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Books studying the presence of Spain in American literature, and the possible influence of Spain and its literature on American authors, are still rare. In 1955 appeared a pioneer work in this field – Stanley T. Williams’ The Spanish Background of American Literature. But that book went no further than W.D. Howells’ Familiar Spanish Travels, published in 1913. The Last Good Land covers most of the twentieth century, including such groups as the Lost Generation and African American writers and exiles. It also considers then recent revolution in Spanish cultural and historical thought introduced by Américo Castro, which several American writers discussed in this volume may be said to have anticipated. Recent studies have expanded on Williams’ volumes, but in the majority of cases these works limit their scope to a single period (the nineteenth century, the Spanish Civil War), a movement (predominantly Romanticism) or authors known for their interest in Spain (Irving, Hemingway). The result is often a lack of continuum, or the exclusion of such authors as Saul Bellow, William Gaddis or Richard Wright. Within American literature itself, The Last Good Land contains revisions of traditional interpretations of certain writers, including Hemingway. The variety of authors treated, both in respect to ethnicity and gender, guarantees a varied and global view of Spanish culture by American writers.
Images of Eastern European Jewish Migration to America in Contemporary American Children’s Literature
Author: Jana Pohl
How is the life-altering event of migration narrated for children, especially if it was caused by Anti-Semitism and poverty? What of the country of origin is remembered and what is forgotten, and what of the target country when the migration is imagined there a century later? Looking Forward, Looking Back examines today’s representation of Jewish mass migration from Eastern Europe to America around the turn of the last century. It explores the collective story that emerges when American authors look back at this exodus from an Eastern European home to a new one to be established in America. Focusing on children’s literature, it investigates a wide range of texts including young adult literature as well as picture books and hence sheds light on the dynamics of the verbal and the visual in generating images of the self and other, the familiar and the strange.
This book is of interest to scholars in the field of imagology, children’s literature, cultural studies, American studies, Slavic studies, and Jewish studies.
Volume Editor: Joselyn M. Almeida
In Romanticism and the Anglo-Hispanic Imaginary, the authors assess British Romanticism’s creative and polemical engagements with the Peninsular War, the bid of Spanish American colonies to establish independence with British support, and the impact of travel narratives about Spain and the Americas. The essays analyze questions of language and translation in Anglo-Hispanic literary genealogies, the representation of war and nationalism in poetry, drama, and prose, and the confluence of empire, gender, and authorship in travel narratives. Scholars and students of Romanticism will find in-depth explorations of the relationship between Britain, Spain, and Latin America during the Napoleonic era and its afterlife in cultural memory.
Volume Editor: Debra L. Cumberland
Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark, the latest in Rodopi’s Dialogue Series, is a collection of thirteen new essays exploring Cather’s 1915 classic novel about the coming-of-age of Thea Kronborg, a gifted young opera singer. As in previous editions in the Dialogue series, this volume on Cather’s novel offers analyses by both new and emerging scholars on complex and controversial issues. Specific areas of focus include: the role of the West and the railroad, race and race relations, the performing arts, as well as Cather’s complex construction of “culture” throughout the novel. Thea’s role as a possible feminist icon receives a fresh, insightful look, while other writers explore the nature of gift and gift-giving as well as the novel’s relation to other literary movements and genres. Scholars and the general public will welcome the ways these new critical insights offer a fresh look at this modern classic.
Volume Editor: Cara Cilano
From Solidarity to Schisms is the first collection to expand discussions of the effects the events of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath have had on fiction and film beyond an exclusively US-based focus. The essays brought together here go beyond critiquing the US to examine the cultural shifts taking place in fiction and cinema from places such as Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Israel, and Iran. From these many sites of production, the works discussed in this collection illustrate more precisely how 9/11 was “global” without succumbing to neat categorizations, such as “us vs. them,” “East vs. West,” “Christianity vs. Islam,” and so on. From Solidarity to Schisms is an important supplement to the US-centered cultural and critical production addressing 9/11, providing researchers and teachers alike with resources and contexts that will allow them to broaden their own examinations of novels and films by Americans and about the US. It also provides a valuable resource for students and scholars of contemporary global history and international politics who are interested in approaching 9/11, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and related topics from a cultural standpoint.
Landscape and the Construction of America
Author: Catrin Gersdorf
This study explores the ways in which the desert, as topographical space and cultural presence, shaped and reshaped concepts and images of America. Once a territory outside the geopolitical and cultural borders of the United States, the deserts of the West and Southwest have since emerged as canonical American landscapes. Drawing on the critical concepts of American studies and on questions and problems raised in recent debates on ecocriticism, The Poetics and Politics of the Desert investigates the spatial rhetoric of America as it developed in view of arid landscapes since the mid-nineteenth century. Gersdorf argues that the integration of the desert into America catered to the entire spectrum of ideological and political responses to the history and culture of the US, maintaining that the Americanization of this landscape was and continues to be staged within the idiomatic parameters and in reaction to the discursive authority of four spatial metaphors: garden, wilderness, Orient, and heterotopia.
Volume Editors: Glennis Byron and Andrew J. Sneddon
The stimulating mix of academics and practising poets that have contributed to this volume provides an unusual and illuminating integration of critical and creative practice and a vibrantly diverse approach to questions of poetry and sexuality. Each section of essays is complemented by poems which creatively illustrate or develop the theme with which the essays critically engage. Rather than being limited to a specific genre, tradition, time or place, this collection seeks to make a virtue of contrast, comparison and juxtaposition. The collection is arranged into sections that range broadly across the thematic ground of dichotomies, traditions and revisions, microscopic and macroscopic perspectives, women and embodiment, and the notion of play and performance. Positioning eighteenth-century tinkers ballads alongside medieval Hebrew lyrics and the Blues of Gorgeous Puddin’, or making Dionysus rub shoulders with Sharon Olds and Mrs Rochester provides new perspectives on familiar material and valuable insights into more obscure work and the nature of sensual poetry as a mode of expression. As the editors suggest, the essays and poems presented collectively argue that writings about sexuality are always already about the way poets see and represent our bodies, the world and poetic language itself.
Volume Editors: 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.
Volume Editor: Ana María Fraile
Coinciding with the preparations for the celebration in 2008 of Richard Wright’s 100th birthday, this new collection of critical essays on Native Son attests to the importance and endurance of Wright’s controversial work. The eleven essays collected in this volume engage the objective of Rodopi’s Dialogue Series by creating multidirectional conversations in which senior and younger scholars interact with each other and with previous scholars who have weighed in on the novel’s import. Speaking from distant corners of the world, the contributors to this book reflect an international interest in Wright’s unique combination of literary strategies and social aims. The wide range of approaches to Native Son is presented in five thematic sections. The first three sections cover aspects such as the historical reception of Wright’s novel, the inscription of sex and gender both in Native Son and in other African American texts, and the influence of Africa and of vortical symbolism on Wright’s aesthetics; following is the study of the novel from the point of view of its adoption and transformation of various literary genres—the African American jeremiad, the protest novel, the crime novel and courtroom drama, the Bildungsroman, and the Biblical modes of narration. The closing section analyzes the novel’s lasting influence through its adaptation to other artistic fields, such as the cinema and song in the form of hip-hop. The present volume may, therefore, be of interest for students who are not very familiar with Wright’s classic text as well as for scholars and Richard Wright specialists.
Decoding Jayne Anne Phillips’ Cryptic Fiction
Author: 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.