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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.
Ethnic Cultures on New York’s Lower East Side
Author: Mario Maffi
For the first time told in its entirety, the social and cultural experience of New York's Lower East Side comes vividly to life in this book as that of a huge and complex laboratory ever swelled and fed by migrant flows and ever animated by a high-voltage tension of daily research and resistance - the fascinating history of the historical immigrant quarter that, in Manhattan, stretches between East 14th Street, East River, the access to the Brooklyn Bridge, and Lafayette Street. Irish and Germans at first, then Chinese and Italians and East European Jews, and finally Puerto Ricans gave birth, in its streets and sweatshops, cafés and tenements, to a lively multi-ethnic and cross-cultural community, which was at the basis of several modern artistic expressions, from literature to cinema, from painting to theatre. The book, based upon a rich wealth of historical materials (settlement reports, autobiographies, novels, newspaper articles) and on first-hand experience, explores the many different aspects of this long history from the late 19th century years to nowadays: the way in which immigrants reacted to the new environment and entered a fruitful dialectics with America, the way in which they reorganized their lives and expectations and struggled to defend a collective identity against all disintegrating factors, the way in which they created and disseminated cultural products, the way in which they functioned as a gigantic magnet attracting several outside artists and intellectuals. The book thus has a long introduction detailing the present situation and mainly depicting the realities within the Chinese and Puerto Rican communities and the fight against gentrification, six chapters on the Lower East Side's past history (its social and cultural geography, the relationship among the several different communities, the labor situation, the literary output, the development of an ethnic theatre, the neighborhood's influences upon turn-of-the-century American culture in the fields of sociology, photography, art, literature and cinema), and a conclusion summing up past and present and discussing the main aspects of a Lower East Side aesthetics.
Gendered Space and Mobility in American Women’s Road Narratives, 1970-2000
Reading Jack Kerouac’s classic On the Road through Virginia Woolf’s canonical A Room of One’s Own, the author of this book examines a genre in North American literature which, despite its popularity, has received little attention in literary and cultural criticism: women’s road narratives. The study shows how women’s literature has inscribed itself into the American discourse of the Whitmanesque “open road”, or, more generally, the “freedom of the road”. Women writers have participated in this powerful American myth, yet at the same time also have rejected that myth as fundamentally based on gendered and racial/ethnic hierarchies and power structures, and modified it in the process of writing back to it. The book analyzes stories about female runaways, outlaws, questers, adventurers, kidnappees, biker chicks, travelling saleswomen, and picaras and makes theoretical observations on the debates regarding discourses of spatiality and mobility—debates which have defined the so-called spatial turn in the humanities.
The analytical concept of transdifference is introduced to theorize the dissonant plurality of social and cultural affiliations as well as the narrative tensions produced by such pluralities in order to better understand the textual worlds of women’s multiple belongings as they are present in these writings. Roads of Her Own is thus not only situated in the broader context of a constructivist cultural studies, but also, by discussing narrative mobility under the sign of gender, combines insights from social theory and philosophy, feminist cultural geography, and literary studies.
Key names and concepts: Doreen Massey – Rosi Braidotti – Literary Studies – Spatial Turn – Gendered Space and Mobility – Nomadism – Road writing – Transdifference – American Culture – Popular Culture – Women’s Literature after the Second Wave – Quest – Picara.

This chapter argues that comparative analyses of autobiographical works by ethnic writers typically fail to consider the extent to which minority autobiographies emphasize issues of authorship and artistry. Examination of the autobiographical writing of two early-twentieth-century writers—the Native American writer ZitkalaŠa and the Chinese American writer Sui Sin Far—suggests that both writers sought to present themselves in their autobiographical texts as legitimate American authors, and not only as complex ethnic subjects. Although their autobiographic essays do not conform to typical narratives of the acquisition of literacy, both writers emphasize early experiences of storytelling and childhood encounters with art in order to construct unique yet fully intelligible identities as ethnic American authors. Their shared preoccupation with issues of artistry thus points to a promising area for further investigation into inter-ethnic American life writing.

In: Selves in Dialogue

This essay deals with the multilayered trope of food in two autobiographical works published in 2005, Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava and Leslie Li’s Daughter of Heaven. Both works are considered “food memoirs” and, as the very term indicates, culinary rituals, commensality, recipes, and other food-related matters constitute the backbone of the narration. Abu-Jaber and Li use food as a vehicle for the exploration of memories of past events, as well as for the analysis of issues such as ethnicity, racism, identity and community. The fact that both works feature first and second generation members of ethnic groups in the United States—Arab Americans in the case of Abu-Jaber, and Chinese Americans in the case of Li— invites the “trans-ethnic” study of the two memoirs, which, surprisingly enough, present many stylistic and thematic similarities.

