Literary Criticis

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American Pulp

$29.95

A richly illustrated cultural history of the midcentury pulp paperback

There is real hope for a culture that makes it as easy to buy a book as it does a pack of cigarettes.--a civic leader quoted in a New American Library ad (1951)

American Pulp tells the story of the midcentury golden age of pulp paperbacks and how they brought modernism to Main Street, democratized literature and ideas, spurred social mobility, and helped readers fashion new identities. Drawing on extensive original research, Paula Rabinowitz unearths the far-reaching political, social, and aesthetic impact of the pulps between the late 1930s and early 1960s.

Published in vast numbers of titles, available everywhere, and sometimes selling in the millions, pulps were throwaway objects accessible to anyone with a quarter. Conventionally associated with romance, crime, and science fiction, the pulps in fact came in every genre and subject. American Pulp tells how these books ingeniously repackaged highbrow fiction and nonfiction for a mass audience, drawing in readers of every kind with promises of entertainment, enlightenment, and titillation. Focusing on important episodes in pulp history, Rabinowitz looks at the wide-ranging effects of free paperbacks distributed to World War II servicemen and women; how pulps prompted important censorship and First Amendment cases; how some gay women read pulp lesbian novels as how-to-dress manuals; the unlikely appearance in pulp science fiction of early representations of the Holocaust; how writers and artists appropriated pulp as a literary and visual style; and much more. Examining their often-lurid packaging as well as their content, American Pulp is richly illustrated with reproductions of dozens of pulp paperback covers, many in color.

A fascinating cultural history, American Pulp will change the way we look at these ephemeral yet enduringly intriguing books.

-- "Kirkus Reviews"
ISBN/SKU: 
9780691150604
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Animal Claim: Sensibility and the Creaturely Voice

$30.00
During the eighteenth century, some of the most popular British poetry showed a responsiveness to animals that anticipated the later language of animal rights. Such poems were widely cited in later years by legislators advocating animal welfare laws like Martin's Act of 1822, which provided protections for livestock. In The Animal Claim, Tobias Menely links this poetics of sensibility with Enlightenment political philosophy, the rise of the humanitarian public, and the fate of sentimentality, as well as longstanding theoretical questions about voice as a medium of communication.

In the Restoration and eighteenth century, philosophers emphasized the role of sympathy in collective life and began regarding the passionate expression humans share with animals, rather than the spoken or written word, as the elemental medium of community. Menely shows how poetry came to represent this creaturely voice and, by virtue of this advocacy, facilitated the development of a viable discourse of animal rights in the emerging public sphere. Placing sensibility in dialogue with classical and early-modern antecedents as well as contemporary animal studies, The Animal Claim uncovers crucial connections between eighteenth-century poetry; theories of communication; and post-absolutist, rights-based politics.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780226239392
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Clayton Eshleman: The Whole Art

$25.00
As a poet, translator, and editor, Clayton Eshleman has been a singularly seminal and synergetic force in American poetry for fifty years. His magazines Caterpillar and Sulfur served as experimental open sites, soundboards and repositories for the poetry and arts from the 1960s to the turn of the millennium.This wide-ranging anthology includes new and classic essays on key aspects of Eshleman's life as a poet, translator and editor by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Pierre Joris, Andrew Joron, Robert Kelly, Herbert Lust, David MacLagan, Eric Mottram, John Olson, Jerome Rothenberg, Kenneth Warren, and Eliot Weinberger, among others
ISBN/SKU: 
9780985612252
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Cultural Criticism in Egyptian Women's Writing

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$29.84

The five iinfluential women writers discussed in Seymour-Jorn's timely work--Salwa Bakr, Nemat el-Behairy, Radwa Ashour, Etidal Osman, and Ibtihal Salem--all emerged on the literary scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They came of age at a time when women's writing was attracting critical attention and more venues for publication were opening up. This widening platform enabled these writers to develop and mature as cultural critics, resulting in the creation of a successful blend of politically and socially committed literature with artistically innovative literary techniques.

