Shakespeare and the Uses of Comedy
In Shakespeare's hand the comic mode became an instrument for exploring the broad territory of the human situation, including much that had normally been reserved for tragedy. Once the reader recognizes that justification for such an assumption is presented repeatedly in the earlier comedies—from The Comedy of Errors to Twelfth Night—he has less difficulty in dispensing with the currently fashionable classifications of the later comedies as problem plays and romances or tragicomedies and thus in seeing them all as manifestations of a single impulse.
Bryant shows how Shakespeare, early and late, dutifully concerned himself with the production of laughter, the ...Read More
When Winter Come: The Ascension of York
A sequel to the award-winning Buffalo Dance, Frank X Walker’s When Winter Come: The Ascension of York is a dramatic reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s legendary exploration of the American West. By focusing on the humanity and struggles of York, Clark’s slave, When Winter Come challenges conventional views of the journey’s heroes and exposes the deeds, both great and ghastly, of the men behind the myth.
Grounded in the history of the famous trip, Walker’s vibrant account allows York—little more than a forgotten footnote in traditional narratives—to embody the full range of human ability, knowledge, emotion, and experience. He is ...Read More
The Total Light Process: New & Selected Poems
Nationally acclaimed poet, photographer, filmmaker, and novelist James Baker Hall has long been regarded as one of Kentucky’s most profound artists. Hall’s growing body of work is an essential part of Kentucky’s literary tradition, and yet his poetry in particular transcends the borders of the Commonwealth.
The Total Light Process collects poems spanning Hall’s celebrated career as well as new poems that have never before been published. The subjects of Hall’s poems range from humorous and revealing portraits of his fellow writers and friends Wendell Berry, Ed McClanahan, and Gurney Norman, to the traumatic experience of his mother’s suicide when ...Read More
The Arms of the Family: The Significance of John Milton's Relatives and Associates
John T. Shawcross’s groundbreaking new study of John Milton is an essential work of scholarship for those who seek a greater understanding of Milton, his family, and his social and political world. Shawcross uses extensive new archival research to scrutinize several misunderstood elements of Milton’s life, including his first marriage and his relationship with his brother, brother-in-law and nephews. Shawcross examines Milton’s numerous royalist connections, complicating the conventional view of Milton as eminent Puritan and raising questions about the role his connections played in his relatively mild punishment after the Restoration.
Unique in its methodology, The Arms of the Family ...Read More
Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York
Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award
This collection of persona poems tells the story of the infamous Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark's personal slave, York. The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition--a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free. Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though ...Read More
Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings
James Baker Hall’s blackly comic coming-of-age novel has been denied, by unfortunate circumstances surrounding its original 1964 publication, its rightful place alongside classics such as Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the canon of essential late-twentieth-century American fiction.
Set in Lexington, Kentucky, the story unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Yates Paul. He becomes consumed with revelations about his inattentive father’s loneliness, his grandmother’s stormy relationship with his boisterous alcoholic uncle, and the frustration of being the best photography assistant in town when no one else knows it. In pursuing his career and falling ...Read More
Dickens's Great Expectations: Misnar's Pavilion versus Cinderella
Dickens scholar Jerome Meckier’s acclaimed Hidden Rivalries in Victorian Fiction examined fierce literary competition between leading novelists who tried to establish their credentials as realists by rewriting Dickens's novels. Here, Meckier argues that in Great Expectations, Dickens not only updated David Copperfield but also rewrote novels by Lever, Thackeray, Collins, Shelley, and Charlotte and Emily Brontë. He periodically revised his competitors’ themes, characters, and incidents to discredit their novels as unrealistic fairy tales imbued with Cinderella motifs. Dickens darkened his fairy tale perspective by replacing Cinderella with the story of Misnar’s collapsible pavilion from The Tales of the Genii (a ...Read More
John Milton: The Self and the World
The facts of John Milton's life are well documented, but what of the person Milton—the man whose poetic and prose works have been deeply influential and are still the subject of opposing readings? John Shawcross's "different" biography depicts the man against a psychological backdrop that brings into relief who he was—in his works and from his works.
While the theories of Freud, Lacan, Kohut, and others underlie this pursuit of Milton's "self," Jung and some of his followers provide the basic understanding by which Shawcross places Milton in the panorama of history. His explorations of the psychological underpinnings of Milton's ...Read More
Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes
Appalachia has long been stereotyped as a region of feuds, moonshine stills, mine wars, environmental destruction, joblessness, and hopelessness. Robert Schenkkan's 1992 Pulitzer-Prize winning play The Kentucky Cycle once again adopted these stereotypes, recasting the American myth as a story of repeated failure and poverty—the failure of the American spirit and the poverty of the American soul. Dismayed by national critics' lack of attention to the negative depictions of mountain people in the play, a group of Appalachian scholars rallied against the stereotypical representations of the region's people. In Back Talk from Appalachia, these writers talk back to the American ...Read More
Twentieth-Century Southern Literature
Authors discussed include: Wendell Berry, Erskine Caldwell, Truman Capote, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Zora Neal Hurston, Bobbie Ann Mason, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, William Styron, Anne Tyler, Alice Walker, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Wolfe, Richard Wright, and many more.
By World War II, the Southern Renaissance had established itself as one of the most significant literary events of the century, and today much of the best American fiction is southern fiction. Though the flowering of realistic and local-color writing during the first two decades of the century was a sign of things to come, ...Read More
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