New Book Highlight: Manywhere: stories

“People think contentment is a gentle, warm thing, like bathwater, that needs only occasional replenishing to keep it from turning slowly tepid. In my experience, contentment often requires more ruthless and more immediate defending.”

From “Bump,” in Manywhere: stories by Morgan Thomas

The bright green lightning bolt and colorful birds on the face of Manywhere jumped out at me from the New Books shelf in the Literatures and Languages Reading Room, though they didn’t provide much of an indication of the book’s contents.  

Manywhere: stories is a collection of nine pieces of short fiction following queer and genderqueer characters in the American South throughout various stages of history. Author Morgan Thomas displays an impressive range of styles and voices, offering explorations of characters in first- and third-person narrative and through newspaper extracts, letters, and emails. As each character navigates their own past and present, they touch on relationships with parents, partners, and places they’ve left behind. They address illness, pregnancy, and versions of care. They seek places for themselves in history and sacrifice partnerships to secure them. And they consider the bodies they were born into, and what that means for who they are becoming.

Through compelling and emotionally intelligent prose, the stories in Manywhere ask the reader consider the relationships they sustain with their own bodies, with their parents, and with their pasts.

You can find Manywhere: stories on the New Books Shelf at the Literatures and Languages Library. The catalog record is linked here.

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Arts and Humanities Libraries Ekphrastic Challenge

Calling all undergraduate students to participate in an Arts and Humanities Libraries Ekphrastic Challenge!

What is an ekphrastic challenge?

In ancient Greece “ekphrasis” meant describing something with vivid detail. More recently, ekphrastic poetry has come to be known as poetry written about works of art. It usually includes an exploration of how the speaker is impacted by their experience with the work.

For this challenge, we’re expanding the definition to include poetry, prose, or visual artwork based on a work of literature, music, poetry, or art from any one of the Arts and Humanities division libraries. These include the Literatures and Languages Library, the Music and Performing Arts Library, the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art, and the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library. Your piece of writing or art should clearly show your engagement with the work. This guide from Masterclass suggests the following steps to create an ekphrastic poem. These are a good starting point as you create your work!

  1. Choose a piece of art
  2. Write down what you see.
  3. Pick a form.
  4. Write from a specific point of view.

Formatting:

Prose submissions of short fiction, flash fiction, or creative nonfiction may be up to 2,000 words. Poetry may be up to 200 lines in any poetic form. Written works should be in 12-point Times New Roman and submitted as Word documents attached to your email. Please number all pages.

Visual art should be scanned and sent as an email attachment. JPEG or PNG file formats are preferred. If you are unable to scan your work, please take a clear photo and attach the photo to your email.

Please do not include any identifying information on your work.

How to submit:

Once you’ve created your work, submit it to ahlibekphrastic@gmail.com. Submissions must be received by December 15th, 2022. Please follow the formatting instructions above and include your name, program, your work, and a catalog link to the work that inspired you in your email. Refer to this guide for how to locate the permalink in the catalog.

Judges from the Arts and Humanities Libraries and the Editorial Board of Montage Arts Journal will decide on one winner from each category to be published in Montage. Runners-up will receive gift cards to The Literary in Champaign.

Winners will be announced in mid-March 2023.

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Booker Prize and National Book Awards: Shortlisted Works at the Literatures and Languages Library

As the days get shorter and the autumnal chill slowly sets in on campus, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a book from the Literatures and Languages Library. Can’t decide on one? Luckily, fall is peak season for some national and international book awards. Two major prizes recently announced their shortlists, or the finalists in the running for the top place. The Booker Prize shortlist was announced in Mid-September and the finalists for the National Book Award were just announced on October 4th. And you can find many of the shortlisted titles at the Literatures and Languages Library!

The Booker Prize has been active since 1969 and is awarded annually to a work of fiction which the judges believe will be relevant well into the future. While the book must be written in English and published in the UK or Ireland, the authors may have any nationality and origin. This prize is announced in multiple rounds, with the longlist announced in the summer and shortlist announced in the fall. This year, the winner will be announced on October 17th.

In addition to the notoriety that comes with winning a major prize in literature, each author of a shortlisted work receives £2,500 and the author of the winning work is awarded £50,000.

The Booker Prize Shortlist consists of six works of fiction. This year’s list includes both the shortest work ever nominated as well as the oldest author to be considered for the prize. They are:

The Booker Foundation

Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

The Trees by Percival Everett

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The National Book Awards have been around since 1950, when they were established to celebrate the best writing in the United States. There are currently five categories, which include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. For each category, ten books are selected for the longlist. This list is narrowed down to five Finalists, from which a winner is chosen. This year, the winners, who each receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture, will be announced on November 16th.  

