Literary Criticism



Decadence in the Age of Modernism

edited by Kate Hext and Alex Murray
Decadence in the Age of Modernism begins where the history of the decadent movement all too often ends: in 1895. It argues that the decadent principles and aesthetics of Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Algernon Swinburne, and others continued to exert a compelling legacy on the next generation of writers, from high modernists and late decadents to writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Writers associated with this decadent counterculture were consciously celebrated but more often...

Born Yesterday

Stephanie Insley Hershinow
Between the emergence of the realist novel in the early eighteenth century and the novel's subsequent alignment with self-improvement a century later lies a significant moment when novelistic characters were unlikely to mature in any meaningful way. That adolescent protagonists poised on the cusp of adulthood resisted a headlong tumble into maturity through the workings of plot reveals a curious literary and philosophical counter-tradition in the history of the...

Brides, Mourners, Bacchae

Vassiliki Panoussi
Powerful female characters pervade both Greek and Latin literature, even if their presence is largely dictated by the narratives of men. Feminist approaches to the study of women in Greek literature have helped illustrate the importance of their religious and ritual roles in public life—Latin literature, however, has not been subject to similar scrutiny. In Brides, Mourners, Bacchae, Vassiliki Panoussi takes up the challenge, exploring women's place in weddings,...

Letters from Amherst

Samuel R. Delany, foreword by Nalo Hopkinson
Five substantial letters written from 1989 to 1991 bring readers into conversation with Hugo and Nebula Award winning-author Samuel Delany. With engaging prose, Delany shares details about his work, his relationships, and the thoughts he had while living in Amherst and teaching as a professor at the UMASS campus just outside of town, in contrast to the more chaotic life of New York City. Along with commentary on his own work and the work of other writers, he...

Letters from Amherst

Samuel R. Delany
Five substantial letters written from 1989 to 1991 bring readers into conversation with Hugo and Nebula Award winning-author Samuel Delany. With engaging prose, Delany shares details about his work, his relationships, and the thoughts he had while living in Amherst and teaching as a professor at the UMASS campus just outside of town, in contrast to the more chaotic life of New York City. Along with commentary on his own work and the work of other writers, he ponders the state of America,...

Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World

Pedro da Silveira, translated by George Monteiro, introduction by Vamberto Freitas
Born on the island of Flores, between Europe and the United States, Pedro da Silveira captures the islander's longing for migratory movement, leading to departure and an inevitable return. These fresh and original poems, now available in this masterful translation, express a deep connection to place, particularly, the insular world of the midAtlantic islands of the Azores. In Poems in Absentia & Poems...

Rediscovering the Maine Woods

edited by John J. Kucich
The Maine Woods, vast and largely unsettled, are often described as unchanged since Henry David Thoreau's 1847 journey across the backcountry, in spite of the realities of Indian dispossession and the visible signs of logging, settlement, tourism, and real estate development. In the summer of 2014 scholars, indigenous peoples, activists, and other individuals retraced Thoreau's route. Inspired partly by this expedition, the accessible and engaging...

Bhakti and Power

edited by John Stratton Hawley, Christian Lee Novetzke, Swapna Sharma
Bhakti, a term ubiquitous in the religious life of South Asia, has meanings that shift dramatically according to context and sentiment. Sometimes translated as "personal devotion," bhakti nonetheless implies and fosters public interaction. It is often associated with the marginalized voices of women and lower castes, yet it has also played a role in perpetuating injustice. Barriers have been torn down in the name of...

Leibniz Discovers Asia

Michael C. Carhart
Who are the nations of Europe, and where did they come from? Early modern people were as curious about their origins as we are today. Lacking twenty-first-century DNA research, seventeenth-century scholars turned to language—etymology, vocabulary, and even grammatical structure—for evidence. The hope was that, in puzzling out the relationships between languages, the relationships between nations themselves would emerge, and on that basis one could determine...