Artfully combining literary analysis with ethnographic research, Seymour-Jorn explores the ways in which these writers generate new patterns of thinking and talking about women, society, and social change. She describes how the writers conceive of their role as authors, particularly as female authors, and how they refigure the Arabic language to express themselves as women. By examining these authors' works and lives, Seymour-Jorn illuminates the extent to which writing brings women into the public sphere, an arena in which they have traditionally had limited access to positions of power and authority.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780815632863
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Epic Continent

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$14.99

Selected as one of NPR's Best Books of 2019

Selected by National Geographic as one of 12 "great books for travelers this holiday season"

'The prose is colourful and vigorous ... Jubber's journeying has indeed been epic, in scale and in ambition. In this thoughtful travelogue he has woven together colourful ancient and modern threads into a European tapestry that combines the sombre and the sparkling' Spectator
'A genuine epic' Wanderlust

Award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber journeys across Europe exploring Europe's epic poems, from the Odyssey to Beowulf, the Song of Roland to theNibelungenlied, and their impact on European identity in these turbulent times.

These are the stories that made Europe.

Journeying from Turkey to Iceland, award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber takes us on a fascinating adventure through our continent's most enduring epic poems to learn how they were shaped by their times, and how they have since shaped us.

The great European epics were all inspired by moments of seismic change: The Odyssey tells of the aftermath of the Trojan War, the primal conflict from which much of European civilisation was spawned. The Song of the Nibelungen tracks the collapse of a Germanic kingdom on the edge of the Roman Empire. Both the French Song of Roland and the Serbian Kosovo Cycleemerged from devastating conflicts between Christian and Muslim powers. Beowulf, the only surviving Old English epic, and the great Icelandic Saga of Burnt Njal, respond to times of great religious struggle - the shift from paganism to Christianity. These stories have stirred passions ever since they were composed, motivating armies and revolutionaries, and they continue to do so today.

Reaching back into the ancient and medieval eras in which these defining works were produced, and investigating their continuing influence today, Epic Continent explores how matters of honour, fundamentalism, fate, nationhood, sex, class and politics have preoccupied the people of Europe across the millennia. In these tales soaked in blood and fire, Nicholas Jubber discovers how the world of gods and emperors, dragons and water-maidens, knights and princesses made our own: their deep impact on European identity, and their resonance in our turbulent times.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781529336450
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Far Country

$23.00

The influential and controversial critic takes literary history out of the classroom and into the public

In the field of literary history and theory, Franco Moretti is synonymous with innovation. The cofounder of the Stanford Literary Lab, he brought quantitative methods into the study of the novel, enabling a "distant" reading that uses computation to analyze literary production over centuries. But at the same time, he was also teaching undergraduates the history of literature. Knowing Moretti, it's no surprise that he didn't teach the course the accepted way: one author after another, in a long uninterrupted chain. Instead, he put an irregular chessboard in front of his students that was too strange to be taken for granted. Literary history had become a problem, and he offered a solution.

In Far Country, Moretti take these lectures out of the classroom and lets us share in the passion and excitement that comes from radical critique. Unconstrained by genre, Moretti juxtaposes Whitman and Baudelaire, the Western and film noir, even Rembrandt and Warhol, illuminating each through their opposition. With his guidance, we revel in the process of transformation--the earthquakes that shook the "how" of artistic form--and begin to shape a new view on American culture.

Bracing in its insight and provocative in its conclusions, Far Country is a critical look at the development of American cultural hegemony.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374272708
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Lit from Within: Contemporary Masters on the Art and Craft of Writing

$19.95

A Choice Significant University Press Title for Undergraduates, 2010-11.
Ranked "Outstanding" in the 2012 University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries listing.

Lit from Within offers creative writers a window into the minds of some of America's most celebrated contemporary authors. Witty, direct, and thought-provoking, these essays offer something to creative writers of all backgrounds and experience. With contributions from fiction writers, poets, and nonfiction writers, this is a collection of unusual breadth and quality.

Contributors: Lee K. Abbott, Rick Bass, Claire Bateman, Charles Baxter, Ron Carlson, Billy Collins, Peter Ho Davies, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dunn, Robin Hemley, Tony Hoagland, David Kirby, Maggie Nelson, Francine Prose, Mary Ruefle

ISBN/SKU: 
9780821419489
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MADWOMAN IN THE ATTIC : THE WOMAN WRITER

$25.00
An analysis of Victorian women writers, this pathbreaking book of feminist literary criticism is now reissued with a substantial new introduction by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar that reveals the origins of their revolutionary realization in the 1970s that "the personal was the political, the sexual was the textual."