To be eligible for the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Young People’s Literature Awards, the author must either be a U.S. citizen or have been approved by a petition process and their book must have been published by a U.S. publisher located in the United States. The Translated Literature Award does not require either the author or translator to hold U.S. citizenship and the original work does not need to be newly published, but the translated work must be in English and must have been published within the eligibility year.

The finalists for the Fiction, Poetry, and Translated Literature are listed here, but be sure to look at the winners for Nonfiction and Young People’s Literature as well!

Finalists for Fiction:

National Book Foundation

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai

The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela

Finalists for Poetry:

National Book Foundation

Look at This Blue by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene

Balladz by Sharon Olds

Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves

The Rupture Tense by Jenny Xie

Finalists for Translated Literature:

National Book Foundation

A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls (click here for the original in Norwegian)

Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti (click here for the original in French)

Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker (click here for the original in Spanish)

Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (click here for the original in Spanish)

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada, translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani

Happy reading!

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Street Haunting: The Flâneur in Literature

Image shows an impressionist painting depicting people strolling down an intersection in Paris

Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte (1877), The Art Institute of Chicago

“The crowd is his domain, just as the air is the bird’s, and water that of the fish. His passion and his profession is to merge with the crowd. For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer, it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very centre of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions.” –Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life, 1863

In his essay, “The Painter of Modern Life,” nineteenth-century French poet and critic, Charles Baudelaire, established his definition of the flâneur, a figure that continues to capture the imagination of writers and artists more than a century later. Literally but imperfectly translated as “stroller” or “idler,” the flâneur is the quintessential observer, the outsider whose meandering path skims along, but does not directly intersect, with the paths of those that surround him or her. In Baudelaire’s eye, the flâneur was inextricably tied with the artist and the poet—the ability to return to one’s home and fashion something immortal out of these passing glimpses of modern city life.

It is not surprising then, that throughout the intervening century and a half, numerous modern and contemporary writers have explored the iconic image of the flaneur, from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to Teju Cole’s Open City. In these works, the act of wandering a city often becomes a journey of self-discovery and inward reflection.

And while in Baudelaire’s day, the flâneur was generally assumed to be white and male, more contemporary works have challenged this preconception. Through some writer’s eyes, the act of observing, and the gaze itself, has taken on a new power and potential. Viewing the flâneur through a feminist or postcolonial lens, street haunting (as Virginia Woolf calls it) raises the questions of who is able to be invisible and unobserved in the modern city and what this capability says about modern society.

Today, we’ve highlighted a few works in the library’s collection, both historical and contemporary that explore this lesser-known image of the flâneur in literature. Why not be transported somewhere new today?

Open City by Teju Cole

Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole’s debut novel, Open City is about many things—identity, dislocation, history, and love. But first, it is about a solitary walker setting out from his home in Morningside Heights and learning the city at his feet. While the narrator, a Nigerian doctor doing his residency, wanders the streets of New York, he reflects on his recent breakup with his girlfriend and encounters a string of local immigrants who enrich and complicate his portrait of the city and himself. For Open City, the term “street haunting” is perhaps particularly apt; this post-colonial look at New York City reflects the unique loneliness that stems from isolation in the midst of a crowd.

Quartet by Jean Rhys

Rhys’ debut 1928 novel explores the sometimes squalid but often mesmerizing underbelly of bohemian Paris, a world Rhys herself knew only too well. Quartet is a roman à clef, an autobiographical novel, exploring a quartet of four lovers whose foibles and trials mirror the experiences of Rhys during her marriage to her first husband and her concurrent messy affair and financial entanglement with literary luminary Ford Maddox Ford and his partner, Stella Bowen. Isolated and increasingly troubled amidst the rich literary and artistic culture of a city in bloom, Quartet lays bare the at-times stark realities of Café Society in Paris, particularly for women.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The titular character of Mrs. Dalloway sets out from her London home with a simple goal in mind—to buy flowers for her party. But what begins as a practical errand quickly diverges as Dalloway’s journey provides an opportunity for the protagonist to consider the complex ways her life intersects with those of the other characters that populate the novel, as well as where the path of her own life might have diverged in the past. A complex modernist classic, Mrs. Dalloway is at times challenging, but infinitely rewarding for its exploration of how a single day, and a single task, can unveil the intricate layers of a person’s life and mind.

