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Winthrop University

English Language and Literature Research Guide: Introduction

This guide provides resources and tutorials for students studying English Language and Literature.

Introduction

Welcome to the English Language and Literature guide! This guide provides resources specific to the field of English Language and Literature. To get started, click on the tabs at the top of the page or the links below:

New Books!

Race Characters

A vexed figure inhabits U.S. literature and culture: the visibly racialized immigrant who disavows minority identity and embraces the American dream. Such figures are potent and controversial, for they promise to expiate racial violence and perpetuate an exceptionalist ideal of America. Swati Rana grapples with these figures, building on studies of literary character and racial form. Rana offers a new way to view characterization through racialization that creates a fuller social reading of race. Situated in a nascent period of ethnic identification from 1900 to 1960, this book focuses on immigrant writers who do not fit neatly into a resistance-based model of ethnic literature. Writings by Paule Marshall, Ameen Rihani, Dalip Singh Saund, Jose Garcia Villa, and Jose Antonio Villarreal symbolize different aspects of the American dream, from individualism to imperialism, assimilation to upward mobility. The dynamics of characterization are also those of contestation, Rana argues. Analyzing the interrelation of persona and personhood, Race Characters presents an original method of comparison, revealing how the protagonist of the American dream is socially constrained and structurally driven.

Mouths on Fire with Songs .

This book, the first cross-cultural study of post-1970s anglophone Canadian and American multi-ethnic drama, invites assessment of the thematic and aesthetic contributions of this theater in today¿s globalized culture. A growing number of playwrights of African, South and East Asian, and First Nations heritage have engaged with manifold socio-political and aesthetic issues in experimental works combining formal features of more classical European dramatic traditions with such elements of ethnic culture as ancestral music and dance, to interrogate the very concepts of theatricality and canonicity. Their ¿mouths on fire¿ (August Wilson), these playwrights contest stereotyped notions of authenticity. In¬spired by songs of anger, passion, experience, survival, and regeneration, the plays analyzed bespeak a burning desire to break the silence, to heal and empower. Foregrounding questions of hybridity, diaspora, cultural memory, and nation, this comparative study includes discussion of some twenty-five case studies of plays by such authors as M.J. Kang, August Wilson, Suzan¿Lori Parks, Djanet Sears, Chay Yew, Padma Viswanathan, Rana Bose, Diane Glancy, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Through its cross-cultural and cross-national prism, ¿Mouths on Fire with Songs¿ shows that multi-ethnic drama is one of the most diverse and dynamic sites of cultural production in North America today.

Emergent U. S. Literatures

Emergent U.S. Literatures introduces readers to the foundational writers and texts produced by four literary traditions associated with late-twentieth-century US multiculturalism. Examining writing by Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and gay and lesbian Americans after 1968, Cyrus R. K. Patell compares and historicizes what might be characterized as the minority literatures within "U.S. minority literature." Drawing on recent theories of cosmopolitanism, Patell presents methods for mapping the overlapping concerns of the texts and authors of these literatures during the late twentieth century. He discusses the ways in which literary marginalization and cultural hybridity combine to create the grounds for literature that is truly "emergent" in Raymond Williams's sense of the term--literature that produces "new meanings and values, new practices, new relationships and kinds of relationships" in tension with the dominant, mainstream culture of the United States. By enabling us to see the American literary canon through the prism of hybrid identities and cultures, these texts require us to reevaluate what it means to write (and read) in the American grain. Emergent U.S. Literatures gives readers a sense of how these foundational texts work as aesthetic objects--rather than merely as sociological documents--crafted in dialogue with the canonical tradition of so-called "American Literature," as it existed in the late twentieth century, as well as in dialogue with each other.

Feminist Realism at the Fin de SiÈcle

Molly Youngkin takes on a major literary problem of the turn-of-the-century: Was the transition from the Victorian novel to the modern novel enabled by antirealist or realist narrative strategies? To answer this question, Youngkin analyzes book reviews that appeared in two prominent feminist periodicals circulated during the late-Victorian era--Shafts and The Woman's Herald.   Through reviews of the works of important male and female authors of the decade--Thomas Hardy, Sarah Grand, George Gissing, Mona Caird, George Meredith, Ménie Dowie, George Moore, and Henrietta Stannard--these periodicals developed a feminist realist aesthetic that drew on three aspects of woman's agency (consciousness, spoken word, and action) and emphasized corresponding narrative strategies (internal perspective, dialogue, and description of characters' actions). Still, these periodicals privileged consciousness over spoken word and action and, by doing so, encouraged authors to push the boundaries of traditional realism and anticipate the modernist aesthetic.   By acknowledging the role of the woman's press in the development of the novel, this book revises our understanding of the transition from Victorianism to modernism, which often is characterized as antirealist. Late-Victorian authors working within the realist tradition also contributed to this transition, particularly through their engagement with feminist realism. Youngkin deftly illustrates this transition and in so doing proves that it cannot be attributed to antirealist narrative strategies alone.

Irish Women's Writing, 1878-1922

Irish women writers entered the British and international publishing scene in unprecedented numbers in the period between 1878 and 1922. Literary history is only now beginning to give them the attention they deserve for their contributions to the literary landscape of Ireland, which has included far more women writers, with far more diverse identities, than hitherto acknowledged. This collection of new essays by leading scholars explores how women writers including Emily Lawless, L. T. Meade, Katharine Tynan, Lady Gregory, Rosa Mulholland, Ella Young and Beatrice Grimshaw used their work to advance their own private and public political concerns through astute manoeuvrings both in the expanding publishing industry and against the partisan expectations of an ever-growing readership. The chapters investigate their dialogue with a contemporary politics that included the topics of education, cosmopolitanism, language, empire, economics, philanthropy, socialism, the marriage 'market', the publishing industry, readership(s), the commercial market and employment.

Fire on the Water

Lenora Warren tells a new story about the troubled history of abolition and slave violence by examining representations of shipboard mutiny and insurrection in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-American and American literature. Fire on the Water centers on five black sailors, whose experiences of slavery and insurrection either inspired or found resonance within fiction: Olaudah Equiano, Denmark Vesey, Joseph Cinqué, Madison Washington, and Washington Goode. These stories of sailors, both real and fictional, reveal how the history of mutiny and insurrection is both shaped by, and resistant to, the prevailing abolitionist rhetoric surrounding the efficacy of armed rebellion as a response to slavery. Pairing well-known texts with lesser-known figures (Billy Budd and Washington Goode) and well-known figures with lesser-known texts (Denmark Vesey and the work of John Howison), this book reveals the richness of literary engagement with the politics of slave violence.

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