Book ReMarks: Quick Picks
Noor Inayat Khan was the first female radio operator sent into occupied France and transferred crucial messages. Johtje Vos, a Dutch housewife, hid Jews in her home and repeatedly outsmarted the Gestapo. Law student Hannie Schaft became involved in the most dangerous resistance work--sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinations. In these pages, young readers will meet these and many other similarly courageous women and girls who risked their lives to help defeat the Nazis. Twenty-six engaging and suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls' refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.
Note: Quick Picks are new to the collection. Some may not yet have reached the shelves. If you want to check out an item that is not yet available, click the "Is this item available?" link in the catalog record, then click the "Request" link.
After a death at the White Camellia Orphanage, young Pip Tatnall leaves Lexsy, Georgia to become a road kid, riding the rails east, west, and north. A bright, unusual boy who is disillusioned at a young age, Pip believes that he sees guilt shining in the faces of men wherever he goes. On his picaresque journey, he sweeps through society, revealing the highest and lowest in human nature and only slowly coming to self-understanding. He searches the points of the compass for what will help, groping for a place where he can feel content, certain that he has no place where he belongs and that he rides the rails through a great darkness. His difficult path to collect enough radiance to light his way home is the road of a boy struggling to come to terms with the cruel but sometimes lovely world of Depression-era America.
Note: Quick Picks are new to the collection. Some may not yet have reached the shelves. If you want to check out an item that is not yet available, click the "Is this item available?" link in the catalog record, then click the "Request" link.
Before the critically acclaimed novels Await Your Reply and You Remind Me of Me, Dan Chaon made a name for himself as a renowned writer of dazzling short stories. Now, in Stay Awake, Chaon returns to that form for the first time since his masterly Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award.
In these haunting, suspenseful stories, lost, fragile, searching characters wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection--and find themselves in unexpected, dire, and sometimes unfathomable situations.
A father's life is upended by his son's night terrors--and disturbing memories of the first wife and child he abandoned; a foster child receives a call from the past and begins to remember his birth mother, whose actions were unthinkable; a divorced woman experiences her own dark version of "empty-nest syndrome"; a young widower is unnerved by the sudden, inexplicable appearances of messages and notes--on dollar bills, inside a magazine, stapled to the side of a tree; and a college dropout begins to suspect that there's something off, something sinister, in his late parents' house.
Dan Chaon's stories feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls. They exist in a twilight realm--in a place by the window late at night when the streets are empty and the world appears to be quiet. But you are up, unable to sleep. So you stay awake.
Note: Quick Picks are new to the collection. Some may not yet have reached the shelves. If you want to check out an item that is not yet available, click the "Is this item available?" link in the catalog record, then click the "Request" link.
This work recounts the intellectual journey behind the creation of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and how the drawing represents the momentous period in Western history when the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance. Vitruvian Man is the world's most famous drawing, by one of the world's most famous artists. The image has become visual shorthand for artistic genius and scientific inquiry, and yet nobody knows anything about it. In it the author examines the forces that converged in 1490 to turn an idea that had been around for centuries into this iconic image, bringing the ghost of an unknown Leonardo da Vinci back to life. Populated by a colorful cast of characters, including Brunelleschi of the famous Dome, the book opens up a surprising window onto the artist and philosopher himself and the tumultuous intellectual and cultural transformations he bridged. Rooted in little-known episodes of the artist's colourful career, and taking in ideas including theories of the cosmos, Roman land-surveying and the relationship between anatomy and architecture, the book tells the story of his evolving, lifelong study of the human body.
In 1494, award-winning author Stephen R. Bown tells the untold story of the explosive feud between monarchs, clergy, and explorers that split the globe between Spain and Portugal and made the world's oceans a battleground.
When Columbus triumphantly returned from America to Spain in 1493, his discoveries inflamed an already-smouldering conflict between Spain's renowned monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and Portugal's João II. Which nation was to control the world's oceans? To quell the argument, Pope Alexander VI--the notorious Rodrigo Borgia--issued a proclamation laying the foundation for the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, an edict that created an imaginary line in the Atlantic Ocean dividing the entire known (and unknown) world between Spain and Portugal.
Just as the world's oceans were about to be opened by Columbus's epochal voyage, the treaty sought to limit the seas to these two favored Catholic nations. The edict was to have a profound influence on world history: it propelled Spain and Portugal to superpower status, steered many other European nations on a collision course, and became the central grievance in two centuries of international espionage, piracy, and warfare.
At the heart of one of the greatest international diplomatic and political agreements of the last five centuries were the strained relationships and passions of a handful of powerful individuals. They were linked by a shared history, mutual animosity, and personal obligations--quarrels, rivalries, and hatreds that dated back decades. Yet the struggle ultimately stemmed from a young woman's determination to defy tradition and the king, and to choose her own husband.
"The Death of Bonnie and Clyde" and Other Stories follows the trail of its wayward characters down the Delta back roads, crossing paths with Hernando DeSoto--hands bloodied by the indian slaughters--hitchhikers and thieves, UFO's, concrete finishers, naked fishermen, a lusty cheer squad caught and confessing in the midst of a killer tornado, and trash telescope salesmen on the day after Christmas-all saintly guardians of the human heart. From the Florida Coast up through the Carolinas and over to Arkansas' Ozarks, Bonnie and Clyde blazes a trail of love and deceit, hard liquor and the revelation of what it's like tp be free and wild and in love on this earth.
Fire sweeps along the wall of a circus tent while inside thousands of people enjoy a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey matinee. Within minutes, flames consume the canvas and vast sections collapse, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.
Inspired by the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire, the interconnected stories in Michael Downs's The Greatest Show explore the aftermath of a disaster in a world of clowns, elephants, and childhood fantasies.
In the opening story, Ania Liszak, a young Polish housemaid, steals circus tickets from her employer to take her three-year-old son, Teddy, to the matinee. The fire nearly kills both and leaves them scarred in different ways: Teddy's mother enjoys the beautiful strangeness of the scar on her face, but the patches across Teddy's body inspire cruel schoolmates to call him ''Lizard Liszak.'' Over time, his mother transforms her pain into drama, while Teddy, having no memory of that day, seeks ways to return to it.
These and other captivating characters appear throughout the book, creating a portrait of an American city and its people over five decades, raising questions about wounds and healing, memory and forgetting, and about the human capacity for kindness--with all its futility and power--in the midst of great loss.
Inspired by a voracious curiosity about humans and other subjects, the poems in Heather Christle's What Is Amazing describe and invent worlds in an attempt to understand through participation. The book draws upon the wisdom of foolishness and the logic of glee, while simultaneously exploring the suffering inherent to embodied consciousness. Speakers play out moments of bravado and fear, love and mortality, disappointment and desire. They socialize incorrigibly with lakes, lovers, fire, and readers, reasoning their way to unreasonable conclusions. These poems try to understand how it is that we come to recognize and differentiate objects and beings, how wholly each is attached to its name, and which space reveals them. What Is Amazing delights in fully inhabiting its varied forms and voices, singing worlds that often coincide with our own.
After tragic events tear Mickey Bolitar away from his parents, he is forced to live with his estranged Uncle Myron and switch high schools, where he finds both friends and enemies, but when his new new girlfriend, Ashley, vanishes, he follows her trail into a seedy underworld that reveals she is not what she seems to be.
With the release of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and forthcoming film version of The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien's popularity has never been higher. In Green Suns and Faërie, author Verlyn Flieger, one of the world's foremost Tolkien scholars, presents a selection of her best articles--some never before published--on a range of Tolkien topics.
The essays are divided into three distinct sections. The first explores Tolkien's ideas of sub-creation-the making of a Secondary World and its relation to the real world, the second looks at Tolkien's reconfiguration of the medieval story tradition, and the third places his work firmly within the context of the twentieth century and "modernist" literature. With discussions ranging from Tolkien's concepts of the hero to the much-misunderstood nature of Bilbo's last riddle in The Hobbit, Flieger reveals Tolkien as a man of both medieval learning and modern sensibility--one who is deeply engaged with the past and future, the regrets and hopes, the triumphs and tragedies, and above all the profound difficulties and dilemmas of his troubled century.
Taken in their entirety, these essays track a major scholar's deepening understanding of the work of the master of fantasy. Green Suns and Faërie is sure to become a cornerstone of Tolkien scholarship.
Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth--and frailty--of their connection.
At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.
Like a surreal and highly caffeinated version of The Big Chill, Jonathan Coe's new novel follows four students who knew each other in college in the eighties. Sarah is a narcoleptic who has dreams so vivid she mistakes them for real events. Robert has his life changed forever by the misunderstandings that arise from her condition. Terry spends his wakeful nights fueling his obsession with movies. And an increasingly unstable doctor, Gregory, sees sleep as a life-shortening disease which he must eradicate.
But after ten years of fretful slumber and dreams gone bad, the four reunite in their college town to confront their disorders. In a Gothic cliffside manor being used as a clinic for sleep disorders, they discover that neither love, nor lunacy, nor obsession ever rests.
J. G. Ballard: Visions and Revisions is a response to the formal and contextual diversity of one of the most significant writers of the post-war period. Providing an extensive reassessment of dominant and recurring themes in Ballard's writing, including historical violence, pornography, post 9/11 politics, and urban space, it also engages with Ballard's 'late' modernism; his experimentation with style and form; and his sustained interests in psychology and psychopathology. The volume addresses the full range of Ballard's writing, including his early science fiction stories, his experiments with 'condensed novels', his 'urban disaster' trilogy (including Crash), his autobiographical fictions, his late critiques of globalized capitalism, and his extensive non-fictional output of essays and reviews.
Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.
While supernatural events have become fairly commonplace on daytime television in recent decades, Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC between 1966 and 1971, pioneered this format when it blended the vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and witches of fictional Collinsport, Maine, with standard soap opera fare like alcoholism, jealousy, and tangled love. In this volume, author Harry M. Benshoff examines Dark Shadows, both during its initial run and as an enduring cult phenomenon, to prove that the show was an important precursor--or even progenitor--of today's phenomenally popular gothic and fantasy media franchises like Twilight, Harry Potter, and True Blood.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Seeing through Race is a boldly original reinterpretation of the iconic photographs of the black civil rights struggle. Martin A. Berger's provocative and groundbreaking study shows how the very pictures credited with arousing white sympathy, and thereby paving the way for civil rights legislation, actually limited the scope of racial reform in the 1960s. Berger analyzes many of these famous images--dogs and fire hoses turned against peaceful black marchers in Birmingham, tear gas and clubs wielded against voting-rights marchers in Selma--and argues that because white sympathy was dependent on photographs of powerless blacks, these unforgettable pictures undermined efforts to enact--or even imagine--reforms that threatened to upend the racial balance of power.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Henrico County, chartered in 1634, is one of the oldest counties in the state. Communities in Henrico created by African Americans are among the oldest continuing communities in America, as all of these communities were settled by 1863. The beauty of the settlements lay in the tenacity, determination, and resolve of pioneers who emerged from enslavement to create their own ideas of freedom. Rights to home and property ownership, businesses, churches, agencies, and schools defined the very essence of community. Despite efforts to halt their progress, African Americans independently sustained these communities. In African Americans of Henrico County, nine communities are highlighted to demonstrate the indefatigable and indomitable spirit that continues to exist in these sacred places.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Official histories of the United States have ignored the fact that 25 percent of all U.S. presidents were slaveholders, and that black people were held in bondage in the White House itself. And while the nation was born under the banner of "freedom and justice for all," many colonists risked rebelling against England in order to protect their lucrative slave business from the growing threat of British abolitionism. These historical facts, commonly excluded from schoolbooks and popular versions of American history, have profoundly shaped the course of race relations in the United States. In this work, the author presents a comprehensive history of the White House from an African American perspective, illuminating the central role it has played in advancing, thwarting, or simply ignoring efforts to achieve equal rights for all. Here are the stories of those who were forced to work on the construction of the mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the determined leaders who pressured U.S. presidents to outlaw slavery. They include White House slaves, and servants who went on to write books, Secret Service agents harassed by racist peers, Washington insiders who rose to the highest levels of power, the black artists and intellectuals invited to the White House, community leaders who waged presidential campaigns, and many others. Juxtaposing significant events in White House history with the ongoing struggle for civil rights, the book makes plain that the White House has always been a prism through which to view the social struggles and progress of black Americans.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
The political value of African American literature has long been a topic of great debate among American writers, both black and white, from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama. In his compelling new book, Representing the Race, Gene Andrew Jarrett traces the genealogy of this topic in order to develop an innovative political history of African American literature. Jarrett examines texts of every sort--pamphlets, autobiographies, cultural criticism, poems, short stories, and novels--to parse the myths of authenticity, popular culture, nationalism, and militancy that have come to define African American political activism in recent decades. He argues that unless we show the diverse and complex ways that African American literature has transformed society, political myths will continue to limit our understanding of this intellectual tradition.
Cultural forums ranging from the printing press, schools, and conventions, to parlors, railroad cars, and courtrooms provide the backdrop to this African American literary history, while the foreground is replete with compelling stories, from the debate over racial genius in early American history and the intellectual culture of racial politics after slavery, to the tension between copyright law and free speech in contemporary African American culture, to the political audacity of Barack Obama's creative writing. Erudite yet accessible, Representing the Race is a bold explanation of what's at stake in continuing to politicize African American literature in the new millennium.
Depicted in popular films, television series, novels, poems, and countless media reports, Sylvia Plath's women readers have become nearly as legendary as Plath herself, in large part because the depictions are seldom kind. If one is to believe the narrative told by literary and popular culture, Plath's primary audience is a body of young, misguided women who uncritically even pathologically consume Plath's writing with no awareness of how they harm the author's reputation in the process.
Janet Badia investigates the evolution of this narrative, tracing its origins, exposing the gaps and elisions that have defined it, and identifying it as a bullying mythology whose roots lie in a long history of ungenerous, if not outright misogynistic, rhetoric about women readers that has gathered new energy from the backlash against contemporary feminism.
More than just an exposé of our cultural biases against women readers, Badia's research also reveals how this mythology has shaped the production, reception, and evaluation of Plath's body of writing, affecting everything from the Hughes family's management of Plath's writings to the direction of Plath scholarship today. Badia discusses a wide range of texts and issues whose significance has gone largely unnoticed, including the many book reviews that have been written about Plath's publications; films and television shows that depict young Plath readers; editorials and fan tributes written about Plath; and Ted and (daughter) Frieda Hughes's writings about Plath's estate and audience.