NW by Zadie Smith

Traversing the eponymous North Western postcode area in London, NW presents a complicated portrait of the city and modern adulthood. The novel follows four Londoners as they try to make lives and identities outside of Cadwell, the council estate where they grew up. Smith’s writing style immerses its reader in the unique culture of Northwest London—from its immigrant dialects to its cultural landmarks.  This tragicomic novel swings between violence and scandal, but the protagonists’ quests to define and achieve happiness on their own terms will resonate with anyone struggling to navigate life in a modern city.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Known for her travelogues and graphic memoirs, French Milk, is one of cartoonist Lucy Knisley’s earliest efforts in the field. This travelogue narrates Knisley’s six-week trip to Paris with her mother as they explore the city and face milestones in life. Blending musings, photographs, and illustrations, Knisley reflects on family, love, and the looming prospect of adulthood as she samples some of the culinary and cultural delights the City of Light has to offer. While it is at times self-indulgent (what travelogue isn’t?), it offers a charming and tempting snapshot of Paris through the eyes of a consummate artist and foodie.

Taipei by Tao Lin

Many of the books that explore the figure of the flâneur traverse the line between fiction and memoir, and Tapei is no exception. Based on the author’s own life, Tapei is an undeniably modern take on the figure of the flâneur—providing an unvarnished portrait of the way we live and love today. The novel follows Paul from Manhattan to Taipei, Taiwan as he navigates his artistic ambitions alongside his cultural heritage. As relationships bloom and fail, the novel’s characters devote much of their time to drugs and screens, numbing agents that distract from the by turns bleak and absurd realities of modern life. While opinions about Tao Lin and his work vary, Taipei is undeniably effective in distilling the tedium, the excitement, and the uncertainty of being alive, young, on the fringes in America. 

Further Reading Suggestions for the Fledgling Flâneur:

The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays by Charles Baudelaire

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

People of the City by Cyprian Ekwensi

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson

New York: A Mod Portrait of the City by Vladimir Fuka

Bibliography

Baudelaire, Charles, and Jonathan Mayne. The Painter of Modern Life, and Other Essays. London: Phaidon, 1964.

Baudelaire, Charles, 1821-1867 2006. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. https://www-proquest-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/encyclopedias-reference-works/baudelaire-charles-1821-1867/docview/2137915067/se-2?accountid=14553.

Flâneur 2010., edited by Ian Buchanan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www-proquest-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/encyclopedias-reference-works/flâneur/docview/2137953454/se-2?accountid=14553.

Lopate, Phillip. The Art of the Personal Essay : an Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Wood, James. “The Arrival of Enigmas.” The New Yorker, February 20, 2011. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/02/28/the-arrival-of-enigmas.

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The Trauma of War and Displacement in the Poetry of John Guzlowski

By Marek Sroka

One of the most interesting examples of traumatic experiences of war and displacement are the poems of John Guzlowski, “arguably the most accomplished Polish-American poet on the contemporary scene.”[1]  Guzlowski, who was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Vienenburg, Germany, after World War II, came with his parents and sister to the United States as “DPs” (“displaced persons,’ the term Guzlowski uses to describe their status) in 1951.  Inspired by the wartime experiences of his parents, the author has been writing poems about his parents’ lives addressing the tragedy of war, the trauma of displacement, and the anguish of immigration.  Moreover, the topics he highlights in his poetry did not disappear after World War II.  Instead, new conflicts erupted that resulted in massive displacement of populations in various parts of the world, including present war in Ukraine.                                                                                                                    In one of his most powerful poems, “Landscape with Dead Horses, 1939,” Guzlowski introduces audiences to the Polish experience of Nazi Germany invasion of Poland in 1939 and confronts them with tragedy of all wars.  Here is the opening verse:

War comes down like a hammer, heavy and hard

flattening the earth and killing the soft things:

horses and children, flowers and hope, love

and the smell of the farmers’ earth, the coolness

of the creek, the look of trees as they unfurl

their leaves in late March and early April

(from Echoes of Tattered Tongues)[2]

Another poem worth mentioning is “Cattle Train to Magdeburg,” in which Guzlowski recreates the experience of his mother’s deportation to Nazi Germany where she would work as a slave laborer.  The poem deals with the universal and often lifelong trauma of displacement caused by wars.  Here is a fragment:

My mother still remembers

The long train to Magdeburg

the box cars

bleached gray

by Baltic winters

 

The long twilight journey

to Magdeburg-

four days that became six years

six years that became sixty

 

And always a train of box cars

bleached to Baltic gray

(from Lightning and Ashes)[3]  

Guzlowski’s poems are emotionally powerful and are anchored in his parents experience as forced laborers and country-less refugees.  Yet, his poetry has universal relevance giving voice to countless refugees displaced and traumatized by wars in the past and current centuries.