Systems Failure

Andrew Franta
The Enlightenment has long been understood—and often understood itself—as an age of systems. In 1759, Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, one of the architects of the Encyclopédie, claimed that "the true system of the world has been recognized, developed, and perfected." In Systems Failure, Andrew Franta challenges this view by exploring the fascination with failure and obsession with unpredictable social forces in a range of English authors from Samuel Johnson to Jane Austen. Franta...

Behind the Stars, More Stars

edited by Christopher Larkosh, Oona Patrick
Presenting experimental and boundary-breaking prose from women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers, Behind the Stars, More Stars imagines a more diverse and inclusive Luso-American and Portuguese-American literary scene, which has traditionally been dominated by male voices. Since its first "Writing the Luso Experience" workshops were held in 2011, Dzanc Books's Disquiet International Literary Program in...

Outsiders

Lyndall Gordon
Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf: they all wrote dazzling books that forever changed the way we see history. In Outsiders, award-winning biographer Lyndall Gordon shows how these five novelists shared more than talent. In a time when a woman's reputation was her security, each of these women lost hers. They were unconstrained by convention, writing against the grain of their contemporaries, prophetically imagining a different future. We...

Mouse vs. Cat in Chinese Literature

translated by Wilt L. Idema, hD, foreword by Haiyan Lee
In literatures worldwide, animal fables have been analyzed for their revealingly anthropomorphic views, but until now little attention has been given to the animal tales of China. The complex, competitive relationship between rodents (vilified as thieves of grain) and the felines with whom they are perennially at war is explored in this presentation of Chinese tales about cats and mice. Master translator Wilt Idema situates them in...

Made Under Pressure

Natalia Kamovnikova
During the Cold War, determined translators and publishers based in the Soviet Union worked together to increase the number of foreign literary texts available in Russian, despite fluctuating government restrictions. Based on extensive interviews with literary translators, Made Under Pressure offers an insider's look at Soviet censorship and the role translators played in promoting foreign authors—including figures like John Fowles, George Orwell, Kurt...

Strange Attractors

edited by Edie Meidav, Emmalie Dropkin
Has a stunning surprise or lucky encounter ever propelled you in an unanticipated direction? Are you doing what you always thought you would be doing with your life or has some unseen magnetism changed your course? And has that redirection come to seem inevitable? Edie Meidav and Emmalie Dropkin asked leading contemporary writers to consider these questions, which they characterize through the metaphor of "the strange attractor," a scientific theory describing an...

Too Numerous

Kent Shaw
What does it really mean when people are viewed as bytes of data? And is there beauty or an imaginative potential to information culture and the databases cataloging it? As Too Numerous reveals, the raw material of bytes and data points can be reshaped and repurposed for ridiculous, melancholic, and even aesthetic purposes.  Grappling with an information culture that is both intimidating and daunting, Kent Shaw considers the impersonality represented by the continuing accumulation of personal information and the felicities—and...

Generous Thinking

Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Higher education occupies a difficult place in twenty-first-century American culture. Universities—the institutions that bear so much responsibility for the future health of our nation—are at odds with the very publics they are intended to serve. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick asserts, it is imperative that we re-center the mission of the university to rebuild that lost trust. In Generous Thinking, Fitzpatrick roots this crisis in the work of scholars. Critical...

Cultivating Environmental Justice

Robert S. Emmett
While Michael Pollan and others have popularized ideas about how growing one's own food can help lead to environmental sustainability, environmental justice activists have pushed for more access to gardens and fresh food in impoverished communities. Now, Robert S. Emmett argues that mid-twentieth-century American garden writing included many ideas that became formative for these contemporary environmental writers and activists. Drawing on...

In the Neighborhood

Caroline Wigginton
In this compelling and original book, Caroline Wigginton reshapes our understanding of early American literary history. Overturning long-standing connections between the male-dominated print culture of pamphlets, broadsides, and newspapers and the transformative ideas that instigated the American Revolution, Wigginton explores how women's "relational publications"—circulated texts, objects, and performances—transformed their public and intimate worlds. She argues that...