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California Sojourns in Five Installations
Site-Seeing Aesthetics: California Sojourns in Five Installations takes the reader to Dodger Stadium, Fort Ross, Chinese Camp, the Winchester House, and letters from the Gold Country in a writing and reading of cultural time and site performance. These sojourns’ are informed by insights from among other literary and cultural studies, site-specific performance studies, human geography, archeology, and history into a kind of “literary chorography.” Along the road, the book considers how places come before us as dramatized, hybrid creations of layered and “haunted” scripts. In its interdisciplinary nature, Site-Seeing in California thus gestures to alternate paths into our time’s fascination with place, region, and memory, engaging also with questions of and dialogues between region and transnationalism in their aesthetic reflections.
Read an interview with Karen Thornber.

In Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care, Karen Laura Thornber analyzes how narratives from diverse communities globally engage with a broad variety of diseases and other serious health conditions and advocate for empathic, compassionate, and respectful care that facilitates healing and enables wellbeing.

The three parts of this book discuss writings from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania that implore societies to shatter the devastating social stigmas which prevent billions from accessing effective care; to increase the availability of quality person-focused healthcare; and to prioritize partnerships that facilitate healing and enable wellbeing for both patients and loved ones.

Thornber’s Global Healing remaps the contours of comparative literature, world literature, the medical humanities, and the health humanities.

Watch a video interview with Thornber by the Mahindra Humanities Center, part of their conversations on Covid-19.