Mae, a blackjack dealer in a Las Vegas casino, spends her free time wandering the desert with a rifle, or sitting in her trailer obsessively watching replays of an old lover escaping the wreckage of 9/11. What she sees in those images is different from what the rest of us would see. She revels in the pure anarchy, thrills at the destruction. These images recall memories of a childhood marked by unthinkable abuse, of her drift into a cult that committed the most shocking crime of the '60s, of her life since then as a feral and wary outsider, caught in a swirl of events at once personal, political, mythic.
Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.
Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? When the Killing's Done will offer no transparent answers, but like The Tortilla Curtain, Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.
Digital technology has transformed contemporary culture. New social media, hyperlinks, and cut-and-paste techniques have changed the way we write. E-books, which allow us to carry entire libraries with us, are bringing new browsing and reading habits. Digital editing and other on-the-fly postproduction processes have altered how we make music, films, and visual art. A key rhetorical trope employed in all aspects of digital media is the remix, the creation of innovative new works of visual, literary, and performance art through the mashup.
In remixthebook, Mark Amerika explores the mashup as a defining cultural activity in the digital age. A pioneering media artist and acclaimed cultural theorist, Amerika offers a series of philosophical essays that trace the art of the remix to previous forms of avant-garde and modernist art through mashups of deftly sampled phrases and ideas from a wide range of visual artists, poets, novelists, musicians, comedians, and philosophers--among them Alfred North Whitehead, Guy Debord, William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, and Allen Ginsberg.
A provocative textual performance that is at once a dazzling model of the literary remix and a state-of-the-art reflection on remix culture, remixthebook captures the unique and continually shifting digital moment in which we live and situates the remix as an art form and literary intervention. To coincide with the publication of remixthebook, Amerika will launch a companion website, remixthebook.com, to facilitate new ways of participating in remix culture by inviting other artists and writers to create remixthebook mashups of their own, pushing the boundaries of art and literary culture further, beyond the current publishing paradigms.
Amid currents of modernity that sought to displace the Christian faith, Chesterton challenged thought leaders of his day with civility, erudition, and wit, contending that faith is the central piece of our humanity. C. S. Lewis credits The Everlasting Man for his Christian vision, while Heretics and Orthodoxy are still considered pillars of Christian thought.
But Chesterton wasn't just an apologist. He wrote literary criticisms of Dickens and Chaucer still revered as seminal works. He wrote long-form epic poetry, widely-published articles, and lectured on art, politics, and history. Defiant Joy reveals a larger-than-life thinker and cultural giant-showing his utmost relevance for us today, and how a vibrant Christian witness can display the merits, joy, and sanity of a faith many wish to discredit.
The first women archaeologists were Victorian era adventurers who felt most at home when farthest from it. Canvas tents were their domains, hot Middle Eastern deserts their gardens of inquiry and labor. Thanks to them, prevailing ideas about feminine nature -- soft, nurturing, submissive -- were upended. Ladies of the Field tells the story of seven remarkable women, each a pioneering archaeologist, each headstrong, smart, and courageous, who burst into what was then a very young science. Amanda Adams takes us with them as they hack away at underbrush under a blazing sun, battle swarms of biting bugs, travel on camelback for weeks on end, and feel the excitement of unearthing history at an archaeological site. Adams also reveals the dreams of these extraordinary women, their love of the field, their passion for holding the past in their hands, their fascination with human origins, and their utter disregard for convention.
From London's glittering West End to Broadway's bright lights, from her Academy Award-winning role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love to "M" in the James Bond films, Judi Dench has treated audiences to some of the greatest performances of our time. She made her professional acting debut in 1957 with England's Old Vic theatre company playing Ophelia in Hamlet, Katherine in Henry V (her New York debut), and then, Juliet. In 1961, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard with John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft. In 1968, she went beyond the classical stage to become a sensation as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, adding musical comedy to her repertoire. Over the years, Dench has given indelible performances in the classics as well as some of the greatest plays and musicals of the twentieth century including Noël Coward's Hay Fever, Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, Kaufman and Hart's The Royal Family and David Hare's Amy's View (for which she won the Tony Award). Recently, she made a triumphant return to A Midsummer Night's Dream as Titania, a role she first played in 1962, now played as a theatre-besotted Queen Elizabeth I. Her film career has been filled with unforgettable performances of some unforgettable women: Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown, the terrifying schoolteacher Barbara Covett in Notes on a Scandal and the writer Iris Murdoch in Iris. And, for the BBC, Dench created another unforgettable woman when she brought her great comic timing and deeply felt emotions to the role of Jean Pargetter in the long-running BBC series As Time Goes By.
And Furthermore is, however, more than the story of a great actress's career. It is also the story of Judi Dench's life: her early days as a child in a family that was in love with the theatre; her marriage to actor Michael Williams; the joy she takes in her daughter, the actress Finty Williams, and her grandson, Sammy. Filled with Dench's impish sense of humor, diamond-sharp intelligence and photos from her personal archives, And Furthermore is the book every fan of the great Judi Dench will cherish.
Umberto Eco published his first novel, The Name of the Rose, in 1980, when he was nearly fifty. In these "confessions," the author, now in his late seventies, looks back on his long career as a theorist and his more recent work as a novelist, and explores their fruitful conjunction.
He begins by exploring the boundary between fiction and nonfiction--playfully, seriously, brilliantly roaming across this frontier. Good nonfiction, he believes, is crafted like a whodunnit, and a skilled novelist builds precisely detailed worlds through observation and research. Taking us on a tour of his own creative method, Eco recalls how he designed his fictional realms. He began with specific images, made choices of period, location, and voice, composed stories that would appeal to both sophisticated and popular readers. The blending of the real and the fictive extends to the inhabitants of such invented worlds. Why are we moved to tears by a character's plight? In what sense do Anna Karenina, Gregor Samsa, and Leopold Bloom "exist"?
At once a medievalist, philosopher, and scholar of modern literature, Eco astonishes above all when he considers the pleasures of enumeration. He shows that the humble list, the potentially endless series, enables us to glimpse the infinite and approach the ineffable. This "young novelist" is a master who has wise things to impart about the art of fiction and the power of words.
Josué Nadal has lost more than his innocence: He has been robbed of his life--and his posthumous narration sets the tone for a brilliantly written novel that blends mysticism and realism. Josué tells of his fateful meeting as a skinny, awkward teen with Jericó, the vigorous boy who will become his twin, his best friend, and his shadow. Both orphans, the two young men intend to spend their lives in intellectual pursuit--until they enter an adult landscape of sex, crime, and ambition that will test their pledge and alter their lives forever.
Idealistic Josué goes to work for a high-tech visionary whose stunning assistant will introduce him to a life of desire; cynical Jericó is enlisted by the Mexican president in a scheme to sell happiness to the impoverished masses. On his journey into a web of illegality in which he will be estranged from Jericó, Josué is aided and impeded by a cast of unforgettable characters: a mad, imprisoned murderer with a warning of revenge, an elegant aviatrix and addict seeking to be saved, a prostitute shared by both men who may have murdered her way into a brilliant marriage, and the prophet Ezekiel himself.
When Moses descended Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, he never could have foreseen how one family in Los Angeles in the early twenty-first century would struggle to live by them.
Conchita, a voluptuous, headstrong single woman of a certain age, sees nothing wrong with enjoying the company of handsome--and usually much younger--men . . . that is, until she encounters a widower with unusual gifts and begins to think about what she really wants out of life.
Julieta, Conchita's younger sister, walks a more traditional path, but she and her husband each harbor secrets that could change their marriage and their lives forever. Their twin sons, both in college, struggle to find fulfillment. Mateo refuses to let anyone stand in the way of his happiness, while Rolando grapples with his sexuality and the family's expectations. And from time to time, Belén, the family's late matriarch, pays a visit to advise, scold, or cajole her hapless descendants.
A delightful family tapestry woven with the threads of all those whose lives are touched by Conchita, The Book of Want is an enchanting blend of social and magical realism that tells a charming story about what it means to be fully human.
In his most irreverent novel yet, Ryu Murakami creates a rivalry of epic proportions between six aimless youths and six tough-as-nails women who battle for control of a Tokyo neighborhood. At the outset, the young men seem louche but harmless, their activities limited to drinking, snacking, peering at a naked neighbor through a window, and performing karaoke. The six "aunties" are fiercely independent career women. When one of the boys executes a lethal ambush of one of the women, chaos ensues. The women band together to find the killer and exact revenge. In turn, the boys buckle down, study physics, and plot to take out their nemeses in a single blast. Who knew that a deadly "gang war" could be such fun? Murakami builds the conflict into a hilarious, spot-on satire of modern culture and the tensions between the sexes and generations.
Walking a lonely forested valley on a spring morning in upstate New York, having been hired by a developer to dowse the land, Cassandra Brooks comes upon the shocking vision of a young girl hanged from a tree. When she returns with authorities to the site, the body has vanished, leaving in question Cassandra's credibility if not her sanity. The next day, on a return visit with the sheriff to have another look, a dazed, mute missing girl emerges from the woods, alive and the very picture of Cassandra's hanged girl.
What follows is the narrative of ever-deepening and increasingly bizarre divinations that will lead this gifted young woman, the struggling single mother of twin boys, hurtling toward a past she'd long since thought was behind her. The Diviner's Tale is at once a journey of self-discovery and an unorthodox murder mystery, a tale of the fantastic and a family chronicle told by an otherwise ordinary woman.
When Cassandra's dark forebodings take on tangible form, she is forced to confront a life spiraling out of control. And soon she is locked in a mortal chess match with a real-life killer who has haunted her since before she can remember.
Arthouse is an audacious transformation in prose of fourteen modernist films. From film to film, Jeffrey DeShell follows a forty-something failed film studies academic--The Professor. While The Professor is reinvented with each new chapter (or film), what remains is DeShell's inventive deconstruction and representation of modern cinema. At times borrowing imagery, plot, or character elements, and at times rendering lighting, rhythm, costuming, or shot sequences into fictional language, The Professor's journey sends him from the Southwestern town of Pueblo, Colorado, into the role of rescuer as he aids an attempted-rape victim, and finally to Italy. Ultimately though, The Professor is left alone, struggling to reconcile the real world with his life in cinema.
In antiquity there were divinities who demanded blood sacrifices. In the Middle Ages tales of the 'walking dead' and other bloodthirsty beings were as prevalent as the plague. Between then and now, from Transylvania to London, legends, firsthand accounts, literature, and film have conspired to distill into one being all our worst fears and most secret desires. This volume explores why the vampire has endured through the centuries and reminds us that the undead live on.
Deep Focus is a series of film books with a fresh approach. Take the smartest, liveliest writers in contemporary letters and let them loose on the most vital and popular corners of cinema history: midnight movies, the New Hollywood of the sixties and seventies, film noir, screwball comedies, international cult classics, and more. Passionate and idiosyncratic, each volume of Deep Focus is long-form criticism that's relentlessly provocative and entertaining.
Kicking off the series is Jonathan Lethem's take on They Live, John Carpenter's 1988 classic amalgam of deliberate B-movie, sci-fi, horror, anti-Yuppie agitprop. Lethem exfoliates Carpenter's paranoid satire in a series of penetrating, free-associational forays into the context of a story that peels the human masks off the ghoulish overlords of capitalism. His field of reference spans classic Hollywood cinema and science fiction, as well as popular music and contemporary art and theory. Taking into consideration the work of Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, James Brown, Fredric Jameson, Shepard Fairey, Philip K. Dick, Alfred Hitchcock, and Edgar Allan Poe, not to mention the role of wrestlers--including They Live star "Rowdy" Roddy Piper--in contemporary culture, Lethem's They Live provides a wholly original perspective on Carpenter's subversive classic.
A new inclusiveness, a heady freedom, grounded in the facts of mortality, inform Gail Mazur's recent poems, as if making them has served as both a bunker and a promontory, a way to survive, and to be exposed to, the profound underlying subject of this book: a husband's approaching death. The intimate particulars of a shared life are seen from a great height--and then there's the underlife of the bunker: endurance, holding on, life as uncompromising reality. This new work, possessed by the unique devil-may-care intensity of someone writing at the end of her nerves, makes Figures in a Landscape feel radiant, visionary, and exhilarating, rather than elegiac. Mazur's masterly fusion of abstraction with the facts of a life creates a coming to terms with what Yeats called "the aboriginal ice."
Providing a unique perspective on a fascinating aspect of early modern culture, this volume focuses on the role of food and diet as represented in the works of a range of European authors, including Shakespeare, from the late medieval period to the mid seventeenth century. The volume is divided into several sections, the first of which is "Eating in Early Modern Europe"; contributors consider cultural formations and cultural contexts for early modern attitudes to food and diet, moving from the more general consideration of European and English manners to the particular consideration of historical attitudes toward specific foodstuffs. The second section is "Early Modern Cookbooks and Recipes," which takes readers into the kitchen and considers the development of the cultural artifact we now recognize as the cookbook, how early modern recipes might "work" today, and whether cookery books specifically aimed at women might have shaped domestic creativity. Part Three, "Food and Feeding in Early Modern Literature" offers analysis of the engagement with food and feeding in key literary European and English texts from the early sixteenth to the early seventeenth century: François Rabelais's Quart livre, Shakespeare's plays, and seventeenth-century dramatic prologues. The essays included in this collection are international and interdisciplinary in their approach; they incorporate the perspectives of historians, cultural commentators, and literary critics who are leaders in the field of food and diet in early modern culture.
A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma, streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast.
On a summer's day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London.Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image--as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation--as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature. Dodgson's love of photography framed his view of the world, and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" than meets the eye. Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.
The ineffable nature of grieving and belief inspires a tender, gritty, and breathtaking work of graphic storytelling from the creators of The Savage.
"Slogger, man," I said. "Your dad's dead."
"I know that, Davie. But it's him. He's come back again, like he said he would."
Do you believe in life after death? Slog does. He believes that the scruffy man on a bench outside the butcher shop is his dad, returned to visit him one last time. Slog's friend Davie isn't so sure. Can it be that some mysteries are never meant to be solved? And that belief, at times, is its own reward? The acclaimed creators of The Savage reunite for a feat of graphic storytelling that defies categorization. Eerie, poignant, and masterful, Slog's Dad is a tale of astonishing power and complexity.
When H. G. Wells left school in 1880 at 13 he seemed destined for obscurity--yet he defied expectations, becoming one of the most famous writers in the world. He wrote classic science-fiction tales such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds; reinvented the Dickensian novel in Kipps and The History of Mr Polly; pioneered postmodernism in experimental fiction; and harangued his contemporaries in polemics which included two bestselling histories of the world. He brought equal energy to his outrageously promiscuous love life--a series of affairs embraced distinguished authors such as Dorothy Richardson and Rebecca West, the gun-toting travel writer Odette Keun, and Russian spy Moura Budberg. Until his death in 1946 Wells had artistic and ideological confrontations with everyone from Henry James to George Orwell, from Churchill to Stalin. He remains a controversial figure, attacked by some as a philistine, sexist, and racist, praised by others as a great writer, a prophet of globalization, and a pioneer of human rights. Setting the record straight, this authoritative biography is the first full-scale account to include material from the long-suppressed skeleton correspondence with his mistresses and illegitimate daughter.
