Faculty Books

2018

Ivy vs. Dogg

Ivy vs. Dogg:  A Case of Thounsand!, Brian Leung, C&R Press, 2018.

Teenage Ivy Simmons has a longstanding rivalry with Jimmy, "Dogg," Doggins, high school tennis star, and hometown hero. Their sparring comes to a head when the town of Mudlick's annual Jr. Mr. Mayor election is announced and Ivy becomes the first female ever to run. Mudlick's busybody leaders, known as "the committee" do not approve, especially when Ivy reveals that she is pregnant. Displeased with the public debate over what Ivy should do about her unborn child, reclusive matriarch, Abigail Colton, displays a lifelike topiary girl on her front lawn, enchanting all of Mudlick to the point where they fear for the life of this "girl" when Colton also rolls out a topiary of a giant squid. Between this and the election, emotions run high, squeezing Ivy and Dogg from all sides and forcing them to make the most adult decision of their lives.

The Internationalization of US Writing Programs

The Internationalization of US Writing Programs, edited by Shirley K Rose and Irwin Weiser, Utah State University Press, 2018

The Internationalization of US Writing Programs illuminates the role writing programs and WPAs play in defining goals, curriculum, placement, assessment, faculty development, and instruction for international student populations. The volume offers multiple theoretical approaches to the work of writing programs and illustrates a wide range of well-planned writing program–based empirical research projects.

As of 2016, over 425,000 international students were enrolled as undergraduates in US colleges and universities, part of a decade-long trend of increasing numbers of international students coming to the United States for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Writing program administrators and writing teachers across the country are beginning to recognize this changing demographic as a useful catalyst for change in writing programs, which are tasked with preparing all students, regardless of initial level of English proficiency, for academic and professional writing.

Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain

Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s: The Long Eighteenth Century (The Edinburgh History of Womens Periodical Culture in Britain), edited by Jennie Batchelor and Manushag Powell, 1st Edition, Edinburgh University Press; 2018.

This innovative volume presents for the first time collective expertise on women's magazines and periodicals of the long eighteenth century. While this period witnessed the birth of modern periodical culture and its ability to shape aspects of society from the popular to the political, most studies have traditionally obscured the very active role women's voices and women readers played in shaping the periodicals that in turn shaped Britain. The 30 essays here demonstrate the importance of periodicals to women, the importance of women to periodicals, and, crucially, they correct the destructive misconception that the more canonized periodicals and popular magazines were enemy or discontinuous forms. This collection shows how both periodicals and women drove debates on politics, education, theatre, celebrity, social practice, popular reading and everyday life itself.

Of Levinas and Shakespeare

Of Levinas and Shakespeare:  To See Another Thus, edited by Moshe Gold, Sandor Goodhart, and Kent Lehnhof, Purdue University Press, 2018.

Scholars have used Levinas as a lens through which to view many authors and texts, fields of endeavor, and works of art. Yet no book-length work or dedicated volume has brought this thoughtful lens to bear in a sustained discussion of the works of Shakespeare. It should not surprise anyone that Levinas identified his own thinking as Shakespearean. "The play’s the thing" for both, or put differently, the observation of intersubjectivity is. What may surprise and indeed delight all learned readers is to consider what we might yet gain from considering each in light of the other.

2017

Callin a Wolf a Wolf

Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar, Alice James Books, 2017.

This highly-anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight.

Don Platt Man Praying

Donald Platt, Man Praying. (2017)

In his sixth book, Donald Platt starts a poem by exclaiming, “The days are one thousand / puzzle pieces.” He gathers up the days into this book of terrors and ecstasies decanted in seamlessly reversing tercets of long and short lines, syllabic couplets, and lyric prose. The puzzle pieces include a dying father-in-law, AIDS, maimed World War I veterans, Caravaggio’s painting of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (his largest canvas), and the story of a gay boxer who KOs and kills the opponent who has called him a faggot at the weigh-in. It is a book that encompasses contradictions. The poet writes about his bisexuality, his close and intimate marriage, Rudolf Nureyev, a daughter with manic depression, a painting by James Ensor entitled Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, and la Playa los Muertos, the Beach of the Dead in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The poet puts these fragments of a life together into a thousand-piece jigsaw, a self-portrait of the artist in middle age, and calls it unabashedly Man Praying.

Sharon Solwitz

Sharon Solwitz, Once, In Lourdes. (2017)

As the Vietnam War rages overseas, four friends make a vow. For the next two weeks, they will live for each other and for each day. Then, at the end of the two weeks, they will sacrifice themselves on the altar of their friendship.

In the two-week span in which the novel takes place, during the summer before their senior year of high school, the lives of Kay, CJ, Saint, and Vera will change beyond their expectations, and what they gain and lose will determine the novel’s outcome. Once, in Lourdes is a gripping, haunting novel about the power of teenage bonds, the story of four young people who will win your heart and transport you back to your own high school years. As the heady 1960s shift the ground beneath their feet, all of them must face who they are—and who they want to be.

The Little Death of Self

Marianne Boruch, The Little Death of Self: Nine Essays toward Poetry (2017).

The line between poetry (the delicate, surprising not-quite) and the essay (the emphatic what-about and so-there!) is thin, easily crossed. Both the poem and the essay work beyond a human sense of time. Both welcome a deep mulling-over, endlessly mixing image and idea and running with scissors; certainly each distrusts the notion of premise or formulaic progression. The essays in The Little Death of Self emerged by way of an odd detail or bothersome question that would not quit— Why does the self grow smaller as the poem grows enormous, or as quiet as a half-second of genuine discovery? Why does closure in a poem so often mean keep going, so what if the world is ending! Must we stalk the poem or does the poem stalk us until the world clicks open?

Future History

Kristina Bross, Future History: Global Fantasies in English and American Writings (2017).

Kristina Bross’s current book, Future History: Global Fantasies in English and American Writings, extends her interests in colonial identity, cultural contact, and archival theory to a study of how early modern English and American writers imagined themselves in the world before England was a global power. Reviewers praised Bross as “unusually good at engaging her sources,” noted that the book’s “disciplinarity is hard to pigeonhole,” and praised her book manuscript as “imaginative, exciting, and persuasive.”

Reimagining Environmental History

Christian Knoeller, Reading Environmental History: Ecological Memory in the Wake of Landscape Change (Forthcoming, October 2017).

Christian Knoeller presents a radical reinterpretation of environmental history set in the heartland of America. In an excellent model of narrative-based scholarship, this book dynamically reimagines American environmentalism across generations of writers, artists, and scientists. Knoeller starts out with Audubon, and cites Thoreau’s journals in the 1850s as he assesses an early 17th century account of New England’s natural resources by William Wood, showing the epic decline in game and bird populations in Concord. This reading of environmental history is replicated throughout with a gallery of novelists, poets, essayists, and other commentators as they explore ecological memory and environmental destruction. In apt discussions of Matthiessen, Lopez, Wendell Berry, William Stafford and many others, Knoeller offers vibrant insights into literary history. He also cites his own memoir of perpetual development on his family’s farm in Indiana, enriching the scholarship and making an urgent plea for the healing aesthetics of the imagination.
 
Reading across centuries and genres, Knoeller gives us a vibrant new appraisal of Midwestern/North American interior literary traditions and makes clear how vital environmental writing is to this region. To date, no one has written such an eloquent and comprehensive cross-genre analysis of Midwestern environmental literature.

Derek Pacheco

Derek Pacheco, Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America (paperback). 

Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America investigates an important moment in the history of professional authorship. Pacheco uses New England “literary reformers” Horace Mann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller to argue that writers came to see in educational reform, and the publication venues emerging in connection with it, a means to encourage popular authorship while validating literary work as a profession. Although today’s schools are staffed by systematically trained and institutionally sanctioned teachers, in the unregulated, decentralized world of antebellum America, literary men and women sought the financial stability of teaching while claiming it as moral grounds for the pursuit of greater literary fame.

Examining the ethically redemptive and potentially lucrative definition of antebellum author as educator, this book traces the way these literary reformers aimed not merely at social reform through literature but also at the reform of literature itself by employing a wide array of practices—authoring, editing, publishing, and distributing printed texts—brought together under the aegis of modern, democratic education.

Arcadia by Charles Ross

Charles Stanley Ross and Joel B. Davis, eds. Arcadia, A Romance, Sir Philip Sidney (2017).