"The classic argument for a women's literary tradition."--Scott Heller, Chronicle of Higher Education

"The authors force us to take a new look at the grandes dames of English literature, and the result is that they will never seem quite the same again."--Le Anne Schreiber, New York Times Book Review

"Imperative reading."--Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Washington Post Book World

"A masterpiece."--Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The Madwoman in the Attic, The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century, originally published in 1979, has long since become a classic, one of the most important works of literary criticism of the 20th century. This new edition contains an introduction titled 'The Madwoman in the Academy' that is, quite simply, a delight to read, warmly witty, provocative, informative and illuminating."--Joyce Carol Oates, Princeton University

"A groundbreaking study of women writers. . . . The book brought the concerns of feminism to the study of female writers and presented the case for the existence of a distinctly feminine imagination."--Martin Arnold, The New York Times

"The authors are brilliant academics but they wear their erudition lightly. It remains imperative reading for those who want to understand better the grandes dames of English literature, and is still one of the most powerful pieces of writing from a feminist point of view. Argumentative, polemical, witty and thought-provoking, this is a book which will make the reader return to the original texts." --Yorkshire Post (Leeds)

"A feminist classic and still one of the best books on the female Victorian writers."--Judith Shulevitz, New York Times Book Review
ISBN/SKU: 
9780300084580
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Making Make-Believe Real: Politics as Theater in Shakespeare's Time

$20.00
A penetrating study of the images, symbols, pageants, and creative performances ambitious Elizabethans used to secure political power

Shakespeare's plays abound with kings and leaders who crave a public stage and seize every opportunity to make their lives a performance: Antony, Cleopatra, Richard III, Othello, and many others. Such self-dramatizing characters appear in the work of other playwrights of the era as well, Marlowe's Edward II and Tamburlaine among them. But Elizabethan playwrights were not alone in realizing that a sense of theater was essential to the exercise of power. Real rulers knew it, too, and none better than Queen Elizabeth. In this fascinating study of political stagecraft in the Elizabethan era, Garry Wills explores a period of vast cultural and political change during which the power of make-believe to make power real was not just a theory but an essential truth.

Wills examines English culture as Catholic Christianity's rituals were being overturned and a Protestant queen took the throne. New iconographies of power were necessary for the new Renaissance liturgy to displace the medieval church-state. The author illuminates the extensive imaginative constructions that went into Elizabeth's reign and the explosion of great Tudor and Stuart drama that provided the imaginative power to support her long and successful rule.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780300212716
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Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

$16.95

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Anne Boyd Rioux brings a fresh and engaging look at the circumstances leading Louisa May Alcott to write Little Women and why this beloved story of family and community ties set in the Civil War has resonated with audiences across time.

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9780393357271
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Ministry of Truth

$17.00
"Rich and compelling. . .Lynskey's account of the reach of 1984 is revelatory."
--George Packer, The Atlantic

An authoritative, wide-ranging, and incredibly timely history of 1984--its literary sources, its composition by Orwell, its deep and lasting effect on the Cold War, and its vast influence throughout world culture at every level, from high to pop.

1984 isn't just a novel; it's a key to understanding the modern world. George Orwell's final work is a treasure chest of ideas and memes--Big Brother, the Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak, 2+2=5--that gain potency with every year. Particularly in 2016, when the election of Donald Trump made it a bestseller ("Ministry of Alternative Facts," anyone?). Its influence has morphed endlessly into novels (The Handmaid's Tale), films (Brazil), television shows (V for Vendetta), rock albums (Diamond Dogs), commercials (Apple), even reality TV (Big Brother). The Ministry of Truth is the first book that fully examines the epochal and cultural event that is 1984 in all its aspects: its roots in the utopian and dystopian literature that preceded it; the personal experiences in wartime Great Britain that Orwell drew on as he struggled to finish his masterpiece in his dying days; and the political and cultural phenomena that the novel ignited at once upon publication and that far from subsiding, have only grown over the decades. It explains how fiction history informs fiction and how fiction explains history.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780525563723
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Nearest Thing to Life