What was it really like to travel the iron rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway in its early years, the dusty, parched tracks of the Silk Road in its heyday, or the rugged, dangerous mountain passes into and out of the Indian subcontinent? Eurasia's great land routes, offspring of the ambition of Russian tsars, Chinese emperors and Mughal khans, have served human history well, acting as conduits for trade, religion and cultural conventions, and as avenues down which conquering armies and commercial pioneers swarmed in the forging of empires.
With wit and humor, Omrani weaves a tapestry of tales and reports by a panoply of travelers down the centuries, taking the reader on an exciting journey that crosses continents and spans epochs. Richly embellished with stunning photography, detailed maps and fascinating archival illustrations, Asia Overland is a compelling piece of travel literature that will appeal to both modern-day explorers and armchair travelers alike.
Eighteenth-century critics believed Gothic fiction would inspire deviant sexuality, instill heretical beliefs, and encourage antisocial violence--this book puts these beliefs to the test. After examining the assumptions behind critics' fears, it considers nineteenth-century concerns about sexual deviance, showing how Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, and other works helped construct homosexuality as a pathological, dangerous phenomenon. It then turns to television and film, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer and David DeCoteau's direct-to-video movies, to trace Gothicized sexuality's lasting impact. Moving to heretical beliefs, Gothic Realities surveys ghost stories from Dickens's A Christmas Carol to Poltergeist, articulating the relationships between fiction and the "real" supernatural. Finally, it considers connections between Gothic horror and real-world violence, especially the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech.
As in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, place is at the center of Cynthia Morrison Phoel's debut collection of linked stories. Quirky, remote, and agonizingly intimate, the ragged village of Old Mountain is home to a cast of Bulgarian townsfolk who do daily battle with the heat or the bitter cold, with soul-crushing poverty, with petty disagreements among themselves--all the while attempting to adapt to changing times and keep up with their neighbors. Money is tight in this valley of run-down Communist blocks and crumbling plaster houses, but community is tighter.
When a largely unemployed father in "A Good Boy" trades his much-needed summer earnings for a hulking satellite dish, everyone knows about it. The same way everyone knows about the shop lady who rests her finger on the scale to drive up the price of cheese in "Galia." In "Satisfactory Proof," a budding mathematician completes a prestigious master's degree in number theory but fails to recognize the patterns of care and compassion everywhere around him. And in the concluding novella, "Cold Snap," as the town endures freezing temperatures and waits for the central heat to be turned on, the characters we have already met make a satisfying encore appearance--as the brittle cold pushes them to the edge of reason.
Focusing on the wildly successful Twilight series, this collection of scholarly essays examines the phenomenon from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives. Particular attention is paid to cultural, social, and economic aspects of the series and to the recurrent messages about youth, gender roles, romance, and sexuality. Essays discuss race and religion, and provide audience analyses of young adult, adult, anti-, and international fans. Other chapters are political-economic examinations into celebrity, tourism, and publishing. With new research by established and rising scholars, this volume is a significant contribution to the growing field of youth studies and complements existing feminist cultural analyses of media texts.
For almost three decades, Edward Curtis photographed the First Peoples of the North American West and studied their cultures. As part of his fieldwork, he cruised the Pacific Northwest coast, and ventured into the lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy, both north and south of the Medicine Line, in Montana and Alberta. Alarmed that the traditional Aboriginal ways of life seemed in danger of disappearing forever, Curtis made an incredible effort to capture the daily routines, character and dignity of First Peoples through photography and audio recordings. Against seemingly insurmountable odds and at substantial personal and financial sacrifice, he completed the 20-volume masterpiece The North American Indian, deemed "the most gigantic undertaking in the making of books since the King James edition of the Bible" by the New York Herald. With more than 150 photographs, Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line is both a compelling narrative that sheds new light on the Curtis mystique and a fascinating overview of many of the First Peoples he studied a century ago.
Calendar of Regrets is a wildly inventive and visually rich collage of twelve interconnected narratives, one for each month of the year, all pertaining to notions of travel--through time, space, narrative, and death.
The poisoning of the painter Hieronymus Bosch; anchorman Dan Rather's mysterious mugging on Park Avenue as he strolls home alone one October evening; a series of postcard meditations on the idea of travel from a young American journalist visiting Burma; a husband-and-wife team of fundamentalist Christian suicide bombers; the myth of Iphigenia from Agamemnon's daughter's point of view--these and other stories form a mosaic, connected through a pattern of musical motifs, transposed scenes, and recurring characters. It is a narrative about narrativity itself, the human obsession with telling ourselves and our worlds over and over again in an attempt to stabilize a truth that, as Nabokov once said, should only exist within quotation marks.
There are few literary authors in whose work animals and other creatures play as prominent a role as they do in Franz Kafka's. Exploring multiple dimensions of Kafka's incorporation of nonhuman creatures into his writing, this volume is the first collection in English of essays devoted to illuminating this important and ubiquitous dimension of his work. The chapters here are written by an array of international scholars from various fields, and represent a diversity of interpretive approaches. In the course of exploring the roles played by nonhuman animals and other creatures in Kafka's writing, they help make sense of the literary and philosophical significance of his preoccupation with animals, and make clear that careful investigation of those creatures illuminates his core concerns: the nature of power; the inescapability of history and guilt; the dangers, promise, and strangeness of the alienation endemic to modern life; the human propensity for cruelty and oppression; the limits and conditions of humanity and the risks of dehumanization; the nature of authenticity; family life; Jewishness; and the nature of language and art. Thus the essays in this volume enrich our understanding of Kafka's work as a whole. Especially striking is the extent to which the articles collected here bring into focus the ways in which Kafka anticipated many of the recent developments in contemporary thinking about nonhuman animals.
For more than 60 years, fanzines have been one of the most significant forms of self-expression. Often handmade and disseminated through underground networks, the fanzine is credited as being both the original medium for many of today s mainstream publications and the predecessor to the blogging craze. This highly visual compendium showcases the best, most thought provoking, and downright weirdest fanzines ever produced. With topics ranging from punk to personal politics, Fanzines includes both widely known fanzines as well as rare publications culled from passionate collectors. Spanning the history of the fanzine from the early experimentation with underground presses to contemporary and electronic fanzines, this is a comprehensive and unprecedented look at a fascinating phenomenon.
The winter of 1940-41 was the season of the Blitz. From St Paul's Cathedral to the East End, from the very heart of the capital to the cities of the midlands, throughout the length and breadth of the land the bombs rained down as Germany attempted to bludgeon Britain into submission. As the civilian populations below cowered in their shelters or manned the fire services, there could be no doubt that this was an island under siege.
Drawing exclusively on the photo archive of the Mirror newspaper group this volume brings to life this extraordinary period in British history. Remarkably a number of these images have never seen the light of day before thanks to wartime censors and now, 70 years after the fact, they reveal for the first time the harsh realities of life and death during the Blitz.
Historicizing Fat in Anglo-American Culture, edited by Elena Levy-Navarro, is the first collection of essays to offer a historical consideration of fat bodies in Anglophone culture. The interdisciplinary essays cover periods from the medieval to the contemporary, mapping out a new terrain for historical consideration. These essays question many of the commonplace assumptions that circulate around the category of fat: that fat exists as a natural and transhistorical category; that a premodern period existed which universally celebrated fat and knew no fatphobia; and that the thin, youthful body, as the presumptively beautiful and healthy one, should be the norm by which to judge other bodies.
The essays begin with a consideration of the interrelationship between the rise of weight-watching and the rise of the novel. The essays that follow consider such wide-ranging figures as the fat child's body as a contested site in post-Blair U.K. and in Lord of the Flies; H. G. Wells; Wilkie Collins's subversively performative Fosco; Ben Jonson; the voluptuous Lillian Russell; Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis; the opera diva; and the fat feminist activists of recent San Francisco. In developing their histories in a self-conscious way that addresses the pervasive fatphobia of the present-day Anglophone culture, Historicizing Fat suggests ways in which scholarship and criticism in the humanities can address, resist, and counteract the assumptions of late modern culture.
Originally a euphemism for Princeton University's Female Literary Tradition course in the 1980s, "chick lit" mutated from a movement in American women's avant-garde fiction in the 1990s to become, by the turn of the century, a humorous subset of women's literature, journalism, and advice manuals. Stephanie Harzewski examines such best sellers as Bridget Jones's Diary, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex and the City as urban appropriations of and departures from the narrative traditions of the novel of manners, the popular romance, and the bildungsroman. Further, Harzewski uses chick lit as a lens through which to view gender relations in U.S. and British society in the 1990s. Chick Lit and Postfeminism is the first sustained historicization of this major pop-cultural phenomenon, and Harzewski successfully demonstrates how chick lit and the critical study of it yield social observations on upheavals in Anglo-American marriage and education patterns, heterosexual rituals, feminism, and postmodern values.
Early science fiction has often been associated almost exclusively with Northern industrialized nations. In this groundbreaking exploration of the science fiction written in Latin America prior to 1920, Rachel Haywood Ferreira argues that science fiction has always been a global genre. She traces how and why the genre quickly reached Latin America and analyzes how writers in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico adapted science fiction to reflect their own realities. Among the texts discussed are one of the first defenses of Darwinism in Latin America, a tale of a time-traveling history book, and a Latin American Frankenstein. Latin American science fiction writers have long been active participants in the sf literary tradition, expanding the limits of the genre and deepening our perception of the role of science and technology in the Latin American imagination. The book includes a chronological bibliography of science fiction published from 1775 to 1920 in all Latin American countries.
Laura Horton is different. Not in any noticeable, first-glance kind of way; but inside, she's equally uncomfortable around the snippy girls in her class and the strange boy, Leon, who just moved in nearby. She'd rather be writing or drawing or spending time with her free-spirited family in their eccentric old house. But Laura and Leon are more alike than they first realize. They're both outsiders. They both have secrets. And try as she might to avoid him, Laura finds herself drawn to Leon's quiet boldness as surely as she is driven to find out more about her home's enigmatic former owner. Together they probe the mysteries of the Visconti House, making an exploration into the past that will change their lives -- and open their hearts -- forever.
One May evening in London, Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, is feeling good about the future as he sits down for a meal at a little Italian bistro. He strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterward. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents, through which Adam loses everything--home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, cell phone--never to get them back.
William Boyd's electrifying follow-up to the Costa Award-winning Restless, Ordinary Thunderstorms is a profound and gripping novel about the fragility of social identity, the corruption at the heart of big business, and the secrets that lie hidden in the seamy underbelly of every city.
Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence.
As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically. A collection of rumors, divergent suspicions, and tantalizing what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.
Told in haunting, percussive prose, Hannah Pittard's beautifully crafted novel tracks the emotional progress of the sister Nora left behind, the other families in their leafy suburban enclave, and the individual fates of the boys in her thrall. Far more eager to imagine Nora's fate than to scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into an adulthood of jobs, marriages, families, homes, and daughters of their own, all the while pining for a girl-and a life-that no longer exists, except in the imagination.
Lewis Carroll was brilliant, secretive and self contradictory. He reveled in double meanings and puzzles, in his fiction and his life. Jenny Woolf's The Mystery of Lewis Carroll shines a new light on the creator of Alice In Wonderland and brings to life this fascinating, but sometimes exasperating human being whom some have tried to hide. Using rarely-seen and recently discovered sources, such as Carroll's accounts ledger and unpublished correspondence with the "real" Alice's family, Woolf sets Lewis Carroll firmly in the context of the English Victorian age and answers many intriguing questions about the man who wrote the Alice books.
Meredith Sue Willis' Out of the Mountains is a collection of thirteen short stories set in contemporary Appalachia. Firmly grounded in place, the stories voyage out into the conflicting cultural identities that native Appalachians experience as they balance mainstream and mountain identities.This is not the mythic version of Appalachia, but the Appalachia of the twenty-first century.
In these spellbinding stories, Yiyun Li, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award winner and acclaimed author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Vagrants, gives us exquisite fiction filled with suspense, depth, and beauty, in which history, politics, and folklore magnificently illuminate the human condition.
In the title story, a professor introduces her middle-aged son to a favorite student, unaware of the student's true affections. In "A Man Like Him," a lifelong bachelor finds kinship with a man wrongly accused of an indiscretion. In "The Proprietress," a reporter from Shanghai travels to a small town to write an article about the local prison, only to discover a far more intriguing story involving a shopkeeper who offers refuge to the wives and children of inmates. In "House Fire," a young man who suspects his father of sleeping with the young man's wife seeks the help of a detective agency run by a group of feisty old women.
Written in lyrical prose and with stunning honesty, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl reveals worlds strange and familiar, and cultures both traditional and modern, to create a mesmerizing and vibrant landscape of life.
The nonstop reading of Melville's titanic epic, Moby Dick, in the setting of New Bedford's Whaling Museum has inspired this fresh look at the novel in light of its most devoted followers. With some trepidation, David Dowling joined the ranks of the Melvillians to participate in the event for the full twenty-five hours. He survived to tell the tale of the voyage to the marathon reading that organizes his critical analysis of the novel from its romantic departure to its sledgehammering seas, detailing the culture of the top brass to the common crew and scrutinizing the inscrutable in and through Melville's great novel.
The Artist and His Mother is a work of creative non-fiction in the form of a novel whose narrator, a painter and writer, composes not only a portrait of himself and his mother, Zaroohe, but a story of a century from when, as a child of ten, she survived the Armenian Genocide in 1915, to her death in America in 2006. The title is after Arshile Gorky's famous paintings of himself and his own mother, and here also the composition is inspired by the ghosts of the massacre. A part of this book won a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.
"Bird Cloud" is the name Annie Proulx gave to 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie and four-hundred-foot cliffs plunging down to the North Platte River. On the day she first visited, a cloud in the shape of a bird hung in the evening sky. Proulx also saw pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, scores of bluebirds, harriers, kestrels, elk, deer and a dozen antelope. She fell in love with the land, then owned by the Nature Conservancy, and she knew what she wanted to build on it--a house in harmony with her work, her appetites and her character, a library surrounded by bedrooms and a kitchen.
Proulx's first work of nonfiction in more than twenty years, Bird Cloud is the story of designing and constructing that house--with its solar panels, Japanese soak tub, concrete floor and elk horn handles on kitchen cabinets. It is also an enthralling natural history and archaeology of the region--inhabited for millennia by Ute, Arapaho and Shoshone Indians-- and a family history, going back to nineteenth-century Mississippi riverboat captains and Canadian settlers.
