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Faculty Books


Armstrong_Mapping Malory

Dorsey Armstrong and Kenneth Hodges, Mapping Malory: Regional Identities and National Geographies in Le Morte Darthur (2014). 

Medievalists are increasingly grappling with spatial studies. This timely book argues that geography is a crucial element in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur and contributors shine a light on questions of politics and genre to help readers better understand Malory’s world.


Marianne Boruch, Cadaver, Speak (2014).

Some books begin as a dare to the self. Marianne Boruch’s newest collection, Cadaver, Speak, is an unsettling double, a heart of two chambers. The first half is attuned to history—how time hits us, and grief—and to art and its making. The second half, the title sequence, is spoken by a ninety-nine-year-old who donated her body for dissection by medical students, a laboratory experience in which the poet, duly silenced, was privileged to take part. Born from lyric impulse, which is Boruch’s scalpel, her work examines love, death, beauty, and knowledge—the great subjects of poetry made new by a riveting reimagining.


Kristina Bross, Little Else Than a Memory:  Purdue Students Search for the Class of 1904 (2014).

Completely produced by students in the Purdue University Honors College, this book contains ten essays by undergraduate students of today about their forebears in the class of 1904. Two Purdue faculty members have provided a contextualizing introduction and reflective epilogue. Not only are the biographical essays written by students, but the editing, typesetting, and design of this book were also the work of Purdue freshmen and sophomores, participants in an honors course in publishing who were supervised by the staff of Purdue University Press. Through their individual studies, the authors of the biographies inside this book were led in interesting and very different directions. From a double-name conundrum to intimate connections with their subjects’ kin, their archival research was rife with unexpected twists and turns


Angelica Duran and Yuhan Huang (Editors),  Mo Yan in Context:  Nobel Laureate and Global Storyteller (2014).

In 2012 the Swedish Academy announced that Mo Yan had received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work that “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history, and the contemporary.” The announcement marked the first time a resident of mainland China had ever received the award. This is the first English-language study of the Chinese writer’s work and influence, featuring essays from scholars in a range of disciplines, from both China and the United States. Its introduction, twelve articles, and epilogue aim to deepen and widen critical discussions of both a specific literary author and the globalization of Chinese literature more generally.


Angelica Duran, The King James Bible across Borders and Centuries (2014).

“The topics are wide-ranging and should appeal to a variety of interests, running the gamut from linguistic to cultural studies, with chapters categorized under the headings ‘Transforming,’ ‘Extending,’ and ‘Appropriating.’ As the volume makes clear, the protean nature of the King James Version promises to make it a worthy subject of research, perhaps even for another 400 years.”—Sixteenth Century Journal


Sandor Goodhart, The Prophetic Law: Essays in Judaism, Girardianism, Literary Studies, and the Ethical (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture), 2014. 

To read literature is to read the way literature reads. René Girard’s immense body of work supports this thesis bountifully. Whether engaging the European novel, ancient Greek tragedy, Shakespeare’s plays, or Jewish and Christian scripture, Girard teaches us to read prophetically, not by offering a method he has developed, but by presenting the methodologies they have developed, the interpretative readings already available within (and constitutive of) such bodies of classical writing. In The Prophetic Law, literary scholar, theorist, and critic Sandor Goodhart divides his essays on René Girard since 1983 into four groupings. In three, he addresses Girardian concerns with Biblical scripture (Genesis and Exodus), literature (the European novel and Shakespeare), and philosophy and religious studies issues (especially ethical and Jewish subject matters). In a fourth section, he reproduces some of the polemical exchanges in which he has participated with others—including René Girard himself—as part of what could justly be deemed Jewish-Christian dialogue. The twelve texts that make up the heart of this captivating volume constitute the bulk of the author’s writings to date on Girard outside of his three previous books on Girardian topics. Taken together, they offer a comprehensive engagement with Girard’s sharpest and most original literary, anthropological, and scriptural insights.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston, Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England (2014).

Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England offers a new history of Middle English romance, the most popular genre of secular literature in the English Middle Ages. Michael Johnston argues that many of the romances composed in England from 1350-1500 arose in response to the specific socio-economic concerns of the gentry, the class of English landowners who lacked titles of nobility and hence occupied the lower rungs of the aristocracy. The end of the fourteenth century in England witnessed power devolving to the gentry, who became one of the dominant political and economic forces in provincial society. As Johnston demonstrates, this social change also affected England’s literary culture, particularly the composition and readership of romance. Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England identifies a series of new topoi in Middle English that responded to the gentry’s economic interests. But beyond social history and literary criticism, it also speaks to manuscript studies, showing that most of the codices of the “gentry romances” were produced by those in the immediate employ of the gentry. By bringing together literary criticism and manuscript studies, this book speaks to two scholarly communities often insulated from one another: it invites manuscript scholars to pay closer attention to the cultural resonances of the texts within medieval codices; simultaneously, it encourages literary scholars to be more attentive to the cultural resonances of surviving medieval codices.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston and Susanna Fein (editors), Robert Thornton and his Books (2014).

The Yorkshire landowner Robert Thornton (c.1397- c.1465) copied the contents of two important manuscripts, Lincoln Cathedral, MS 91 (the “Lincoln manuscript”), and London, British Library, MS Additional 31042 (the “London manuscript”) in the middle decades of the fifteenth century. Viewed in combination, his books comprise a rare repository of varied English and Latin literary, religious and medical texts that survived the dissolution of the monasteries, when so many other medieval books were destroyed. Residing in the texts he copied and used are many indicators of what this gentleman scribe of the North Riding read, how he practised his religion, and what worldly values he held for himself and his family. Because of the extraordinary nature of his collected texts – Middle English romances, alliterative verse (the alliterative Morte Arthure only exists here), lyrics and treatises of religion or medicine – editors and scholars have long been deeply interested in uncovering Thornton’s habits as a private, amateur scribe. The essays collected here provide, for the first time, a sustained, focussed light on Thornton and his books. They examine such matters as what Thornton as a scribe made, how he did it, and why he did it, placing him in a wider context and looking at the contents of the manuscripts.

Al Lopez

Alfred Lopez, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life (2014).

In José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, Alfred J. López presents the definitive biography of the Cuban patriot and martyr. Writing from a nonpartisan perspective and drawing on years of research using original Cuban and U.S. sources, including materials never before used in a Martí biography, López strips away generations of mythmaking and portrays Martí as Cuba’s greatest founding father and one of Latin America’s literary and political giants, without suppressing his public missteps and personal flaws. In a lively account that engrosses like a novel, López traces the full arc of Martí’s eventful life, from his childhood and adolescence in Cuba, to his first exile and subsequent life in Spain, Mexico City, and Guatemala, through his mature revolutionary period in New York City and much-mythologized death in Cuba on the battlefield at Dos Ríos. The first major biography of Martí in over half a century and the first ever in English, José Martí is the most substantial examination of Martí’s life and work ever published.


Robyn Malo, Relics and Writing in Late Medieval England (2014).

Relics and Writing in Late Medieval England uncovers a wide-ranging medieval discourse that had an expansive influence on English literary traditions. Drawing from Latin and vernacular hagiography, miracle stories, relic lists, and architectural history, this study demonstrates that, as the shrines of England’s major saints underwent dramatic changes from c. 1100 to c. 1538, relic discourse became important not only in constructing the meaning of objects that were often hidden, but also for canonical authors like Chaucer and Malory in exploring the function of metaphor and of dissembling language

Venetria Patton

Venetria Patton, Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, second edition (2014).

With chapters that address literary and social movements, questions of identity, the geopolitical aspects of American literature, and classroom approaches, Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, Second Edition, provides an overview of changes in the field of American literary studies and a survey of its popular themes. The twenty-seven readings include important scholarship, critical essays, and practical ideas from working teachers. This professional resource offers support to instructors using The Bedford Anthology of American Literature.

James Saunders

James Saunders, Tightrope Walk: Identity, Survival and the Corporate World in African American Literature (2014).

“Examines the challenges faced by blacks working in predominantly white corporations, through the perspective of African American writers who have chronicled the struggle.” — Reference & Research Book News.

James Saunders

James Saunders, Howard Frank Mosher and the Classics: Echoes in the Vermont Writer’s Works (2014).

Howard Frank Mosher has spent the greater part of his career depicting a relatively isolated section of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom. Yet, even as he writes about that particular area in the Green Mountain State, he is investigating age-old themes from among the best English and American literary works. His first novel, Disappearances (1977), signaled the arrival of a master craftsman harkening us back to Melville’s Billy Budd and Moby-Dick, in terms of humankind’s struggle against an ever present evil.