Read an interview with Thornber on Brill's Humanities Matter blog.
Missing Pictures and Imagining Loss and Nostalgia
Author: Louisa Söllner
Photographic Ekphrasis in Cuban-American Fiction offers new readings of Cuban-American novels and autobiographies, demonstrating that a focus on photographs (alluded to, analyzed, and/or obsessively recurrent in the narrative discourse) provides fresh insights into these texts. The study introduces the concept of photographic ekphrasis as a reading tool for diasporic literature and argues that visual images are important components of narratives about dislocation, nostalgia, and transcultural experience. Authors treated in depth include Carlos Eire, Cristina García, Oscar Hijuelos, Roberto G. Fernández, Ana Menéndez, Achy Obejas, and Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Missing Pictures offers an original perspective on Cuban-American literature and contributes to the scholarship on ekphrasis and on the interactions between photography and narrative.
Nature and Counternature in a Time of Global Change
Editor: Steven Hartman
Contesting Environmental Imaginaries foregrounds a question central to humanistic environmental studies: How is nature to be perceived and understood in a time of global environmental crisis? A challenge was issued to imagine counter natures, past or present, casting nature as a normative concept into productive relief. One ambition was to highlight shifting perspectives on nature and the environment that may help account for the rise of the environmental humanities; another was to invite challenges to orthodoxies, including those that animate this burgeoning field. Contributions emerged from the study areas of Environmental History, Ecocriticism, Cultural Studies, American Studies, Caribbean Studies, Scandinavian Studies, Media Studies, and the History of Ideas. This volume draws together the fruits of this thought experiment.
Postcolonial Justice addresses a major issue in current postcolonial theory and beyond, namely, the question of how to reconcile an ethics grounded in the reciprocal acknowledgment of diversity and difference with the normative, if not universal thrust that appears to energize any notion of justice. The concept of postcolonial justice shared by the essays in this volume carries an unwavering commitment to difference within and beyond Europe, while equally rejecting radical cultural essentialisms, which refuse to engage in “utopian ideals” of convivial exchange across a plurality of subject positions. Such utopian ideals can no longer claim universal validity, as in the tradition of the European enlightenment; instead they are bound to local frames of speaking from which they project world.
Intertextuality & Subversion
Poetic Revolutionaries is an exploration of the relationship between radical textual practice, social critique and subversion. From an introduction considering recent debates regarding the cultural politics of intertextuality allied to avant-garde practice, the study proceeds to an exploration of texts by a range of writers for whom formal and poetic experimentation is allied to a subversive politics: Jean Genet, Monique Wittig, Angela Carter, Kathy Acker, Kathleen Mary Fallon, Kim Scott and Brian Castro. Drawing on theories of avant-garde practice, intertextuality, parody, representation, and performance such as those of Mikhaïl Bakhtin, Julia Kristeva, Gérard Genette, Margaret A. Rose, Linda Hutcheon, Fredric Jameson, Ross Chambers and Judith Butler, these readings explore how a confluence of writing strategies – covering the structural, narratological, stylistic and scenographic – can work to boost a text’s subversive power.
In Cormac McCarthy and the Writing of American Spaces Andrew Estes examines ideas about the land as they emerge in the later fiction of this important contemporary author. McCarthy's texts are shown to be part of larger narratives about American environments. Against the backdrop of the emerging discipline of environmental criticism, Estes investigates the way space has been constructed in U.S. American writing. Cormac McCarthy is found to be heir to diametrically opposed concepts of space: as something Americans embraced as either overwhelmingly positive and reinvigorating or as rather negative and threatening. McCarthy's texts both replicate this binary thinking about American environments and challenge readers to reconceive traditional ways of seeing space. Breaking new ground as to how literary landscapes and spaces are critically assessed this study seeks to examine the many detailed descriptions of the physical world in McCarthy on their own terms. Adding to so-called 'second wave' environmental criticism, it reaches beyond an earlier, limited understanding of the environment as 'nature' to consider both natural landscapes and built environments. Chapter one discusses the field of environmental criticism in reference to McCarthy while chapter two offers a brief narrative of conceptions of space in the U.S. Chapter three highlights trends in McCarthy criticism. Chapters four through eight provide close readings of McCarthy's later novels, from Blood Meridian to The Road.
Negotiating Multi-Ethnic Identities on the Contemporary North American Stage
This book, the first cross-cultural study of post-1970s anglophone Canadian and American multi-ethnic drama, invites assessment of the thematic and aesthetic contributions of this theater in today’s globalized culture. A growing number of playwrights of African, South and East Asian, and First Nations heritage have engaged with manifold socio-political and aesthetic issues in experimental works combining formal features of more classical European dramatic traditions with such elements of ethnic culture as ancestral music and dance, to interrogate the very concepts of theatricality and canonicity. Their “mouths on fire” (August Wilson), these playwrights contest stereotyped notions of authenticity. In¬spired by songs of anger, passion, experience, survival, and regeneration, the plays analyzed bespeak a burning desire to break the silence, to heal and empower. Foregrounding questions of hybridity, diaspora, cultural memory, and nation, this comparative study includes discussion of some twenty-five case studies of plays by such authors as M.J. Kang, August Wilson, Suzan–Lori Parks, Djanet Sears, Chay Yew, Padma Viswanathan, Rana Bose, Diane Glancy, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Through its cross-cultural and cross-national prism, “Mouths on Fire with Songs” shows that multi-ethnic drama is one of the most diverse and dynamic sites of cultural production in North America today.
Author: James Aitchison
New Guide to Poetry and Poetics opens with analyses of the elemental forces of creativity: the creative impulse, the creative imagination and the sacred impulse. The book then describes in detail how a poet’s voice and vision are formed and sometimes reformed in the course of a career, and it establishes the real nature of rhythm and music in poetry. Problematic areas – inspiration, meaning, reality, myth and mystery in poetry – are fully explored in discourses that identify the true properties of poetry, dispel several misconceptions and expose inadequacies in current literary theory.
The author examines concepts of poetry from Plato to the twenty-first century. The book includes detailed studies of the principles of poetry expressed by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and of the widely contrasting principles of Arnold and Emerson in the second half of that century. There are radical re-assessments of the concepts – in effect, the philosophies – of major poet-critics of the twentieth century: W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and Stephen Spender. The poetic principles of Seamus Heaney and Robert Nye form a bridge from the last century to the present.
By focusing on the creative process and applying the findings of linguistics and neuroscience, the book shows ways in which the poet’s mind functions in the making of poems. On questions of brain and mind the book considers the findings, and the conjectures, of Daniel Dennett, Antonio Damasio, Oliver Sacks, Michael Persinger and the remarkably durable work of William James. On questions of language it considers the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and recent work by Noam Chomsky, David Crystal and Steven Pinker; the author also draws on his own knowledge of the properties of language.
Volume Editor: Luc Rasson
La publication des Bienveillantes de Jonathan Littell (2006) a projeté sur l’avant-plan la figure inquiétante du « salaud » (ou du « monstre », ou du « bourreau ») prenant la parole. Cette figure n’est pas inédite. Au début des années cinquante, Robert Merle avait déjà octroyé le monopole narratif au monstre par excellence que fut Rudolf Höss, le commandant d’Auschwitz. Même un Jean-Paul Sartre, dans une nouvelle célèbre parue en 1939, avait fait parler l’infâme. D’autres écrivains, à diverses époques et issus d’aires linguistiques différentes, n’ont pas hésité à mettre en place des dispositifs énonciatifs comparables, tels Jorge-Luis Borges, Alberto Moravia, Edgar Hilsenrath, Harry Mulisch ou Roberto Bolaño, parmi d’autres. Le présent volume s’interroge sur les stratégies d’interprétation que le lecteur peut mettre en œuvre face à ces prises de paroles dérangeantes. Qu’est-ce que l’abjection et comment lutter contre elle?