Cover of John Guzlowski’s book of poetry “Echoes of Tattered Tongues” (2016)

[1] Thomas Napierkowski, “Lightning and Ashes: The Poetry of John Guzlowski,” Polish American Studies, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 86-93.

[2] John Z. Guzlowski, Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Los Angeles, California: Aquila Polonica Publishing, 2016).

[3] John Z. Guzlowski, Lightning and Ashes (Bowling Green, Kentucky: Steel Toe Books, 2007).

 

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Reading Recommendations for Black History Month

Happy Black History Month from the Literatures and Languages Library!

From Phillis Wheatley to Zora Neale Hurston to Colson Whitehead, Black writers have enriched our country’s literary heritage for centuries. While the Literatures and Languages Library amplifies Black voices all year, Black History Month provides a special opportunity to highlight a few of the many wonderful works in our collection created by Black authors.

The origin of Black History Month dates to 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson conceived of Negro History Week. Specifically responding to how the American public school system represented the significance of Black history, Woodson envisioned Negro History Week as a national celebration of Black culture (Franklin). Woodson originally chose the second week in February as an apt time to champion Black history because it coincided with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Following the civil rights movement, the week-long event transformed into the full month celebration that we now recognize.

Our collection is always growing, and this curated list provides just a glimpse of some of the exciting new fiction and poetry we offer. These works are eclectic and explore a diverse spectrum of the Black experience, ranging from the Afro-punk scene of the 1970s to queer life amidst the AIDS epidemic.

The titles featured here are currently on display in our exhibit case but will be available for check-out on March 1st. To see the full exhibit, or to get more reading recommendations for Black History Month, come visit us in the Main Library, Room 200!

Fiction:

The Awkward Black Man (Stories) by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is often considered one of America’s greatest crime-fiction writers, winning an Edgar Grand Master Award as well as a Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. But this collection of 17 short stories displays the broad range of Mosley’s talent. The Awkward Black Man providing fascinating glimpses into a motley collection of protagonists–heroes who are awkward, nerdy, self-defeating, self-involved, and, on the whole, odd. The collection seeks to challenge stereotypes about Black male characters and urges the reader to consider each one on his own merits.

Funeral Diva by Pamela Sneed

Seamlessly weaving together personal essays and poetry, poet, performer, visual artist, and educator Pamela Sneed brings all her talents to bear on this memoir, which depicts the AIDS crisis’ impact on Black queer life in New York City. The winner of the Lambda Award for Lesbian Poetry, Funeral Diva’s poems are in conversation with lost lovers and Black literary forebears from James Baldwin to Audre Lorde, and extend from meditations on the past into the trauma and hope of the present day.

 

Hell of a Book: Or the Altogether Factual, Wholly Bona Fide Story of a Big Dreams, Hard Luck, American-Made Mad Kid by Jason Mott

It’s a hell of a title for a hell of a book. This National Book Award-winning novel bends time and reality to tell the dizzying story of a best-selling Black author’s cross-country publicity tour. His journey intersects and intermingles with the stories of a young black boy named Soot and a possibly mythic child named, simply, The Kid. As their lives converge amidst a series of tragic, magical, and astonishing twists that will have the reader questioning what is real and how can we move forward?

Other Fiction Recommendations:

 

Poetry:

Such Color by Tracy K. Smith

This collection brings together some of the most powerful and esteemed poems from the former Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith. Such Color includes works originally published in volumes including the Pulitzer prize-winning Life On Mars (2011), as well as The Body’s Question (2003), Duende (2007), and Wade in the Water (2018). The collection also includes new poems, which reflect on America’s historical and contemporary racism, while urging the reader towards the radical choice of love and compassion in the face of all that stands in its way.

Exiles of Eden – Ladan Osman

Drawing from Somali storytelling traditions, Exiles of Eden provides a fascinating new perspective on the story of Adam, Eve, and their exile from the Garden of Eden. Seamlessly blending the past and present in hypnotizing, experimental verse, Osman explores the experiences of displaced people across multiple generations. Her characters by turns grapple with trauma, isolation, and the disheartening realization that once you are exiled from Eden, you can never go back.

