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Edited by Reine Dugas Bouton

Presenting the first full-length collection of essays on Eudora Welty’s novel, Delta Wedding (1946), this volume is the fourth book in Rodopi Press’s Dialogue Series. Within these pages, emerging and experienced literary critics engage in an exciting dialogue about Welty’s noted novel, presenting a wide range of scholarship that focuses on feminist concerns, pays tribute to the rhetoric of exclusion and empowerment, examines the role of outsider and boundaries, explores meaning-making, and highlights the novel’s humor and musicality. This volume will no doubt be of interest to Welty aficianados as well as southern studies and feminist scholars and to those who are interested in the craft of writing fiction.

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Brian Duffy

Morality, Identity and Narrative in the Fiction of Richard Ford is only the second monograph on the work of Richard Ford and the only one to deal with all three Frank Bascombe novels. The book offers comprehensive readings of the trilogy and the stories of Women with Men and A Multitude of Sins, thus bringing critical work on Ford up to date. Richard Ford insists that fiction contain a “moral vision”, and this study takes up that challenge by investigating Ford’s characters through the interconnections of morality, identity and narrative. It draws on the moral theories of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, and on the work on narrative and identity of French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. But it also explores in detail the portrait of contemporary American society and culture offered in the trilogy, analysing the individualism, exclusionary independence and laissez-faire principles of Independence Day, and the consumerism, sectionalism, self-absorption, enervation and violence of The Lay of the Land. This study traces the emerging vision in the trilogy of America as an atomized society in a state of disharmony and fear, and as a culture casting around for meaning, identity and spiritual peace. The book also contains an extensive recent interview with Richard Ford.

Threshold Time

Passage of Crisis in Chicano Literature

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Lene M. Johannessen

Threshold Time provides an introductory survey of the cultural, social and political history of Mexican American and Chicano literature, as well as new in-depth analyses of a selection of works that between them span a hundred years of this particular branch of American literature. The book begins its explorations of the “passage of crisis” with Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don, continues with Americo Paredes’ George Washington Gómez, Tomás Rivera’s … And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, and ends with Helena María Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus and Benjamin Alire Sáenz’ Carry Me Like Water. In order to do justice to the idiosyncrasies of the individual texts and the complexities they embrace, the analyses refer to a number of other texts belonging to the tradition, and draw on a wide range of theoretical approaches. The final chapter of Threshold Time brings the various readings together in a discussion circumscribed by the negotiations of a temporality that is strongly aligned with a sense of memory peculiar to the history of the Chicano presence in the United States of America.

"After thirty Falls"

New Essays on John Berryman

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Edited by Nils Philip Coleman and Philip McGowan

Prefaced by an account of the early days of Berryman studies by bibliographer and scholar Richard J. Kelly, “ After thirty Falls” is the first collection of essays to be published on the American poet John Berryman (1914-1972) in over a decade. The book seeks to provoke new interest in this important figure with a group of original essays and appraisals by scholars from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States. Exploring such areas as the poet’s engagements with Shakespeare and the American sonnet tradition, his use of the Trickster figure and the idea of performance in his poetics, it expands the interpretive framework by which Berryman may be evaluated and studied, and it will be of interest to students of modern American poetry at all levels. What makes the collection particularly valuable is its inclusion of previously unpublished material – including a translation of a poem by Catullus and excerpts from the poet’s detailed notes on the life of Christ – thereby providing new contexts for future assessments of Berryman’s contribution to the development of poetry, poetics, and the relationship between scholarship and other forms of writing in the twentieth century.

Modernism Revisited

Transgressing Boundaries and Strategies of Renewal in American Poetry

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Edited by Viorica Patea and Paul Scott Derrick

Offering essays from some of the leading academic writers and younger scholars in the field of American studies from both the United States and Europe, this volume constitutes a rich and varied reconsideration of Modernist American poetry. Its contributions fall into two general categories: new and original discussions of many of the principal figures of the movement (Frost, Pound, Eliot, Williams, Cummings and Stevens) and reflections on the phenomenon of Modernism within a broader cultural context (the influence of Haiku, parallels and connections with Surrealism, responses to the Modernist accomplishment by later American poets). Because of its mixture of European and American perspectives, Modernism Revisited will be of vital interest to students and scholars of American literature and Modernism in general and of twentieth-century comparative literature and art.

