Literary Criticism
The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society
The Liberal Imagination
Essays on Literature and Society
Paperback      ISBN: 1590172833
The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the Cold War, Trilling's essays examine the promise --and limits--of liberalism, challenging the complacency of a na ve liberal belief in rationality, progress, and the panaceas of economics and other social sciences, and asserting in their stead the irreducible complexity of human motivation and the tragic inevitability of tragedy. Only the imagination, Trilling argues, can give us access and insight into these realms and only the imagination can ground a reflective and considered, rather than programmatic and dogmatic, liberalism.

Writing with acute intelligence about classics like Huckleberry Finn and the novels of Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also on such varied matters as the Kinsey Report and money in the American imagination, Trilling presents a model of the critic as both part of and apart from his society, a defender of the reflective life that, in our ever more rationalized world, seems ever more necessary--and ever more remote.
Peter Watts Is an Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays
Peter Watts Is an Angry Sentient Tumor
Revenge Fantasies and Essays
Paperback      ISBN: 1616963190
With over fifty unpredictable, scathing, hilarious, and more-than-occasionally moving essays about science, politics, family, pop culture, religion and more, Peter Watts -- Hugo Award-winning author, former marine biologist, and "angry sentient tumor" (via Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous) -- shows why he is the savage dystopian optimist whom you can't look away from ... even when you probably should.

STARRED REVIEW] "Irreverent, self-depreciating, profane, and funny, showcasing a Hunter S. Thompson-esque studied rage and dissatisfaction with the status quo combined with the readability and humor of John Scalzi."
--Booklist

Which of the following is true?

Peter Watts is banned from the U.S.
Watts almost died from flesh-eating bacteria.
A schizophrenic man living in Watts's backyard almost set the house on fire.
Watts was raised by Baptists who really sucked at giving presents.
Peter Watts said to read this book. Or else.

With Watts's infamous penchant for blunt, honest, and deep reflection, these retrospective essays provide a view inside his head and even into his heart.
Romeo & Juliet
Romeo & Juliet
Paperback      ISBN: 0812035720

Here are the books that help teach Shakespeare plays without the teacher constantly needing to explain and define Elizabethan terms, slang, and other ways of expression that are different from our own. Each play is presented with Shakespeare's original lines on each left-hand page, and a modern, easy-to-understand "translation" on the facing right-hand page. All dramas are complete, with every original Shakespearian line, and a full-length modern rendition of the text.

The Word: Black Writers Talk about the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing
The Word
Black Writers Talk about the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing
Paperback      ISBN: 0767929918
Critically acclaimed Black writers reveal how books have shaped their personal lives--in often unexpected ways.

In these thirteen strikingly candid interviews, bestselling authors, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and writers picked by Oprah's Book Club discuss how the acts of reading and writing have deeply affected their lives by expanding the conceptual borders of their communities and broadening their sense of self.

Edwidge Danticat movingly recounts the first time she encountered a Black character in a book and how this changed her worldview forever; Edward P. Jones speaks openly about being raised by an illiterate mother; J. California Cooper discusses the spiritual sources of her literary inspiration; Nathan McCall explains how reading saved his life while in prison; Pearl Cleage muses eloquently about how other people's stories help one make one's own way in the world; and world-renowned historian John Hope Franklin--in one of the last interviews he gave before his death--touchingly recalls his childhood in the segregated South and how reading opened his mind to life's greater possibilities.

The stories that emerge from these in-depth interviews not only provide an important record of the creative life of leading Black writers but also explore the vast cultural and spiritual benefits of reading and writing, and they support the growing initiative to encourage people to read as both a passion and a pastime.
The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's Prison
The Maximum Security Book Club
Reading Literature in a Men's Prison
Paperback      ISBN: 0062384341

A riveting account of the two years literary scholar Mikita Brottman spent reading literature with criminals in a maximum-security men's prison outside Baltimore, and what she learned from them--Orange Is the New Black meets Reading Lolita in Tehran.

On sabbatical from teaching literature to undergraduates, and wanting to educate a different kind of student, Mikita Brottman starts a book club with a group of convicts from the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. She assigns them ten dark, challenging classics--including Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe's story "The Black Cat," and Nabokov's Lolita--books that don't flinch from evoking the isolation of the human struggle, the pain of conflict, and the cost of transgression. Although Brottman is already familiar with these works, the convicts open them up in completely new ways. Their discussions may "only" be about literature, but for the prisoners, everything is at stake.

Gradually, the inmates open up about their lives and families, their disastrous choices, their guilt and loss. Brottman also discovers that life in prison, while monotonous, is never without incident. The book club members struggle with their assigned reading through solitary confinement; on lockdown; in between factory shifts; in the hospital; and in the middle of the chaos of blasting televisions, incessant chatter, and the constant banging of metal doors.

