Faculty Books

2017

Don Platt Man Praying

Donald Platt, Man Praying. (2017)

In his sixth book, Donald Platt starts a poem by exclaiming, “The days are one thousand / puzzle pieces.” He gathers up the days into this book of terrors and ecstasies decanted in seamlessly reversing tercets of long and short lines, syllabic couplets, and lyric prose. The puzzle pieces include a dying father-in-law, AIDS, maimed World War I veterans, Caravaggio’s painting of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (his largest canvas), and the story of a gay boxer who KOs and kills the opponent who has called him a faggot at the weigh-in. It is a book that encompasses contradictions. The poet writes about his bisexuality, his close and intimate marriage, Rudolf Nureyev, a daughter with manic depression, a painting by James Ensor entitled Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, and la Playa los Muertos, the Beach of the Dead in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The poet puts these fragments of a life together into a thousand-piece jigsaw, a self-portrait of the artist in middle age, and calls it unabashedly Man Praying.

Sharon Solwitz

Sharon Solwitz, Once, In Lourdes. (2017)

As the Vietnam War rages overseas, four friends make a vow. For the next two weeks, they will live for each other and for each day. Then, at the end of the two weeks, they will sacrifice themselves on the altar of their friendship.

In the two-week span in which the novel takes place, during the summer before their senior year of high school, the lives of Kay, CJ, Saint, and Vera will change beyond their expectations, and what they gain and lose will determine the novel’s outcome. Once, in Lourdes is a gripping, haunting novel about the power of teenage bonds, the story of four young people who will win your heart and transport you back to your own high school years. As the heady 1960s shift the ground beneath their feet, all of them must face who they are—and who they want to be.

Hunger

Roxane Gay, Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body. (2017)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

The Little Death of Self

Marianne Boruch, The Little Death of Self: Nine Essays toward Poetry (2017).

The line between poetry (the delicate, surprising not-quite) and the essay (the emphatic what-about and so-there!) is thin, easily crossed. Both the poem and the essay work beyond a human sense of time. Both welcome a deep mulling-over, endlessly mixing image and idea and running with scissors; certainly each distrusts the notion of premise or formulaic progression. The essays in The Little Death of Self emerged by way of an odd detail or bothersome question that would not quit— Why does the self grow smaller as the poem grows enormous, or as quiet as a half-second of genuine discovery? Why does closure in a poem so often mean keep going, so what if the world is ending! Must we stalk the poem or does the poem stalk us until the world clicks open?

Future History

Kristina Bross, Future History: Global Fantasies in English and American Writings (2017).

Kristina Bross’s current book, Future History: Global Fantasies in English and American Writings, extends her interests in colonial identity, cultural contact, and archival theory to a study of how early modern English and American writers imagined themselves in the world before England was a global power. Reviewers praised Bross as “unusually good at engaging her sources,” noted that the book’s “disciplinarity is hard to pigeonhole,” and praised her book manuscript as “imaginative, exciting, and persuasive.”

Difficult women

Roxane Gay, Difficult Women (2017).

Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

Reimagining Environmental History

Christian Knoeller, Reading Environmental History: Ecological Memory in the Wake of Landscape Change (Forthcoming, October 2017).

Christian Knoeller presents a radical reinterpretation of environmental history set in the heartland of America. In an excellent model of narrative-based scholarship, this book dynamically reimagines American environmentalism across generations of writers, artists, and scientists. Knoeller starts out with Audubon, and cites Thoreau’s journals in the 1850s as he assesses an early 17th century account of New England’s natural resources by William Wood, showing the epic decline in game and bird populations in Concord. This reading of environmental history is replicated throughout with a gallery of novelists, poets, essayists, and other commentators as they explore ecological memory and environmental destruction. In apt discussions of Matthiessen, Lopez, Wendell Berry, William Stafford and many others, Knoeller offers vibrant insights into literary history. He also cites his own memoir of perpetual development on his family’s farm in Indiana, enriching the scholarship and making an urgent plea for the healing aesthetics of the imagination.
 