Proulx, a writer with extraordinary powers of observation and compassion, here turns her lens on herself. We understand how she came to be living in a house surrounded by wilderness, with shelves for thousands of books and long worktables on which to heap manuscripts, research materials and maps, and how she came to be one of the great American writers of her time.
Charles Yu, time travel technician, helps save people from themselves in Minor Universe 31, a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction. When he's not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog named Ed, and using a book titled "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" as his guide, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory.
This contributed volume explores the significant role that music plays in the works of Joss Whedon, investigating the uses and meaning of music and sound in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, and the Internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
Hip-hop has come a long way from its origins in the Bronx in the 1970s, when rapping and DJing were just part of a lively, decidedly local scene that also venerated break-dancing and graffiti. Now hip-hop is a global phenomenon and, in the United States, a massively successful corporate enterprise predominantly controlled and consumed by whites while the most prominent performers are black. How does this shift in racial dynamics affect our understanding of contemporary hip-hop, especially when the music perpetuates stereotypes of black men? Do black listeners interpret hip-hop differently from white fans?
These questions have dogged hip-hop for decades, but unlike most pundits, Michael P. Jeffries finds answers by interviewing everyday people. Instead of turning to performers or media critics, Thug Life focuses on the music's fans--young men, both black and white--and the resulting account avoids romanticism, offering an unbiased examination of how hip-hop works in people's daily lives. As Jeffries weaves the fans' voices together with his own sophisticated analysis, we are able to understand hip-hop as a tool listeners use to make sense of themselves and society as well as a rich, self-contained world containing politics and pleasure, virtue and vice.
Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
The first strip of Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel's famous counterculture comic strip, appeared in 1983. The strips collected in this volume chronicle the massive changes that took place between then and 2008, built into and around the lives of a group of recurring characters. Over the twenty-five years covered, they watch, protest, observe, are part of, and rail against what's going on in the United States and the world, always bringing an LGBT perspective to what's happening. That perspective changes over time, reflecting increased acceptance of the characters by society even as they struggle to define themselves and remain true to ideals that parenthood, marriage, and increased acceptance itself force them to reconsider. This collection is by turns funny, sad, engaging, and eye-opening in its frank and forthright treatment of the lives of LGBT people in the United States over the last quarter century. Bechdel, author of the award-winning autobiography Fun Home, draws in a style reminiscent of her stylistic idols, Hergé and R. Crumb.
Internationally acclaimed writer Dennis Cooper continues to study the material he's always explored honestly, but does so now-in stories-with a sense of awareness and a satirical touch that exploits and winks at his mastery of this world. As it has done for decades, Cooper's taut, controlled prose lays bare the compulsions and troubling emptiness of the human soul.
In 1928, the boy who will discover Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, is on the family farm, grinding a lens for his own telescope under the immense Kansas sky. In Flagstaff, Arizona, the staff of Lowell Observatory is about to resume the late Percival Lowell's interrupted search for Planet X. Meanwhile, the immensely rich heir to a chemical fortune has decided to go west to hunt for dinosaurs and in Cambridge, Massachussetts, the most beautiful girl in America is going slowly insane while her ex-heavyweight champion boyfriend stands by helplessly, desperate to do anything to keep her. Inspired by the true story of Tombaugh and set in the last gin-soaked months of the flapper era, Percival's Planet tells the story of the intertwining lives of half a dozen dreamers, schemers, and madmen. Following Tombaugh's unlikely path from son of a farmer to discoverer of a planet, the novel touches on insanity, mathematics, music, astrophysics, boxing, dinosaur hunting, shipwrecks--and what happens when the greatest romance of your life is also the source of your life's greatest sorrow.
The author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sin in the Second City returns with the gripping and expansive story of America's coming-of-age--told through the extraordinary life of Gypsy Rose Lee and the world she survived and conquered.
A pair of sister child stars coming from a Vaudeville family in the Jazz Age and maturing in the Depression, driven by the most ferocious of stage mothers, Dainty June and Louise Hovick chose different paths to fame--June as a "legit" actress, while Louise became Gypsy Rose Lee, a strutting, bawdy, erudite stripper who understood how to sell sexy without actually showing sex. Using exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, author Karen Abbott delves into Gypsy's world, including her intensely dramatic triangle relationship with her sister, June Havoc, and their formidable mother Rose. We also meet four scrappy and savvy showbiz brothers from New York City who would pave the way for Gypsy Rose Lee's brand of burlesque. The Minsky brothers relied on grit, determination, and a few tricks that fell just outside the law--and they would shape, and ultimately transform, the landscape of American entertainment.
Almost as soon as it was built, London suffered the first of many acts of violent protest, when Boudica and her followers set fire to the city in AD 60. Ever since, the capital's streets have been a forum for popular insurrection. Covering nearly 2,000 years of political protest, this is a riveting alternative history of past and present conflict.
Masculinity was both a subtext and an explicit concern in the literary and political debates of the mid-20th century. In Pinks, Pansies, and Punks, James Penner charts the construction of masculinity within American literary culture from the 1930s to the 1970s. He examines the macho criticism that originated in the 1930s within the high modernist New York intellectual circle and tracks the issues of class struggle, anti-communism, and the clash between the Old and New Left in the 1960s. By extending literary culture to include not just novels, plays, and poetry, but diaries, journals, manifestos, essays, literary criticism, journalism, non-fiction, essays on psychology and sociology, and screenplays, Penner foregrounds the multiplicity of gender attitudes available in each of the historical moments he addresses.
Anne Carson's haunting and beautiful Nox is her first book of poetry in five years--a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out "book in a box." Nox is an epitaph in the form of a book, a facsimile of a handmade book Anne Carson wrote and created after the death of her brother. The poem describes coming to terms with his loss through the lens of her translation of Poem 101 by Catullus "for his brother who died in the Troad." Nox is a work of poetry, but arrives as a fascinating and unique physical object. Carson pasted old letters, family photos, collages and sketches on pages. The poems, typed on a computer, were added to this illustrated "book" creating a visual and reading experience so amazing as to open up our concept of poetry. 50 color and black-and-white prints
Fimbul-Winter (or Fimbulvetr) takes its title from Norse mythology: three winters with no summers between. Drawing from sources as diverse as Anglo-Saxon literature, Chinese poetry, Emily Dickinson, and the blues, these poems seek sustenance and consolation in a harsh landscape. "Here is a poet who listens, who weighs until all comes remote, comes close, from that place where poetry itself begins: 'the country of Erstwhile, of Meanwhile, of Still.'"
Making Murder takes readers deep into the work of Thomas Harris and his iconic creation, Hannibal Lecter--one of modern fiction's most unforgettable characters. A former crime reporter, Harris's exhaustive research techniques have included extensive time with the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit studying actual serial killers. Like no other available volume, the book explores the dark heart within Harris's novels--the unflinching look at evil that makes them so much more than just "good reads."
Making Murder looks at all five of Harris's novels, starting with the suspenseful terrorist thriller, Black Sunday, then moving through the quartet of books in which Hannibal Lecter gradually moves from malevolent presiding spirit to unsettling, recognizably human protagonist. Author Philip Simpson looks at the critical response each book received and explores the works themselves in terms of story, characters, writing style, allusions and symbols, and themes. An introductory chapter provides insights into the author's life, publishing history, and significant cultural impact.
Few people writing today could successfully combine an intimate knowledge of Chicago with a poet's eye, and capture what it's really like to live in this remarkable city. Embracing a striking variety of human experience--a chance encounter with a veteran on Belmont Avenue, the grimy majesty of the downtown El tracks, domestic violence in a North Side brownstone, the wide-eyed wonder of new arrivals at O'Hare, and much more--these new and selected poems and stories by Reginald Gibbons celebrate the heady mix of elation and despair that is city life. With Slow Trains Overhead, he has rendered a living portrait of Chicago as luminously detailed and powerful as those of Nelson Algren and Carl Sandburg.
Gibbons takes the reader from museums and neighborhood life to tense proceedings in Juvenile Court, from comically noir-tinged scenes at a store on Clark Street to midnight immigrants at a gas station on Western Avenue, and from a child's piggybank to nature in urban spaces. For Gibbons, the city's people, places, and historical reverberations are a compelling human array of the everyday and the extraordinary, of poverty and beauty, of the experience of being one among many. Penned by one of its most prominent writers, Slow Trains Overhead evokes and commemorates human life in a great city.
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents' attention, bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother--her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother--tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.
The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden--her mother's life outside the home, her father's detachment, her brother's clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
After being saved from death by none other than Henry Fonda and engaging in a brief but ill-fated collaboration with legendary director John Ford, Irish rebel Henry Smart ends up settling into a quiet life in a village north of Dublin, where he finds work as a caretaker for a boys' school and takes up with a widow O'Kelly (who may be his long-disappeared wife). But a political bombing in Dublin in 1974 puts him in the spotlight, and suddenly the secret of his rebel past is out.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) is generally considered the greatest American SF writer of the 20th century. A famous and bestselling author in later life, he started as a navy man and graduate of Annapolis who was forced to retire because of tuberculosis. A socialist politician in the 1930s, he became one of the sources of Libertarian politics in the USA in his later years. His most famous works include the Future History series (stories and novels collected in The Past Through Tomorrow and continued in later novels), Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
Given his desire for privacy in the later decades of his life, he was both stranger and more interesting than one could ever have known. This is the first of two volumes of a major American biography. This volume is about Robert A. Heinlein's life up to the end of the 1940s and the mid-life crisis that changed him forever.
The 20th century was a magazine century in many ways. Between 1900 and 2000, the number of magazines grew from about 3,000 to 17,815a 593 percent increase, which exceeded population growth by 95 percent. The typical American read less than half a magazine per month in 1920, but by 2000 that figure tripled to 1.35 magazines per month. This book examines how and why magazines grew so rapidly. Structured by decades and chronology, it tells the story of innovative publishers, editors, and magazines and how and why they succeeded. Sumner argues that the move from general-interest to niche audiences originated early in the century, not after the rise of television. Furthermore, he says that the growth of advertising enabled the cost of magazines to steadily decline. The declining price and expanding audiences brought a steady erosion in the intellectual content of magazines, which is illustrated by the rise in sex and celebrity titles during the 1970s and later. Sumner concludes with an assessment of the decade since 2000 and offers an optimistic outlook for the future of magazines.
In twenty-nine provocative essays, Joyce Carol Oates maps the "rough country" that is both the treacherous geographical and psychological terrain of the writers she so cogently analyzes--Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, E. L. Doctorow, and Margaret Atwood, among others--and the emotional terrain of Oates's own life following the unexpected death of her husband, Raymond Smith, after forty-eight years of marriage.
"As literature is a traditional solace to the bereft, so writing about literature can be a solace, as it was to me when the effort of writing fiction seemed beyond me, as if belonging to another lifetime," Oates writes. "Reading and taking notes, especially late at night when I can't sleep, has been the solace, for me, that saying the Rosary or reading The Book of Common Prayer might be for another." The results of those meditations are the essays of In Rough Country--balanced and illuminating investigations that demonstrate an artist working at the top of her form.
Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs (1914--97) is an iconic figure of the Beat generation. In William S. Burroughs, Phil Baker investigates this cult writer's life and work--from small-town Kansas to New York in the '40s, Mexico and the South American jungle, to Tangier and the writing of Naked Lunch, to Paris and the Beat Hotel, and '60s London--alongside Burrough's self-portrayal as an explorer of inner space, reporting back from the frontiers of experience.
After accidentally shooting his wife in 1951, Burroughs felt his destiny as a writer was bound up with a struggle to come to terms with the "Ugly Spirit" that had possessed him. In this fascinating biography, Baker explores how Burroughs's early absorption in psychoanalysis shifted through Scientology, demonology, and Native American mysticism, eventually leading Burroughs to believe that he lived in an increasingly magical universe, where he sent curses and operated a "wishing machine." His lifelong preoccupation with freedom and its opposites--forms of control or addiction--coupled with the globally paranoid vision of his work can be seen to evolve into a larger ecological concern, exemplified in his idea of a divide between decent people or "Johnsons" and those who impose themselves upon others, wrecking the planet in the process.
Drawing on newly available material, and rooted in Burroughs's vulnerable emotional life and seminal friendships, this insightful and revealing study provides a powerful and lucid account of his career and significance.
In today's "post-feminist" society, women and men are considered equal. For younger women and men, feminism is often portrayed as unfashionable and irrelevant. But since the beginning of the new millennium a new generation have emerged to challenge these assumptions and assert a vibrant new agenda. This groundbreaking book reveals the what, why and how of the new feminist movement and what it has to say about women's lives in today's society. From cosmetic surgery to celebrity culture and girl power to globalization, from rape to religion and sex to singleness, this book reveals the seven vital issues at stake for today's feminists, unveils the beginnings of a fresh and diverse wave of feminism, and calls a new generation back to action.
An unforgettable coming-of-age story and a luminous portrayal of a dramatic era of American history, Rebecca Chace's Leaving Rock Harbor takes readers into the heart of a New England mill town in the early twentieth century.
On the eve of World War I, fourteen-year-old Frankie Ross and her parents leave their simple life in Poughkeepsie to seek a new beginning in the booming city of Rock Harbor, Massachusetts. Frankie's father finds work in a bustling cotton mill, but erupting labor strikes threaten to dismantle the town's socioeconomic structure. Frankie soon befriends two charismatic young men--Winslow Curtis, privileged son of the town's most powerful politician, and Joe Barros, a Portuguese mill worker who becomes a union organizer--forming a tender yet bittersweet love triangle that will have an impact on all three throughout their lives. Inspired in part by Chace's family history, Frankie's journey to adulthood takes us through the First World War and into the Jazz Age, followed by the Great Depression--from rags to riches and back again. Her life parallels the evolution of the mill town itself, and the lost promise of a boomtown that everyone thought would last forever.
Of her acclaimed novel Capture the Flag, the Los Angeles Times said, "Chace's writing resembles a generation of New York writers heavily influenced by John Updike: Rick Moody, A. M. Homes, Susan Minot, and, more recently, Melissa Bank." With its lyrical prose and compelling style, Leaving Rock Harbor further establishes Chace's position in that literary tradition.
When a mail bomb explodes in the campus office next door, Lee, an Asian American math professor at a second-tier university in the Midwest, comes under suspicion. The authorities believe he may be the infamous "brain bomber," an elusive terrorist whose primary targets are prominent scientists and mathematicians.