Though The Maximum Security Book Club never loses sight of the moral issues raised in the selected reading, it refuses to back away from the unexpected insights offered by the company of these complex, difficult men. It is a compelling, thoughtful analysis of literature--and prison life--like nothing you've ever read before.

How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form
How to Read Novels Like a Professor
A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form
Paperback      ISBN: 0061340405

How to Read Novels Like a Professor is a lively and entertaining guide to understanding and dissecting novels, making reading more enriching and satisfying. In the follow up to his wildly popular How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster provides students with tried-and-true techniques to use in analyzing some of the most important works in literary history. How to Read Novels Like a Professor shows readers how to consider and a novel's historical fine points as well as major themes, literary models (the Bible, Shakespeare, Greek mythology, and fairy tales), and narrative devices like irony, plot, and symbol.

"By bringing his eminent scholarship to bear in doses measured for the common reader or occasional student, Professor Foster has done us all a generous turn. The trained eye, the tuned ear, the intellect possesed of simple cyphers brings the literary arts alive."-Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking
John Knowles' a Separate Peace: Bookmarked
John Knowles' a Separate Peace
Bookmarked
Paperback      ISBN: 1632460106

The Bookmarked series focuses on a famous work of literature that left a powerful impression on an author (hence the name, Bookmarked--a book that left its mark). Each entry in the series will be a no-holds-barred personal narrative detailing how a particular novel influenced an author on their journey to becoming a writer, as well as the myriad directions where that journey has taken them.

In the first book in the series, critically acclaimed author and series editor Kirby Gann takes on John Knowles' classic about the tragic friendship between two boys at a boarding school.

Kirby Gann is the author of the novels Ghosting, Our Napoleon in Rags and The Barbarian Parade. He is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship and two Professional Assistance Awards from the Kentucky Arts Council. Gann is managing editor at Sarabande Books, and teaches in the brief-residency MFA in writing program at Spalding University.

Atomic Comics: Cartoonists Confront the Nuclear World
Atomic Comics
Cartoonists Confront the Nuclear World
Paperback      ISBN: 0874179181

The advent of the Atomic Age challenged purveyors of popular culture to explain to the general public the complex scientific and social issues of atomic power. Atomic Comics examines how comic books, comic strips, and other cartoon media represented the Atomic Age from the early 1920s to the present. Through the exploits of superhero figures such as Atomic Man and Spiderman, as well as an array of nuclear adversaries and atomic-themed adventures, the public acquired a new scientific vocabulary and discovered the major controversies surrounding nuclear science. Ferenc Morton Szasz's thoughtful analysis of the themes, content, and imagery of scores of comics that appeared largely in the United States and Japan offers a fascinating perspective on the way popular culture shaped American comprehension of the fissioned atom for more than three generations.

Maps Of The Imagination: The Writer As Cartographer
Maps Of The Imagination
The Writer As Cartographer
Hardcover      ISBN: 159534005x

Maps of the Imagination takes us on a magic carpet ride over terrain both familiar and exotic. Using the map as a metaphor, fiction writer Peter Turchi considers writing as a combination of exploration and presentation, all the while serving as an erudite and charming guide. He compares the way a writer leads a reader though the imaginary world of a story, novel, or poem to the way a mapmaker charts the physical world. "To ask for a map," says Turchi, "is to say, 'Tell me a story.' "
With intelligence and wit, the author looks at how mapmakers and writers deal with blank space and the blank page; the conventions they use or consciously disregard; the role of geometry in maps and the parallel role of form in writing; how both maps and writing serve to re-create an individual's view of the world; and the artist's delicate balance of intuition with intention.
A unique combination of history, critical cartography, personal essay, and practical guide to writing, Maps of the Imagination is a book for writers, for readers, and for anyone interested in creativity. Colorful illustrations and Turchi's insightful observations make his book both beautiful and a joy to read.

Studio a: The Bob Dylan Reader
Studio a
The Bob Dylan Reader
Paperback      ISBN: 0393327426

Hailed by Publishers Weekly as "not only the best writing on the ever-changing folk singer, but also some of the best writing about any musician around," Studio A presents Bob Dylan's unique literary legacy in a collection that is quintessentially Dylan: mosaic, offbeat, poetic. This "astutely chosen and intelligently annotated" collection (Time Out London) gathers over fifty articles, poems, essays, speeches, literary criticisms, and interviews; many previously unpublished. Individually, these pieces offer insight into the man and his time, but collectively they reveal the coming-of-age of American cultural criticism in their "sweeping view of both Dylan and the changing times he so eloquently captured in his music" (Publishers Weekly). With Sam Shepard, Bruce Springsteen, Allen Ginsberg, Johnny Cash, Greil Marcus, Joyce Carol Oates, Gary Giddins, Rick Moody, Tom Piazza, Barry Hannah, and Dylan himself on the list of contributors, Studio A is truly "a vital document" (New York Times) for all fans.