Reading across centuries and genres, Knoeller gives us a vibrant new appraisal of Midwestern/North American interior literary traditions and makes clear how vital environmental writing is to this region. To date, no one has written such an eloquent and comprehensive cross-genre analysis of Midwestern environmental literature.

Derek Pacheco

Derek Pacheco, Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America (paperback). 

Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America investigates an important moment in the history of professional authorship. Pacheco uses New England “literary reformers” Horace Mann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller to argue that writers came to see in educational reform, and the publication venues emerging in connection with it, a means to encourage popular authorship while validating literary work as a profession. Although today’s schools are staffed by systematically trained and institutionally sanctioned teachers, in the unregulated, decentralized world of antebellum America, literary men and women sought the financial stability of teaching while claiming it as moral grounds for the pursuit of greater literary fame.

Examining the ethically redemptive and potentially lucrative definition of antebellum author as educator, this book traces the way these literary reformers aimed not merely at social reform through literature but also at the reform of literature itself by employing a wide array of practices—authoring, editing, publishing, and distributing printed texts—brought together under the aegis of modern, democratic education.

Saunders_WaywardPreacher

James Saunders, The Wayward Preacher in the Literature of African American Women (2017).

In African American culture the preacher has traditionally held many roles: minister of faith, orator, politician, idealist, and most importantly, leader. But the preacher was also traditionally male, and in many ways this advanced the perception that African American women were incapable of questioning the authority of black men.
Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, and Terry McMillan wrote of flawed African American preachers, empowering their female characters by exposing the notion of the black preacher as beyond reproach. The writings of these five women warn African American women--and society as a whole--of the power of the religious functionaries who insist that the self must be virtually obliterated in order for salvation to be attained.

Arcadia by Charles Ross

Charles Stanley Ross and Joel B. Davis, eds. Arcadia, A Romance, Sir Philip Sidney (2017).

“Ross and Davis have undertaken a daring venture: to “restore,” as they put it, the immense masterpiece of English Renaissance prose, Sidney’s Arcadia. Why, one might ask, should Sidney’s baroque syntax be made simpler and his archaic diction modernized? Because their complexity and unfamiliarity, after the lapse of some 400 years, has made the work all but unreadable, except by a small and steadily shrinking cohort of scholars. The choice is either pious oblivion or the kind of creative updating we routinely welcome in contemporary productions of Shakespeare. Ross and Davis want to give a new generation of readers access to a literary achievement of surpassing intelligence and beauty.”  —Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan Professor of English, Harvard University

2016

Boruch Eventually

Marianne Boruch, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing (2016).

A starred review in Library Journal says this about Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing: “Only a poet as accomplished as Boruch could make such beautiful verse while leading us through the everyday, of life’s subtle, steady shiftings (‘the bird’s hunger, seeking shape’). If the opening image of a pool filled with cruelly dredged up roses bespeaks quiet assent (‘I stood before them the way an animal/ accepts sun’), the next poem turns immediately to progress (and hence progression) as a modern invention beyond the heaven-and-hell alternatives; finally, the poet concedes, ‘I lose track of my transitions.’ In fact, transition defines us. Here, a static painting gives way to ‘between and among,’ a simple typeface never yields a perfect copy, and even in a medieval score, two exquisite quavers are connected by a slur. Highly recommended.”

Mama's Gun

Marlo David, Mama’s Gun: Black Maternal Figures and the Politics of Transgression (2016).

In Mama’s Gun: Black Maternal Figures and the Politics of Transgression, Marlo D. David identifies five bold, new archetypes of black motherhood for the post-civil rights generation in order to imagine new ways of thinking about pervasive maternal stereotypes of black women. Rather than avoiding “negative” images of black motherhood, such as welfare queens, teen mothers, and “baby mamas,” Mama’s Gun centralizes these dispossessed figures and renames them as the Young Mother, the Blues Mama, the Surrogate, Big Mama, and the Mothership.

