University of Mississippi

Awesome

by Jack Pendarvis
A new American tall tale from the author of Your Body Is Changing and The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure. Whales, caves, and robots abound.
A giant strides this land. A giant who builds robots, invents religions, and kisses like a dream. From the rocky coast of New England to the golden hayfields of Stockton, California, he searches for America s greatest treasures. You might recognize him by the twinkle in his eye or the lustrous derby hat perched on top of his boulder-sized head.

But for a dude who has it all, he sure seems sad a lot of the time what’s up with that? And what exactly does he plan to do with all of those wonderful treasures, besides cart them across the country in his enormous red wagon? Is there someone, a beautiful lady named Glorious Jones perhaps, who has asked him to gather the bounty of America in order to prove his love for her?

There’s no way to know, unless you buy Jack Pendarvis’ awesome new novel and read it. Or have someone read it to you. Either way, laughter, wisdom, and good times are sure to follow…

Early Modern Ecostudies

by Ivo Kamps, Karen L. Raber, Thomas Hallock
This volume centers on the study of the relations between literature and the environment and poses important questions to an evolving field: why has ecocriticism focused on narrow, more recent historical periods? What has prevented or discouraged critics from extending environmentally-conscious readings further into the past, and what is lost as a consequence? Early Modern Ecostudies engages directly with such issues and advances a new practice that borrows from the methodologies of current ecocriticism, interrogates its problematic assumptions, and extends its reach and significance. Dealing with a range of subjects, these essays apply ecocritical methods to traditional authors such as Shakespeare, Sidney, More, and Milton; canonical texts such Edward Taylor’s poetry and the Florentine Codex; and documents from the literature of discovery, medicine, and natural history.

Rogue Performances

by Peter P. Reed
Rogue Performances recovers eighteenth and nineteenth-centuryAmerican culture’s fascination with outcast and rebellious characters. Highwaymen, thieves, beggars, rioting mobs, rebellious slaves, and mutineers dominated the stage in the period’s most popular plays. Peter Reed also explores ways these characters helped to popularize theatrical forms such as ballad opera, patriotic spectacle, blackface minstrelsy, and melodrama. Reed shows how both on and offstage, these paradoxically powerful, persistent, and troubling figures reveal the contradictions of class and the force of the disempowered in the American theatrical imagination. Through analysis of both well known and lesser known plays and extensive archival research, this book challenges scholars to re-think their assumptions about the role of class in antebellum American drama.

Out of What Began: A History of Irish Poetry in English

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by Gregory A. Schirmer
The first book of its kind, Out of What Began traces the development of a distinctive tradition of Irish poetry over the course of three centuries. Beginning with Jonathan Swift in the early eighteenth century and concluding with such contemporary poets as Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland, Gregory A. Schirmer looks at the work of nearly a hundred poets. Considering the evolving political and social environments in which they lived and wrote, Schirmer shows how Irish poetry and culture have come to be shaped by the struggle to define Irish identity.
Schirmer includes a large number of accomplished poets who have been unjustly neglected in standard accounts of Irish literature; many of these writers are women, whose work has been kept in the shadows cast by that of well-known male poets. He also emphasizes the importance of political poetry in a country that continues to be torn by sectarian violence. With its rich selection of poetic voices, Out of What Began reveals the political, social, and religious diversity of Irish culture.

Approaches to Teaching Byron’s Poetry

by Ronald A. Schroeder
“This skillfully edited book is highly recommended for college teachers of English literature…. The essays include excellent pieces by scholars of the first rank.”
Keats-Shelley Journal

“A useful companion for teaching Byron with a very large number of contributions by divers hands.”
Nineteenth-Century Literature

Aimed at instructors teaching Byron for the first time as well as those more experienced who wish to explore new methods of presentation, this volume attempts to keep classroom discussion lively and engaging.

Reading Religion in African American Narratives

by Ethel Young-Minor
Reading Religion in African American Narratives in Southern Literary Journal, Fall 2008.

NOVEL: Jane Austen and the Gentrification of Commerce

by Jason Solinger
Jane Austen and the Gentrification of Commerce
Novel Spring/Summer 2005 38(2-3): 272-290; doi:10.1215/ddnov.038020272

10 Moons and 13 Horses

Gary Short’s new collection is the work of a mature poet at the peak of his powers, confident of his ability to speak of human betrayal and the fragility of life without bitterness or cheap sentiment, to find poignancy in loss and exaltation in the outwardly mundane. His voice is lyrical, tough, and capable of touching us profoundly. <br> <br> Short knows Nevada’s austere landscape, its ephemeral beauty, and its stoic people as few writers in any genre do. He also understands the complexities of the human soul and the contradictions of love. So he tells of how his mother, dying of cancer, revisits a day thirty years in the past when her sons trapped a trout and kept it in their father’s horse trough and how now, in her mind’s eye, she carries the boxed-in fish to the stream to release it, “a moment/of having, not loss.” And of how the feathers of a dead owl in a long-dead oak tree have blown loose, “caught and leafed out/from each taloned twig and limb . . . each feather/a separate flight, shining to live.”

The New Valley

by Josh Weil
The linked novellas that comprise Josh Weil’s masterful debut bring us into America’s remote, unforgiving backcountry, and delicately unveil the private worlds of three very different men as they confront love, loss, and their own personal demons.
Set in the hardscrabble hill country between West Virginia and Virginia, The New Valley is populated by characters striving to forge new lives in the absence of those they have loved. Told in three varied and distinct voices—from a soft-spoken beef farmer struggling to hold himself together after his dad’s suicide; to a health-obsessed single father desperate to control his reckless, overweight daughter; to a mildly retarded man who falls for a married woman intent on using him in a scheme that wounds them both—each novella is a vivid examination of Weil’s uniquely romanticized relationships. As the men struggle against grief, solitude, and fixation, their desperation leads them all to commit acts that bring both ruin and salvation.
Reminiscent of Bobbie Ann Mason, Annie Proulx, and Kent Haruf in its deeply American tone, The New Valley is a tender exploration of resilience, isolation, and the consuming ache for human connection. Weil’s empathetic, meticulous prose makes this is a debut of inescapable power.

Conversations with Larry Brown

Edited by Jay Watson
In a fifteen-year period beginning in 1988, Mississippi native Larry Brown (1951-2004) published two collections of short stories, five novels, a memoir, and two collections of essays. Two of his novels, Joe and Father and Son, won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Brown wrote with compassion, humor, and unflinching honesty about the struggles of rural and small-town working-class southerners. Twenty-nine years old when his writing career began, Brown’s plainspoken style, sharp eye for detail, and keen ear for dialogue quickly established him as one of the most respected and compelling new voices in contemporary southern literature.

Conversations with Larry Brown brings together interviews Brown gave between 1988 and 2004. The collection includes interview material from a full-length film documentary about Brown’s life and work as well as two previously unpublished pieces. Across these conversations, Brown offers insights into all of his books and several of his short stories.

Jay Watson is professor of English at the University of Mississippi and the author of Forensic Fictions: The Lawyer Figure in Faulkner.