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The uncontested center of the black pulp fiction universe for more than four decades was the Los Angeles publisher Holloway House. From the late 1960s until it closed in 2008, Holloway House specialized in cheap paperbacks with page-turning narratives featuring black protagonists in crime stories, conspiracy thrillers, prison novels, and Westerns. From Iceberg Slim's Pimp to Donald Goines's Never Die Alone, the thread that tied all of these books together--and made them distinct from the majority of American pulp--was an unfailing veneration of black masculinity. Zeroing in on Holloway House, Street Players explores how this world of black pulp fiction was produced, received, and recreated over time and across different communities of readers. Kinohi Nishikawa contends that black pulp fiction was built on white readers' fears of the feminization of society--and the appeal of black masculinity as a way to counter it. In essence, it was the original form of blaxploitation: a strategy of mass-marketing race to suit the reactionary fantasies of a white audience. But while chauvinism and misogyny remained troubling yet constitutive aspects of this literature, from 1973 onward, Holloway House moved away from publishing sleaze for a white audience to publishing solely for black readers. The standard account of this literary phenomenon is based almost entirely on where this literature ended up: in the hands of black, male, working-class readers. When it closed, Holloway House was synonymous with genre fiction written by black authors for black readers--a field of cultural production that Nishikawa terms the black literary underground. But as Street Players demonstrates, this cultural authenticity had to be created, promoted, and in some cases made up, and there is a story of exploitation at the heart of black pulp fiction's origins that cannot be ignored.
In The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress, Ashley Craig Lancaster examines how converging political and cultural movements helped to create dualistic images of southern poor white female characters in Depression-era literature. While other studies address the familial and labor issues that challenged female literary characters during the 1930s, Lancaster focuses on how the evolving eugenics movement reinforced the dichotomy of altruistic maternal figures and destructive sexual deviants.
According to Lancaster, these binary stereotypes became a new analogy for hope and despair in America's future and were well utilized by Depression-era politicians and authors to stabilize the country's economic decline. As a result, the complexity of women's lives was often overlooked in favor of stock characters incapable of individuality.
Lancaster studies a variety of works, including those by male authors William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and John Steinbeck, as well as female novelists Mary Heaton Vorse, Myra Page, Grace Lumpkin, and Olive Tilford Dargan. She identifies female stereotypes in classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and in the work of later writers Dorothy Allison and Rick Bragg, who embrace and share in a poor white background.
The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress reveals that these literary stereotypes continue to influence not only society's perception of poor white southern women but also women's perception of themselves.
A captivating journey through the hidden libraries of Jerusalem, where some of the world's most enduring ideas were put into words In this enthralling book, Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint explore Jerusalem's libraries to tell the story of this city as a place where some of the world's most enduring ideas were put into words. The writers of Jerusalem, although renowned the world over, are not usually thought of as a distinct school; their stories as Jerusalemites have never before been woven into a single narrative. Nor have the stories of the custodians, past and present, who safeguard Jerusalem's literary legacies. By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined by its writers and shelved by its librarians, Mack and Balint tell the untold history of how the peoples of the book have populated the city with texts. In their hands, Jerusalem itself-perched between East and West, antiquity and modernity, violence and piety-comes alive as a kind of labyrinthine library.
Never in its long history has the South provided an entirely comfortable home for the intellectual. In this thought-provoking contribution to the field of southern studies, Tara Powell considers the evolving ways that major post--World War II southern writers have portrayed intellectuals -- from Flannery O'Connor's ironic view of "interleckchuls" to Gail Godwin's southerners striving to feel at home in the academic world.
Although Walker Percy, like his fellow Catholic writer O'Connor, explicitly rejected the intellectual label for himself, he nonetheless introduced the modern novel of ideas to southern letters, Powell shows, by placing sympathetic, non-caricatured intellectuals at the center of his influential works.
North Carolinians Doris Betts and her student Tim McLaurin made their living teaching literature and creative writing in academia, and Betts's fiction often includes dislocated academics while McLaurin's superb memoirs, often funny, frequently point up the limitations of the mind as opposed to the heart and the spirit.
Examining works by Ernest Gaines, Alice Walker, and Randall Kenan, Powell traces the evolution of the black American literacy narrative from a stress on the post-Emancipation conviction, which saw formal education as an essential means of resisting oppression, to the growing suspicion in the post--civil rights era of literacy acts that may estrange educated blacks from the larger black community.
Powell concludes with Godwin, who embraces university life in her fiction as she explores what it means to be a southern female intellectual in the modern world -- a world in which all those markers inscribe isolation.
The accused was a slight, frightened man who had deliberately broken the law. His trial was a Roman circus. The chief gladiators were two great legal giants of the century. Like two bull elephants locked in mortal combat, they bellowed and roared imprecations and abuse. The spectators sat uneasily in the sweltering heat with murder in their hearts, barely able to restrain themselves. At stake was the freedom of every American. One of the most moving and meaningful plays of our generation. "a tidal wave of a drama." -- New York World-Telegram And Sun
For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.
I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.
The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.
When Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861, thousands of patriotic southerners rushed to enlist for the Confederate cause. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who grew up in the border state of Missouri in a slave-holding family, was among them. Clemens, who later achieved fame as the writer Mark Twain, served as second lieutenant in a Confederate militia, but only for two weeks, leading many to describe his loyalty to the Confederate cause as halfhearted at best. After all, Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) and his numerous speeches celebrating Abraham Lincoln, with their trenchant call for racial justice, inspired his crowning as "the Lincoln of our Literature."
In The Reconstruction of Mark Twain, Joe B. Fulton challenges these long-held assumptions about Twain's advocacy of the Union cause, arguing that Clemens traveled a long and arduous path, moving from pro-slavery, secession, and the Confederacy to pro-union, and racially enlightened. Scattered and long-neglected texts written by Clemens before, during, and immediately after the Civil War, Fulton shows, tout pro-southern sentiments critical of abolitionists, free blacks, and the North for failing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. These obscure works reveal the dynamic process that reconstructed Twain in parallel with and response to events on American battlefields and in American politics.
Beginning with Clemens's youth in Missouri, Fulton tracks the writer's transformation through the turbulent Civil War years as a southern-leaning reporter in Nevada and San Francisco to his raucous burlesques written while he worked as a Washington correspondent during the impeachment crises of 1867--1868. Fulton concludes with the writer's emergence as the country's satirist-in-chief in the postwar era. By explaining the relationship between the author's early pro-southern writings and his later stance as a champion for racial justice throughout the world, Fulton provides a new perspective on Twain's views and on his deep involvement with Civil War politics.
A deft blend of biography, history, and literary studies, The Reconstruction of Mark Twain offers a bold new assessment of the work of one of America's most celebrated writers.
Once, history and "the South" dwelt in close proximity. Representations of the South in writing and on film assumed everybody knew what had happened in place and time to create the South. Today, our vision of the South varies, and there is less "there there" than ever before.
In The South That Wasn't There, Michael Kreyling explores a series of literary situations in which memory and history seem to work in odd and problematic ways. Looking at Toni Morrison's masterpiece Beloved, he tests the viability of applying Holocaust and trauma studies to the poetics and politics of remembering slavery. He then turns to Robert Penn Warren's grapplings with his personal memory of racism, which culminated in his attempt to confront the evil directly in his book Who Speaks for the Negro? In a chapter on the court contest between Margaret Mitchell's estate and Alice Randall over Randall's parody The Wind Done Gone, Kreyling treats neglected issues such as the status of literary sequels and parody in an age of advanced commodification of the South.
Kreyling's searching inquiry into the intersection of the southern warrior narrative and the shocks dealt America by the Vietnam War uncovers what appears to be the deliberate yet unconscious use of southern Civil War memory in a time of national identity crisis. He follows that up with a comparison of Faulkner's appropriation of Caribbean memory in Absalom, Absalom and Madison Smartt Bell's in his trilogy on Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian revolution.
Finally, Kreyling examines some new manifestations of southern memory, including science fiction as embodied in Octavia Butler's novel Kindred, "mockumentary" in Kevin Willmott's film C.S.A., and postmodern cinema parody in Lars Von Trier's Manderlay.
Lively and frequently confrontational, The South That Wasn't There offers a thought-provoking reexamination of our literary conceptions about the South.
This is the second edition of English Literature in Context, a popular textbook which provides an essential resource and reference tool for all English literature students. Designed to accompany students throughout their degree course, it offers a detailed narrative survey of the diverse historical and cultural contexts that have shaped the development of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. Carefully structured for undergraduate use, the eight chronological chapters are written by a team of expert contributors who are also highly experienced teachers. Each chapter includes a detailed chronology, contextual readings of selected literary texts, annotated suggestions for further reading, a rich range of illustrations and textboxes, and thorough historical and literary overviews. This second edition has been comprehensively revised, with a new chapter on postcolonial literature, a substantially expanded chapter on contemporary literature, and the addition of over two hundred new critical references. Online resources include textboxes, chapter samples, study questions, and chronologies.
In 1836 Benjamin Drake, a midwestern writer of popular sketches for newspapers of the day, introduced his readers to a new and distinctly American rascal who rode the steamboats up and down the Mississippi and other western waterways -- the riverboat gambler. These men, he recorded, "dress with taste and elegance; carry gold chronometers in their pockets; and swear with the most genteel precision.... Every where throughout the valley, these mistletoe gentry are called by the original, if not altogether classic, cognomen of 'Black-legs.'"
In Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men, Thomas Ruys Smith collects nineteenth-century stories, sketches, and book excerpts by a gallery of authors to create a comprehensive collection of writings about the riverboat gambler. Long an iconic figure in American myth and popular culture but, strangely, one that has never until now received a book-length treatment, the Mississippi River gambler was a favorite character throughout the nineteenth century -- one often rich with moral ambiguities that remain unresolved to this day.
In the absorbing fictional and nonfictional accounts of high stakes and sudden reversals of fortune found in the pages of Smith's book, the voices of canonized writers such as William Dean Howells, Herman Melville, and, of course, Mark Twain hold prominent positions. But they mingle seamlessly with lesser-known pieces such as an excerpt from Edward Willett's sensationalistic dime novel Flush Fred's Full Hand, raucous sketches by anonymous Old Southwestern humorists from the Spirit of the Times, and colorful accounts by now nearly forgotten authors such as Daniel R. Hundley and George W. Featherstonhaugh.
Smith puts the twenty-eight selections in perspective with an Introduction that thoroughly explores the history and myth surrounding this endlessly fascinating American cultural icon. While the riverboat gambler may no longer ply his trade along the Mississippi, Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men makes clear the ways in which he still operates quite successfully in the American imagination.
In Art Matters, Robert Paul Lamb provides the definitive study of Ernest Hemingway's short story aesthetics. Lamb locates Hemingway's art in literary historical contexts and explains what he learned from earlier artists, including Edgar Allan Poe, Paul C?zanne, Henry James, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Stephen Crane, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. Examining how Hemingway developed this inheritance, Lamb insightfully charts the evolution of the unique style and innovative techniques that would forever change the nature of short fiction.
Art Matters opens with an analysis of the authorial effacement Hemingway learned from Maupassant and Chekhov, followed by fresh perspectives on the author's famous use of concision and omission. Redefining literary impressionism and expressionism as alternative modes for depicting modern consciousness, Lamb demonstrates how Hemingway and Willa Cather learned these techniques from Crane and made them the foundation of their respective aesthetics. After examining the development of Hemingway's art of focalization, he clarifies what Hemingway really learned from Stein and delineates their different uses of repetition. Turning from techniques to formal elements, Art Matters anatomizes Hemingway's story openings and endings, analyzes how he created an entirely unprecedented role for fictional dialogue, explores his methods of characterization, and categorizes his settings in the fifty-three stories that comprise his most important work in the genre.
A major contribution to Hemingway scholarship and to the study of modernist fiction, Art Matters shows exactly how Hemingway's craft functions and argues persuasively for the importance of studies of articulated technique to any meaningful understanding of fiction and literary history. The book also develops vital new ways of understanding the short story genre as Lamb constructs a critical apparatus for analyzing the short story, introduces to a larger audience ideas taken from practicing storywriters, theorists, and critics, and coins new terms and concepts that enrich our understanding of the field.
Pick up a work of typical literary criticism and you know what to expect: prose that is dry, pedantic, well-meaning but tedious--slow-going and essentially humorless. But why should that be so? Why can't more literary criticism have a political edge and be engaging and fast-paced? Why can't it include drama, personal narrative, and even humor? Why can't criticism become an artistic performance, rather than just a discussion of art?
"Art as Performance, Story as Criticism" is Craig Womack's answer to these questions. Inventive and often outrageous, the book turns traditional literary criticism on its head, rejecting distanced, purely theoretical argumentation for intimate engagement with literary works. Focusing on Native American literature, Womack mixes forms and styles. He is unafraid to combine meticulous research and carefully considered historical perspectives with personal reactions and reflections.
The book opens with a short story, "The Song of Roe Nald," in which a Native filmmaker loses control of his movie project, in part because of his homoerotic attraction to its star. The following chapters, or "mus(e)ings," include original dramas, while others more closely resemble traditional literary criticism, such as essays discussing the lesser-known plays of Lynn Riggs and the stories of Durango Mendoza. Still other chapters defy easy categorization, such as the piece "Caught in the Current, Clinging to a Twig," in which Womack interweaves historical analysis of the state of the Creek Nation in 1908 with a vivid recreation of the last day on earth of Creek poet Alexander Posey. Throughout the book, the author offers his take on such controversial issues as the Cherokee freedmen issue and the ban on gay marriage.
In being different, Womack seeks to breathe new life into literary analysis and in-troduce criticism to a wider audience. Radical, groundbreaking, and refreshing, "Art as Performance, Story as Criticism" reinvents literary criticism for the twenty-first century.
Does the study of aesthetics have tangible effects in the real world? Does examining the work of diaspora writers and artists change our view of ""the Other""? In this thoughtful book, Ebrahimi argues that an education in the humanities is as essential as one in politics and ethics, critically training the imagination toward greater empathy. Despite the surge in Iranian memoirs, their contributions to debunking an abstract idea of terror and their role in encouraging democratic thinking remain understudied. In examining creative work by women of Iranian descent, Ebrahimi argues that Shirin Neshat, Marjane Satrapi, and Parsua Bashi make the Other familiar and break a cycle of reactionary xenophobia. These authors, instead of relying on indignation, build imaginative bridges in their work that make it impossible to blame one evil, external enemy. Ebrahimi explores both classic and hybrid art forms, including graphic novels and photo-poetry, to advocate for the importance of aesthetics to inform and influence a global community. Drawing on the theories of Ranciere, Butler, Arendt, and Levinas, Ebrahimi identifies the ways in which these works give a human face to the Other, creating the space and language to imagine a new political and ethical landscape.
What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like "Baa Baa Black Sheep" be full of concealed loathing, resentment, and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. "How to Read Literature "is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience.
In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism, and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and J. K. Rowling to Jane Austen and Samuel Beckett.
Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose.
In "Reading Like a Writer," Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's "Middlemarch." She looks to John Le Carre for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.
Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, "Reading Like a Writer" will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.
The Hum of the World is an invitation to contemplate what would happen if we heard the world as attentively as we see it. Balancing big ideas with playful wit and lyrical prose, this imaginative volume identifies the role of sound in Western experience as the primary medium in which the presence and persistence of life acquire tangible form. The positive experience of aliveness is not merely in accord with sound, but inaccessible, even inconceivable, without it. Lawrence Kramer's poetic book roves freely over music, media, language, philosophy, and science from the ancient world to the present, along the way revealing how life is apprehended through sounds ranging from pandemonium to the faint background hum of the world. Easily moving from reflections on pivotal texts and music to the introduction of elemental concepts, this warm meditation on auditory culture uncovers the knowledge and pleasure made available when we recognize that the world is alive with sound.
Gaming and chiefing. Imposters and freedmen. Distinguished novelist Robert J. Conley examines some of the most interesting facets of the Cherokee world. In 26 essays laced with humor, understatement, and even open sarcasm, this popular writer takes on politics, culture, his people's history, and what it means to be Cherokee. As provocative as it is entertaining, Cherokee Thoughts will intrigue tribal members and anyone with an interest in the Cherokee people.
Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability--at the level of literature, history, and politics--to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. The extreme nature of today's climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements. Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence--a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer's summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.
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