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Literary Criticism, US

Literary Criticism, US Book List

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Forthcoming

Cover of 'Ancient Creek'

Ancient Creek
A Folktale
By Gurney Norman

In this new edition of Gurney Norman’s classic tale, the young hero, Jack, wages a revolutionary battle against an evil ruler to free his people, “the folks,” and their lands—the Hill Domain and magical Ancient Creek.

Available

Winner of the 2019 Oskar Halecki Prize (Polish American Historical Association)
Cover of 'Writing the Polish American Woman in Postwar Ethnic Fiction'

Writing the Polish American Woman in Postwar Ethnic Fiction
By Grażyna J. Kozaczka

Through close readings of several Polish American and Polish Canadian novels and short stories published over the last seven decades, Kozaczka demonstrates how Polish American women writers have acknowledged their patriarchal oppression and tells the complex story of how they sought empowerment through resistive and transgressive behaviors.

Cover of 'Lyrical Liberators'

Lyrical Liberators
The American Antislavery Movement in Verse, 1831–1865
Edited by Monica Pelaez

Before Black Lives Matter and Hamilton, there were abolitionist poets. In Lyrical Liberators, Monica Pelaez draws on unprecedented archival research to recover, collect, and annotate works by critically acclaimed writers, commercially successful scribes, and minority voices including those of African Americans and women.

Cover of 'Writing an Icon'

Writing an Icon
Celebrity Culture and the Invention of Anaïs Nin
By Anita Jarczok

Before Madonna and her many imitators, there was Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur. Jarczok reveals how Nin crafted her personae, which she rewrote and restyled to suit her needs, and how she occupied a singular space in 20th-century culture, as a literary figure, a voice of female sexual liberation, and a celebrity.

Cover of 'The Message of the City'

The Message of the City
Dawn Powell’s New York Novels, 1925–1962
By Patricia E. Palermo

Dawn Powell was a gifted satirist who moved in the same circles as Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, renowned editor Maxwell Perkins, and other midcentury New York luminaries. Her many novels are typically divided into two groups: those dealing with her native Ohio and those set in New York.

Cover of 'Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment'

Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment
Appalachian Women’s Literacies
By Erica Abrams Locklear

Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment blends literacy studies with literary criticism to analyze the central female characters in the works of Harriette Simpson Arnow, Linda Scott DeRosier, Denise Giardina, and Lee Smith.

A Choice Significant University Press Title for Undergraduates, 2010-11. · Ranked “Outstanding” in the 2012 University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries listing.
Cover of 'Lit from Within'

Lit from Within
Contemporary Masters on the Art and Craft of Writing
Edited by Kevin Haworth and Dinty W. Moore

Lit from Within offers creative writers a window into the minds of some of America’s most celebrated contemporary authors. Witty, direct, and thought–provoking, these essays offer something to creative writers of all backgrounds and experience. With contributions from fiction writers, poets, and nonfiction writers, this is a collection of unusual breadth and quality.Contributors:

Cover of 'The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman'

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Dual-Text Critical Edition
Edited by Shawn St. Jean

Scholars have argued for decades over which constitutes the best possible version of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s frequently anthologized story “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”Most editions have been based on the 1892 New England Magazine publication rather than the handwritten manuscript at Radcliffe College. Publication of the unedited manuscript in 1994 sparked controversy over which of the two was definitive.

Cover of 'Reworlding America'

Reworlding America
Myth, History, and Narrative
By John Muthyala

John Muthyala’s Reworlding America moves beyond the U.S.-centered approach of traditional American literary criticism. In this groundbreaking book, Muthyala argues for a transgeographical perspective from which to study the literary and cultural histories of the Americas.By

Winner of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature/Ohio University Press Book Prize
Cover of 'The Midwestern Pastoral'

The Midwestern Pastoral
Place and Landscape in Literature of the American Heartland
By William Barillas

The midwestern pastoral is a literary tradition of place and rural experience that celebrates an attachment to land that is mystical as well as practical. It is exemplified in the poetry, fiction, and essays of writers who express an informed love of the nature and regional landscapes of the Midwest.

Cover of 'The Absent Man'

The Absent Man
The Narrative Craft of Charles W. Chesnutt
By Charles Duncan

As the first African-American fiction writer to achieve a national reputation, Ohio native Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932) in many ways established the terms of the black literary tradition now exemplified by such writers as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Charles Johnson.Following

Cover of 'An American Vein'

An American Vein
Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature
Edited by Danny L. Miller, Sharon Hatfield, and Gurney Norman

An American Vein is an anthology of literary criticism of Appalachian novelists, poets, and playwrights. The book reprises critical writing of influential authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Cratis Williams, and Jim Wayne Miller. It introduces new writing by Rodger Cunningham, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and others.

Cover of 'Word Rides Again'

Word Rides Again
Rereading The Frontier In American Fiction
By J. David Stevens

With much recent scholarship polarizing frontier novels into “popular” and “literary” camps, The Word Rides Again challenges the critical orthodoxy that such works have little in common, arguing instead that formulaic Western fictions can subtly (and even subversively) share cultural concerns with more highbrow brethren.

Cover of 'Hired Pens'

Hired Pens
Professional Writers in America’s Golden Age of Print
By Ronald Weber

Just as mass-market magazines and cheap books have played important roles in the creation of an American identity, those skilled craftsmen (and women) whose careers are the subjects of Ronald Weber’s narrative profoundly influenced the outlook and strategies of the high-culture writers who are generally the focus of literary studies.Hired

Cover of 'Private Poets, Worldly Acts'

Private Poets, Worldly Acts
Public and Private History in Contemporary American Poetry
By Kevin Stein

At a time when poets appear tragically detached from the public for which they write, Kevin Stein persuasively demonstrates in Private Poets, Worldy Acts the way a particular group of diverse poets have manifested their communal concerns. As Choice wrote, “Stein’s graceful text is a primer on the relationship of the (American) poetic to the political.”Looking

Cover of 'After the Grapes of Wrath'

After the Grapes of Wrath
Essays on John Steinbeck in Honor of Tetsumaro Hayashi
Edited by Donald V. Coers, Robert DeMott, and Paul D. Ruffin
· Introduction by Warren G. French

Traditionally, the critical reputation of Nobel Prize-winning American novelist John Steinbeck (1902-1968) has rested on his achievements of the 1930s, especially In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (19370, The Long Valley (1938), and, of course, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), one of the most powerful – and arguable on of the greatest – American novels of this century.Book