“Ross and Davis have undertaken a daring venture: to “restore,” as they put it, the immense masterpiece of English Renaissance prose, Sidney’s Arcadia. Why, one might ask, should Sidney’s baroque syntax be made simpler and his archaic diction modernized? Because their complexity and unfamiliarity, after the lapse of some 400 years, has made the work all but unreadable, except by a small and steadily shrinking cohort of scholars. The choice is either pious oblivion or the kind of creative updating we routinely welcome in contemporary productions of Shakespeare. Ross and Davis want to give a new generation of readers access to a literary achievement of surpassing intelligence and beauty.”  —Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan Professor of English, Harvard University

 

2016

Boruch Eventually

Marianne Boruch, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing (2016).

A starred review in Library Journal says this about Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing: “Only a poet as accomplished as Boruch could make such beautiful verse while leading us through the everyday, of life’s subtle, steady shiftings (‘the bird’s hunger, seeking shape’). If the opening image of a pool filled with cruelly dredged up roses bespeaks quiet assent (‘I stood before them the way an animal/ accepts sun’), the next poem turns immediately to progress (and hence progression) as a modern invention beyond the heaven-and-hell alternatives; finally, the poet concedes, ‘I lose track of my transitions.’ In fact, transition defines us. Here, a static painting gives way to ‘between and among,’ a simple typeface never yields a perfect copy, and even in a medieval score, two exquisite quavers are connected by a slur. Highly recommended.”

Mama's Gun

Marlo David, Mama’s Gun: Black Maternal Figures and the Politics of Transgression (2016).

In Mama’s Gun: Black Maternal Figures and the Politics of Transgression, Marlo D. David identifies five bold, new archetypes of black motherhood for the post-civil rights generation in order to imagine new ways of thinking about pervasive maternal stereotypes of black women. Rather than avoiding “negative” images of black motherhood, such as welfare queens, teen mothers, and “baby mamas,” Mama’s Gun centralizes these dispossessed figures and renames them as the Young Mother, the Blues Mama, the Surrogate, Big Mama, and the Mothership.

Taking inspiration from African American fiction, historical accounts of black life, Afrofuturism, and black popular culture in music and on screen, David turns her attention to Sapphire’s Push, Octavia Butler’s Dawn, and Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body as well as the performance art of Erykah Badu and the films of Tyler Perry. She draws out the implications of black maternal figures in these texts who balk at tradition and are far from “ideal.”

Bodies of Modernism

Maren Linett, Bodies of Modernism: Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Literature (2016).

Bodies of Modernism brings a new and exciting analytical lens to modernist literature, that of critical disability studies. The book offers new readings of canonical and noncanonical writers from both sides of the Atlantic including Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bowen, Henry Green, Olive Moore, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, J. M. Synge, Florence Barclay, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Through readings of this wide range of texts and with chapters focusing on mobility impairments, deafness, blindness, and deformity, the study reveals both modernism’s skepticism about and dependence on fantasies of whole, “normal” bodies.

“A nuanced view of disability as it intertwines with modernist aesthetics. Linett concentrates on disabled protagonists but expands her study from mere character analysis to a thoroughgoing critique and understanding of modernism itself. An important contribution to the field of literary and disability studies.” — Lennard Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago

Not Born Digital

Daniel Morris, Not Born Digital: Poetics, Print Literacy, New Media (2016).

Not Born Digital addresses from multiple perspectives ? ethical, historical, psychological, conceptual, aesthetic ? the vexing problems and sublime potential of disseminating lyrics, the ancient form of transmission and preservation of the human voice, in an environment in which e-poetry and digitalized poetics pose a crisis (understood as opportunity and threat) to traditional page poetry.

Tornadoesque

Donald Platt, Tornadoesque (2016).

In his trademark alternating long and short lines, and in occasional lyric prose, Platt gives us Tornadoesque, a weather report from middle age. The poet discovers his bisexuality in a heterosexual marriage of longstanding passion and responds to war in the Middle East, the deaths and illnesses of friends, and a daughter’s bipolar condition. His book is an eyewitness account of where the tornado has touched down: what’s lost, what’s saved.

“Tornadoesque whirls with powerful and challenging images, always refusing to turn away from the unsettling while also refusing to treat those images as snapshots that can be experienced in isolation, outside of the intricacies of human desire and history. Donald Platt confronts with great honesty and
frankness the complexities of being a son, husband, and father within a world whose layers have been shaped by the visions of religion, politics, art, and dream. The scope of this collection is dazzling; each poem is both tapestry and journey.” — Mary Szybist

2015

Naratting 9/11

John Duvall and Robert Marzec (editors), Narrating 9/11: Fantasies of State, Security, and Terrorism (2015).