In the midst of campus tumult and grief over the star computer scientist who was killed by the bomb, Lee receives a disturbing letter from a figure in his past. Certain he is being targeted for revenge, he begins confronting key events in his life. Misunderstood by the people around him, Lee is not conscious that his behavior has begun to heighten suspicion in the minds of his colleagues, students, and neighbors, leading the FBI to designate him "a person of interest" and pushing his life and reputation to the verge of ruin.
Intricately plotted and engrossing, A Person of Interest asks how far one man can run from his past, and explores the impact of scrutiny and suspicion in an age of terror. With its propulsive drive and vividly realized characters, Susan Choi's latest novel is as thrilling as it is lyrical, and confirms her place as one of the most important young novelists chronicling the American experience.
This is the first biography of one of the greatest English writers of the last century. Betty Coles became Elizabeth Taylor upon her marriage in 1936. Her first novel At Mrs. Lippincote's appeared in the same year (1945) as the actress Elizabeth Taylor was appearing in National Velvet. Over the next thirty years, "the other Elizabeth Taylor" lived and worked in Buckinghamshire and published several titles of fiction. Nicola Beauman's biography draws on a wealth of hitherto undiscovered material.
Group Portrait from Hell describes a world of human suffering--from the mythological Fall, through ancient cultural and individual histories up to the present--through failures of love to overcome our conflicts and mortalities. These conditions are alleviated by interludes of philosophical speculation, humor, and moments of mutual recognition and communion. But, overall, these carefully honed and often formal poems describe a tragic human condition rather than a "divine comedy" as our common fate.
Regent Street is one of the best known streets in London. This book traces its development from a royal scheme devised for the Prince Regent by his favourite architect, John Nash, in the 19th century to its role as the 'destination street' of today. It was celebrated as the 'avenue of superfluities' - full of modish shops providing clothes, British and imported dress material, and luxuries like fans, furs and jewellery. So successful were the shopkeepers that rebuilding was necessary by the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Fashionable new shops and department stores in Portland stone replaced Nash's stucco, creating the Regent Street so familiar today, despite two World Wars.
The author, an eminent historian of London, traces the creation of the whole area from the clubs of Waterloo Place along the whole length of Regent Street to the villas of Regent's Park, and discusses the problems its projectors had to overcome. She records the many talented architects and inventive shopkeepers who established the street as a fashionable quarter, and traces the many changes and problems faced by landlords and occupiers in keeping their street in the forefront of style for two centuries.
The Crusades were the bridge between medieval and modern history, between feudalism and colonialism. In many ways, the little explored later Crusades were the most significant of them all, for they made the crisis truly global. The Last Crusaders is about the period's last great conflict between East and West, and the titanic contest between Habsburg-led Christendom and the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. From the great naval campaigns and the ferocious struggle to dominate the North African shore, the conflict spread out along trade routes, consuming nations and cultures, destroying dynasties, and spawning the first colonial empires in South America and the Indian Ocean.
Acclaimed scholar of Islamic history and author Barnaby Rogerson illuminates the Last Crusades in an accessible and skillful manner. He shows how, to this day, the disputed borders of the Crusades era stand as defining frontiers and dividing lines between languages, nations, and religions. From Constantinople to Fez, from Rhodes to Granada, The Last Crusaders is narrative history at its richest and most compelling.
Green is the Orator follows on Sarah Gridley's brilliant first collection, Weather Eye Open, in addressing the challenge of representing nature through language. Gridley's deftly original syntax arises from direct experience of the natural world and from encounters with other texts, including the Egyptian "Book of the Dead" and the writings of Charles Darwin, Peter Mark Roget, William Morris, William James, and Henri Bergson. Gridley's own idiom is compressed, original, and full of unexpected pleasures. This unusual book, at once austere and full of life, reflects a penetrating mind at work--one that is thinking through and re-presenting romantic and modernist traditions of nature.
Fierce Angels explores and explodes the idea of the "strong black woman" as never before. Authoritative yet deeply personal and daringly confessional, Sheri Parks's bold new study of the black female's role as communal savior and martyr will challenge and change anyone who reads it.
Fierce Angels exposes the overwhelming emotional costs--as well as the benefits--attached to this role. Parks, an esteemed scholar and popular media personality, provides exclusive interviews and astute analysis, as well as accounts of her own searing and inspiring experiences, to highlight the myths and the realities of black women's lives.
Credible and cathartic, piercing and provocative, Fierce Angels is a book born of pain and introspection, a work sure to stir debate and become the primary source on this vital topic.
In this comprehensive history, inquiry, critique, and reference guide, Stuller argues that Superwomen, from Wonder Woman to Charlie's Angels, are more than just love interests or sidekicks who stand by their supermen. She shows how the female hero in modern mythology has broken through the traditional boy's club barrier to reveal the pivotal role of high-heeled crimefighters in popular culture. Chapter topics include love and compassion, spies and sexuality, daddy's girls, and the complicated roles of superwomen who are also mothers. The book also includes a glossary of modern mythic women, as well as a foreword by acclaimed cultural commentator Roz Kaveney, author of Superheroes! Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films.
In the past, the examination of myth has traditionally been the study of the "Primitive" or the "Other." More recently, myth has been increasingly employed in movies and in television productions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Star Trek television and movie franchise. This collection of essays on Star Trek brings together perspectives from scholars in fields including film, anthropology, history, American studies and biblical scholarship. Together the essays examine the symbolism, religious implications, heroic and gender archetypes, and lasting effects of the Star Trek "mythscape."
Whether he's reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a con artist in Europe, or riding with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession. Each of the stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world, pivoting around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world's foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes, found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent; and sandhogs racing to complete the dangerous job of building New York City's water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann's accounts display the power--and often the willful perversity--of the human spirit, a mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.
In the internationally acclaimed author's first novel since Do Everything in the Dark, Gary Indiana applies his prickly wit, nihilistic vision, and utterly original voice to this side-splitting spin on Fu Manchu.
A mysterious bout of narcolepsy has overtaken the seaside hamlet of Land's End, a funk endemic to the region since the wreckage a century earlier of the ship the Ardent Somdomite. Inspector Weymouth Smith and unconvinced cohort Dr. Obregon Petrie attempt to thwart Fu Manchu's latest ploy for world domination while confronting South American Piyas, matching wits with a club-footed ex-Stasi, as well as battling the latest technological crazes and their own drug dependencies.
The Shanghai Gesture is not a genre farce, but a compelling tale that merges the author's trademark eye for social satire with the beautifully poetic sensibilities of his previous novels.
Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from wartorn Europe to find that his brother, Daniel, has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful career in the movies, and a heroic past choose to kill himself?
Determined to uncover the truth, Ben enters the maze of the studio system and the uneasy world beneath the glossy shine of the movie business. For this is the moment when politics and the dream factories are beginning to collide as Communist witch hunts render the biggest stars and star makers vulnerable. Even here, where the devastation of Europe seems no more real than a painted movie set, the war casts long and dangerous shadows. When Ben learns troubling facts about his own family's past, he is caught in the middle of a web of deception that shakes his moral foundation to its core.
In a story full of lust, madness, and ecstasy, we meet twelve distinctive characters that lived in the same region of central England over the span of six thousand years. Their narratives are woven together in patterns of recurring events, strange traditions, and uncanny visions. First, a cave-boy loses his mother, falls in love, and learns a deadly lesson. He is followed by an extraordinary cast of characters: a murderess who impersonates her victim, a fisherman who believes he has become a different species, a Roman emissary who realizes the bitter truth about the Empire, a crippled nun who is healed miraculously by a disturbing apparition, an old crusader whose faith is destroyed by witnessing the ultimate relic, two witches, lovers, who burn at the stake. Each interconnected tale traces a path in a journey of discovery of the secrets of the land.
In the tradition of Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Schwob's Imaginary Lives, and Borges' A Universal History of Infamy, Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, Lost Girls) travels through history blending truth and conjecture, in a novel that is dazzling, moving, sometimes tragic, but always mesmerizing.
Now available in paperback for the first time in America! With an Introduction by Neil Gaiman, a signature of full-color plates by Jose Villarrubia, and a cover design by Chip Kidd.
Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the 20th century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress and modernity who cannot help but leave behind a shadow that yearns for the impossible dreams of love, land and home. Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he becomes orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new Shah, Reza Pahlavi I.; he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, re-named Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step. The Age of Orphans follows Reza on his meteoric rise in ranks, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman and his eventual deployment, as Capitan, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and it is here that his carefully crafted persona begins to fissure and crack.
Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magníficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.
A mesmerizing novel about memory, guilt, power, and violence
"In the late winter of 2006, I returned to my home town and bought 612 acres of land on the far western edge of the county." So begins, innocuously enough, J. Robert Lennon's gripping, spooky, and brilliant new novel. Unforthcoming, formal, and more than a little defensive in his encounters with curious locals, Eric Loesch starts renovating a run-down house in the small, upstate New York town of his childhood. When he inspects the title to the property, however, he discovers a chunk of land in the middle of his woods that he does not own. What's more, the name of the owner is blacked out.
Loesch sets out to explore the forbidding and almost impenetrable forest--lifeless, it seems, but for a bewitching white deer--that is the site of an eighteenth-century Indian massacre. But this peculiar adventure story has much to do with America's current military misadventures--and Loesch's secrets come to mirror the American psyche in a paranoid age. The answer to what--and who--might lie at the heart of Loesch's property stands at the center of this daring and riveting novel from the author whose writing, according to Ann Patchett, "contains enough electricity to light up the country."
Fictional memoir of Dr. Max Aue, a former Nazi officer who survived the war and has reinvented himself, many years later, as a middle-class entrepreneur and family man in northern France. Max is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man, we experience the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews in graphic, disturbingly precise detail from the dark and disturbing point of view of the executioner rather than the victim. During the period from June 1941 through April 1945, Max is posted to Poland, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus; he is present at the Battle of Stalingrad, at Auschwitz and Cracow; he visits occupied Paris and lives through the chaos of the final days of the Nazi regime in Berlin. Although Max is a totally imagined character, his world is peopled by real historical figures, such as Eichmann, Himmler, Goring, Speer, Heydrich, Hoss, and Hitler himself.
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.
And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.
In 1704 the French colony of Louisiana needs wives for the struggling settlers and Elisabeth and twenty-three other girls are dispatched to satisfy the request. The skeptical bride soon falls in love with her charismatic and ruthlessly ambitious soldier-husband, Jean-Claude, a passion which is shared by an abandoned cabin boy, Auguste, who has also fallen under the spell of the dashing Jean-Claude. When in time Jean-Claude betrays them both, the two find themselves bound together in ways they never anticipated.
When Mary Anning uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home on the English coast, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, and in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.
One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character.
A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he's only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to "unwrap" his talent . . .
Passion or necessity--or the often uneasy combination of the two--determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp.
An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed works of fiction.
Drawing on a series of recordings made over many years, beginning in the mid-1970s, acclaimed biographer Charlotte Chandler has written the most intimate and personal biography ever published of Hollywood legend Katharine Hepburn.
Introduced by George Cukor, who directed Hepburn in such classic films as Little Women, The Philadelphia Story, and Adam's Rib, Chandler socialized with Hepburn at the Cukor estate, where the star was then living in a cottage on the grounds. Hepburn agreed to allow Chandler to tape their conversations, during which she spoke candidly about her personal and professional lives. She described finding the body of her adored older brother, an apparent suicide at fifteen, and assuming his birthday as her own. She told Chandler intimate details of her marriage and divorce from Ludlow Ogden Smith, "Luddy," who remained a friend, and of her affair with pilot Howard Hughes. She said that she enjoyed diving nude off the wings of his seaplane when they went swimming together. Her warmest recollections were of her twenty-seven-year affair with Spencer Tracy.
Chandler also interviewed others who knew and worked with Hepburn during her long career, from Cukor to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Cary Grant, Christopher Reeve, and many others. All of them described an actress who was supremely talented, professional, and confident, who always knew where she was going.
By the time she retired, Hepburn had won a record four Best Actress Academy Awards and had been nominated twelve times. Her acting career spanned six decades, and she was universally acknowledged as one of the finest -- if not the finest -- actors in film history. Her range wasenormous: She acted in serious drama and in screwball comedies with equal skill. As she revealed to Chandler in their conversations, her family was a great influence on Hepburn. Her mother was a suffragette and her beloved father a doctor. She would eventually retire to the home where she grew up (although it had been rebuilt after it was destroyed in a storm), symbolically affirming the family values that shaped her personality. She was careful to distinguish her personal and professional lives, telling Chandler that she thought of herself as "Kathy," a childhood name (she had called herself "Jimmy" for a while in childhood), but regarded the public Katharine Hepburn as "the creature."
Mention Jane Austen and you'll likely incite a slew of fervent opinions from anyone within earshot. Regarded as a brilliant social satirist by scholars, Austen also enjoys the sort of popular affection usually reserved for girl-next-door movie stars, leading to the paradox of an academically revered author who has served as the inspiration for chick lit (The Jane Austen Book Club) and modern blockbusters (Becoming Jane). Almost two hundred years after her death, Austen remains a hot topic, and the current flare in the cultural zeitgeist echoes the continuous revival of her works, from the time of original publication through the twentieth century. In Jane's Fame, Claire Harman gives us the complete biography--of both the author and her lasting cultural influence--making this essential reading for anyone interested in Austen's life, works, and remarkably potent fame.
What gladdens her is the spoon
with its tiny saucer of remnants,
its slender shaft, scrubbed last--
and now the kitchen's clean
Sara London grew up in California and Vermont, and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has worked as an editor in New York, and as a journalist on Cape Cod. She teaches creative writing and literature at Mount Holyoke College, and has taught at Amherst and Smith colleges. She lives with her husband, writer Dean Albarelli, in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Informal in tone yet serious in content, this book serves as a lively and accessible guide for readers discovering the tradition of political thought that dates back to Socrates and Plato. Because the arguments of the great philosophers are nearly eternal, even those long schooled on politics will find that this book calls on recurring questions about morality and power, justice and war, the risk of democracy, the necessity for evil, the perils of tolerance, and the meaning of happiness. Jeffrey Abramson argues politics with the classic writers and draws the reader into a spirited conversation with contemporary examples that illustrate the enduring nature of political dilemmas. As the discussions deepen, the voices of Abramson's own teachers, and of the students he has taught, enter into the mix, and the book becomes a tribute not just to the great philosophers but also to the special bond between teacher and student.
As Hegel famously noted, referring to the Roman goddess Minerva, her owl brought back wisdom only at dusk, when it was too late to shine light on actual politics. Abramson reminds us that there are real political problems to confront, and in a book filled with grace and passion, he captures just how exciting serious learning can be.
