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The Irish Voice in America

In this study, Charles Fanning has written the first general account of the origins and development of a literary tradition among American writers of Irish birth or background who have explored the Irish immigrant or ethnic experience in works of fiction. The result is a portrait of the evolving fictional self-consciousness of an immigrant group over a span of 250 years.

Fanning traces the roots of Irish-American writing back to the eighteenth century and carries it forward through the traumatic years of the Famine to the present time with an intensely productive period in the twentieth century beginning with James T. Farrell. Later writers treated in depth include Edwin O’Connor, Elizabeth Cullinan, Maureen Howard, and William Kennedy. Along the way he places in the historical record many all but forgotten writers, including the prolific Mary Ann Sadlier. The Irish Voice in America is not only a highly readable contribution to American literary history but also a valuable reference to many writers and their works.

For this second edition, Fanning has added a chapter that covers the fiction of the past decade. He argues that contemporary writers continue to draw on Ireland as a source and are important chroniclers of the modern American experience.

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The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

Offering a comprehensive view of the South’s literary landscape, past and present, this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture celebrates the region’s ever-flourishing literary culture and recognizes the ongoing evolution of the southern literary canon. As new writers draw upon and reshape previous traditions, southern literature has broadened and deepened its connections not just to the American literary mainstream but also to world literatures–a development thoughtfully explored in the essays here.

Greatly expanding the content of the literature section in the original Encyclopedia, this volume includes 31 thematic essays addressing major genres of literature; theoretical categories, such as regionalism, the southern gothic, and agrarianism; and themes in southern writing, such as food, religion, and sexuality. Most striking is the fivefold increase in the number of biographical entries, which introduce southern novelists, playwrights, poets, and critics. Special attention is given to contemporary writers and other individuals who have not been widely covered in previous scholarship.

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Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies

In Ecocritical Explorations, Patrick D. Murphy explores environmental literature and environmental cultural issues through both theoretical and applied criticism. He engages with the concepts of referentiality, simplicity, the nation state, and virtual reality in the first section of the book, and then goes on to interrogate these issues in contemporary environmental literature, both American and international. He concludes his argument with a discussion of the larger frames of family dynamics and un-natural disasters, such as hurricanes and global warming, ending with a chapter on the integration of scholarship and pedagogy in the classroom, with reference to his own teaching experiences. Murphy’s study provides a wide ranging discussion of contemporary literature and cultural phenomena through the lens of ecological literary criticism, giving attention to both theoretical issues and applied critiques. In particular, he looks at popular literary genres, such as mystery and science fiction, as well as actual disasters and disaster scenarios. Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies is a timely contribution to ecological literary criticism and an insightful look into how we represent our relationship with the environment.

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Protestant Evangelical Literary Culture and Contemporary Society

While studies have been done on the politics, personalities, and television empires of Protestant evangelicals, little has been said about the power of evangelical publishing and the recent upsurge in evangelical fiction. In the last 20 years, evangelical publishing has grown into a multimillion dollar business, and evangelical fiction offers valuable information about the Protestant evangelical experience. This book argues that the authors and publishers of evangelical fiction are purposeful gatekeepers who create specific images of an evangelical universe. Characters and plots of evangelical literature not only embody a religious perspective but also advocate appropriate behaviors and solutions to problems. This study brings together research in the history of Protestant evangelicalism, the sociology of religion, and literary studies to explore how evangelical novels can serve as cultural artifacts of the evangelical community in contemporary American society.

The volume consists of two distinct but interrelated parts. The first part of the book overviews the history of evangelical religion and the publishing of fiction. The chapters in this section trace the ways in which religious publishing has influenced the publishing industry in general and the importance of publishing to evangelicalism. The second part in based on the review and analysis of 60 inspirational novels published between 1972 and 1994 by 13 evangelical publishers. Two chapters examine the development of specific genre and plot adaptations. To identify the range of attitudes and images expressed in this fiction, each of the 60 novels is examined for its handling of theology, practical religion, and social issues. Appendices list the novels within particular genres and trace the chronological development of evangelical publishing, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

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A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction

Through a wide-ranging series of essays and relevant readings, A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction presents an overview of American fiction published since the conclusion of the First World War. 

