Faculty Books


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.

Powell

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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