Taking inspiration from African American fiction, historical accounts of black life, Afrofuturism, and black popular culture in music and on screen, David turns her attention to Sapphire’s Push, Octavia Butler’s Dawn, and Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body as well as the performance art of Erykah Badu and the films of Tyler Perry. She draws out the implications of black maternal figures in these texts who balk at tradition and are far from “ideal.”

Bodies of Modernism

Maren Linett, Bodies of Modernism: Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Literature (2016).

Bodies of Modernism brings a new and exciting analytical lens to modernist literature, that of critical disability studies. The book offers new readings of canonical and noncanonical writers from both sides of the Atlantic including Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bowen, Henry Green, Olive Moore, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, J. M. Synge, Florence Barclay, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Through readings of this wide range of texts and with chapters focusing on mobility impairments, deafness, blindness, and deformity, the study reveals both modernism’s skepticism about and dependence on fantasies of whole, “normal” bodies.

“A nuanced view of disability as it intertwines with modernist aesthetics. Linett concentrates on disabled protagonists but expands her study from mere character analysis to a thoroughgoing critique and understanding of modernism itself. An important contribution to the field of literary and disability studies.” — Lennard Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago

Not Born Digital

Daniel Morris, Not Born Digital: Poetics, Print Literacy, New Media (2016).

Not Born Digital addresses from multiple perspectives ? ethical, historical, psychological, conceptual, aesthetic ? the vexing problems and sublime potential of disseminating lyrics, the ancient form of transmission and preservation of the human voice, in an environment in which e-poetry and digitalized poetics pose a crisis (understood as opportunity and threat) to traditional page poetry.

Tornadoesque

Donald Platt, Tornadoesque (2016).

In his trademark alternating long and short lines, and in occasional lyric prose, Platt gives us Tornadoesque, a weather report from middle age. The poet discovers his bisexuality in a heterosexual marriage of longstanding passion and responds to war in the Middle East, the deaths and illnesses of friends, and a daughter’s bipolar condition. His book is an eyewitness account of where the tornado has touched down: what’s lost, what’s saved.

“Tornadoesque whirls with powerful and challenging images, always refusing to turn away from the unsettling while also refusing to treat those images as snapshots that can be experienced in isolation, outside of the intricacies of human desire and history. Donald Platt confronts with great honesty and
frankness the complexities of being a son, husband, and father within a world whose layers have been shaped by the visions of religion, politics, art, and dream. The scope of this collection is dazzling; each poem is both tapestry and journey.” — Mary Szybist

Silva

Tony Silva and Luciana de Oliveira (editors), Second Language Writing in Elementary Classrooms: Instructional Issues, Content-area Writing and Teacher Education (2016).

Second Language Writing in Elementary Classrooms focuses on L2 writing in elementary classrooms. It features chapters that highlight research in elementary classrooms focused on the writing development of multilingual children, and research in teacher education to prepare elementary teachers to teach L2 writing and address L2 writers’ needs. Part I presents instructional issues for L2 writers at the elementary level. Part II focuses on content-area writing. Part III focuses on L2 writing teacher education at the elementary level.

2015

Naratting 9/11

John Duvall and Robert Marzec (editors), Narrating 9/11: Fantasies of State, Security, and Terrorism (2015).

Narrating 9/11 challenges the notion that Americans have overcome the national trauma of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The volume responds to issues of war, surveillance, and the expanding security state, including the Bush Administration’s policies on preemptive war, extraordinary rendition, torture abroad, and the suspension of privacy rights and civil liberties at home.

Dino Felluga

Dino Felluga, Critical Theory: The Key Concepts (2015).

Critical Theory: The Key Concepts introduces over 300 widely-used terms, categories and ideas drawing upon well-established approaches like new historicism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and narratology as well as many new critical theories of the last twenty years such as Actor-Network Theory, Global Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Speculative Realism. This book explains the key concepts at the heart of a wide range of influential theorists from Agamben to Žižek.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen (editors), The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches (2015).

Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.

Lamb

Robert Lamb, The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers, paperback edition (2015).