$19.95
In this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism, James Wood, the noted contributor to the New Yorker, has written a master class on the connections between fiction and life. He argues that of all the arts, fiction has a unique ability to describe the shape of our lives and to rescue the texture of those lives from death and historical oblivion. The act of reading is understood here as the most sacred and personal of activities, and there are brilliant discussions of individual works--among others, Chekhov's story "The Kiss," The Emigrants, by W. G. Sebald, and The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald. Wood reveals his own intimate relationship with the written word: we see the development of a boy from the provinces growing up in a charged Christian environment, the secret joy of his childhood reading, the links he draws between reading and blasphemy, or between literature and music. The final section discusses fiction in the context of exile and homelessness. More than a tightly argued little book by a man commonly regarded as our finest living critic, The Nearest Thing to Life is an exhilarating personal account that reflects on, and embodies, the fruitful conspiracy between reader and writer (and critic), and asks us to reconsider everything that is at stake when we read and write fiction.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781611687422
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New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families

$16.00
Novelist and critic Colm Tóibín provides "a fascinating exploration of writers and their families" (Entertainment Weekly) and "an excellent guide through the dark terrain of unconscious desires" (The Evening Standard) in this brilliant collection of essays that explore the relationships of writers to their families and their work.

Novelist and critic Colm Tóibín explores the relationships of writers with their families and their work in the brilliant, nuanced, and wholly original New Ways to Kill Your Mother.

Tóibín--celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and his provocative book reviews and essays--traces the intriguing, often twisted family ties of writers in the books they leave behind.

Through the relationship between W. B. Yeats and his father, Thomas Mann and his children, Jane Austen and her aunts, and Tennessee Williams and his sister, Tóibín examines a world of relations, richly comic or savage in their implications. Acutely perceptive and imbued with rare tenderness and wit, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a fascinating look at writers' most influential bonds and a secret key to understanding and enjoying their work.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781451668568
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PROGRAM ERA

$21.00

In The Program Era, Mark McGurl offers a fundamental reinterpretation of postwar American fiction, asserting that it can be properly understood only in relation to the rise of mass higher education and the creative writing program. McGurl asks both how the patronage of the university has reorganized American literature and--even more important--how the increasing intimacy of writing and schooling can be brought to bear on a reading of this literature.

McGurl argues that far from occasioning a decline in the quality or interest of American writing, the rise of the creative writing program has instead generated a complex and evolving constellation of aesthetic problems that have been explored with energy and at times brilliance by authors ranging from Flannery O'Connor to Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toni Morrison.

Through transformative readings of these and many other writers, The Program Era becomes a meditation on systematic creativity--an idea that until recently would have seemed a contradiction in terms, but which in our time has become central to cultural production both within and beyond the university.

An engaging and stylishly written examination of an era we thought we knew, The Program Era will be at the center of debates about postwar literature and culture for years to come.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780674062092
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Saddest Words: William Faulkner's Civil War

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$29.95

William Faulkner, one of America's most iconic writers, is an author who defies easy interpretation. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such classic novels as Absolom, Absolom! and The Sound and The Fury, creating in Yoknapatawpha county one of the most memorable gallery of characters ever assembled in American literature. Yet, as acclaimed literary critic Michael Gorra explains, Faulkner has sustained justified criticism for his failures of racial nuance--his ventriloquism of black characters and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed South--demanding that we reevaluate the Nobel laureate's life and legacy in the twenty-first century, as we reexamine the junctures of race and literature in works that once rested firmly in the American canon.

Interweaving biography, literary criticism, and rich travelogue, The Saddest Words argues that even despite these contradictions--and perhaps because of them--William Faulkner still needs to be read, and even more, remains central to understanding the contradictions inherent in the American experience itself. Evoking Faulkner's biography and his literary characters, Gorra illuminates what Faulkner maintained was "the South's curse and its separate destiny," a class and racial system built on slavery that was devastated during the Civil War and was reimagined thereafter through the South's revanchism. Driven by currents of violence, a "Lost Cause" romanticism not only defined Faulkner's twentieth century but now even our own age.