Beginning with John Winthrop's "city upon a hill" sermon in 1630, American culture has been informed by a sense of its own exceptional nature. The notion of the Western hemisphere as a new world, a place filled with possibility and even magic, goes back to the initial voyages of Columbus, while the American Revolution gave even more impetus to the idea that the United States was a special place with a unique mission. As a result, America has always attempted to define itself through a network of invented myths and national narratives. Red, White, and Spooked details the development of our national myths which can be seen underlying the genres of country and film noir, the characters of Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, television hits like Deadwood and NYPD Blue, and the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings franchises as well.
This culture-spanning investigation begins with a historical survey of supernatural and superhuman themes in American culture, concluding with the recent upsurge that began in the 1990s. It then turns to a number of thematic chapters that discuss various works of recent popular culture with supernatural and superhuman themes - such as The X-Files, Smallville, The 4400, Medium, Heroes, Lost, and The Dead Zone - organized according to the desires to which these works commonly respond. The object here is to try and see what these fantasies can reveal about what it means to be American today, and what we still want it to mean.
Fred Astaire defined elegance on the dance floor. With white tie, tails and a succession of elegant partners - Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, Judy Garland and others - he created an indelible image of the Anglo bon vivant. His origins, though, were far more humble.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Fred Astaire came from Midwestern stock that partially had its origin in the late nineteenth century Jewish communities of Austria. At first, he played second fiddle in vaudeville to his sister, Adele; however, once he learned how to tap and bought his first Brooks Brothers suit, the game changed. How did he transform himself from a small town Nebraska boy into the most sophisticated man ever to dance across a dance floor?
In this comprehensive new book about the life and artistry of Fred Astaire, Peter Levinson looks carefully at the entirety of Astaire's career from vaudeville to Broadway to Hollywood to television. He explores Astaire's relationships with his vivacious dance partners, his friendship with songwriters like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and his relationship with choreographers like Hermes Pan to discover how Astaire, in effect, created his elegant persona. Astaire put his mark on the Hollywood musical, starting his career at RKO and then moving to MGM. From his long list of films, certain classics like "Swing Time", "Top Hat", "Royal Wedding" and "The Bandwagon" revolutionized the presentation of dance on film; but, he also revolutionized the television variety special with the Emmy-Award-Winning An Evening With Fred Astaire.
For Puttin' on the Ritz, veteran Hollywood insider, Peter Levinson interviewed over two hundred people who worked closely with Astaire such as Debbie Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Artie Shaw, Bobby Short, Oscar Peterson, Mel Ferrer, Betty Garrett, Joel Grey, Arlene Dahl, Michael Kidd, Betty Comden, Onna White, Margaret Whiting, Andy Williams, and others like Quincy Jones, John Travolta, and John Williams, to provide an intimate window on to his professional as well as his personal life. His new biography of Astaire is a celebration of the great era of sophistication on Broadway and in Hollywood as seen through the life of a man who learned how to put on the Ritz and become America's premiere song-and-dance-man: Fred Astaire.
Fimi explores the evolution of Tolkien's mythology throughout his lifetime by examining how it changed as a result of his life story and contemporary cultural and intellectual history. This new approach and scope brings to light neglected aspects of Tolkien's imaginative vision and contextualizes his fiction.
This dynamic collection documents the rich and varied history of social dance and the multiple styles it has generated, while drawing on some of the most current forms of critical and theoretical inquiry. The essays cover different historical periods and styles; encompass regional influences from North and South America, Britain, Europe, and Africa; and emphasize a variety of methodological approaches, including ethnography, anthropology, gender studies, and critical race theory. While social dance is defined primarily as dance performed by the public in ballrooms, clubs, dance halls, and other meeting spots, contributors also examine social dance's symbiotic relationship with popular, theatrical stage dance forms.
2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Twilight Zone, arguably one of the most popular television shows ever. Drawing on photographs and personal remembrances, Rod Serling's widow, Carol, gives commentary on some of the series' most memorable episodes. Veteran film historian Douglas Brode gives in-depth descriptions of these episodes and why they were so resonant with viewers.
In his first collection of poetry and prose, award-winning fiction writer Richard Bausch proves that he is also an accomplished poet. Penned over a span of many years, the poems in These Extremes deal with a wide variety of subjects. Many focus on Bausch's own family and relationships. In one long, touching poem, "Barbara (1943-1974)," the poet memorializes his oldest sister, who died young. He also offers two prose memory pieces, recollections from his childhood and adolescence. In these brief "essays," Bausch draws loving but unsentimental portraits of his father, mother, and other relatives as he reflects on the sense of belonging that he gained from his family--something he hopes to pass on to his own children in this violent, chaotic world. In "Back Stories," the center of the book, Bausch effortlessly weaves poems around familiar characters from history, literature, movies, and popular culture--including Thomas Jefferson, Shakespeare's Falstaff, Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Sam, the piano player from Casablanca. Decidedly accessible in form, theme, and expression, These Extremes will surprise and delight lovers of poetry and fans of Bausch's stories and novels.
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.
The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive former lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.
Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry: about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -- even after death.
The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world--all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich's Café de la Terrasse--a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution--lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada--and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as "eros (women)," "internet(s)," and "war." Throughout, it is written in the belief "that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources."
As the creator of Sherlock Holmes, "the world's most famous man who never was," Arthur Conan Doyle remains one of our favorite writers; his work is read with affection--and sometimes obsession--the world over. Doctor, writer, spiritualist: his life was no less fascinating than his fiction.
Conan Doyle grew up in relative poverty in Edinburgh, with the mental illness of his artistically gifted but alcoholic father casting a shadow over his early life. He struggled both as a young doctor and in his early attempts to sell short stories, having only limited success until Sherlock Holmes became a publishing phenomenon and propelled him to worldwide fame.
While he enjoyed the celebrity Holmes brought him, he also felt that the stories damaged his literary reputation. Beyond his writing, Conan Doyle led a full life, participating in the Boer War, falling in love with another woman while his wife was dying of tuberculosis, campaigning against injustice, and converting to Spiritualism, a move that would bewilder his friends and fans.
During his lifetime Conan Doyle wrote more than fifteen hundred letters to members of his family, most notably his mother, revealing his innermost thoughts, fears and hopes; and Russell Miller is the first biographer to have been granted unlimited access to Conan Doyle's private correspondence. The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle also makes use of the writer's personal papers, unseen for many years, and is the first book to draw fully on the Richard Lancelyn Green archive, the world's most comprehensive collection of Conan Doyle material.
Told with panache, The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle is an unprecedentedly full portrait of an enduringly popular figure.
They Made Their Mark covers the wide spectrum of women's curiosity in the fields of art, science and culture and chronicles the history of the Society of Woman Geographers--from the first meeting in 1925 to today.
Founder of a dynasty, builder of the original Grand Central, creator of an impossibly vast fortune, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington's presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation's largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. Lincoln consulted him on steamship strategy during the Civil War; Jay Gould was first his uneasy ally and then sworn enemy; and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, was his spiritual counselor. We see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation--in fact, as T. J. Stiles elegantly argues, Vanderbilt did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today.
In The First Tycoon, Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore's personal life. It is a sweeping, fast-moving epic, and a complex portrait of the great man. Vanderbilt, Stiles shows, embraced the philosophy of the Jacksonian Democrats and withstood attacks by his conservative enemies for being too competitive. He was a visionary who pioneered business models. He was an unschooled fistfighter who came to command the respect of New York's social elite. And he was a father who struggled with a gambling-addicted son, a husband who was loving yet abusive, and, finally, an old man who was obsessed with contacting the dead.
The First Tycoon is the exhilarating story of a man and a nation maturing together: the powerful account of a man whose life was as epic and complex as American history itself.
It seems we're awash in vampires these days, in everything from movies, television shows, and novels to role-playing games, rock bands, and breakfast cereals. But what accounts for their enduring popular appeal? In Vampire God, Mary Y. Hallab examines the mythic figure of the vampire from its origins in early Greek and Slavic folklore, its transformation by Romantics like Byron, Le Fanu, and Stoker, and its diverse representations in present-day popular culture. The allure of the vampire, Hallab argues, lies in its persistent undeadness, its refusal to accept its mortal destiny of death and decay. Vampires appeal to our fear of dying and our hope for immortality, and as a focus for our doubts and speculations, vampire literature offers answers to many of our most urgent questions about the meaning of death, the nature of the human soul, and its possible survival after bodily dissolution. Clearly written, with wry humor, Vampire God is a thoroughly researched, ambitious study that draws on cultural, anthropological, and religious perspectives to explore the significance and function of the vampire in relation to the scientific, social, psychological, and religious beliefs of its time and place.
In many of the world's religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, a seemingly enigmatic and paradoxical image is found--that of the god who worships. Various interpretations of this seeming paradox have been advanced. Some suggest that it represents sacrifice to a higher deity. Proponents of anthropomorphic projection say that the gods are just "big people" and that images of human religious action are simply projected onto the deities. However, such explanations do not do justice to the complexity and diversity of this phenomenon.
In Religion of the Gods, Kimberley C. Patton uses a comparative approach to take up anew a longstanding challenge in ancient Greek religious iconography: why are the Olympian gods depicted on classical pottery making libations? The sacrificing gods in ancient Greece are compared to gods who perform rituals in six other religious traditions: the Vedic gods, the heterodox god Zurvan of early Zoroastrianism, the Old Norse god Odin, the Christian God and Christ, the God of Judaism, and Islam's Allah. Patton examines the comparative evidence from a cultural and historical perspective, uncovering deep structural resonances while also revealing crucial differences.
Instead of looking for invisible recipients or lost myths, Patton proposes the new category of "divine reflexivity." Divinely performed ritual is a self-reflexive, self-expressive action that signals the origin of ritual in the divine and not the human realm. Above all, divine ritual is generative, both instigating and inspiring human religious activity. The religion practiced by the gods is both like and unlike human religious action. Seen from within the religious tradition, gods are not "big people," but other than human. Human ritual is directed outward to a divine being, but the gods practice ritual on their own behalf. "Cultic time," the symbiotic performance of ritual both in heaven and on earth, collapses the distinction between cult and theology each time ritual is performed. Offering the first comprehensive study and a new theory of this fascinating phenomenon, Religion of the Gods is a significant contribution to the fields of classics and comparative religion. Patton shows that the god who performs religious action is not an anomaly, but holds a meaningful place in the category of ritual and points to a phenomenologically universal structure within religion itself.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Tremé was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political ferment. Here black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create much of what defines New Orleans culture up to the present day.
Founded as a suburb (or faubourg in French) of the original colonial city, the neighborhood developed during French rule and many families like the Trevignes kept speaking French as their first language until the late 1960s. Tremé was the home of the Tribune, the first black daily newspaper in the US. During Reconstruction, activists from Tremé pushed for equal treatment under the law and for integration. And after Reconstruction's defeat, a "Citizens Committee" legally challenged the resegregation of public transportation resulting in the infamous Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court case.
New Orleans Times Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie bought a historic house in Tremé in the 1990s when the area was struggling to recover from the crack epidemic. Rather than flee the blighted inner city, Elie begins renovating his dilapidated home and in the process becomes obsessed with the area's mysterious and neglected past. Shot largely before Hurricane Katrina and edited afterwards, the film is both celebratory and elegiac in tone.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
In whatever role he chose--civil rights leader, wealthy entrepreneur, or unconventional surgeon--Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (1908-76) was always close to controversy. One of the leading renaissance men of twentieth century black history, Howard successfully organized a grassroots boycott against Jim Crow in the 1950s. Well known for his benevolence, fun-loving lifestyle, and fabulous parties attended by such celebrities as Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, he could also be difficult to work with when he let his boundless ego get the best of him. A trained medical doctor, he kept the secrets of the white elite, and although married to one woman for forty years, he had many personal peccadilloes. But T. R. M. Howard's impressive accomplishments and abilities vastly outshone his personal flaws and foibles. He was a dynamic civil rights pioneer and promoter of self-help and business enterprise among blacks.
With this remarkable biography, David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito secure Howard's rightful place in African American history. Drawing from dozens of interviews with Howard's friends and contemporaries, as well as FBI files, court documents, and private papers, the authors present a fittingly vibrant portrait of a complicated leader, iconoclastic businessman, and tireless activist.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
The Great Depression hit Americans hard, but none harder than African Americans and the working poor. To Ask for an Equal Chance explores black experiences during this period and the intertwined challenges posed by race and class. "Last hired, first fired," black workers lost their jobs at twice the rate of whites, and faced greater obstacles in their search for economic security. Black workers, who were generally urban newcomers, impoverished and lacking industrial skills, were already at a disadvantage. These difficulties were intensified by an overt, and in the South legally entrenched, system of racial segregation and discrimination. New federal programs offered hope as they redefined government's responsibility for its citizens, but local implementation often proved racially discriminatory.
As Cheryl Greenberg makes clear, African Americans were not passive victims of economic catastrophe or white racism; they responded to such challenges in a variety of political, social, and communal ways. The book explores both the external realities facing African Americans and individual and communal responses to them. While experiences varied depending on many factors including class, location, gender and community size, there are also unifying and overarching realities that applied universally. To Ask for an Equal Chance straddles the particular, with examinations of specific communities and experiences, and the general, with explorations of the broader effects of racism, discrimination, family, class, and political organizing.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
At six years of age, after winning a foot race against a white classmate, Jennifer Baszile was humiliated to hear her classmate explain that black people "have something in their feet to make them run faster than white people." When she asked her teacher about it, it was confirmed as true. The next morning, Jennifer's father accompanied her to school, careful to "assert himself as an informed and concerned parent and not simply a big, black, dangerous man in a first-grade classroom."
This was the first of many skirmishes in Jennifer's childhood-long struggle to define herself as "the black girl next door" while living out her parents' dreams. Success for her was being the smartest and achieving the most, with the consequence that much of her girlhood did not seem like her own but more like the "family project." But integration took a toll on everyone in the family when strain in her parents' marriage emerged in her teenage years, and the struggle to be the perfect black family became an unbearable burden.
A deeply personal view of a significant period of American social history, The Black Girl Next Door deftly balances childhood experiences with adult observations, creating an illuminating and poignant look at a unique time in our country's history.
A groundbreaking new look at an American icon, The Wizard of Oz. Finding Oz tells the remarkable tale behind one of the world's most enduring and best loved stories. Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum's 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum's fantastical parable of the American Dream. Prior to becoming an impresario of children's adventure tales--the J. K. Rowling of his age--Baum failed at a series of careers and nearly lost his soul before setting out on a journey of discovery that would lead to the Land of Oz. Drawing on original research, Evan Schwartz debunks popular misconceptions and shows how the people, places, and events in Baum's life gave birth to his unforgettable images and characters. The Yellow Brick Road was real, the Emerald City evoked the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and Baum's mother-in-law, the radical women's rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, inspired his dual view of witches--as good and wicked. A narrative that sweeps across late nineteenth-century America, Finding Oz ultimately reveals how failure and heartbreak can sometimes lead to redemption and bliss, and how one individual can ignite the imagination of the entire world.