In The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers, Robert Paul Lamb delivers a dazzling analysis of the craft of this influential writer. Lamb scrutinizes a selection of Hemingway’s exemplary stories to illuminate the author’s methods of construction and to show how craft criticism complements and enhances cultural literary studies. The Hemingway Short Story, the highly anticipated sequel to Lamb’s critically acclaimed Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story, reconciles the creative writer’s focus on art with the concerns of cultural critics, establishing the value that craft criticism holds for all readers.

Climate Change

Robert Marzec, Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security State (2015).

As the seriousness of climate change becomes more and more obvious, military institutions are responding by taking a prominent role in the governing of environmental concerns, engaging in “climate change war games,” and preparing for the effects of climate change—from conflicts due to loss of food, water, and energy to the mass migration of millions of people displaced by rising sea levels. This combat-oriented stance stems from a self-destructive pattern of thought that Robert P. Marzec names “environmentality,” an attitude that has been affecting human–environmental relations since the seventeenth century.

Hit Play

Daniel Morris, Hit Play (2015).

Maybe the title of this book isn’t the imperative it appears to be. I see it more as a generic tag. There is the passion play, agit-prop, dramatic monologue, and now the hit play, which in olden times we knew as a greatest hits collection. It s not that this isn’t a group of lyric poems, but the lyric here means to draw on the many subgenres of recent decades and compile them. Among them, Morris lays an emphasis on Flarf: a slight whiff of danger, a sense of dislocation, a riddled pop sensibility. Though you can locate the voice, that s all the more reason Hit Play is prone to the embattled questions of attribution and complicity that play out in lyric form every 100 years or so. Morris sweep is wider than pretty much anyone’s. It s the kind of book you d like to read on shuffle mode, if Morris hadn’t taken care of that for you at the outset. — Patrick Durgin

Manushag Powell

Manushag Powell and Frederick Burwick, British Pirates in Print and Performance (2015).

Fictional or real, pirates haunted the imagination of the 18th and 19th century-British public. British Pirates in Print and Performance explores representations of pirates through dozens of stage performances, including adaptations by Byron, Scott, and Cooper, in a period of maritime commerce, exploration, and naval conflict. Tracking the movement between the pirate on stage and the pirate in print, this book reveals the origins and dramatic developments of the signifiers that audiences attach to piracy, including pirate fashion (from peg-legs to parrots), the Jolly Roger, and walking the plank.

Powell

Manushag Powell, Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals (2015).

Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century Periodicals discusses the English periodical and how it shapes and expresses early conceptions of authorship in the eighteenth century. Unique to the British eighteenth century, the periodical is of great value to scholars of English cultural studies because it offers a venue where authors hash out, often in extremely dramatic terms, what they think it should take to be a writer, what their relationship with their new mass-media audience ought to be, and what qualifications should act as gatekeepers to the profession. Exploring these questions in The Female Spectator, The Drury-Lane Journal, The Midwife, The World, The Covent-Garden Journal, and other periodicals of the early and mid-eighteenth century, Manushag Powell examines several “paper wars” waged between authors. At the height of their popularity, essay periodicals allowed professional writers to fashion and make saleable a new kind of narrative and performative literary personality, the eidolon, and arguably birthed a new cult of authorial personality. In Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century Periodicals, Powell argues that the coupling of persona and genre imposes a lifespan on the periodical text; the periodicals don’t only rise and fall, but are born, and in good time, they die.

2014

Armstrong_Mapping Malory

Dorsey Armstrong and Kenneth Hodges, Mapping Malory: Regional Identities and National Geographies in Le Morte Darthur (2014). 

Medievalists are increasingly grappling with spatial studies. This timely book argues that geography is a crucial element in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur and contributors shine a light on questions of politics and genre to help readers better understand Malory’s world.

Boruch

Marianne Boruch, Cadaver, Speak (2014).

Some books begin as a dare to the self. Marianne Boruch’s newest collection, Cadaver, Speak, is an unsettling double, a heart of two chambers. The first half is attuned to history—how time hits us, and grief—and to art and its making. The second half, the title sequence, is spoken by a ninety-nine-year-old who donated her body for dissection by medical students, a laboratory experience in which the poet, duly silenced, was privileged to take part. Born from lyric impulse, which is Boruch’s scalpel, her work examines love, death, beauty, and knowledge—the great subjects of poetry made new by a riveting reimagining.

