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Memory and Immigrant Experience in Recent American Fiction

Narratives of East-Central European Experience

Marta Koval

Based on the theory and methodology of transcultural memory, this book describes and analyzes the fictional representations of memory and forgetting and the multiple roles they play in identity construction of immigrants and exiles. It focuses on fiction by contemporary American writers of East-Central European descent: Askold Melnyczuk, Domnica Radulescu, and Aleksandar Hemon. The analysis of selected novels highlights a distinct historical slant with elements of generational memory, memory of places, rememory, and postmemory. The author introduces and develops the concept of post-immigrant ethnic fiction and identifies a mnemonic pattern characteristic of American post-immigrant ethnic and exile writing.

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Peter D. Usher

In a novel reading of Shakespeare’s plays, this book addresses an observation first made many decades ago, that Shakespeare appears to neglect the intellectual upheavals that astronomy brought about in his lifetime. The author examines temporal, situational, and verbal anomalies in Hamlet and other plays using hermeneutic-dialectic methodology, and finds a consistent pattern of interpretation that is compatible with the history of astronomy and with the development of modern cosmology. He also demonstrates how Shakespeare takes into account beliefs about the nature of the heavens from the time of Pythagoras up to and including discoveries and theories in the first decade of the seventeenth century. The book makes the case that, as in many other fields, Shakespeare’s celestial knowledge is far beyond what was commonly known at the time.

Students and teachers interested in Shakespeare’s alleged indifference towards, or ignorance of, the celestial sciences will find this book illuminating, as will historians of science and scholars whose work focuses on epistemology and its relationship to the canon, and on how Shakespeare acquired the data that his plays deliver.

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Thinking Through Relation

Encounters in Creative Critical Writing

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Edited by Florian Mussgnug, Mathelinda Nabugodi and Thea Petrou

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Edited by Brett Zimmerman

Locating Poe firmly within his Zeitgeist vis-à-vis the science and pseudoscience of the early nineteenth century, Edgar Allan Poe as Amateur Psychologist: A Companion Anthology simultaneously looks back from the 1830s and 1840s (when his literary career was at its height) to eighteenth-century theories and sources of information on mental illness, as well as forward to our own time to demonstrate how Poe’s dramatizations of psychological diseases occasionally anticipate modern nosological classifications and twenty-first-century forensic research. This interdisciplinary collection is a companion to its predecessor, Zimmerman’s Edgar Allan Poe: Amateur Psychologist (Peter Lang, 2019); it gathers the most important essays by authors—Hungerford, Stauffer, Stern, Bynum, Cleman, Hester and Segir, Phillips, Shackelford, Scheckel, Lloyd-Smith, Whipple, Butler, Uba, Walker, Zimmerman—who employ historicist and history-of-ideas methodologies. Topics include Poe’s use of and eventual disillusionment with phrenology; his attitude toward the controversial "moral treatment" of the insane as well as the "insanity defense" and its connection with the new theory of "moral insanity"; the possible sources of his knowledge of theories of mind, psychopathology and related therapies; his evolution as an amateur psychologist; the connection between physiological sickness and mental distress (the psychosomatic); and the ways in which the psychological profiles of his homicidal characters look forward to modern serial killers. This companion anthology represents a significant addition to Poe scholarship and will be of interest not only to Poe specialists but also to students, teachers, and any intelligent reader interested in the history of ideas and the intersection between literature and "mental philosophy."
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Time and Alterity in South African Writing

André Brink, J.M. Coetzee, and Zakes Mda Revisited

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Paulina Grzęda

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust us all into a warped, disjointed ‘coronatime,’ which has both uncontrollably accelerated, and interminably decelerated, or got frozen. Just like the pandemic, this book provides a chance to reevaluate neoliberalism’s temporal regimes of growth, decline, deceleration and acceleration. South Africa and its contemporary literature are a perfect background against which to think about temporality experimentally. Focusing on three South African authors, André Brink, J.M. Coetzee and Zakes Mda, the book examines contemporary South African revisioning of time and alterity. Through some of the previously unexplored texts, it studies what living in a post-conflict, post-revolutionary and highly traumatized society entails for one’s perception of time and otherness.