From his work as a reporter at Hustler magazine, to his National Magazine Award-winning writing for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, Evan Wright has always had an affinity for outsiders--what he calls "the lost tribes of America." The previously published pieces in this collection chart a deeply personal journey, beginning with his stark but sympathetic portrayals of sex workers in Porn Valley, through his raw portrait of a Hollywood überagent-turned-war documentarian and hero of America's far right. Along the way, Wright encounters runaway teens earning corporate dollars as skateboard pitchmen; radical anarchists plotting the overthrow of corporate America; and young American troops on the hunt for terrorists in the combat zones of the Middle East. His subjects are people for whom the American dream is either just out of grasp, or something they've chosen to reject altogether. Sometimes frightening, usually profane, and often darkly comic, Hella Nation is Evan Wright's meticulously observed tour of the jagged edges of all those other Americas hiding in plain sight amid the nation's malls and gated communities. The collection also includes an all-new, autobiographical introductory essay by the author.
The English were latecomers to America, and their initial attempts to establish an overseas empire met with dismal failure. In 1609, another disaster set the final course of this dramatic history, when the Sea Venture, the ship dispatched by London investors to rescue the starving settlers at Jamestown, collided with a ferocious hurricane and was shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda. This riveting historical narrative describes how the 150 castaways were seduced by the island's unexpected pleasures for almost a year and were later riven by mutinies when ordered to continue on to Virginia. Ultimately they built boats with their own hands and arrived safely in Jamestown to face the daunting task of rebuilding America's first permanent colony.
Ayn Rand is best known as the author of the perennially bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Altogether, more than 12 million copies of the two novels have been sold in the United States. The books have attracted three generations of readers, shaped the foundation of the Libertarian movement, and influenced White House economic policies throughout the Reagan years and beyond. A passionate advocate of laissez-faire capitalism and individual rights, Rand remains a powerful force in the political perceptions of Americans today. Yet twenty-five years after her death, her readers know little about her life.
In this seminal biography, Anne C. Heller traces the controversial author's life from her childhood in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution to her years as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the publication of her blockbuster novels, and the rise and fall of the cult that formed around her in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout, Heller reveals previously unknown facts about Rand's history and looks at Rand with new research and a fresh perspective.
Based on original research in Russia, dozens of interviews with Rand's acquaintances and former acolytes, and previously unexamined archives of tapes and letters, Ayn Rand and the World She Made is a comprehensive and eye-opening portrait of one of the most significant and improbable figures of the twentieth century.
The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park--Chuck Palahniuk's finest novel since the generation-defining Fight Club.
"Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc."
Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.
It's a comedy. And a romance.
Immediately on its publication in 1972, Learning from Las Vegas, by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, was hailed as a transformative work in the history and theory of architecture, liberating those in architecture who were trying to find a way out of the straitjacket of architectural orthodoxies. Resonating far beyond the professional and institutional boundaries of the field, the book contributed to a thorough rethinking of modernism and was subsequently taken up as an early manifestation and progenitor of postmodernism.
Going beyond analyzing the original text, the essays provide insights into the issues surrounding architecture, culture, and philosophy that have been influenced by Learning from Las Vegas. For the contributors, as for scholars in an array of fields, the pioneering book is as relevant to architectural debates today as it was when it was first published.
He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem--ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him.
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities--like the Housekeeper's shoe size--and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.
Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King "the best and brightest of his generation." But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life--as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common- law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.
King lied because he wanted to and he lied because he had to. To marry his wife in a public way - as the white man known as Clarence King - would have created a scandal and destroyed his career. At a moment when many mixed-race Americans concealed their African heritage to seize the privileges of white America, King falsely presented himself as a black man in order to marry the woman he loved.
Noted historian of the American West Martha Sandweiss is the first writer to uncover the life that King tried so hard to conceal from the public eye. She reveals the complexity of a man who while publicly espousing a personal dream of a uniquely American "race," an amalgam of white and black, hid his love for his wife, Ada, and their five biracial children. Passing Strange tells the dramatic tale of a family built along the fault lines of celebrity, class, and race--from the "Todd's" wedding in 1888, to the 1964 death of Ada King, one of the last surviving Americans born into slavery.
In this ambitious collection, Kevin Stein enters the volatile intersection of private lives and larger public history. In poems variously formal and experimental, improvisational and narrative, wisely silly and playfully forlorn, Stein renders the human carnival flexed across the tattooed bulk of "history's bicep."
Musical and refreshingly unaffected, Stein's poems yoke the domains of high and low art. His poems address subjects by turns surprising, edgy, and humorous. They offer musings on the Slinky and the atomic bomb, elegies for a miscarried pregnancy and the late physicist Edward Teller, reflections on night-shift factory work and President Eisenhower's golf caddy, and meditations on the politics of post-colonialism and a youthful antiwar streaking incident. Against this vivid backdrop parades a motley cast of American characters seeking wiry balance in a fragile world.
The landscape of American literature was fundamentally changed when Flannery O'Connor stepped onto the scene with her first published book, Wise Blood, in 1952. Her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories reflected the darkly funny, vibrant, and theologically sophisticated woman who wrote them. Brad Gooch brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships--with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy, and James Dickey among others--and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, and Betty Hester. Hester was famously known as "A" in O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being, and a large cache of correspondence to her from O'Connor was made available to scholars, including Brad Gooch, in 2006. O'Connor's capacity to live fully--despite the chronic disease that eventually confined her to her mother's farm in Georgia--is illuminated in this engaging and authoritative biography.
A multi-layered work featuring animation, archival footage and interviews with the likes of William Burroughs, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Hell, Who's afraid of Kathy Acker by Austrian artist Barbara Caspar and co-produced by Annette Pisacane (Nico Icon) and Markus Fischer, is a thoughtful and creative film biography/essay on the late outlaw writer and punk icon, whose formally inventive novels, published from the '70s through the mid-90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon.
"The Blue Manuscript" is the ultimate prize for any collector of Islamic treasures. But does it still exist, and if so, can it be found? In search of answers to these questions, an assortment of archaeologists heads for a remote area of Egypt, where they work with local villagers to excavate a promising site. But as social and cultural preconceptions amongst both visitors and hosts start to unravel, the mystery seems only to deepen and darken...What do the fables of the village storyteller mean for the westerners, and can their emotional equilibrium and scholarly integrity survive exposure to the realities of the world they have studied from afar?Interspersed with the testimony of the early medieval calligrapher who created the "Blue Manuscript", Sabiha Al Khemir's subtle, graceful narrative builds into a rich tapestry of human love, hope, despair, greed, fear and betrayal. Intensified at every turn by the uneasy relationship between Islam past and present, and between Islam and the West, The Blue Manuscript is a novel which will resonate long after the astonishing solution to its mystery has finally been revealed.
As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle-the creator of Sherlock Holmes-studied under one of the pioneers in forensic medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell. While details of Doyle's actual relationship with the Doctor remain shrouded in mystery, author David Pirie has created an engrossing series that pairs the two as partners in criminal investigations in the dark underworlds of Victorian Edinburgh.
The Night Calls chronicles their most frightening and disturbing case, the encounter with the man who prefigures Holmes' archnemesis Moriarty. A series of bizarre and outlandish assaults on women in the brothels of Edinburgh has caught the attention of Bell, who calls on Doyle to assist in the investigation. At the same time, however, there's a violent struggle for women's educational rights taking place at the university's medical school where Doyle is a student. There he meets young Elsbeth Scott, a fellow student with an unfortunate list of enemies, among them a crazed misogynist student name Crawford, and the smiling hypocritical patron of the university, Henry Carlisle.
Bell slowly begins to realize that the increasingly freakish crimes indicate a heretofore unknown and terrifying kind of criminal, one who is not susceptible to the Doctor's old methods. The Night Calls takes them from the evil heart of old Edinburgh into what Bell calls their "fight against the future" and to London itself, where Doyle again faces a villain with terrifying results.
Frida Kahlo was born in 1907 to parents of German and Spanish descent, in Coyoacan, outside Mexico City. After contracting polio at age six, Frida also suffered severe injuries in a bus accident. Her time spent in recovery turned her toward a painting career. These experiences, combined with a difficult marriage to the artist Diego Rivera, generated vibrant works depicting Frida's experiences with pain as well as the symbolism and spirit of Mexican culture. Though she died in 1954, interest in her work continues to grow, with museum exhibitions and publications around the world. This biography will introduce art students and adult readers to one of the Latino culture's most beloved artists.
When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes.
From a National Book Award finalist--for her memoir American Chica--and the author of the acclaimed novel Cellophane comes this spare, powerful story of sexual obsession and its consequences.
Carlos Bluhm leads the good life in upper-class Lima: he attends social functions with his elegant wife, goes out drinking with his three best friends, has the occasional, fleeting assignation. . . . Until he meets Maria Fernandez, a dancer at a tango bar in a rough part of town. The beautiful sixteen-year-old intoxicates him. An indigenous dark-skinned Peruvian, she represents everything his safe white world does not, and soon he can't get her out of his mind. They begin a passionate affair, one that will destroy his marriage and shatter the only reality he's ever known.
Flash forward twenty years: against all odds, Carlos and Maria have remained together. But when Maria finally presses for a formal commitment, feelings long suppressed erupt in a tense endgame that sends both of them hurtling toward a dangerous resolution that will forever alter their lives.
Brilliantly realized, erotic, unsentimental, Lima Nights is a unique love story and a stunning work of fiction that will reverberate long after its final page.
Ellen Gilchrist is one of America's most celebrated and respected authors, a classic writer in the tradition of Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Elizabeth Spencer. The author of more than twenty books, she was awarded the National Book Award for her short story collection Victory Over Japan. Now, with her first novel in more than a decade, she returns in top form.
A Dangerous Age tells the story of the women of the Hand family, three cousins in a Southern dynasty rich with history and tradition who are no strangers to either controversy or sadness. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, the novel is a celebration of the strength of these women, and of others like them. In her characteristically clear and direct prose, with its wry, no-nonsense approach to the world and the people who inhabit it, Gilchrist gives voice to women on a collision course with a distant war that, in truth, is never more than a breath away.
Kucukalic looks beyond the received criticism and stereotypes attached to Philip K. Dick and his work and shows, using a wealth of primary documents including previously unpublished letters and interviews, that Philip K. Dick is a serious and relevant philosophical and cultural thinker whose writing offer us important insights into contemporary digital culture. Evaluating five novels that span Dick's career--from Martian Time Slip (1964) to Valis (1981)--Kucukalic explores the the intersections of identity, narrative, and technology in order to ask two central, but uncharted Dickian questions: What is reality? and What is human?
Part homage, part exploration, The Plath Cabinet offers a new window onto Sylvia Plath's world, from her hand-made dolls and her passport to a preserved lock of her hair. The Plath Cabinet is not simply an unparalleled biography: it is a memoir in poems, telling the story of Bowman's relationship to Plath and to poetry. The Plath Cabinet is a must-read for Plath-lovers, for anyone interested in memoir and biography, and for all readers of contemporary poetry.
"I had prepared a life plan that included ten years of wandering, later years studying medicine. . . . All that's in the past, the only thing that's clear is that the ten years of wandering might grow longer . . . but it will now be of an entirely different type from the one I dreamed of, and when I arrive in a new country it will not be to go to museums and look at ruins, because that still interests me, but also to join the struggle of the people."
- Che Guevara, in a letter to his mother, 1956
Assembled from two separate books written by Che's father, this is a vivid and intimate account of the formative years of an icon. Ernesto Guevara Lynch describes the people and personal events that shaped the development of his son's revolutionary worldview, from his childhood in a bourgeois Argentinian home to the moment he joined Castro to train for the invasion of Cuba in 1956. It also includes, available for the first time in the United States, Che's diary of his trip around Northern Argentina in 1950. Young Che is an indispensable guide to understanding one of the twentieth century's most famous and enduring revolutionary figures.
From our enjoyment of music to our cravings for chocolate, from our love for children and family to our attraction to things of beauty, this book embarks on an intriguing and accessible exploration of the purpose of pleasure in our lives and in human history. How did pleasure evolve and why? How does it develop in children? How does the pursuit of pleasure play a critical role in brain development? The Pleasure Instinct explores everything we need to know about our urge to feel good.
In The Pleasure Instinct, pioneering neurobiologist Gene Wallenstein takes you on a delightful tour through the relationship between human beings and pleasure, from its biological origins, through its role in brain development, to the latest findings that have direct applications today. The pleasure instinct, he contends, is evolution's ancient tool for prodding us in the directions that maximize our reproductive success. This same drive has created a staggering panorama of behaviors, pathologies, and cultural idioms in our modern lives that often bewilder and beguile.
Beginning with the five senses, Wallenstein explores the evolution of pleasure by asking such simple but penetrating questions as: How does music soothe our souls? What do we love so much about chocolate? How can particular aromas trigger vivid memories? Why are certain textures, shapes, and colors more pleasing than others? Wallenstein then reveals that in each case, the pleasure instinct delivers a distinct advantage, encourages normal brain growth, and enhances our ability to use and benefit from our senses.
This fascinating trek to the nexus of evolutionary biology and psychology goes on to examine the impact of pleasure in our everyday lives. Wallenstein reveals how the pleasure instinct influences everything from how we choose our mates to why we laugh at jokes, from our favorite dance rhythms to our preferences in art, perfume, and amusement park rides. He also takes a look at the dark side of pleasure, seeking to unearth the evolutionary roots of addiction, fetishes, and other excesses in the pursuit of pleasure.
Why does pleasure exist? When Wallenstein asks this question against the backdrop of evolution, the answers reveal the framework of a new world view that is beginning to change the way we think about human nature. Filled with fascinating insights into human behavior, this book will challenge your preconceptions and give you a new understanding of what drives the pursuit of pleasure.
Award-winning Civil War historian Noah Andre Trudeau has written a gripping, definitive new account that will stand as the last word on General William Tecumseh Sherman's epic march--a targeted strategy aimed to break not only the Confederate army but an entire society as well. With Lincoln's hard-fought reelection victory in hand, Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the Union forces, allowed Sherman to lead the largest and riskiest operation of the war. In rich detail, Trudeau explains why General Sherman's name is still anathema below the Mason-Dixon Line, especially in Georgia, where he is remembered as "the one who marched to the sea with death and devastation in his wake."
Sherman's swath of destruction spanned more than sixty miles in width and virtually cut the South in two, badly disabling the flow of supplies to the Confederate army. He led more than 60,000 Union troops to blaze a path from Atlanta to Savannah, ordering his men to burn crops, kill livestock, and decimate everything that fed the Rebel war machine. Grant and Sherman's gamble worked, and the march managed to crush a critical part of the Confederacy and increase the pressure on General Lee, who was already under siege in Virginia.
Told through the intimate and engrossing diaries and letters of Sherman's soldiers and the civilians who suffered in their path, Southern Storm paints a vivid picture of an event that would forever change the course of America.
Elsa Morante was born in 1912 to an unconventional family of modest means. She grew up with an independent spirit, a formidable will, and a commitment to writing--she wrote her first poem when she was just two years old. During World War II, Morante and her husband, the celebrated writer Alberto Moravia, were forced to flee occupied Rome--Moravia was half-Jewish (as was she) and wanted by the Fascists--and hide out in a remote mountain hut. After the war, Morante published a series of prize-winning novels, including Arturo's Island and History, a seminal account of the war, which established her as one of the leading Italian writers of her day.
Lily Tuck's elegant and unusual biography also evokes the heady time during the postwar years when Rome was the film capital of the world and Morante's counted among her circle of friends the filmmakers Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti, and the young Bernardo Bertolucci. A charismatic and beautiful woman, Morante had a series of love affairs--most unhappy--as well as friendships with such famous literary luminaries as Carlo Levi, Italo Calvino, and Natalia Ginzburg. As a couple, Morante and Moravia--the Beauvoir-Sartre of Italy--captivated the nation with their intense and mutual admiration, their arguments, and their passion.
Wonderfully researched with the cooperation of the Morante Estate, filled with personal interviews, and written in graceful and succinct prose, Woman of Rome introduces the American reader to a woman of fierce intelligence, powerful imagination, and original talent.
Charles M. Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the least understood figures in American culture. Now acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full-length biography of the brilliant, unseen man behind Peanuts: at once a creation story, a portrait of a native genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the national imagination.
It is the most American of stories: How a barber's son grew up from modest beginnings to realize his dream of creating a newspaper comic strip. How he daringly chose themes never before attempted in mainstream cartoons--loneliness, isolation, melancholy, the unending search for love--always lightening the darker side with laughter and mingling the old-fashioned sweetness of childhood with a very adult and modern awareness of the bitterness of life. And how, using a lighthearted, loving touch, a crow-quill pen dipped in ink, and a cast of memorable characters, he portrayed the struggles that come with being awkward, imperfect, human.
With Peanuts, Schulz profoundly influenced America in the second half of the twentieth century. But the humorous strip was anchored in the collective experience and hardships of the artist's generation--the generation that survived the Great Depression, liberated Europe and the Pacific, and came home to build the prosperous postwar world. Michaelis masterfully weaves Schulz's story with the cartoons that are so familiar to us, revealing how so much more of his life was part of the strip than we ever knew.
Based on years of research, including exclusive interviews with the cartoonist's family, friends, and colleagues, unprecedented access to his studio and business archives, and new caches of personal letters and drawings, Schulz and Peanuts is the definitive epic biography of an American icon and the unforgettable characters he created.
In this improbable love story, Toussaint creates a character who is obsessed with himself: how he does things and all the ways he might have done them, how he thinks, why he thinks the way that he thinks, how he might do or think otherwise. What happens? He takes driving lessons, goes grocery shopping, spends endless hours with an adorable employee of the driving school he attends. And though he is aloof, though caught up in his own actions and in the movement of his own thoughts--he somehow emerges as surprisingly insightful and also very funny. In Toussaint's touching novel, we come to know this character intimately and yet know almost nothing about him. These two extremes, existing together, are at the heart of Toussaint's remarkable style.
The Crusades were penitential war-pilgrimages fought in the Levant and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as in North Africa, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the Baltic region, Hungary, the Balkans, and Western Europe. Beginning in the eleventh century and ending as late as the eighteenth, these holy wars were waged against Muslims and other enemies of the Church, enlisting generations of laymen and laywomen to fight for the sake of Christendom.
Crusading features prominently in today's religio-political hostilities, yet the perceptions of these wars held by Arab nationalists, pan-Islamists, and many in the West have been deeply distorted by the language and imagery of nineteenth-century European imperialism. With this book, Jonathan Riley-Smith returns to the actual story of the Crusades, explaining why and where they were fought and how deeply their narratives and symbolism became embedded in popular Catholic thought and devotional life.
From this history, Riley-Smith traces the legacy of the Crusades into modern times, specifically within the attitudes of European imperialists and colonialists and within the beliefs of twentieth-century Muslims. Europeans fashioned an interpretation of the Crusades from the writings of Walter Scott and a French contemporary, Joseph-François Michaud. Scott portrayed Islamic societies as forward-thinking, while casting Christian crusaders as culturally backward and often morally corrupt. Michaud, in contrast, glorified crusading, and his followers used its imagery to illuminate imperial adventures.
These depictions have had a profound influence on contemporary Western opinion, as well as on Muslim attitudes toward their past and present. Whether regarded as a valid expression of Christianity's divine enterprise or condemned as a weapon of empire, crusading has been a powerful rhetorical tool for centuries. In order to understand the preoccupations of Islamist jihadis and the character of Western discourse on the Middle East, Riley-Smith argues, we must understand how images of crusading were formed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
For over a decade, the Harry Potter books have become ubiquitous early texts for children, and are also a popular choice for many adults. Indeed, an entire generation of children has now grown up in the midst of "Pottermania." But beyond the books, movies, web sites, and more, this significant cultural phenomenon also constitutes a powerful form of social text, and speaks volumes about the intersections of ideology, popular culture, and childhood. Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter provided the first sustained analyses of the iconic status of the Potter books, bringing together scholars from various disciplines to examine the impact of the series. This thoroughly revised edition includes updated essays on cultural themes and literary analysis, and its new essays analyze the full scope of the seven-book series as both pop cultural phenomenon and as a set of literary texts. Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter, Second Edition draws on a wider range of intellectual traditions to explore the texts, including moral-theological analysis, psychoanalytic perspectives, and philosophy of technology. The Harry Potter novels engage the social, cultural, and psychological preoccupations of our times, and Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter, Second Edition examines these worlds of consciousness and culture, ultimately revealing how modern anxieties and fixations are reflected in these powerful texts.
Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident in his daughter's house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget--his wife's recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter's boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued. As the night progresses, Brill's story grows increasingly intense, and what he is so desperately trying to avoid insists on being told. Joined in the early hours by his granddaughter, he gradually opens up to her and recounts the story of his marriage. After she falls asleep, he at last finds the courage to revisit the trauma of Titus's death.
In February 1861, Abraham Lincoln's private train steamed from Illinois to Washington, DC, where he would be inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States. In Baltimore, where Lincoln's train was scheduled to make a final stop before arriving at the capital, the renowned detective Allan Pinkerton had uncovered evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate the president-elect. A border state with pro-Southern sympathies, Maryland was on the verge of leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln wanted desperately to restore a divided Union; eliminating him would tear the country irreparably apart. Long a site of civil unrest, Baltimore--the home of John Wilkes Booth (who may have been among the conspirators)--provided the perfect environment for a strike. Wearing a disguise, in the dead of night, and under armed guard, Lincoln did pass through Baltimore without incident, but at a steep price. Although Pinkerton was able to identify some of the conspirators, the case was never brought to trial. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat in full view in the balcony of Ford's Theater, another conspiracy succeeded.
One of the great mysteries of the Civil War and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been critically investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to sifting through primary sources in order to determine the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal investigation in which the author determines once and for all whether there was a true plot and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.
Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. Culminating in a brilliantly funny account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection will be avidly anticipated.--From publisher description.
David Sedaris is an American author working in many genres.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
The Jazz Trope takes a look at the African American lifestyle through the lens of jazz, blues, and spirituals. Through the pioneering efforts of Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, Houston Baker, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ishmael Reed, Amiri Baraka, and other notable scholars who have related jazz, spirituals, and blues to African American life and culture, The Jazz Trope offers an opportunity to add scholarship to the perception of African American identity as a creative attempt to survive a unique history and struggle.
Transcending structure and the perimeters that it limits, African American musical statements were produced out of a human need to be free. Using jazz as a metaphor for escaping slavery, jazz can be seen as a creative attempt to exceed restriction through the act of improvisation; jazz takes a known melody and changes it to create a personal identity. The literary genre of African American life reflects this melding of musical milieu. It tells through tropes of the folktale, novel, self-script, slave narrative, myth, and legend a unique American experience and history.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
A renowned law professor's intimate chronicle of her family's history as pioneers of social justice, and the price her father paid for their achievements.
During Reconstruction, Herschel V. Cashin was a radical republican legislator who championed black political enfranchisement throughout the South. His grandson, Dr. John L. Cashin, Jr., inherited that passion for social justice and formed an independent Democratic party to counter George Wallace's Dixiecrats, electing more blacks to office than in any Southern state. His "uppity" ways attracted many enemies. Twice the private plane Cashin owned and piloted was sabotaged. His dental office and boyhood home were taken by eminent domain. The IRS pursued him, as did the FBI. Ultimately his passions would lead to ruin and leave his daughter, Sheryll, wondering why he would risk so much.
In following generations of Cashins through the eras of slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, civil rights, and post-civil rights political struggles, Sheryll Cashin conveys how she came to embrace being an agitator's daughter with humor, honesty, and love.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
The Harlem riot of 1935 not only signaled the end of the Harlem Renaissance; it made black America's cultural capital an icon for the challenges of American modernity. Luring photographers interested in socially conscious, journalistic, and aesthetic representation, post-Renaissance Harlem helped give rise to America's full-blown image culture and its definitive genre, documentary. The images made there in turn became critical to the work of black writers seeking to reinvent literary forms. Harlem Crossroads is the first book to examine their deep, sustained engagements with photographic practices.
Arguing for Harlem as a crossroads between writers and the image, Sara Blair explores its power for canonical writers, whose work was profoundly responsive to the changing meanings and uses of photographs. She examines literary engagements with photography from the 1930s to the 1970s and beyond, among them the collaboration of Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava, Richard Wright's uses of Farm Security Administration archives, James Baldwin's work with Richard Avedon, and Lorraine Hansberry's responses to civil rights images. Drawing on extensive archival work and featuring images never before published, Blair opens strikingly new views of the work of major literary figures, including Ralph Ellison's photography and its role in shaping his landmark novel Invisible Man, and Wright's uses of camera work to position himself as a modernist and postwar writer. Harlem Crossroads opens new possibilities for understanding the entangled histories of literature and the photograph, as it argues for the centrality of black writers to cultural experimentation throughout the twentieth century.
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
At the age of 17, Samuel L. Broadnax--enamored with flying--enlisted and trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Base. Although he left the Air Corps at the end of the Second World War, his experiences inspired him to talk with other pilots and black pioneers of aviation. Blue Skies, Black Wings recounts the history of African Americans in the skies from the very beginnings of manned flight.
From Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911, and Eugene Bullard, a black American ace with the French in World War I, to the 1945 Freeman Field mutiny against segregationist policies in the Air Corps, Broadnax paints a vivid picture of the people who fought oppression to make the skies their own.
Nineteen writers dig into the imaginative spaces between conventional genres—realistic and fantastical, scholarly and poetic, personal and political—and bring up gems of new fiction: interstitial fiction. This is the literary mode of the new century, a reflection of the complex, ambiguous, and challenging world that we live in. These nineteen stories, by some of the most interesting and innovative writers working today, will change your mind about what stories can and should do as they explore the imaginative space between conventional genres. The editors garnered stories from new and established authors in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, and also fiction translated from Spanish, Hungarian, and French. The collection features stories from Christopher Barzak, Colin Greenland, Holly Phillips, Rachel Pollack, Vandana Singh, Anna Tambour, Catherynne Valente, Leslie What, and others.
In a prolific life of singular literary achievement, Larry McMurtry has succeeded in a variety of genres: in coming-of-age novels like The Last Picture Show; in collections of essays like In a Narrow Grave; and in the reinvention of the Western on a grand scale in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove. Now, in Books: A Memoir, McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely "bookless" world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America’s most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously "bookless" hometown of Archer City, Texas.
Larry McMurtry is an American writer known for his literary depictions of the American West.
Faulques, a war photographer, witnessed most of the wars of the end of the 20th Century, but he was never able to capture the photo that would explain the chaos of the universe. Now, as continues to try to understand it, he starts painting a grand circular fresco on the inside wall of a tower on the Mediterranean, disturbed by the memories of a woman he can never forget, and an unexpected visit: a man who wants to kill him.
Francisco D’Sai is a firstborn son of a firstborn son--all the way back to the beginning of a long line of proud Konkans. Known as the "Jews of India," the Konkans kneeled before the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s sword and before Saint Francis Xavier’s cross, abandoned their Hindu traditions, and became Catholics. In 1973 Francisco’s Konkan father, Lawrence, and American mother, Denise, move to Chicago, where Francisco is born. His father, who does his best to assimilate into American culture, drinks a lot and speaks little. But his mother, who served in the Peace Corps in India, and his uncle Sam (aka Samuel Erasmus D’Sai) are passionate raconteurs who do their best to preserve the family’s Konkan heritage. Friends, allies, and eventually lovers, Sam and Denise feed Francisco’s imagination with proud visions of India and Konkan history.
Tony D'Souza is an award-winning author who was born and raised in Chicago and has since lived in various places around the world. The Konkans is his second novel.
Richmond has seen more than its fair share of history. Although it is probably best known as the site of one of the first English settlements in America and for its role as the Confederate capital in the Civil War, the city's past has much more to offer. Since 1992, Harry Kollatz Jr. has been recording the lesser-known heritage of Virginia's Holy City in his "Flashback" column in Richmond Magazine. From the inauguration of the world's first practical electric trolley system and early civils rights activists, to a psychic horse and a wild ride on a sturgeon, he has covered it all. Compiled for the first time in this volume, this selection of articles is sure to delight all who love Richmond by shedding light on some of the city's lesser-known stories.
Harry Kollatz Jr, a Richmond native, has been writing for Richmond Magazine for 14 years.
In this volume, Oates writes about everything from her love of teaching, to her internal dialogues about writing, to her health. Regular Oates readers will find much to enjoy here, illuminating her life during the period when she produced such works as Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? and A Bloodsmoor Romance. It will also come as no surprise to many that there is much here about Oates' family background, particularly as it informs her fiction.
A tale set in Victorian London introduces the characters of a stage magician and detective and his silent sidekick, whose fiendish plot to re-create the apocalyptic prophecies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge threaten the British Empire.