 

Other Poetry Recommendations:

 

Works Cited

 

Franklin, Jonathan. “Here’s the story behind Black History Month—and why it’s celebrated in February.” NPR, https://www.npr.org/2022/02/01/1075623826/why-is-february-black-history-month. Accessed 4 February 2022.

 

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Proquest One Literature

One database to rule them all, and, in citations, find them!

The website banner for the OneLiterature databaseThe University Library now provides access to Proquest One Literature. This exciting new acquisition will provide students, faculty, and staff with access to 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, dissertations, and more than 500,000 primary works! These include rare and obscure texts, multiple versions, and non-traditional sources like comics, theatre performances, and author readings.

If this sounds like a dizzying amount of content, never fear! One Literature has a user-friendly interface that allows you to browse and search amongst criticism, primary texts, and reference works like The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature, The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre, The International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, and many more!

Banner showing frequently viewed authors and literature collections on the One Literature databaseIf you’d like to learn more about and dive into the works of a single writer, you’re in luck! One Literature greets each visitor with a banner of prominent authors and poets, including Jane Austen, Joy Harjo, and William Carlos Williams. Selecting a specific author will take you to a biography of the writer, direct links to their primary works, pertinent criticism, relevant reference works, links to authors from the same literary movement, and even videos and recordings of adaptations and readings. These author pages will provide wonderful guidance and resources to students and faculty across the English curriculum but may be particularly useful as references for Major Authors classes.

If you’d prefer to browse by topic or subject, or just casually explore, One Literature also allows you to browse by literary movement, literary period, and Literature Collections, which bring together works that showcase unique, definitive electronic collections or demonstrate the breadth of topical electronic collections available on One Literature. Prominent Literature Collections include the African Writers Series, Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker [a digital library of classic German works], and Teatro Español del Siglo de Oro [a collection of Spanish theatre from the Golden Age].

If that were not already enough, One Literature also features an expansive array of audio-visual content, including poetry readings, Shakespeare audioplays, and BBC literary adaptations like Emma, Madame Bovary, and David Copperfield.

So, what are you waiting for? Head into to One Literature and start exploring! We can’t wait to hear about what you discover!

To learn more about One Literature or to schedule a demonstration for your class, please contact Matthew Roberts (mjrii@illinois.edu) or Paula Carns (pcarns@illinois.edu).

 

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Reading Recommendations for Hispanic American Heritage Month

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15 to October 15, our country is honoring the contributions of Hispanic Americans to our culture and nation. Hispanic Americans have positively influenced many aspects of American life, from politics to the arts to civil rights. They have also had a huge impact on our nation’s literature and literary traditions. To celebrate this impact, we are highlighting some of the incredible fiction by Hispanic authors in our collection.

Dominicana by Angie Cruzcover image for Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights will be captivated by this coming-of-age story which explores immigration, love, and the shifting tides of the American Dream. In 1965, Ana Canción moves from her beloved Dominican Republic to the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City, so that she can marry and create a path to immigration for her family. Lonely and isolated in her adopted city, she plans to flee until political turmoil back home and a new romantic entanglement open her eyes to what a life in America could be.

cover image for The Spirit of Science FictionThe Spirit of Science Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Fans of George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and Jean Rhys’ Quartet will be drawn in by Bolaño’s portrait of 1970s Mexico City. This genre-bending novel follows the romantic and creative escapades of two aspiring Chilean writers as they struggle to carve out a place for themselves in the literary world. While one writer sinks into a dizzying creative oblivion, the other finds himself becoming a flâneur, haunting the dingy and beautiful streets of Mexico City with a circle of extravagant writers.

cover image for the Naked Woman

The Naked Woman by Armonía Somers

The premise for The Naked Woman can be distilled simply: a woman’s feminist awakening drives a hypocritical village to madness in rural Uruguay. But this description can only hint at the brilliant brutality of Somers’ text and Maude’s translation. This intense, surreal novel exposes the violence of the male ego and the destructive power of societal misogyny. Originally published in 1950 to an audience shocked by its graphic eroticism, it is now considered an iconic work of feminism.

 

cover image for fruit of the drunken treeFruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Inspired by Rojas Contreras’ own life, this debut novel explores youth and childhood in Colombia under drug lord Pablo Escobar’s violent reign. Born and raised in a gated community in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, seven-year-old Chula has grown up sheltered from the violence and crime that ravaged the city’s streets. But when she grows close to her family’s new maid, Petrona, Chula finds herself drawn into a new realm of secrecy and betrayal. As the novel rockets to its conclusion, both girls find themselves faced with impossible choices as their world descends into chaos.

