Journal

Past Issues

Spring 2009, Volume 42, Number 1

Peddler Poets: Itinerant Print Dissemination and Literary Access in Antebellum America
Matt Boehm
As print commodities began to figure more prominently in the transformative function of consumer purchase, peddlers began to see themselves not only as stewards of a new, economic spirit of democracy but also as amateur litterateurs capable of transforming themselves through the exchange of print.

Old Afflictions: Colson Whitehead’s Apex Hides the Hurt and the “Post-Soul Condition”
Jesse S. Cohn
While definitions of post-soul, at least those posited by those who have staked their own generational sense of identity on it, have tended to suspend such judgments of value, to affect a kind of diffidence over whether essences or truths exist, whether African-Americans can or should have any all-encompassing collective project, or what such a project could possibly be founded upon, it seems to me that Whitehead’s writings betray a sense of anxiety over the source of cultural value, of guilty indebtedness to the past.

Composing Creatively: Further Crossing Composition/Creative Writing Boundaries
Chris Drew and David Yost
The tensions between creative writing programs and the English departments that house them appear as a central concern throughout creative writing pedagogy, and account for much of the perceived distance between creative writing and composition.

A Voice to the Scream: Writing the Shoah in Mauricio Rosencof’s The Letters That Never Came
Lydia Gil Keff
This essay examines how The Letters That Never Came obeys a poetic construction that flaunts its fictiveness and fragmentary character, which, in turn, liberate the text for critical and aesthetic examination without undermining its propositional content.

The Real and Surreal in Medieval Dream Vision: The Case of James I’s Kingis Quair
William F. Hodapp
The Kingis Quair provides an engaging case study of what we might recognize now as surrealism, or perhaps proto-surrealism, in medieval literature, for in this poem James I creates a world in which his narrator escapes from the confining, isolated everyday reality of a prison tower into a dream of movement and dialogue.

“An Anthropological Rending of the Ghetto”: Intersections of High and Popular Culture in Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle
Natalie Kalich
In his role as “Negro Demagogue,” Gunnar prescribes mass suicide to his followers as a way to revolt against an unrelentingly racist American culture. He labels his movement the “Emancipation Disintegration” and “the ultimate sit-in,” making it clear from the outset that parody will not only be aimed at white hegemony, but also toward progressive African American moments such as the Civil Rights era.

Still Personal: Joel Barlow and the Publication of Poetry in the 1780s
Will McDonald
Using Barlow’s own career as an example, this paper looks at ideas of poetic authorship and publication in the 1780s, a transitional decade in literary publishing with only partial state copyrights established. A hinge decade, the 1780s saw a diversity of old and new methods and models coexist, with the publications of the 1780s revealing what William Charvat labeled the “aristocratic” model of authorship thriving alongside nascent modern practices.

That Isn’t All: Angélica Gorodischer and the Anti-Fairy Tale
Jeanie Murphy
The inclusion of scientific material in the narrative confers a more logical tone to the story, and that logic also serves to subvert the standard characterization of weak or powerless women in fairy tales. The granting of wishes does not need to be the domain of fairy godmothers and sorcerers; the “magic” can have its root in a woman’s intellect and the particulars can be explained. Indeed, it is women who, given their brain structure, are more prepared and capable to let the magic happen.

Confronting the Reality of HIV/AIDS: Self-Imposed Exile as a Journey of Self -Discovery in Nelson Mallach’s “Elefante”
Jodie Parys
HIV-positive. For the millions of individuals who have had their lives altered by those words, their worlds are often divided into the period “before” and “after” the diagnosis is made. However, what happens in that shift? How does one reconceptualize the self when faced with such a drastic alteration in his or her health, life, and reality? For many individuals, the intermediate space between the “before” and “after” periods begets a vitally necessary phase in which the individual must first face the meaning of his or her condition alone prior to envisioning how to live life as an HIV-positive person.

It’s Not The Matrix: Thinking about Online Writing Instruction
Merry A. Rendahl
Traditional classrooms, and the simultaneous gathering of teacher and students therein, function as a “transparent technology” of education, an assumed, unquestionable practice, one to which online learning is often juxtaposed. Yet the current configuration of “the classroom” is not inevitable; it carries within it many cultural values and warrants critical examination.

What Do You Think You’re Doing? Poetry and Philosophy
Steven Schroeder
Neither philosophy nor poetry is simply content with the pleasure of ulteriority, though both take pleasure in it. Ulteriority is an aspect of getting clear, and that needs, not a master, but mastery, which is a practice.

Critical Perspectives on the Francophone Novel
Peter Wuteh Vakunta
The postcolonial Francophone novel, in particular, has been described by critics as a hybrid text engendered by the plurality of “voices” and multicultural contexts of literary creativity.

Medicine, Poetry, and Enclosure in John Clare’s “The Village Doctress”
Timothy Ziegenhagen
In his poem “The Village Doctress,” Clare makes a case for the efficacy of folk knowledge and folk healing traditions, and in doing so he argues for the power of the peasant poet as well.

Book Reviews

An Anthology of Spanish American Modernismo Edited by Kelly Washbourne. (George Antony Thomas)
The literary movement known as modernismo (1882-1916) holds an important place in Spanish American literature since it marks the beginning of literary independence from Spain, the emergence of the professional writer, and the birth of a distinguished tradition of modern poetry.

The Assault on Progress: Technology and Time in American Literature By J. Adam Johns. (D. Harlan Wilson)
In this compelling, innovative, and thoroughly informed work of literary criticism, J. Adam Johns addresses an issue that is usually relegated to the study of science fiction: the history of technological progress. Specifically, Johns wants to revise the eschatological way in which Americans have thought about technology and conflated it with teleology.

Axes: Willa Cather and William Faulkner By Merrill Maguire Skaggs
Violence, the Arts, and Willa Cather Edited by Joseph R. Urgo and Merrill Maguire Skaggs.
(Melissa J. Homestead)
Willa Cather and William Faulkner represent an intriguing and potentially productive pairing for comparative study. Their works and careers are located at the rich intersection between regionalism and modernism, and both early 20th-century writers often looked back to the 19th century in their fiction.

Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo By Edited by John N. Duvall. (Jesse Kavadlo)
Despite his nearly four-decade, fourteen-novel career, Don DeLillo has only recently become “Don DeLillo,” in quotes, a writer who, like the “Most Photographed Barn in America” of 1985’s White Noise, no longer exists outside of images, analyses, and collective perceptions.