Home » New Books and Articles
Category Archives: New Books and Articles
New Books: The Altar at Home: Sentimental Literature and Nineteenth-Century American Religion by Claudia Stokes
View table of contents
“Claudia Stokes presents a more textured account and provocatively mixed assessment of the sentimental tradition of American women’s letters than we have yet encountered.”—Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University
“This is an excellent book—well researched, innovative, and beautifully written. Claudia Stokes shows a mastery of both literary sentimentalism and religious history, which she uses to bring out compelling new insights about what it meant for women to draw on sentimental codes as they forged new ways of participating in religious culture and public discussions.”—Nancy Bentley, University of Pennsylvania
Displays of devout religious faith are very much in evidence in nineteenth-century sentimental novels such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Little Women, but the precise theological nature of this piety has been little examined. In the first dedicated study of the religious contents of sentimental literature, Claudia Stokes counters the long-standing characterization of sentimental piety as blandly nondescript and demonstrates that these works were in fact groundbreaking, assertive, and highly specific in their theological recommendations and endorsements. The Altar at Home explores the many religious contexts and contents of sentimental literature of the American nineteenth century, from the growth of Methodism in the Second Great Awakening and popular millennialism to the developing theologies of Mormonism and Christian Science.
Serial Memoir: Archiving American Lives interrogates the presentation of subjectivity in serial memoir, arguing that seriality not only influences the way we read and understand contemporary autobiographical texts, it also changes our approach. In serial memoir, multiple versions of selfhood create an archive for the author because the selves and stories are materially collected, preserved, and (re)collected. Curiously neglected in critical examinations of the genre, serial memoir represents a significant trend in life writing as it illustrates a fundamental transition in how we document and archive our lives. In chapters examining the works of Mary McCarthy, Maya Angelou, Art Spiegelman, and Augusten Burroughs, Nicole Stamant shows some of the ways that serial memoirists record, engage, and perform lived experience in accord with larger social or cultural shifts in how people interact with one another; how they see themselves and their own participation in the global (and often virtual) sphere; and how they feel they can most effectively record their life narratives. Ultimately, seriality in memoir provides us with new ways to understand ourselves, and our lives, in relation to our pervasive serial culture.
Thinking Outside the Book
In Thinking Outside the Book, Augusta Rohrbach works through the increasing convergences between digital humanities and literary studies to explore the meaning and primacy of the book as a literary, material, and cultural artifact. Rohrbach assembles a rather unlikely cohort of nineteenth-century women writers—Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Sojourner Truth, Hannah Crafts, Augusta Evans, and Mary Chesnut—to consider the publishing culture of their period from the perspective of our current digital age, bringing together scholarly concepts from both print culture and new media studies.
More than a literary history, this book takes up theories of recovery, literacy, authorship, narrative, the book, and new media in connection with race, gender, class, and region.
“Rohrbach’s readings and archival work demonstrate how valuable the decentering of authorship can be for understanding how racialized and marginalized subjects relate to the literary marketplace, to be sure, but also simply for understanding the networked quality of the marketplace itself in the nineteenth century.”—MATT COHEN, author of The Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England
New Books: Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Poetry
Over the River and Through the Wood is the first and only collection of its kind, offering readers an unequaled view of the quality and diversity of nineteenth-century American children’s poetry. Most American poets wrote for children—from famous names such as Ralph Waldo Emerson to less familiar figures like Christina Moody, an African American author who published her first book at sixteen. In its excellence, relevance, and abundance, much of this work rivals or surpasses poetry written for adults, yet it has languished—inaccessible and unread—in old periodicals, gift books, and primers. This groundbreaking anthology remedies that loss, presenting material that is both critical to the tradition of American poetry and also a delight to read.
Complemented by period illustrations, this definitive collection includes work by poets from all geographical regions, as well as rarely seen poems by immigrant and ethnic writers and by children themselves. Karen L. Kilcup and Angela Sorby have combed the archives to present an extensive selection of rediscoveries along with traditional favorites. By turns playful, contemplative, humorous, and subversive, these poems appeal to modern sensibilities while giving scholars a revised picture of the nineteenth-century literary landscape
New Books: Toward a Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism, Edited by Jana Argersinger and Phyllis Cole
University of Georgia Press
The first large-scale, collaborative study of women’s voices and their vital role in the American transcendentalist movement.
Traditional histories of the American transcendentalist movement begin in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s terms: describing a rejection of college books and church pulpits in favor of the individual power of “Man Thinking.” This essay collection asks how women who lacked the privileges of both college and clergy rose to thought. For them, reading alone and conversing together were the primary means of growth, necessarily in private and informal spaces both overlapping with those of the men and apart from them. But these were means to achieving literary, aesthetic, and political authority—indeed, to claiming utopian possibility for women as a whole.
Toward a Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism is a project of both archaeology and reinterpretation. Many of its seventeen distinguished and rising scholars work from newly recovered archives, and all offer fresh readings of understudied topics and texts. First quickened by the 2010 bicentennial of Margaret Fuller’s birth, the project reaches beyond Fuller to her female predecessors, contemporaries, and successors throughout the nineteenth century who contributed to or grew from the transcendentalist movement.
New Books: Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing, 1781-1924 by Karen L. Kilcup
How women writers made powerful emotional, ethical, and spiritual appeals for environmental awareness and transformation
In 1844, Lydia Sigourney asserted, “Man’s warfare on the trees is terrible.” Like Sigourney many American women of her day engaged with such issues as sustainability, resource wars, globalization, voluntary simplicity, Christian ecology, and environmental justice. Illuminating the foundations for contemporary women’s environmental writing, Fallen Forests shows how their nineteenth-century predecessors marshaled powerful affective, ethical, and spiritual resources to chastise, educate, and motivate readers to engage in positive social change.
Fallen Forests contributes to scholarship in American women’s writing, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and feminist rhetoric, expanding the literary, historical, and theoretical grounds for some of today’s most pressing environmental debates. Karen L. Kilcup rejects prior critical emphases on sentimentalism to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers’ consciousness about social and environmental issues. She also critiques ecocriticism’s idealizing tendency, which has elided women’s complicity in agendas that depart from today’s environmental orthodoxies. (more…)
Bannett, Nina. “Keepsakes, Promises, Exchange: Female Friendship in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The Pearl of Orr’s Island.”
The New England Quarterly September 2014, Vol. 87, No. 3: 412–433.
If you would like your new book or article to appear here and on the New Books / New Articles pages, please send the citation to firstname.lastname@example.org