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Class, Whiteness, and Southern Literature explores the role that representations of poor white people play in shaping both middle-class American identity and major American literary movements and genres across the long twentieth century. Jolene Hubbs reveals that, more often than not, poor white characters imagined by middle-class writers embody what better-off people are anxious to distance themselves from in a given moment. Poor white southerners are cast as social climbers during the status-conscious Gilded Age, country rubes in the modern era, racist obstacles to progress during the civil rights struggle, and junk food devotees in the health-conscious 1990s. Hubbs illuminates how Charles Chesnutt, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Dorothy Allison, and Barbara Robinette Moss swam against these tides, pioneering formal innovations with an eye to representing poor white characters in new ways.
African American Literature in Transition, 1980–1990 tracks Black expressive culture in the 1980s as novelists, poets, dramatists, filmmakers, and performers grappled with the contradictory legacies of the civil rights era, and the start of culture wars and policy machinations that would come to characterize the 1990s. The volume is necessarily interdisciplinary and critically promiscuous in its methodologies and objects of study as it reconsiders conventional temporal, spatial, and moral understandings of how African American letters emerged immediately after the movement James Baldwin describes as the 'latest slave rebellion.' As such, the question of the state of America's democratic project as refracted through the literature of the shaping presence of African Americans is one of the guiding concerns of this volume preoccupied with a moment in American literary history still burdened by the legacies of the 1960s, while imagining the contours of an African Americanist future in the new millennium.
Langston Hughes was among the most influential African American writers of the twentieth century. He inspired and challenged readers from Harlem to the Caribbean, Europe, South America, Asia, the African continent, and beyond. To study Langston Hughes is to develop a new sense of the twentieth century. He was more than a man of his times; emerging as a key member of the Harlem Renaissance, his poems, plays, journalism, translations, and prose fiction documented and shaped the world around him. The twenty-nine essays in this volume engage with his at times conflicting investments in populist and modernist literature, his investments in freedom in and beyond the US, and the many genres through which he wrote. Langston Hughes in Context considers the places and experiences that shaped him, the social and cultural contexts in which he wrote, thought and travelled, and the international networks that forged and secured his life and reputation.
Contemporary American poetry can often seem intimidating and daunting in its variety and complexity. This engaging and accessible book provides the first comprehensive introduction to the rich body of American poetry that has flourished since 1945 and offers a useful map to its current landscape. By exploring the major poets, movements, and landmark poems at the heart of this era, this book presents a compelling new version of the history of American poetry that takes into account its variety and breadth, its recent evolution in the new millennium, its ever-increasing diversity, and its ongoing engagement with politics and culture. Combining illuminating close readings of a wide range of representative poems with detailed discussion of historical, political, and aesthetic contexts, this book examines how poets have tirelessly invented new forms and styles to respond to the complex realities of American life and culture.
The year 1492 invokes many instances of transition in a variety of ways that intersected, overlapped, and shaped the emergence of Latin America. For the diverse Native inhabitants of the Americas as well as the people of Europe, Africa, and Asia who crossed the Atlantic and Pacific as part of the early-modern global movements, their lived experiences were defined by transitions. The Iberian territories from approximately 1492-1800 extended from what is now the US Southwest to Tierra del Fuego, and from the Iberian coasts to the Philippines and China. Built around six thematic areas that underline key processes that shaped the colonial period and its legacies – space, body, belief systems, literacies, languages, and identities – this innovative volume goes beyond the traditional European understanding of the lettered canon. It examines a range of texts including books published in Europe and the New World and manuscripts stored in repositories around the globe that represent poetry, prose, judicial proceedings, sermons, letters, grammars, and dictionaries.
How do we address the idea of the literary now at the end of the second decade in the 21st century? Many traditional categories obscure or overlook significant contemporary forms of cultural production. This volume looks at literature and culture in general in this hinge period. Latin American Literature in Transition 1980-2018 examines the ways literary culture complicates national or area studies understandings of cultural production. Topics point to fresh, intersectional understandings of cultural practice, while keeping in mind the ongoing stakes in a struggle over material and intangible cultural and political borders that are being reinforced in formidable ways.
Latin American Literature in Transition 1870-1930 examines how the circulation of goods, people, and ideas permeated every aspect of the continent's cultural production at the end of the nineteenth century. It analyzes the ways in which rapidly transforming technological and labour conditions contributed to forging new intellectual networks, exploring innovative forms of knowledge, and reimagining the material and immaterial worlds. This volume shows the new directions in turn-of-the-century scholarship that developed over the last two decades by investigating how the experience of capitalism produced an array of works that deal with primitive accumulation, transnational crossings, and an emerging technological and material reality in diverse geographies and a variety of cultural forms. Essays provide a novel understanding of the period as they discuss the ways in which particular commodities, intellectual networks, popular uprisings, materialities, and non-metropolitan locations redefined cultural production at a time when the place of Latin America in global affairs was significantly transformed.
Latin American Literature in Transition 1800-1870 uses affect as an analytical tool to uncover the countervailing forces that shaped Latin American literatures and cultures during the first six decades of the nineteenth century. Chapters provide perspectives on colonial violence and its representation, on the development of the national idea, on communities within and beyond the nation, and on the intersectional development of subjectivity during and after processes of cultural and political independence. This volume includes interdisciplinary approaches to nineteenth-century Latin American cultures that range from visual and art history to historiography to comparative literature and the study of literary and popular print culture. This book engages with the complex and sometimes counterintuitive relationship between felt ideas of community and the political changes that shaped these affective networks and communities.
William Faulkner and the Materials of Writing examines the many physical texts in Faulkner's novels and stories from letters and telegrams to Bibles, billboards, and even the alphabetic shape of airport runways. Current investigations in print culture, book history, and media studies often emphasize the controlling power of technological form; instead, this book demonstrates how media should be understood in the context of its use. Throughout Faulkner's oeuvre, various kinds of writing become central to characters forming a sense of the self as well as bonds of intimacy, while ideologies of race and gender connect to the body through the vehicle of writing. This book combines close reading analysis of Faulkner's fiction with the publication history of his works that together offer a case study about what it means to live in a world permeated by media.
Latin American Literature in Transition 1930-1980 explores the literary landscape of the mid-twentieth-century and the texts that were produced during that period. It takes four core areas of thematic and conceptual focus – solidarity, aesthetics and innovation, war, revolution and dictatorship, metropolis and ruins – and employs them to explore the complexity, heterogeneity and hybridity of form, genre, subject matter and discipline that characterised literature from the period. In doing so, it uncovers the points of transition, connection, contradiction, and tension that shaped the work of many canonical and non-canonical authors. It illuminates the conversations between genres, literary movements, disciplines and modes of representation that underpin writing form this period. Lastly, by focusing on canon and beyond, the volume visibilizes the aesthetics, poetics, politics, and social projects of writing, incorporating established writers, but also writers whose work is yet to be examined in all its complexity.
This volume considers innovations, transitions, and traditions in both familiar and unfamiliar texts and moments in 1960s African American literature and culture. It interrogates declarations of race, authenticity, personal and collective empowerment, political action, and aesthetics within this key decade. It is divided into three sections. The first section engages poetry and music as pivotal cultural form in 1960s literary transitions. The second section explains how literature, culture, and politics intersect to offer a blueprint for revolution within and beyond the United States. The final section addresses literary and cultural moments that are lesser-known in the canon of African American literature and culture. This book presents the 1960s as a unique commitment to art, when 'Black' became a political identity, one in which racial social justice became inseparable from aesthetic practice.
David Foster Wallace is regarded as one of the most important American writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This book introduces readers to the literary, philosophical and political contexts of Wallace's work. An accessible and useable resource, this volume conceptualizes his work within long-standing critical traditions and with a new awareness of his importance for American literary studies. It shows the range of issues and contexts that inform the work and reading of David Foster Wallace, connecting his writing to diverse ideas, periods and themes. Essays cover topics on gender, sex, violence, race, philosophy, poetry and geography, among many others, guiding new and long-standing readers in understanding the work and influence of this important writer.
The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James provides, for the first time, a scholarly edition of a major writer whose work continues to be read, quoted, adapted and studied. Published in two volumes in 1880, Washington Square dramatises the plight of Catherine Sloper, a rich heiress, whose father, a successful doctor, identifies her one suitor, Morris Townsend, as a fortune-hunter. The novel thus draws on the sentimental tradition, which it develops with subtle, sympathetic irony, in a realist direction. This edition is the first to provide a full account of the context in which the book was composed and received, and to include the original illustrations by Punch-cartoonist George Du Maurier. Extensive explanatory notes enable modern readers to understand its nuanced historical, cultural and literary references, and its complex textual history.
The legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction remain a central part of American life a century and a half later. Drawing together leading scholars in literary studies and history, this volume offers accessible treatments of major authors and genres of this period, including Walt Whitman, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Rebecca Harding Davis, Frederick Douglass, and Charles Chesnutt, as well as fiction, poetry, drama, and life-writing. Although focused on literature, this Companion also canvases battlefields, homefronts, and hospitals, and discusses a range of topics, including constitutional reform and presidential impeachment; emancipation and Africa; material culture and monuments; education, civil rights, and reenactment. The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Civil War and Reconstruction speaks powerfully to literature's ability to help readers come to terms with a violent, oppressive history while also imagining a different future.
Addressing US literature from 1876 to 1910, this volume aims to account for the period's immense transformations while troubling the ideology of progress that underwrote much of its self-understanding. This volume queries the various forms and formations of post-Reconstruction American literature. It contends that the literature of this period, most often referred to as 'turn-of-the-century' might be more productively oriented by the end of Reconstruction and the haunting aftermath of its emancipatory potential than by the logic of temporal and social advance that underwrote the end of the century and the beginning of the Progressive Era. Acknowledging that nearly all US literature after 1876 might be described as post-Reconstruction, the volume invites readers to reframe this period by asking: under what terms did post-Reconstruction American literature challenge or re-consolidate the 'nation' as an affective, political, and discursive phenomenon? And what kind of alternative pasts and futures did it write into existence?
Long before anyone ever heard of 'protest music', people in America were singing about their struggles. They sang for justice and fairness, food and shelter, and equality and freedom; they sang to be acknowledged. Sometimes they also sang to oppress. This book uncovers the history of these people and their songs, from the moment Columbus made fateful landfall to the start of the Second World War, when 'protest music' emerged as an identifiable brand. Cutting across musical genres, Will Kaufman recovers the passionate voices of America itself. We encounter songs of the mainland and the conquered territories of Hawai'i, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines; we hear Indigenous songs, immigrant songs and Klan songs, minstrel songs and symphonies, songs of the heard and the unheard, songs of the celebrated and the anonymous, of the righteous and the despicable. This magisterial book shows that all these songs are woven into the very fabric of American history.
Opening up the warm body of American Horror – through literature, film, TV, music, video games, and a host of other mediums – this book gathers the leading scholars in the field to dissect the gruesome histories and shocking forms of American life. Through a series of accessible and informed essays, moving from the seventeenth century to the present day, The Cambridge Companion to American Horror explores one of the liveliest and most progressive areas of contemporary culture. From slavery to censorship, from occult forces to monstrous beings, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in America's most terrifying cultural expressions.
The human body has been depicted in a variety of ways across a range of cultural and historical locations. It has been described, variously, as a biological entity, clothing for the soul, a site of cultural production, a psychosexual construct, and a material encumbrance. Each of these different approaches brings with it a range of anthropological, political, theological, and psychological discourses that explore and construct identities and subject positions. This Companion examines connections between American literature and bodies from the eighteenth century through the present. It reveals the singular way that literature can help us understand the body's entanglement within social and biological influences, and it traces the body's existence within histories of race, gender, and ability. This volume details the genres, critical fields, and interpretive practices that best facilitate the analysis of bodies in the full span of American literary imaginings.
William Faulkner remains one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, and Faulkner Studies offers up seemingly endless ways to engage anew questions and problems that continue to occupy literary studies into the twenty-first century, and beyond the compass of Faulkner himself. His corpus has proved particularly accommodating of a range of perspectives and methodologies that include Black studies, visual culture studies, world literatures, modernist studies, print culture studies, gender and sexuality studies, sound studies, the energy humanities, and much else. The fifteen essays collected in The New William Faulkner Studies charts these developments in Faulkner scholarship over the course of this new century and offers prospects for further interrogation of his oeuvre.
Liberalism and American Literature in the Clinton Era argues that a new, post-postmodern aesthetic emerges in the 1990s as a group of American writers – including Mary Gaitskill, George Saunders, Richard Powers, Karen Tei Yamashita, and others – grapples with the political triumph of free-market ideology. The book shows how these writers resist the anti-social qualities of this frantic right-wing shift while still performing its essential gesture, the personalization of otherwise irreducible social antagonisms. Thus, we see these writers reinvent political struggles as differences in values and emotions, in fictions that explore non-antagonistic social forms like families, communities and networks. Situating these formally innovative fictions in the context of the controversies that have defined this rightward shift – including debates over free trade, welfare reform, and family values – Brooks details how American writers and politicians have reinvented liberalism for the age of pro-capitalist consensus.