Bross

Kristina Bross, Little Else Than a Memory:  Purdue Students Search for the Class of 1904 (2014).

Completely produced by students in the Purdue University Honors College, this book contains ten essays by undergraduate students of today about their forebears in the class of 1904. Two Purdue faculty members have provided a contextualizing introduction and reflective epilogue. Not only are the biographical essays written by students, but the editing, typesetting, and design of this book were also the work of Purdue freshmen and sophomores, participants in an honors course in publishing who were supervised by the staff of Purdue University Press. Through their individual studies, the authors of the biographies inside this book were led in interesting and very different directions. From a double-name conundrum to intimate connections with their subjects’ kin, their archival research was rife with unexpected twists and turns

Duran

Angelica Duran and Yuhan Huang (Editors),  Mo Yan in Context:  Nobel Laureate and Global Storyteller (2014).

In 2012 the Swedish Academy announced that Mo Yan had received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work that “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history, and the contemporary.” The announcement marked the first time a resident of mainland China had ever received the award. This is the first English-language study of the Chinese writer’s work and influence, featuring essays from scholars in a range of disciplines, from both China and the United States. Its introduction, twelve articles, and epilogue aim to deepen and widen critical discussions of both a specific literary author and the globalization of Chinese literature more generally.

Duran

Angelica Duran, The King James Bible across Borders and Centuries (2014).

“The topics are wide-ranging and should appeal to a variety of interests, running the gamut from linguistic to cultural studies, with chapters categorized under the headings ‘Transforming,’ ‘Extending,’ and ‘Appropriating.’ As the volume makes clear, the protean nature of the King James Version promises to make it a worthy subject of research, perhaps even for another 400 years.”—Sixteenth Century Journal

Goodhart

Sandor Goodhart, The Prophetic Law: Essays in Judaism, Girardianism, Literary Studies, and the Ethical (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture), 2014. 

To read literature is to read the way literature reads. René Girard’s immense body of work supports this thesis bountifully. Whether engaging the European novel, ancient Greek tragedy, Shakespeare’s plays, or Jewish and Christian scripture, Girard teaches us to read prophetically, not by offering a method he has developed, but by presenting the methodologies they have developed, the interpretative readings already available within (and constitutive of) such bodies of classical writing. In The Prophetic Law, literary scholar, theorist, and critic Sandor Goodhart divides his essays on René Girard since 1983 into four groupings. In three, he addresses Girardian concerns with Biblical scripture (Genesis and Exodus), literature (the European novel and Shakespeare), and philosophy and religious studies issues (especially ethical and Jewish subject matters). In a fourth section, he reproduces some of the polemical exchanges in which he has participated with others—including René Girard himself—as part of what could justly be deemed Jewish-Christian dialogue. The twelve texts that make up the heart of this captivating volume constitute the bulk of the author’s writings to date on Girard outside of his three previous books on Girardian topics. Taken together, they offer a comprehensive engagement with Girard’s sharpest and most original literary, anthropological, and scriptural insights.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston, Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England (2014).

Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England offers a new history of Middle English romance, the most popular genre of secular literature in the English Middle Ages. Michael Johnston argues that many of the romances composed in England from 1350-1500 arose in response to the specific socio-economic concerns of the gentry, the class of English landowners who lacked titles of nobility and hence occupied the lower rungs of the aristocracy. The end of the fourteenth century in England witnessed power devolving to the gentry, who became one of the dominant political and economic forces in provincial society. As Johnston demonstrates, this social change also affected England’s literary culture, particularly the composition and readership of romance. Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England identifies a series of new topoi in Middle English that responded to the gentry’s economic interests. But beyond social history and literary criticism, it also speaks to manuscript studies, showing that most of the codices of the “gentry romances” were produced by those in the immediate employ of the gentry. By bringing together literary criticism and manuscript studies, this book speaks to two scholarly communities often insulated from one another: it invites manuscript scholars to pay closer attention to the cultural resonances of the texts within medieval codices; simultaneously, it encourages literary scholars to be more attentive to the cultural resonances of surviving medieval codices.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston and Susanna Fein (editors), Robert Thornton and his Books (2014).