Through Gorra's critical lens, Faulkner's mythic Yoknapatawpha County comes alive as his imagined land finds itself entwined in America's history, the characters wrestling with the ghosts of a past that refuses to stay buried, stuck in an unending cycle between those two saddest words, "was" and "again." Upending previous critical traditions, The Saddest Words returns Faulkner to his sociopolitical context, revealing the civil war within him and proving that "the real war lies not only in the physical combat, but also in the war after the war, the war over its memory and meaning."

Filled with vignettes of Civil War battles and generals, vivid scenes from Gorra's travels through the South--including Faulkner's Oxford, Mississippi--and commentaries on Faulkner's fiction, The Saddest Words is a mesmerizing work of literary thought that recontextualizes Faulkner in light of the most plangent cultural issues facing America today.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781631491702
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The Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetry: Poems, Poets, Process

$26.95

The venture of this inviting collection is to look, from the many vantages that the 35 poets in this eclectic anthology chose to look, at what it was--knowing that a poem can't be conceived in advance of its creation--that helped their poems to emerge or connected them over time. The Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetrypermits an inside view of how poets outwit internal censors and habits of thought, showing how the meticulous and the spontaneous come together in the process of discovery. Within are contained the work and thoughts of:

  • Betty Adcock
  • Joan Aleshire
  • Debra Allbery
  • Elizabeth Arnold
  • David Baker
  • Rick Barot
  • Marianne Boruch
  • Karen Brennan
  • Gabrielle Calvocoressi
  • Michael Collier
  • Carl Dennis
  • Stuart Dischell
  • Roger Fanning
  • Chris Forhan
  • Reginald Gibbons
  • Linda Gregerson
  • Jennifer Grotz
  • Brooks Haxton
  • Tony Hoagland
  • Mark Jarman
  • A. Van Jordan
  • Laura Kasischke
  • Mary Leader
  • Dana Levin
  • James Longenbach
  • Thomas Lux
  • Maurice Manning
  • Heather McHugh
  • Martha Rhodes
  • Alan Shapiro
  • Daniel Tobin
  • Ellen Bryant Voigt
  • Alan Williamson
  • Eleanor Wilner
  • C. Dale Young
  • ISBN/SKU: 
    9780472052035
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    What to Read and Why

    $23.99

    In this brilliant collection, the follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer, the distinguished novelist, literary critic, and essayist celebrates the pleasures of reading and pays homage to the works and writers she admires above all others, from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to Jennifer Egan and Roberto Bolaño.

    In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose's previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers like Diane Arbus.

    Prose considers why the works of literary masters such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen have endured, and shares intriguing insights about modern authors whose words stimulate our minds and enlarge our lives, including Roberto Bolaño, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jennifer Egan, and Mohsin Hamid. Prose implores us to read Mavis Gallant for her marvelously rich and compact sentences, and her meticulously rendered characters who reveal our flawed and complex human nature; Edward St. Aubyn for his elegance and sophisticated humor; and Mark Strand for his gift for depicting unlikely transformations. Here, too, are original pieces in which Prose explores the craft of writing: On Clarity and What Makes a Short Story.

    Written with her sharp critical analysis, wit, and enthusiasm, What to Read and Why is a celebration of literature that will give readers a new appreciation for the power and beauty of the written word.

    --Kirkus Reviews
    ISBN/SKU: 
    9780062397867
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    William H. Gass Reader

    $20.00
    Throughout his career, William Gass relentlessly pushed at the boundaries of language, celebrating the music of the sentence and the aesthetics of the written word. Now, the best and most important of his work is collected in one volume. There are essays on Plato, Hobbes, James, Joyce, Beckett, Stein, Gaddis, Sterne, Ford Madox Ford, Thomas Mann. There are pieces that examine the inner workings of writing. There is his masterful short fiction, from the perfectly crafted novella "In Camera" to the mythical "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country." And there are excerpts from his novels, including his magnum opus, The Tunnel. Taken together, this collection is a peerless, essential celebration of literature--and an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to understand how great writing works.
    ISBN/SKU: 
    9781101873342
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