Narrating 9/11 challenges the notion that Americans have overcome the national trauma of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The volume responds to issues of war, surveillance, and the expanding security state, including the Bush Administration’s policies on preemptive war, extraordinary rendition, torture abroad, and the suspension of privacy rights and civil liberties at home.

Dino Felluga

Dino Felluga, Critical Theory: The Key Concepts (2015).

Critical Theory: The Key Concepts introduces over 300 widely-used terms, categories and ideas drawing upon well-established approaches like new historicism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and narratology as well as many new critical theories of the last twenty years such as Actor-Network Theory, Global Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Speculative Realism. This book explains the key concepts at the heart of a wide range of influential theorists from Agamben to Žižek.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen (editors), The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches (2015).

Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.

Lamb

Robert Lamb, The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers, paperback edition (2015).

In The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers, Robert Paul Lamb delivers a dazzling analysis of the craft of this influential writer. Lamb scrutinizes a selection of Hemingway’s exemplary stories to illuminate the author’s methods of construction and to show how craft criticism complements and enhances cultural literary studies. The Hemingway Short Story, the highly anticipated sequel to Lamb’s critically acclaimed Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story, reconciles the creative writer’s focus on art with the concerns of cultural critics, establishing the value that craft criticism holds for all readers.

Climate Change

Robert Marzec, Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security State (2015).

As the seriousness of climate change becomes more and more obvious, military institutions are responding by taking a prominent role in the governing of environmental concerns, engaging in “climate change war games,” and preparing for the effects of climate change—from conflicts due to loss of food, water, and energy to the mass migration of millions of people displaced by rising sea levels. This combat-oriented stance stems from a self-destructive pattern of thought that Robert P. Marzec names “environmentality,” an attitude that has been affecting human–environmental relations since the seventeenth century.

Hit Play

Daniel Morris, Hit Play (2015).

Maybe the title of this book isn’t the imperative it appears to be. I see it more as a generic tag. There is the passion play, agit-prop, dramatic monologue, and now the hit play, which in olden times we knew as a greatest hits collection. It s not that this isn’t a group of lyric poems, but the lyric here means to draw on the many subgenres of recent decades and compile them. Among them, Morris lays an emphasis on Flarf: a slight whiff of danger, a sense of dislocation, a riddled pop sensibility. Though you can locate the voice, that s all the more reason Hit Play is prone to the embattled questions of attribution and complicity that play out in lyric form every 100 years or so. Morris sweep is wider than pretty much anyone’s. It s the kind of book you d like to read on shuffle mode, if Morris hadn’t taken care of that for you at the outset. — Patrick Durgin

Manushag Powell

Manushag Powell and Frederick Burwick, British Pirates in Print and Performance (2015).

Fictional or real, pirates haunted the imagination of the 18th and 19th century-British public. British Pirates in Print and Performance explores representations of pirates through dozens of stage performances, including adaptations by Byron, Scott, and Cooper, in a period of maritime commerce, exploration, and naval conflict. Tracking the movement between the pirate on stage and the pirate in print, this book reveals the origins and dramatic developments of the signifiers that audiences attach to piracy, including pirate fashion (from peg-legs to parrots), the Jolly Roger, and walking the plank.

Authorship

Manushag Powell, Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals (2015).

Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century Periodicals discusses the English periodical and how it shapes and expresses early conceptions of authorship in the eighteenth century. Unique to the British eighteenth century, the periodical is of great value to scholars of English cultural studies because it offers a venue where authors hash out, often in extremely dramatic terms, what they think it should take to be a writer, what their relationship with their new mass-media audience ought to be, and what qualifications should act as gatekeepers to the profession. Exploring these questions in The Female Spectator, The Drury-Lane Journal, The Midwife, The World, The Covent-Garden Journal, and other periodicals of the early and mid-eighteenth century, Manushag Powell examines several “paper wars” waged between authors. At the height of their popularity, essay periodicals allowed professional writers to fashion and make saleable a new kind of narrative and performative literary personality, the eidolon, and arguably birthed a new cult of authorial personality. In Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century Periodicals, Powell argues that the coupling of persona and genre imposes a lifespan on the periodical text; the periodicals don’t only rise and fall, but are born, and in good time, they die.

 

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