  • Features a wide-ranging series of essays by American, British, and European specialists in a variety of literary fields
  • Written in an approachable and accessible style
  • Covers both classic literary figures and contemporary novelists
  • Provides extensive suggestions for further reading at the end of each essay
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Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers

What is it about certain books that makes them bestsellers? Why do some of these books remain popular for centuries, and others fade gently into obscurity? And why is it that when scholars do turn their attention to bestsellers, they seem only to be interested in the same handful of blockbusters, when so many books that were once immensely popular remain under-examined?

Addressing those and other equally pressing questions about popular literature, Must Read is the first scholarly collection to offer both a survey of the evolution of American bestsellers as well as critical readings of some of the key texts that have shaped the American imagination since the nation’s founding.

Focusing on a mix of enduring and forgotten bestsellers, the essays in this collection consider 18th and 19th century works, like Charlotte Temple or Ben-Hur, that were once considered epochal but are now virtually ignored; 20th century favorites such as The Sheik and Peyton Place; and 21st century blockbusters including the novels of Nicholas Sparks, The Kite Runner, and The Da Vinci Code.

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Culture, Genre, and Literary Vocation

In Culture, Genre, and Literary Vocation, Michael Davitt Bell charts the important and often overlooked connection between literary culture and authors’ careers. Bell’s influential essays on nineteenth-century American writers—originally written for such landmark projects as The Columbia Literary History of the United States and The Cambridge History of American Literature—are gathered here with a major new essay on Richard Wright.

Throughout, Bell revisits issues of genre with an eye toward the unexpected details of authors’ lives, and invites us to reconsider the hidden functions that terms such as “romanticism” and “realism” served for authors and their critics. Whether tracing the demands of the market or the expectations of readers, Bell examines the intimate relationship between literary production and culture; each essay closely links the milieu in which American writers worked with the trajectory of their storied careers.

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Regional fictions

Out of many, one — e pluribus unum — is the motto of the American nation, and it sums up neatly the paradox that Stephanie Foote so deftly identifies in Regional Fictions. Regionalism, the genre that ostensibly challenges or offers an alternative to nationalism, in fact characterizes and perhaps even defines the American sense of nationhood.In particular, Foote argues that the colorful local characters, dialects, and accents that marked regionalist novels and short stories of the late nineteenth century were key to the genre’s conversion of seemingly dangerous political differences — such as those posed by disaffected midwestern farmers or recalcitrant foreign nationals — into appealing cultural differences. She asserts that many of the most treasured beliefs about the value of local identities still held in the United States today are traceable to the discourses of this regional fiction, and she illustrates her contentions with insightful examinations of the work of Sarah Orne Jewett, Hamlin Garland, Gertrude Atherton, Geroge Washington Cable, Jacob Riis, and others. Broadening the definitions of regional writing and its imaginative territory, Regional Fictions moves beyond literary criticism to comment on the ideology of national, local, ethnic, and racial identity.

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Global Appetites

Global Appetites explores how industrial agriculture and countercultural food movements underpin U.S. conceptions of global power in the century since the First World War. Allison Carruth’s study centers on what she terms the “literature of food” – a body of work that comprises literary realism, late modernism, and magical realism along with culinary writing, food memoir, and advertising. Through analysis of American texts ranging from Willa Cather’s novel O Pioneers! (1913) to Novella Carpenter’s nonfiction work Farm City (2009), Carruth argues that stories about how the United States cultivates, distributes, and consumes food imbue it with the power to transform social and ecological systems around the world. Lively and accessible, this interdisciplinary study will appeal to scholars of American literature and culture as well as those working in the fields of food studies, food policy, agriculture history, social justice, and the environmental humanities.

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The Republic of Imagination

A New York Times bestseller

The author of the beloved #1 New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran returns with the next chapter of her life in books—a passionate and deeply moving hymn to America
 
Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her multimillion-copy bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics of English and American literature to her eager students in Iran. In this electrifying follow-up, she argues that fiction is just as threatened—and just as invaluable—in America today.

Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite novels, she describes the unexpected journey that led her to become an American citizen after first dreaming of America as a young girl in Tehran and coming to know the country through its fiction. She urges us to rediscover the America of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and challenges us to be truer to the words and spirit of the Founding Fathers, who understood that their democratic experiment would never thrive or survive unless they could foster a democratic imagination. Nafisi invites committed readers everywhere to join her as citizens of what she calls the Republic of Imagination, a country with no borders and few restrictions, where the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

From the Trade Paperback edition.