In: Selves in Dialogue

The doublings of memory and writing are shared themes and motifs in the autobiographical writings of two New Yorkers, Samuel R. Delany and Paul Auster, two writers whose writings are otherwise very distinct in style, reach and critical reception. The marginalized writer of consciously marginal “paraliterature,” as Delany calls his science-fiction and other genre experiments, contrasts with the increasingly acclaimed critical and popular favourite, Paul Auster. These distinctions, however, are precisely what allow their shared concerns in their memoirs to stand out, revealing two highly self-conscious writers who employ the autobiographical in ways that question the very discursive and genre conventions that enable the generic stereotyping their writings contest, implicitly or explicitly. In a context we could label as postmodern, their autobiographical writings constitute discursive doublings that explore the formal and thematic constraints of this particular textual mode, one that resists determinate generic classification. They both exploit the the dual temporal and thematic articulation that autobiography relies on—the oscillation between past and present, life and writing—in order to respect more fully the very notion of the autobiographical as experience in writing and writing as experience. The writing of memory and the memory which is writing here double each other in ways that are not always symmetrical and that foreground the skewed relationship that exists between the two. Seeking to authorize their own writing, to father their own discourse, they both resolve that impossibility, in a mode that can never catch up to its presumed objective, the coincidence of life and writing, by recognizing the role of the reader as metaphorically, the ‘son’ who fathers the ‘father’. The experience of autobiography ultimately exists for the reader, an experience of reading that calls upon its own memory, thus doubling in turn the double narrative which is autobiography itself.

In: Selves in Dialogue
The Concept of Authenticity in Celebrity and Fan Studies
Questioning what “makes” a celebrity and how celebrity is controlled, dispersed and received are aspects branching out of (Extra)Ordinary’s debate over celebrities as ordinary/extraordinary. Jade Alexander and Katarzyna Bronk, together with the authors whose chapters make up this inter-disciplinary discussion, not only utilise the existing research on celebrity and fandom, but they also go beyond the often-quoted theorists to engage in multidirectional analyses of what it means to be a celebrity, and what influence they have on the consuming public. The present book provides an avenue for exploring not just what celebrity is as a discursive construction, but also how this involves a complex interplay between celebrities, the media and the audience.
Author: Jeffrey Herlihy
Alongside a liberating treatment of the English language, Ernest Hemingway realized some often overlooked innovations in multicultural subject matter. In six of the seven novels published during his lifetime, the protagonist is abroad, bilingual, and bicultural—and these archetypes have significant implications for each character’s sense of identity. In Paris or Paname interprets Hemingway’s overdetermined use of foreignness as a literary device, characterizing how cultural displacement informs plot dynamics. The investigation historicizes the archetypal protagonist’s process of (re)orientation through attention to his intercultural adoptions in language, alcohol consumption, sports, and betrothal rites. Herlihy situates his argument within an apposite research framework from psychological studies on migration, anthropological examinations of cultural ceremony, and literary theory on the poetics of displacement. The analysis offers groundbreaking insights on the distribution of previously overlooked structural patterns (themes, motifs, and symbols) that are present throughout Hemingway’s novelistic corpus, and provides a compelling perspective on the aesthetics of the expatriate/immigrant writing process.
The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives
In the 1950s prolific U.S. fiction writer Stephen Marlowe became a cult author for lovers of noir fiction mainly for his Drumbeat series, which present his best-known character: private eye Chester Drum. Yet, the academia never paid much attention to his multifaceted, extensive oeuvre. Chaos and Madness is the first volume offering a critical approach to Marlowe’s riveting historical novels. Their relevance in the field of literary studies derives from their well-wrought structure and captivating prose as well as from their portrayal of remote European history – a distinctive feature that makes Marlowe a unique figure in the North American trend of historiographic metafiction.
Chaos and Madness provides a comprehensive narratological and ideological analysis of three novels in which Marlowe deals with Spanish history. Preceded by an in-depth if reader-friendly theoretical chapter that traces the evolution of the historical novel as a genre, Calvo-Pascual’s meticulous investigation into Marlowe’s fiction proves compelling for anyone interested in contemporary American fiction, in Spanish history, or in the interaction of metafiction and the scientific discourse of chaos theory.
Women’s Presence in Late Nineteenth-Century America
This exciting collection of interdisciplinary essays explores the later decades of the nineteenth century in America - the immediate postbellum period, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era - as a time of critical change in the cultural visibility of women, as they made new kinds of appearances throughout American society.
The essays show how, across the USA, it was fundamentally women who drove changes in their visibility forward, in groups and as individuals. Their motivations, activities and understandings were essential to shaping the character of their present society and the nation's future.
The book establishes that these women's engagement with American society and culture cannot be simply understood in terms of the traditional polarities of inside/outside and private/public, since these frames do not fit the complexities of what was happening, be it women's occupation of geographic space, their new patterns of employment, their advocacy of working-class or ethnic rights, or their literary or cultural engagement with their milieux. Such women as Ida B. Wells, Mother Jones, Jane Addams, Rebecca Harding Davis, Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, Louisa May Alcott and Kate Douglas Wiggin all come under consideration in the light of these radical changes.