Spring 2001, Volume 34, Number 2
Cultural Studies, Ethics, and the Eclipse of Agency
Mark M. Freed
An inheritor of Marx's effort to liberate the proletariat (workers of the world unite: you have nothing to lose but your chains), cultural studies should be understood as an emancipatory discourse: that is, as an effort to recognize (and evade or alter) social practices and institutions that limit human freedom.
Of Heros, Dupes and Con Men: Class Irony and the Crime of Moral Identification
The identity politics of social class and class longing are in fact what have been hidden or disguised in Pride and Prejudice through the convolution of textual chicanery and obfuscation.
Henry Adams's Sympathetic Economy
Richard C. Adams
If Adams did not exactly adopt his professor's theory in a wholesale manner compelling citation, he came to appreciate "sympathy" as a discrete and authoritative arrangement for a characteristically American sensibility, an economy of personal and national responsibility that is its own protection.
IWW Songs as Modernist Poetry
Hester L. Furey
Like other modernist interventions in the imaginary, the IWW Songbook takes issue with traditional representations of its subject matter, working to disrupt and transform the culture it represents; it is no accident that the Songbook's element is fire, with all of its transgressive biblical, hermetic, and mythic associations.
Sinclair Lewis' Primers for the Professional Managerial Class: Babbitt, Arrowsmith, and Dodsworth
Using a rhetoric of the "true" self, and a satiric humor based on the self-contradiction and insecurity resulting from a loss of that self, Lewis illustrated for his audience how the "viruses" of commercialism, bureacracy, and comfortable bourgeois social life could infect and even kill the noble, creative aims of the professional ideal.
Classic Realism, Irish Nationalism, and a New Breed of Angry Young Man in Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Heath A. Diehl
As the characters look back and reflect on what home, region, and nation once meant, their (sometimes sentimental) desires for a return are transformed into anger and resentment at a world irrevocably changed by increasing forms of uneven globalization.
Theatre, Court and City, 1595-1610: Drama and Social Space in London. By Janette Dillon. (Terri Bourus)
The Knight of the Burning Pestle, performed at the enclosed environment of Blackfriars, is Dillon's vehicle for a wonderful new explication of the play, addressing the uses of drama to exaggerate, and thus elucidate, the issues--contemporary to the first performances of the play--of boundaries and social control.
Feminism and Renaissance Studies. Edited by Lorna Hutson. (Mary R. Bowman)
While the "classical" texts clearly fit the "very best" designation advertised for the series, the quality of the newer pieces is more uneven; they seem to have been chosen as much for range as for the superlative quality or importance of each individual piece.
Teaching the Literatures of Early America. Edited by Carla Mulford. (Anne G. Myles)
I especially appreciated the inclusion of the genre section, both as a site where the literary dimension of early American literature reappears most explicitly, and in the stimulating tension that is produced as the traditional categories of genre intersect with the historicist, cultural-studies emphasis that informs the earlier sections.
The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood: Essays on Her Life and Work. Edited by Kirsten T. Saxton and Rebecca P. Bocchicchio. (Jeremy W. Webster)
This volume calls for nothing less than a radical reinterpretation of our current narratives of the history of the novel, of genre and period definitions, of politics and party formation, of the construction of the female subject, and of the identification of a female literary tradition during the eighteenth century.
Approaches to Teaching Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Edited by Elizabeth Ammons and Susan Belasco. (Lauren Hahn)
While Uncle Tom's Cabin may not be the text of choice for timorous instructors or for younger, less sophisticated students, the contributors in this volume offer a wealth of suggestions which could be successfully implemented in upper-level American literature or history, feminist studies, or African-American studies courses.
Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness. By Carole G. Silver.(Diane Warner)
Within Andrew Lang's rainbow-colored fairytale books, among the diminutive flower fairies decorating teacups and wallpaper, Silver finds distrust, fear, and revulsion.
Virginia Woolf and the Great War. By Karen L. Levenback. (Karen Lee Osborne)
This study shows how civilians experienced the war, how war propaganda denied the reality combatants experienced, and how the survivors of that war were largely written out of both official and cultural representations.
Old Wives' Tales and Other Women's Stories. By Tania Modleski. (Kelly Ritter)
The collection, labeled by NYU Press as "Cultural Studies/Film/Women's Studies" for purposes of bookstore shelving, thus serves to invigorate what today define as the last of those categories--"Women's Studies"--by challenging precisely what that study, and those women, have at stake in the stories and myths told in American culture.
American Dream, American Nightmare: Fiction Since 1960. By Kathryn Hume. (Timothy J. Pingelton)
In the era of Hume's study, the mixing pot broke and its ingredients scattered on the floor; each person is now singular but yearning for incorporation into something yet undiscovered.
Reason to Believe: Romanticism, Pragmatis, and the Teaching of Writing. By Hephzibah Roskelly and Kate Ronald. (Carol Rutz)
Recovery of the combined philosophical truths found in pragmatism and romanticism allows teachers to unify their teaching practices with a philosophy based in inquiry, reflection, and social action.
The Voice of the Mother: Embedded Maternal Narratives in Twentieth-Century Women's Autobiographies. By Jo Malin. (Kevin O'Donnell)
Given the importance Malin attributes to mother, at what point should we say that the mother's story has been repressed rather than compressed.
Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. By Andrew Dalby. (John I. Liontas)
Not only does this volume cover in detail more than 400 spoken languages (from Abkhas to Zulu), but it also succinctly explores the origins and cultural significance of all official languages, both living and dead.