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Loren Glass, ed. After the Program Era: The Past, Present, and Future of Creative Writing in the University

Loren Glass, ed. After the Program Era: The Past, Present, and Future of Creative Writing in the University. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2016. vii, 277p. ISBN 9781609384395. US$ 35.00 (paperback).

I remember being riveted by Mark McGurl’s The Program Era: Post-War Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing (Harvard UP, 2009). It offered a grand unified field theory of post-1945 American fiction – a sophisticated, materialist account of how the conditions of literary production shaped American prose. McGurl argued that “the rise of the creative writing program stands as the most important event in postwar American literary history” (ix), making us rethink the relationship between higher education and the literary marketplace.

After the Program Era, as Glass describes it in the introduction, “explores the consequences and implications, as well as the lacunae and liabilities, of McGurl’s foundational intervention” (1).

Donal Harris. On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines

Donal Harris. On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 275p., ill. ISBN 9780231177726. US$ 60 (hardcover).

On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines provides a valuable addition to the history of American literary modernism by highlighting the ways it “evolve[d] within rather than against the mass print culture of its moment” (8). Using a “literary-historical interpretation” that seeks to transcend traditional periodical genres, Harris convincingly demonstrates the interrelationship between a subset of commercial periodicals he identifies as distinct for their focus on textual and visual style above content (which he labels “big magazines”) and stylistic innovations and cultural understandings of American modernism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Tom F. Wright. Lecturing the Atlantic: Speech, Print, and an Anglo-American Commons, 1830-1870

Tom F. Wright. Lecturing the Atlantic: Speech, Print, and an Anglo-American Commons, 1830-1870. Oxford University Press, 2017. 264p., ill. ISBN 9780190496791. US$ 74.00 (hardcover).

At a time when public figures, the media, and the public are locked in an ongoing daily battle to define the truth, it feels wise to draw our attention to the relationship among public figures, the media, and the public in a period other than our own. In his new book, Lecturing the Atlantic: Speech, Print, and an Anglo-American Commons, 1830-1870, Tom F. Wright does just that.

Agatha Beins. Liberation in Print: Feminist Periodicals and Social Movement Identity

Agatha Beins. Liberation in Print: Feminist Periodicals and Social Movement Identity. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2017. 240p., ill. ISBN 9780820349510. US$ 84.95 (hardcover). ISBN 9780820349534. US$ 32.95 (paperback).

In the opening pages of Liberation in Print, Agatha Beins observes that during the early years of women’s liberation, “networks formed idiosyncratically, and information travelled unpredictably” (2). As Beins notes, this meant “periodicals were especially important mechanisms for creating and sustaining communication amongst feminists throughout the United States” (2).

Lori Merish. Archives of Labor: Working-Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States

Lori Merish. Archives of Labor: Working-Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. 328p. ISBN 9780822363224. US$ 26.95.

Lori Merish’s Archives of Labor: Working Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States is an ambitious work that recovers texts by and about women, labor, and working-class experience. Merish examines texts that consider a diversity of women, including “Lowell mill women, African American ‘free laborers,’ Mexicana mission workers, urban seamstresses, and prostitutes” (10). This book both performs the work of recovering texts left out of literary history and analyzing the subject positions of the diverse women represented in them.

Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis. Censored: A Literary History of Subversion & Control

Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis. Censored: A Literary History of Subversion and Control. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. 431p., ill. ISBN 9780773551275. US$ 34.95.

Fellion and Inglis, scholars based in Edinburgh, take on the rather large task of providing an English-language literary history of censorship beginning in the fourteenth century and ending in the twentieth. Geographically, their primary focus is the UK and the US. The authors not only cross the Atlantic, but also cross genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, comics, and graphic novels. The sheer quantity of topics and time periods is daunting, but Censored succeeds in its mission.

Megan J. Elias. Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture. Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald. United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook.

 

Megan J. Elias. Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. 296p. ISBN 9780812249170. US$ 34.95.

Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald. United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2017. 351p., ill. ISBN 9781625343222. US$ 32.95.

Cookbooks have always been vital sources for food studies scholars, because they presumably document what foods people have eaten and how they have prepared them. In these two engrossing studies, researchers move beyond recipes to investigate how cookbooks function as crucial national texts in the United States and as fruitful topics of print culture research.

Michele K. Troy. Strange Bird. The Albatross Press and the Third Reich

Michele K. Troy. Strange Bird: The Albatross Press and the Third Reich. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. xiv, 423p., ill. ISBN 9780300215687. US$ 40.00.

In the 1930s, Albatross Press was simultaneously the largest provider of English-language paperbacks in Europe and a publishing enigma. Their output was modern books, printed in English, in Nazi Germany, and distributed throughout Europe by a firm based in Hamburg and Paris with British funding and Jewish ties. No wonder Michele K. Troy’s interest was piqued when she first encountered an Albatross edition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

Robert Dance. Illustrated by Lynd Ward

Robert Dance. Illustrated by Lynd Ward. Norwich and New York: Impermanent Press and The Grolier Club, 2015. 164p., ill. ISBN 9781605830629. US$ 500.00.

Lynd Ward was one of the most prolific and creative illustrators of the twentieth century. Oftentimes remembered for his seminal “novels in woodcuts,” which gave birth to bona fide graphic narratives, considered by many as forebearers to modern-day graphic novels, and at other times cited for his work in book cover illustrations for children’s literature, Ward is a permanent fixture in any discussion on the relationship between image and text in the literary landscape of the twentieth century.

Caroline Wigginton. In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America

Caroline Wigginton. In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016. 240p., ill. ISBN 9781625342225. US$ 25.95.

In August 1749, Creek diplomat and trader Mary Bosomworth (also known as Coosaponakeesa) led a march of her tribesmen to Savannah. She had spent many years helping the English to establish a settlement in Georgia, and now she sought recompense for her services. Her march culminated in a meeting with Georgia’s council where she declared herself an “empress” representing her people. Bosomworth produced letters and petitions, but this scene of procession, spectacle, and conversation equally served as an embodiment of her authority and was meant to maintain her status within her neighborhood.

Coosaponakessa’s march is just one example from Caroline Wigginton’s ambitious In the Neighborhood. The book seeks to expand our understanding of early American women’s publications and to provide an analytical framework for them.