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New Books: African American Travel Narratives from Abroad: Mobility and Cultural Work in the Age of Jim Crow by Gary Totten
University of Massachusetts Press
In this book, Gary Totten examines the global travel narratives of a diverse set of African American writers, including Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Matthew Henson, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Zora Neale Hurston. While these writers deal with issues of identity in relation to a reimagined sense of self—in a way that we might expect to find in travel narratives—they also push against the constraints and conventions of the genre, reconsidering discourses of tourism, ethnography, and exploration. This book not only offers new insights about African American writers and mobility, it also charts the ideological distinctions and divergent agendas within this group of writers. Totten demonstrates how these travelers and their writings challenged dominant ideologies about African American experience, expression, and identity in a period of escalating racial violence. By setting these texts in their historical context and within the genre of travel writing, Totten presents a nuanced understanding of both popular and recovered work of the period.
New Books: Apocalyptic Sentimentalism Love and Fear in U.S. Antebellum Literature by Kevin Pelletier
University of Georgia Press
Focusing on a range of important antislavery figures, including David Walker, Nat Turner, Maria Stewart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown, Apocalyptic Sentimentalism illustrates how antislavery discourse worked to redefine violence and vengeance as the ultimate expression (rather than denial) of love and sympathy. At the same time, these warnings of apocalyptic retribution enabled antislavery writers to express, albeit indirectly, fantasies of brutal violence against slaveholders. What began as a sentimental strategy quickly became an incendiary gesture, with antislavery reformers envisioning the complete annihilation of slaveholders and defenders of slavery.
“Kevin Pelletier’s Apocalyptic Sentimentalism makes an important and original contribution to critical debates about the structure and logic of sympathy in the antebellum period. Through careful readings of abolitionist literature from David Walker through Maria Stewart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown, he reveals just how significant the threat of apocalypse and its concomitant production of fear worked in concert with appeals to sympathy and, as Stowe put it, ‘feeling right.’”
—Cindy Weinstein, author of Family, Kinship, and Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
New Books: The Newspaper Warrior: Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins’s Campaign for American Indian Rights, 1864-1891, by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Edited by Cari M. Carpenter and Carolyn Sorisio
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins
Edited by Cari M. Carpenter and Carolyn Sorisio
University of Nebraska Press
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (Northern Paiute) has long been recognized as an important nineteenth-century American Indian activist and writer. Yet her acclaimed performances and speaking tours across the United States, along with the copious newspaper articles that grew out of those tours, have been largely ignored and forgotten.
The Newspaper Warrior presents new material that enhances public memory as the first volume to collect hundreds of newspaper articles, letters to the editor, advertisements, book reviews, and editorial comments by and about Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins. This anthology gathers together her literary production for newspapers and magazines from her 1864 performances in San Francisco to her untimely death in 1891, focusing on the years 1879 to 1887, when Winnemucca Hopkins gave hundreds of lectures in the eastern and western United States; published her book, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883); and established a bilingual school for Native American children.
Born into a family of attorneys, Dickinson absorbed law at home. She employed legal terms and concepts regularly in her writings, and her metaphors grounded in law derive much of their expressive power from a comparatively sophisticated lay knowledge of the various legal and political issues that were roiling nineteenthcentury America. Dickinson displays interest in such areas as criminal law, contracts, equity, property, estate law, and bankruptcy. She also held in high regard the role of law in resolving disputes and maintaining civic order. Toward the end of her life, Dickinson cited the Spartans’ defense at Thermopylae as an object lesson demonstrating why societies should uphold the rule of law. [. . . ]
A Kiss from Thermopylae reveals a new dimension of Dickinson’s writing and thinking, one indicating that she was thoroughly familiar with the legal community’s idiomatic language, actively engaged with contemporary political and ethical questions, and skilled at deploying a poetic register ranging from high romanticism to low humor.
University of Nebraska Press
Married or Single?, published in 1857, was Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s final novel and a fitting climax to the career of one of antebellum America’s first and most successful woman writers. Insisting on women’s right to choose whether to marry, Married or Single? rejects the stigma of spinsterhood and offers readers a wider range of options for women in society, recognizing their need and ability to determine the course of their lives.
Sedgwick’s touching, witty, and shrewdly observant novel centers on Grace Herbert, a New York City socialite who must negotiate the marriage market and also learn to develop her own character and take control of her own destiny. The story merges a wide range of popular American literary forms—including the seduction novel, the conversion narrative, the novel of education, and social reform fiction—and provides a window on many of the cultural and political anxieties of the 1850s beyond marriage, including immigration, slavery, and urban poverty. Sedgwick’s lifelong concern with women’s duties to the nation as citizens is demonstrated through her depiction of exemplary women of various backgrounds and circumstances who illustrate the idea that becoming a worthy human being is more important than becoming a wife, especially in a democratic society.
New Books: Teaching Transatlanticism: Resources for Teaching Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Print Culture, edited by Linda K. Hughes and Sarah R. Robbins
Teaching Transatlanticism: Resources for Teaching Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Print Culture
Linda K. Hughes and Sarah R. Robbins, eds.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.
The 18 chapters in this book outline conceptual approaches to the field and provide practical resources for teaching, ranging from ideas for individual class sessions to full syllabi and curricular frameworks. The book is divided into 5 key sections: Curricular Histories and Key Trends; Organising Curriculum through Transatlantic Lenses; Teaching Transatlantic Figures; Teaching Genres in Transatlantic Context; and Envisioning Digital Transatlanticism.
New Books: Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory by Barbara McCaskill
How William and Ellen Craft’s escape from slavery, their activism, and press accounts figured during the antislavery movement of the mid-1800s and Reconstruction.
Reviews “Barbara McCaskill’s new book should be read by everyone interested in the spectacular story of the self-emancipating Crafts—one of antebellum America’s most compelling stories of bondage and of memory. McCaskill brilliantly builds on her edition of the Crafts’ Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom with new details gleaned from meticulous research. Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery illuminates McCaskill’s exemplary archival excavations into the lives of Ellen, William, their community of renowned formerly enslaved authors and activists, the whites who obstructed their life’s journeys and those who helped clear their paths, and ultimately, the Crafts’ outstanding progeny.” —Joycelyn Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio