Literary Criticism
Introducing Shakespeare
Introducing Shakespeare
Paperback      ISBN: 184831115x

Shakespeare's absolute pre-eminence is simply unparalleled. His plays pack theatres and provide Hollywood with block-buster scripts; his works inspire mountains of scholarship and criticism every year. He has given us many of the very words we speak, and even some of the thoughts we think. Nick Groom and Piero explore how Shakespeare became so famous and influential, and why he is still widely considered the greatest writer ever. They investigate how the Bard has been worshiped at different times and in different places, used and abused to cultural and political ends, and the roots of intense controversies which have surrounded his work. Much more than a biography or a guide to his plays and sonnets, Introducing Shakespeare is a tour through the world of Will and concludes that even after centuries, Shakespeare remains the battlefield on which our very comprehension of humanity is being fought out.

The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms
3rd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0312461887

Engaging, authoritative, and affordably priced, The Bedford Glossary is a comprehensive reference that clearly and accessibly defines hundreds of important literary and critical terms from classical times to the present, making them real and relevant to twenty-first century students through examples uniquely drawn from contemporary literary and popular culture.

Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life
Keep It Fake
Inventing an Authentic Life
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374181020

Shoot straight from the hip. Tell it like it is. Keep it real.

We love these commands, especially in America, because they appeal to what we want to believe: that there's an authentic self to which we can be true. But while we mock Tricky Dick and Slick Willie, we're inventing identities on Facebook, paying thousands for plastic surgeries, and tuning in to news that simply verifies our opinions. Reality bites, after all, and becoming disillusioned is a downer.

In his new book Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson investigates this phenomenon. He draws on neuroscience, psychology, sociology, philosophy, art, film, literature, and his own life to explore the possibility that there's no such thing as unwavering reality. Whether our left brains are shaping the raw data of our right into fabulous stories or we're so saturated by society's conventions that we're always acting out prefab scripts, we can't help but be phony.

But is that really so bad? We're used to being scolded for being fake, but Wilson doesn't scold--because he doesn't think we need to be reprimanded. Our ability to remake ourselves into the people we want to be, or at least remake ourselves to look like the people we want to be, is in fact a magical process that can be liberating in its own way. Because if we're all a bunch of fakes, shouldn't we embrace that? And if everything really is fake, then doesn't the fake become real--really?

In lively prose--honest, provocative, witty, wide-ranging (as likely to riff on Bill Murray as to contemplate Plato)--Keep It Fake answers these questions, uncovering bracing truths about what it means to be human and helping us turn our necessary lying into artful living.

The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience
The Shamanic Odyssey
Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience
Paperback      ISBN: 1594773963

Reveals the striking parallels between indigenous cultures of the Americas and the ancient Homeric world as well as Tolkien's Middle Earth

- Explores the shamanic use of healing songs, psychoactive plants, and vision quests at the heart of the Odyssey and the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien

- Examines Odysseus's encounters with plant divinities, altered consciousness, animal shapeshifting, and sacred topography--all concepts vital to shamanism

- Reveals how the Odyssey emerged precisely at the rupture between modern and primal consciousness

Indigenous, shamanic ways of healing and prophecy are not foreign to the West. The native way of viewing the world--that is, understanding our cosmos as living, sentient, and interconnected--can be found hidden throughout Western literature, beginning with the very origin of the European literary tradition: Homer's Odyssey.

Weaving together the narrative traditions of the ancient Greeks and Celts, the mythopoetic work of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the voices of plant medicine healers in North and South America, the authors explore the use of healing songs, psychoactive plants, and vision quests at the heart of the Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Tolkien's final novella, Smith of Wootton Major. The authors examine Odysseus's encounters with plant divinities, altered consciousness, animal shapeshifting, and sacred topography--all concepts vital to shamanism. They show the deep affinities between the healing powers of ancient bardic song and the icaros of the shamans of the Amazon rain forest, how Odysseus's battle with Circe--wielder of narcotic plants and Mistress of Animals--follows the traditional method of negotiating with a plant ally, and how Odysseus's journey to the land of the dead signifies the universal practice of the vision quest, a key part of shamanic initiation.

Emerging precisely at the rupture between modern and primal consciousness, Homer's work represents a window into the lost native mind of the Western world. In this way, the Odyssey as well as Tolkien's work can be seen as an awakening and healing song to return us to our native minds and bring our disconnected souls back into harmony with the living cosmos.
The Power of Comics: History, Form, and Culture
The Power of Comics
History, Form, and Culture
Hardcover      ISBN: 0826429351

A comprehensive introduction to the comic arts
From the introduction by Paul Levitz "If ever there was a medium characterized by its unexamined self-expression, it's comics. For decades after the medium's birth, it was free of organized critical analysis, its creators generally disinclined to self-analysis or formal documentation. The average reader didn't know who created the comics, how or why . . . and except for a uniquely destructive period during America's witch-hunting of the 1950s, didn't seem to care. As the medium has matured, however, and the creativity of comics began to touch the mainstream of popular culture in many ways, curiosity followed, leading to journalism and eventually, scholarship, and so here we are." "The Power of Comics" is the first introductory textbook for comic art studies courses. Lending a broader understanding of the medium and its communication potential, it provides students with a coherent and comprehensive explanation of comic books and graphic novels, including coverage of their history and their communication techniques, research into their meanings and effects and an overview of industry practices and fan culture. Co-authors randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith draw on their own years of experience teaching comics studies courses and the scholarly literature across several disciplines to create a text with the following features: - Discussion questions for each chapter - Activities to engage readers - Recommended reading suggestions - Over 150 illustrations - Bibliography - Glossary "The Power of Comics" deals exclusively with comic books and graphic novels. One reason for this focus is that no one text can hope to do justice to both strips and books; there is simply too much to cover. Preference is given to comic books because in their longer form, the graphic novel, they have the greatest potential for depth and complexity of expression. As comic strips shrink in size and become more inane in content, comic books are becoming a serious art form.

Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism
Hugging the Shore
Essays and Criticism
Hardcover      ISBN: 0394531795

Beyond a Common Joy: An Introduction to Shakespearean Comedy
Beyond a Common Joy
An Introduction to Shakespearean Comedy
Hardcover      ISBN: 0803215746

In this engaging introduction to the 'First Folio' comedies, Paul Olson gives a persuasive account of Shakespeare's comic transcendence, showing how, by taking on the great themes of his time, he elevated comedy from a mere mid-level literary form to its own form of greatness, on par with epic and tragedy.

Last Performance at the Odeon
Last Performance at the Odeon
Hardcover      ISBN: 1912477610

Literary Nonfiction. Jewish Studies. "Sometimes it takes years and years to see a pattern, but watch a tin of paint when it falls and spreads unmercifully across the carpet. You can't stop it. The stain just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, like secrets, passed down from generation to generation. Each family fiddles with the story, changes a fact here and there, tries to protect itself. From what--shame. We have to stop it." LAST PERFORMANCE AT THE ODEON is an evocative and original autobiographical prose poem, rich in insights into Anglo- Jewish life from the late nineteenth century to the present day, supported by family-historical documents and photographs. Nathanson gives us stories and snapshots of lovers, family, a grandfather who sails the wide open seas, an adventure in South Africa and a Romanian caretaker who watches over the tombs of their fathers or was it her great-uncle Alf? We never quite know. Her story stands alongside the complexities of her childhood, her search for roots and her desire for completion; the circle of identity that we all aspire to.

"Hovering in an evocative space between poetry and prose, LAST PERFORMANCE AT THE ODEON is a hypnotic, exquisitely situated, study of remembered love. In an age of formulaic writing, this original book, with a voice and a vitality all of its own, stands out as one to savour and revisit."--Melissa Raphael

"A hauntingly beautiful read, touching and tragic. A very personal family history come to life, a truly remarkable remembrance, highly recommended."--Steve Hoffman
Criticisms: Major Statements
Major Statements
4th Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0312137451

This enduring anthology is the only one to encompass the historic sweep of literary criticism -- from Plato to the present -- in a compact and affordable format.

Bukowski for Beginners
Bukowski for Beginners
Paperback      ISBN: 1939994373

Charles Bukowski, poet, novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and cult figure of the dissident and rebellious was born in Germany in 1920 and died in the USA in 1994. During his life he was hailed as "laureate of American lowlife" by Time magazine literary critic Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote: "The secret of Bukowski's appeal...(is that) he combines the confessional poet's promise of intimacy with the largerthan-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero."

Bukowski was one of the most unconventional writers and cultural critics of the 20th century. He lived an unorthodox, idiosyncratic life and wrote in a style that was unique--one that is impossible to classify or categorize. His work was at times cynical or humorous, but was always brilliant and challenging. His life and work are distinguished not only by a remarkable talent for words, but also by his rejection of the dominant social and cultural values of American society. Bukowski began writing at the age of forty and published forty-five books, six of them novels. He is also considered one of the great literary voices of Los Angeles.

In Bukowski For Beginners, playwright Carlos Polimeni evaluates the life and literary achievements of the cult writer whose voice of dissidence an discontent is still heard and appreciated by readers worldwide.