
analysis also reflects his concern for the limitations of discipline,
as he seeks to pursue the philosophical questions suggested by Stevens's
poetry while maintaining a respect for the poetry as poetry.
Shirley Jackson's American Gothic . By Darryl Hattenhauer. Albany: SUNY Press. 2003. x, 236 pp. Cloth, $65.50; paper, $21.95.
Once regarded as the peer of Carson McCullers, William Styron, and
Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, whose acclaim most notably accrued from
"The Lottery" and The Haunting of Hill House, has diminished in
stature considerably since her death. Hattenhauer, undertaking the first
comprehensive study of Jackson's work, argues that she has been too
hastily dismissed from the canons of American literature by those who,
misled by marketing, label her a mere horror writer. Hattenhauer would
have us see, instead, an incipient postmodernism in Jackson's use of
the gothic form.
Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946–1964 . By M. Keith Booker. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. 2001. 196 pp. $62.95.
Booker suggests that "the fundamental historical phenomenon of the decade
was not the Cold War, but the rise of late capitalism." Building on the
work of Fredric Jameson, Booker further suggests that while science
fiction may not be formally postmodernist, it is characterized by a
doubleness, arising from the collapse of stable polar oppositions,
which is indicative of incipient postmodernism.
[End Page 682]
Booker also argues for a more probingly political reading of science
fiction books and film, linking aliens, for example, to an othering
of the Soviets, which, in turn, reveals a colonialist subtext to Cold
Toni Morrison's "Beloved" and the Apotropaic Imagination. By Kathleen Marks. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press. 2002. ix, 162 pp. $29.95.
Marks argues that many of the major acts in Beloved, most notably
Sethe's killing of her child, are apotropaic gestures, that is, ritual
acts that mirror the evil they are intended to ward off. Marks further
suggests that the apotropaic is a necessary prelude to the therapeutic
function of memory in the novel, for the horrific past must be confronted
before it can be safely contained as memory.
Charles Johnson's Fiction . By William R. Nash. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press. 2003. xi, 221 pp. $34.95.
Nash contends that the encounter between the tenets of the black aesthetic
under which Johnson was initially trained and Johnson's sense of the
illusory nature of race, inspired by his study of phenomenology and
Buddhism, produces a tension in his fiction. This study first traces
some of Johnson's literary and philosophical influences, then examines
the development and containment of this tension in his work.
Taking Measure: The Poetry and Prose of X. J. Kennedy . By Bernard E. Morris. Selinsgrove, Pa.: Susquehanna Univ. Press; Cranbury, N.J.: Associated Univ. Presses. 2003. 277 pp. $49.50.
Far from rendering Kennedy outmoded, Morris argues, his adherence to
traditional forms contributed to his success, as he used rhyme and
meter to create sound effects that augment his wit. Kennedy's sometimes
disheartening insights into the human condition are tempered by his
sense of common cause with those he describes. Morris, examining all
aspects of Kennedy's career, also suggests that his ability to assume
a child's perspective enhances his writing for both youth and adults.
Hearts of Darkness: Wellsprings of a Southern Literary Tradition . By Bertram Wyatt-Brown. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press. 2003. xxvi, 235 pp. Cloth, $59.95; paper, $24.95.
Wyatt-Brown is not the first to suggest a connection between depression
and creativity, but his particular emphasis on the effect of certain
features of Southern culture is unique. He argues that the strain of the
Southern code of honor and the sense of loss emanating from epidemics
of subtropical illnesses and the devastation of the Civil War create a
mood of melancholy informing
[End Page 683]
nineteenth-century Southern writing, which evolves into the modernist
alienation characteristic of the early twentieth century. Edgar Allan
Poe, Mark Twain, and Kate Chopin are among the authors discussed.
Cultural Values in the Southern Sporting Narrative . By Jacob F. Rivers III. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 2002. xviii, 165 pp. $29.95.
Rivers argues that William Elliott, Archibald Rutledge, William Faulkner,
James Kilgo, and others use stories of hunting and fishing to meditate on
their changing society. The celebration of the connection between humans
and nature, or the lament of its loss, expresses related sentiments
about the status of a declining aristocratic code that values honor,
fair play, and noblesse oblige.
The Waste Fix: Seizures of the Sacred from Upton Sinclair to "The Sopranos." By William G. Little. New York: Routledge. 2002. ix, 177 pp. $65.00.
American culture is caught in a tension between the celebration of waste as conspicuous consumption and the abhorrence of waste, lingering from our Puritan foundation. Little suggests that American culture tries to resolve this tension through prudent "waste management," transforming and recycling where possible, or casting out the polluted other that cannot be integrated within the culture. Yet, Little argues, there is always a troubling remainder, which he calls "virtual waste." His study is an examination of the production of virtual waste in selected twentieth-century American texts.
Mortal Remains: Death in Early America . Ed. Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. 2003. ix, 253 pp. Cloth, $49.95; paper, $18.95.
Examining personal diaries, fiction, newspaper reports, public addresses,
and other primary source materials produced between 1620 and 1860,
contributors analyze the cultural significance of death in the American
colonies and early republic. The discourse of death contributed to the
development of national identity through forms of collective mourning,
demonstrated state power through ritual acts upon corpses, and, not
surprisingly, influenced religious life. Editors describe the volume as
a look at "life as lived in relation to death as felt."
[End Page 684]
Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives. Ed. Lucinda Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press. 2003. xxxix, 328 pp. $40.00.
Essays in this volume analyze twelve of Sedgwick's twenty books,
ranging from novels and other fiction to travel writing, biography,
and religious tracts. Topics include Sedgwick's scrutiny of the limits
and limitations of American power structures organized by race, class,
and gender, and the "polyvocal" nature of her texts, which mimic debate,
a widespread form of communication central to the development of the
young republic. Carolyn Karcher situates Sedgwick in literary history,
and Dana Nelson imagines her role in the future of literary studies.
Ezra Pound, Nature, and Myth . Ed. William Pratt. New York: AMS Press. 2002. viii, 158 pp. $68.00.
In contrast to modernism's typical suspicion of all things divine,
Pound's poetry regularly pursues connections between the natural,
visible world and the realm of the mythic. Sometimes he translates the
facets of his life or his environment into mythic terms, freely merging
traditions from different times and places, even inventing new ones. This
volume contains Pound's "European Paideuma" and nine essays by scholars,
all of whom explore the mythic elements of Pound's work.
Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice. Ed. Lawrence R. Broer and Gloria Holland. Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press. 2002. xv, 353 pp. $39.95.
The seventeen essays in this collection begin with the premise that the
women in Hemingway's fiction and his life have always been more important
and more complex than most critics have suggested. The authors focus
on women connected to Hemingway in life, specific female characters,
and issues of gender and sexual ambiguities and crossings embodied or
enacted by male and female characters. Topics range from reading the
feminine in nature to expanding the concept of the code hero to include
major female characters.
Underwords: Perspectives on Don DeLillo's "Underworld." Ed. Joseph Dewey, Steven G. Kellman, and Irving Malin. Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press. 2002. 219 pp. $39.50.
Thirteen essays invite readers to "turn text-ward" to "fetch original
synchronicities, new convergences, unsuspected possibilities of
patterning" in DeLillo's Underworld. With the lens zoomed in,
the collection begins with a focus on a single pattern in the novel:
the three Edgars. The next several essays turn to the novel as a whole,
using cubism and chaos theory to organize their readings. One essay places
Underworld in the context of DeLillo's oeuvre, and subsequent
essays examine the text in relation to other
[End Page 685]
artists, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stanley Kubrick, or genres,
such as comedy.
The World in Time and Space: Towards a History of Innovative American Poetry in Our Time . Ed. Edward Foster and Joseph Donahue. Jersey City, N.J.: Talisman House. 2002. xvi, 740 pp. Paper, $25.95.
This compilation of four issues (numbers 23 through 26) of the journal
Talisman presents analyses in the form of reviews, essays,
and interviews of late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century
poetry. Individual pieces focus their explication on a city, such as
New York and Los Angeles; a genre, such as slam, gnostic, language,
objectivist, postmodern; an ethnicity, particularly Asian- and African
American; or an individual, such as Robert Creeley, William Bronk,
and Sun Ra.
Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women's Poetry . Ed. Felicia Mitchell. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press. 2002. xxiv, 332 pp. Cloth, $35.00; paper, $17.00.
The twenty poets considered here defy the stereotype of the isolated,
ignorant, white "hillbilly." With different racial backgrounds and
connections to Appalachia, these poets nonetheless share common themes,
such as community, religion, migration, and family. For each poet, two
poems are presented, followed by an essay or an interview. Collectively,
these pieces offer an insight into both the diversity of the region and
the distinctive characteristics that render it unique.
Queer Studies: An Interdisciplinary Reader . Ed. Robert J. Corber and Stephen Valocchi. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. 2003. viii, 264 pp. Paper, $29.95.
This reader, which brings together fifteen previously published essays,
approaches sexuality through several social locations where "sexual
agency is . . . exercised and controlled," including communal identity,
culture, the nation-state, and the world. Individual essays discuss
topics ranging from intersex political activism to Hustler
magazine, queer domesticity, and transvestite prostitution in Brazil.
this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. Ed. Gloria E. Anzaldúa and Analouise Keating. New York: Routledge. 2002. xiv, 608 pp. Cloth, $90.00; paper, $24.95.
Inspired as a response to and extension of This Bridge Called My
Back, this anthology features eighty essays in which contributors
describe how the
[End Page 686]
earlier volume affected them, build on its work, or fill its gaps and
explore terrain even more radical. The volume includes essays not only by
women writers of color but also by white writers and male writers, in an
effort to move beyond simplistic categorical notions of identity. One
essay recounts the reflections of a female-to-male transsexual upon
moving into the position often considered the apex of privilege.
Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities . Ed. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. New York: Modern Language Association. 2002. xiii, 386 pp. Cloth, $40.00; paper, $22.00.
Disability, contend the editors, is the taboo topic of the contemporary
era. Although disability is a common source of hyperbolic metaphor
("crippling traffic," for example) and although it touches many artists
and characters throughout literary history (from Homer to Whitman,
Oedipus to Eva Peace), it has been largely ignored as an object of study
in the humanities. The essays in this volume exemplify approaches to
integrating disability studies into the humanities classroom through
analyzing representation and adjusting pedagogy.
American Literary Studies: A Methodological Reader . Ed. Michael A. Elliott and Claudia Stokes. New York: New York Univ. Press. 2003. vii, 349 pp. Cloth, $60.00; paper, $20.00.
This volume is a response to the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in American literary studies and the inevitable methodological questions that ensue when the objects of study expand their range and disciplinary lines blur. The editors present twelve previously published critical essays, pairing each with an introduction by the critic who selected it. Broadly, the volume's three sections address cultural studies, the relationship of history and literature, and the predicament of a discipline defined by nation in a "post-national" era.
The Literary Werewolf: An Anthology . Ed. Charlotte F. Otten. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse Univ. Press. 2002. xxxii, 295 pp. Cloth, $45.00; paper, $24.95.
This volume contains twenty-two stories of werewolves that should
collectively, the editor suggests, dislodge any notion that werewolves
are all the same and worthy of dismissal under the banner of horror
fiction. Instead, she contends, werewolves can be "erotic, rapacious,
diabolical, supernatural, victimized, avenging, guilty, unabsolved,
[or] voluntary," and can function as a vehicle for explorations of the
human psyche. Stephen King, Guy de Maupassant, Rudyard Kipling, and Ovid
are among the authors examined.
[End Page 687]
Texas in Poetry 2 . Ed. Billy Bob Hill. Fort Worth: Texas Christian Univ. Press. 2002. xlvi. 497 pp. $40.00.
Revising, updating, and expanding his 1994 anthology, now out of print, Hill presents the work of over 100 poets, among them Berta Hart Nance, Vassar Miller, Sandra Cisneros, and Rolando Hinojosa. Guiding Hill's selections was his desire for the representative. Accordingly, he includes poetry from all periods of Texas history, disregarding widespread critical scorn for much of the state's early poetry, contending that it represents the state "in its infancy."
Delia's Doctors, or a Glance behind the Scenes . By Hannah Gardner Creamer. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press. 2003. xxx, 262 pp. Cloth, $39.95; paper, $14.95.
First published in 1852, this novel blends two popular genres of its time,
the domestic novel and the health tract. Called a "didactic comedy"
by Nina Baym, who wrote this volume's introduction, the novel is the
story of a young woman suffering primarily from boredom and inactivity
and the parade of doctors who only exacerbate her symptoms by affirming
her identity as an invalid and prescribing passive cures. This novel is
of particular interest to feminist readers because of its meditation on
the roles of medicine and religion in constraining women's lives.
The Rustler: A Tale of Love and War in Wyoming . By Frances McElrath. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press. 2002. xx, 193 pp. Paper, $19.95.
Inspired by the events of the Johnston County War of 1892, this novel is the story of a cowboy named Jim who turns to cattle rustling after he is rejected by the upper-class Eastern woman he loves. Although its 1902 release unfortunately coincided with the release of Owen Wister's The Virginian, which overshadowed it, Victoria Lamont suggests in her introduction that it deserves renewed critical attention as a western that incorporates elements of the sentimental genre while deviating from it enough to include a rejection of the equation of marriage and happiness—not by the aloof cowboy but by the heroine.
Bibliographies and Guides
A Historical Guide to Mark Twain. Ed. Shelley Fisher Fishkin. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 2002. viii, 318 pp. Cloth, $39.95; paper, $16.95.
A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton. Ed. Carol J. Singley. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 2003. x, 302 pp. Cloth, $45.00; paper, $17.95. [End Page 688]
Flannery O'Connor: An Annotated Reference Guide to Criticism. Ed. R. Neil Scott. Milledgeville, Ga.: Timberlane. 2002. xx, 1061 pp. $127.95.
Leslie Marmon Silko's "Ceremony": A Casebook. Ed. Allen Chavkin. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 2002. xiv, 274 pp. Cloth, $45.00; paper, $16.95.
Index of American Periodical Verse: 2000. Ed. Rafael Catalá and James D. Anderson. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow. 2002. xiv, 706 pp. $95.00.
The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 5: Poetry and Criticism, 1900–1950. Ed. Sacvan Bercovitch. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge Univ. Press. 2002. xi, 624 pp. $95.00.
The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 6: Prose Writing, 1910–1950. Ed. Sacvan Bercovitch. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge Univ. Press. 2002. xx, 620 pp. $95.00.
The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture. Ed. M. Thomas Inge and Dennis Hall. 4 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. 2002. 2155 pp. $400.00.