The Yorkshire landowner Robert Thornton (c.1397- c.1465) copied the contents of two important manuscripts, Lincoln Cathedral, MS 91 (the “Lincoln manuscript”), and London, British Library, MS Additional 31042 (the “London manuscript”) in the middle decades of the fifteenth century. Viewed in combination, his books comprise a rare repository of varied English and Latin literary, religious and medical texts that survived the dissolution of the monasteries, when so many other medieval books were destroyed. Residing in the texts he copied and used are many indicators of what this gentleman scribe of the North Riding read, how he practised his religion, and what worldly values he held for himself and his family. Because of the extraordinary nature of his collected texts – Middle English romances, alliterative verse (the alliterative Morte Arthure only exists here), lyrics and treatises of religion or medicine – editors and scholars have long been deeply interested in uncovering Thornton’s habits as a private, amateur scribe. The essays collected here provide, for the first time, a sustained, focussed light on Thornton and his books. They examine such matters as what Thornton as a scribe made, how he did it, and why he did it, placing him in a wider context and looking at the contents of the manuscripts.

Al Lopez

Alfred Lopez, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life (2014).

In José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, Alfred J. López presents the definitive biography of the Cuban patriot and martyr. Writing from a nonpartisan perspective and drawing on years of research using original Cuban and U.S. sources, including materials never before used in a Martí biography, López strips away generations of mythmaking and portrays Martí as Cuba’s greatest founding father and one of Latin America’s literary and political giants, without suppressing his public missteps and personal flaws. In a lively account that engrosses like a novel, López traces the full arc of Martí’s eventful life, from his childhood and adolescence in Cuba, to his first exile and subsequent life in Spain, Mexico City, and Guatemala, through his mature revolutionary period in New York City and much-mythologized death in Cuba on the battlefield at Dos Ríos. The first major biography of Martí in over half a century and the first ever in English, José Martí is the most substantial examination of Martí’s life and work ever published.

Relics

Robyn Malo, Relics and Writing in Late Medieval England (2014).

Relics and Writing in Late Medieval England uncovers a wide-ranging medieval discourse that had an expansive influence on English literary traditions. Drawing from Latin and vernacular hagiography, miracle stories, relic lists, and architectural history, this study demonstrates that, as the shrines of England’s major saints underwent dramatic changes from c. 1100 to c. 1538, relic discourse became important not only in constructing the meaning of objects that were often hidden, but also for canonical authors like Chaucer and Malory in exploring the function of metaphor and of dissembling language

Venetria Patton

Venetria Patton, Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, second edition (2014).

With chapters that address literary and social movements, questions of identity, the geopolitical aspects of American literature, and classroom approaches, Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, Second Edition, provides an overview of changes in the field of American literary studies and a survey of its popular themes. The twenty-seven readings include important scholarship, critical essays, and practical ideas from working teachers. This professional resource offers support to instructors using The Bedford Anthology of American Literature.

James Saunders

James Saunders, Tightrope Walk: Identity, Survival and the Corporate World in African American Literature (2014).

“Examines the challenges faced by blacks working in predominantly white corporations, through the perspective of African American writers who have chronicled the struggle.” — Reference & Research Book News.

James Saunders

James Saunders, Howard Frank Mosher and the Classics: Echoes in the Vermont Writer’s Works (2014).

Howard Frank Mosher has spent the greater part of his career depicting a relatively isolated section of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom. Yet, even as he writes about that particular area in the Green Mountain State, he is investigating age-old themes from among the best English and American literary works. His first novel, Disappearances (1977), signaled the arrival of a master craftsman harkening us back to Melville’s Billy Budd and Moby-Dick, in terms of humankind’s struggle against an ever present evil.

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