The Poetics and Politics of Hospitality in U.S. Literature and Culture explores hospitality in a range of cultural expressions from a variety of approaches. The authors analyze and discuss forms of hospitality in canonical literature, ethnic literatures, language or movies. These span from the classical to the contemporary and include a focus on language, power, hybridism, and sociology. The common theme in these contributions is that of American identity. By looking at a diversity of representations of American culture, using a multiplicity of approaches, the authors convey the richness of American hospitality as a vital aspect of its culture.
This collection emphasizes a cross-disciplinary approach to the relevance of borders and bordering as a spatial paradigm in Anglophone studies. It sets out to provide a critical counter-narrative to the 1990s globalization argument of a “borderless” world by insisting on the significant roles borders play. The essays range in subject matter from geography, history, British and American literature to painting and Reggae music and map out different conceptualisations of the border: place, line, process, contact zones, etc. The volume’s cross-border “narrative” serves as a point of communication between the local and the global, between Europe and America, between different literary and artistic genres, thus challenging the divides of geography and literature, between “real” territorial borders and their “fictional” counterparts.
American History in Transition, Yoshinari Yamaguchi provides fresh insights into early efforts in American history writing, ranging from Jeremy Belknap’s Massachusetts Historical Society to Emma Willard’s geographic history and Francis Parkman’s history of deep time to Henry Adams’s thermodynamic history. Although not a well-organized set of professional researchers, these historians shared the same concern: the problems of temporalization and secularization in history writing.
As the time-honored framework of sacred history was gradually outdated, American historians at that time turned to individual facts as possible evidence for a new generalization, and tried different “scientific” theories to give coherency to their writings. History writing was in its transitional phase, shifting from religion to science, deduction to induction, and static to dynamic worldview.
How do contemporary African American authors relate trauma, memory, and the recovery of the past with the processes of cultural and identity formation in African American communities?
Patricia San José analyses a variety of novels by authors like Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, and David Bradley and explores these works as valuable instruments for the disclosure, giving voice, and public recognition of African American collective and historical trauma.
American Migrant Fictions: Space, Narrative, Identity, Sonia Weiner focuses on novels of five American migrant writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, who construct spatial paradigms within their narratives to explore questions of linguistic diversity, identities and be-longings. By weaving visual techniques within their narratives (photography, comics, cartography) authors Aleksandar Hemon, G.B. Tran, Junot Díaz, Boris Fishman and Vikram Chandra convey a surplus of perspectives and gesture towards alternative spaces, spatial in-between-ness and transnational space.
Ethics and Aesthetics in Toni Morrison’s Fiction investigates Morrison’s aesthetics in terms of narrative’s ethical import. Morrison’s writing is concerned with ethically debatable issues and it offers a problematic representation of human experiences in African American history. Whilst previous critical studies consider ethics in relation to events in the story, Palladino explores its intersection with aesthetics. Narrativizing the moral law, Morrison’s imperative is to relate the past, and to find ways to tell what is often unspeakable. The quest for ways to narrate horrific facts is a quest for an aesthetics which includes an appeal to the reader and thus necessarily engages with the ethical. This study foregrounds the equivocal as a key feature of narrative ethics.
This book traces the artistic trajectories of Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, examining their literary representations of the nomadic ethic pervading the twentieth-century expatriate movements in and out of America. The book argues that these authors contribute to the nomadic aesthetic of American modernism: its pastoral ideographies, (post)colonial ecologies, as well as regional and transcultural varieties. Mapping the pastoral moment in different temporalities and spaces (Barnes representing the 1920s expatriation in Europe while Bowles comments on the 1940s exodus to Mexico and North Africa), this book suggests that Barnes and Bowles counter the critical trend associating American modernity primarily with urban spaces, and instead locate the nomadic thrust of their times in the (post)colonial history of the American frontier.
Radical Planes? 9/11 and Patterns of Continuity, edited by Dunja M. Mohr and Birgit Däwes, explores the intersections between narrative disruption and continuity in post-9/11 narratives from an interdisciplinary transnational perspective, foregrounding the transatlantic cultural memory of 9/11. Contesting the earlier notion of a cataclysm that has changed ‘everything,’ and critically reflecting on American exceptionalism, the collection offers an inquiry into what has gone unchanged in terms of pre-9/11, post-9/11, and post-post-9/11 issues and what silences persist. How do literature and performative and visual arts negotiate this precarious balance of a pervasive discourse of change and emerging patterns of political, ideological, and cultural continuity?
Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, revisits a classic, twentieth-century American text. Scholars from around the world share their intrepretations and shed new light on Anderson’s contribution to Modernism and his legacy to later writers. They look closely at gender relations, masculinity, place, the nature of community, and the elusive American Dream.