'Relations Stop Nowhere'

The Common Literary Foundations of German and American Literature 1830-1917

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Hugh Ridley

This book attempts for the first time a comparative literary history of Germany and the USA in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its material does not come from the familiar overlaps of individual German and American writers, but from the work of the literary historians of the two countries after 1815, when American intellectuals took Germany as a model for their project to create an American national literature. The first part of the book examines fundamental structural affinities between the two literary histories and the common problems these caused, especially in questions of canon, realism, aesthetics and in the marginalization of popular and women’s writing. In the second part, significant figures whose work straddle the two literatures – from Sealsfield and Melville, Whitman and Thomas Mann to Nietzsche, Emerson and Bellow – are discussed in detail, and the arguments of the first part are shown in their relevance to understanding major writers. This book is not merely comparative in scope: it shows that only international comparison can explain the course of American literary history in the nineteenth and twentieth century. As recent developments in American Studies explore the multi-cultural and ‘hybrid’ nature of the American tradition, this book offers evidence of the dependencies which linked American and German national literary history.

The Secret Country

Decoding Jayne Anne Phillips’ Cryptic Fiction

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Sarah Robertson

The Secret Country is the first monograph on the work of the contemporary American novelist Jayne Anne Phillips. Through detailed and innovative textual analysis this study considers the southern aspects of Phillips’ writing. Robertson demonstrates the importance of Phillips’ place within the southern literary canon by identifying the echoes of William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter and Edgar Allan Poe that permeate her work.
Phillips’ complex attachments to a regional past are explored through both psychoanalytical and historical materialist approaches, revealing not only the writer’s distinctly southern preoccupations, but also her reflections on contemporary American society. Tracing the family dynamics in Phillips’ work from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, this book examines the effects of increased modernization and capitalization on everyday interactions, and questions the nature of the author’s backward glance to the past. This volume is of interest for a wide audience, particularly students and scholars of contemporary southern and American literature.

Disclosing Intertextualities

The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell

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Edited by Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo

For the first time, this volume brings together essays by feminist, Americanist, and theater scholars who apply a variety of sophisticated critical approaches to Susan Glaspell’s entire oeuvre. Glaspell’s one-act play, “Trifles,” and the short story that she constructed from it, “A Jury of Her Peers,” have drawn the attention of many feminist critics, but the rest of her writing—the short stories, plays and novels—is largely unknown. The essays gathered here will allow students of literature, women’s studies and theater studies an insight into the variety and scope of her oeuvre.
Glaspell’s political and literary thinking was radicalized by the turbulent Greenwich Village environment of the first decades of the twentieth century, by progressive-era social movements and by modernist literary and theatrical innovation. The focus of Glaspell studies has, till recently, been dominated by the feminist imperative to recover a canon of silenced women writers and, in particular, to restore Glaspell to her rightful place in American drama. Transcending the limitations generated by such a specific agenda, the contributors to this volume approach Glaspell’s work as a dialogic intersection of genres, texts, and cultural phenomena—a method that is particularly apt for Glaspell, who moved between genres with a unique fluidity, creating such modernist masterpieces as The Verge or Brook Evans. This volume establishes Glaspell’s work as an “intersection of textual surfaces,” resulting for the first time in the complex aesthetic appreciation that her varied life’s work merits.

From Modernism to Postmodernism

Concepts and Strategies of Postmodern American Fiction

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Gerhard Hoffmann

This systemic study discusses in its historical, cultural and aesthetic context the postmodern American novel between the years of 1960 and 1980. A general overview of the various definitions of postmodernism in philosophy, cultural theory and aesthetics provides the framework for the inquiry into more specific problems, such as: the broadening of aesthetics, the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, the transformation of the artistic tradition, the interdependence between modernism and postmodernism, and the change in the aesthetics of fiction. Other topics addressed here include: situationalism, montage, the ordinary and the fantastic, the subject and the character, the imagination, comic modes, and the future of the postmodern strategies. The authors whose fiction is treated in some detail under the various aspects thematized are John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Robert Coover, Stanley Elkin, Raymond Federman, William Gaddis, John Hawkes, Jerzy Kosinski, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Ronald Sukenick, and Kurt Vonnegut.

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Edited by Michael J. Meyer

Literature and the Writer was first conceived with the hope the essays would shed light on several dimensions of the authorial craft. It was the hope of the editor that the selected essays would examine not only writers’ choice of vocabulary, but also their deliberate selection of grammatical constructions and word order and their seamless weaving together of plots and imagery. Moreover, the analyses would also draw attention to how the writing process impacts the development of characters and the formulation of thematic strands in fiction. Thus, a wide variety of authors are deliberately selected to give the text depth: writers of popular fiction as well as modern classics are included, and contrasts are established between traditional writers and those who prefer to follow experimental trends. Modernists are set against postmodernists, absurdists vs. realists, minority ethnicities vs. majority cultures, and dominant genders appear in contrast to subordinated ones. Clearly, the major tenet of the collection is that the writing profession provides an unending dilemma that deserves to be explored in more detail as readers try to determine how authorial voices confuse while simultaneously elucidating their audience, how texts are constructed by authors and yet deconstructed by the very words they choose to include, how silence functions as inaudible yet audible discourse; and how authorial self-concept shapes not only itself but is also echoed in the fictional characters / writers who appear in the texts.