Uneasy Alliance

Twentieth-Century American Literature, Culture and Biography

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Uneasy Alliance illuminates the recent search in literary studies for a new interface between textual and contextual readings. Written in tribute to G.A.M. Janssens, the twenty-one essays in the volume exemplify a renewed awareness of the paradoxical nature of literary texts both as works of literary art and as documents embedded in and functioning within a writer’s life and culture. Together they offer fresh and often interdisciplinary perspectives on twentieth-century American writers of more or less established status (Henry James, Edna St. Vincent Millay, E.E. Cummings, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, Saul Bellow, Michael Ondaatje, Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros) as well as on those who, for reasons of fashion, politics, ideology, or gender, have been unduly neglected (Booth Tarkington, Julia Peterkin, Robert Coates, Martha Gellhorn, Isabella Gardner, Karl Shapiro, the young Jewish-American writers, Julia Alvarez, and writers of popular crime and detective fiction). Exploring the fruitful interactions and uneasy alliance between literature and ethics, film, biography, gender studies, popular culture, avant-garde art, urban studies, anthropology and multicultural studies, together these essays testify to the ongoing pertinence of an approach to literature that is undogmatic, sensitive and sophisticated and that seeks to do justice to the complex interweavings of literature, culture and biography in twentieth-century American writing.

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”…enjoyable and enlightening reads….in the breadth and variety and quality of its contents, Hans Bak and his team have ample reason to be proud of their achievement.” in: American Studies in Scandinavia, Vol. 37:1, 2005, pp.98-101
Preface
Gert BUELENS: Metaphor, Metonymy, and Ethics in The Portrait of a Lady
Peter RIETBERGEN: A Variety of Ambersons: Re-reading Booth Tarkington’s and Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons
Gonny van BEEK-van OVERBEEK: Stepping Through a Looking-Glass: The Worlds of Julia Peterkin (1880-1961)
C.C. BARFOOT: Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Sonnets: Putting “Chaos into Fourteen Lines”
Edward MARGOLIES: Portraits of Gotham: Twentieth-Century American Culture and the Writers of New York City
Mathilde ROZA: American Literary Modernisms, Popular Culture and Metropolitan Mass Life: The Early Fiction of Robert M. Coates
Richard S. KENNEDY: E.E. Cummings and Marion Morehouse: The Later Years
Inez HOLLANDER-LAKE: Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998): Femme Fatale of American Letters
Susan CASTILLO: Reading Signs: Epistemological Uncertainty and the Southern Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood
Diederik OOSTDIJK: “How Rough Can Editors Be?”: Conrad Aiken, Edward Dahlberg, and Karl Shapiro in a Literary Row
Marian JANSSEN: Postillion for Pegasus: Isabella Gardner and Poetry
Jaap van der BENT: Nabokov’s Unwanted Children: Lolita and the Writers of the Olympia Press
René VERWAAIJEN: The Almighty’s Own Purposes: Alfred Kazin’s God and the American Writer
Jan BAKKER: Saul Bellow and the Actual
Derek RUBIN: Between Prominence and Obscurity: Jewish-American Writers at the Center of a Decentralized Literature
Kathleen M. ASHLEY: Toni Morrison’s Tricksters
Hans BAK: Site of Passage: The City as a Place of Exile in Contemporary North-American Multicultural Literature
Mary A. McCAY: Sandra Cisneros: Crossing Borders
Loes NAS: Border Crossings in Latina Narrative: Julia Alvarez’ How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
Theo D’HAEN: Stalking Multiculturalism: Historical Sleuths at the End of the Twentieth Century
Hans BERTENS: The English Tradition in Contemporary American Crime Fiction
Notes on Contributors
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