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Making the Best of a Bad Job

Representations of Disability, Gender and Old Age in the Novels of Samuel Beckett

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Manuel Barberá López

This book explores the representations of disability, gender and old age in the novels of Samuel Beckett. His works go against the foundations of Western thought, which has been traditionally focused on success, clarity, learning and ability, while Beckett chose to focus on failure, confusion, decay and impotence. This study purports to show the central importance of the three categories chosen for the general understanding of the writer’s work. It constitutes an attempt to provide a gendered interpretation of Beckett’s protagonists, who are increasingly unable to reason, talk or move properly, extremely old and do not fit hegemonic models of masculinity. Beckett, who denies his own ability as an author to understand and explain a chaotic world, chooses these disabled, old men as the ultimate representatives of the human condition and the best models to transmit his worldview. This is a book combining different perspectives and getting to conclusions regarding power structures which are particularly interesting for researchers or students taking courses on the dialectics of alterity, masculinities studies or new readings of Samuel Beckett’s works. The author’s research is based on the main arguments of feminist thought, masculinities studies, disability studies, ageing studies and recent work on Beckett. The ultimate goal of such interdisciplinary approach is to show how different systems of oppression work in similar ways and to draw the political implications of Beckett’s literary choices, in terms of visibility and solidarity.

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The Consolation of Poetry

Ten Lessons on Life and Death

David Spurr

How can poetry help us live our lives? From Shakespeare’s time to the present, poets have faced the questions of love, discovery, centering, parting, forgiveness, and our common, mortal destination. They have much to say to us, and they say it well. This is a book for the general reader who seeks solace and inspiration in the words poets have left us.

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Self-Realization

Analysis of a Primary Literary Theme

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Horst S. Daemmrich

The study of self-realization as a primary literary theme covers a wide range of literature. The journey to self-discovery can be represented in many different forms, from novels of development to social criticism and to historical plays. It can provide the core of a basic literary form, such as a fairytale and the decision on crossroads of life. The self as a primary literary element can be identified as an axis of symmetry, similar to a central section of a wheel, which connects to all related themes. The description of space, setting, time, historical moment, and heritage shape all documentation of self-orientation. Thematic developments highlight specific appropriate locations for the unfolding story. By comparing works from different periods and examining manifestations of the theme in American, French, English, and German literature, this study traces the theme of self-realization in the coming-of-age constellation, the acceptance and the criticism of existing social conditions, the attempts to comprehend the past and the current historical conditions, and in utopian visions of the future.

While literature has provided singular and unforgettable portraits of figures in works ranging from Bellow, Dickens, Fontane, Goethe, Moliere, Schiller, Grass, and Raabe to Tolstoy or Trollope, it is equally apparent that primary forms of self-realization show a high correlation of recurring patterns. Some features associated with primary thematic emphasis and resolution occur with high frequency. Figures can be conceived of as being capable of intellectual and spiritual growth. Alternately, in a moment of insight, they may persevere in their errors in judgment, the frailty of institutions, or a web of circumstances that impeded their optimal development. In such instances, the action is usually designed to convey a vision of human potential to the reader—and furthermore, raise serious questions about the apparent predetermination of existence.

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Edited by Louis Fantasia

Playing Shakespeare’s Rebels and Tyrants is the fourth volume in the Peter Lang series, Playing Shakespeare’s Characters. As in the previous volumes, a broad range of contributors (actors, directors, scholars, educators, etc.) analyze the concepts of rebellion, tyranny, leadership, empathy with not only references to Elizabethan and Jacobean studies, but also to Donald Trump, the social justice movement, and the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Shakespeare's rebels occupy space in both the personal and political, and often quickly turn from rebel to tyrant once in power. How can Shakespeare's text inform current conversations about race, equity, representation, rebellion and tyranny? Who gets to define the power dynamics in Shakespeare’s plays? This volume looks at the Henrys, Hotspurs, Richards, Lears, Brutuses and Caesars, as well as the Juliets, Rosalinds and Cordelias who make up the panoply of Shakespeares rebels and tyrants.

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Elżbieta Perkowska-Gawlik

The book focuses on contemporary staff-centred mystery novels set in the academic domain, written by scholars who enrich the generic convention of the detective novel with their academic expertise. The author delineates the academic mystery genre conventions and their connection with the characteristics of both the classical detective novel and the academic (university) novel. The analysis shows that the academic mystery novel not only fills in the classical detective formula with academic discourse, university settings, and the characters and conflicts of academics from different echelons of the university hierarchy but also, and more importantly, refers to and comments upon the current situation of tertiary education.