What’s on your “To Read” list for Hispanic American Heritage Month? Let us know!

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2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Congratulations to the 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners! The Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917  through the will of Joseph Pulitzer, a visionary American journalist, who wished to incentivize excellence and innovation in American journalism and letters. 

This year, the literary works recognized demonstrate an increased interest in social justice and honoring the exemplary work of writers addressing the brutal history and complex reality of race in America. Below, we have highlighted a few of the winners currently in our collection. But we encourage you to peruse the full list of finalists and winners here

 

Fiction: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman is based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s  grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C. This powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

History: Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain

A nuanced account of the complicated role the fast-food industry plays in African-American communities, Chatelain’s work is a portrait of race and capitalism that masterfully illustrates how the fight for civil rights has been intertwined with the fate of Black businesses. From civil rights to Ferguson, Franchise reveals the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America.

Biography: The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X. The Dead are Arising is the result—A powerful and revelatory account of the civil rights activist, which rewrites much of the known narrative and offers insight into his character, beliefs and the forces that shaped him. Les and Tamara Payne have crafted a riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

Poetry: Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem is a collection of tender, heart-wrenching, and defiant poems that explore what it means to love and be loved in an America beset by conflict. It is an anthem of desire against erasure, demanding that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloved.

 

General Nonfiction: Wilmington’s Lie : The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino

Wilmington’s Lie is a gripping account of the overthrow of the elected government of a Black-majority North Carolina city after Reconstruction that untangles a complicated set of power dynamics cutting across race, class and gender. It gives an account of a racially-motivated insurrection launched by white supremacists, which halted gains made by Black people and restored racism as official government policy, cementing white rule for another seventy years. 

Pulitzer Prize winner David Zucchino uses contemporary newspaper accounts, diaries, letters and official communications to create a riveting and compelling narrative that weaves together individual stories of hate, fear, and brutality. This is a dramatic and definitive account of a remarkable but forgotten chapter of American history.

–Summaries adapted from the publisher

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Summer of Cinema!

Keep an eye out for these recent Cinema Studies acquisitions at the Literatures and Languages Library!

Cinematic settlers: the settler colonial world in film Edited by Janne Lahti

In this anthology, the contributing scholars explore examples of settler colonialism in film. Settler colonialism is a method of colonization that displaces the indigenous peoples of a colonized territory and replaces them with new settlers. Taking a broad international approach, scholars analyze specific films, study genres, and examine national trends in film making. This volume seeks to add to the study of settler colonialism by evaluating the ways film contributes to and validates settler narratives.

Projecting the nation: history and ideology on the Israeli screen by Eran Kaplan

This book tackles 70 years of Israeli cinema history. Kaplan analyzes films that cover “the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi divide, the kibbutz and urban life, the rise of religion,” to examine the way film represents the life and culture of modern Israel. He also questions the ways these films have shaped our understanding of Israeli history.

 

Contemporary Balkan  Cinema: Transnational Exchanges and Global Circuits Edited by Lydia Papadimitriou and Ana Grgić

Looking at key subject characteristics and aesthetics of Balkan films, this book analyzes the impact of transnational links and the role of international film festivals in the production and distribution of films from this region. With each chapter focusing on a different region, scholars examine cross cultural exchange and the importance of Balkan Cinema.

 

A Cultural History of the Disney Fairy Tale: Once Upon an American Dream by Tracey Louise Mollet

“In all of its fairy tales of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Walt Disney studios works to sell its audiences the national myth of the United States at any one historical moment.” This book analyzes the shifting ethos of the Disney Fairy tale through time in order to meet changing national viewpoints and keep the utopian myth of the United States alive. Using Disney films and tv shows, Mollet investigates the links between Disney morality and the American Dream.

Experts in Action: Transnational Hong Kong–Style Stunt Work and Performance by Lauren Steimer

In this book Steimer explores the transnational influence and spread of Hong Kong film aesthetics, stunt work, and fighting styles. Analyzing the work of specific stunt people in film and tv, this book explores the mixing of artistic influences, genre, and localities, with Hong Kong style fight work.

 

 

Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power Edited by Susan Liddy

The topic of this series of essays from international scholars is gender-based discrimination in the film industry. Detailing the industry culture in seventeen different countries, these essays argue for an end to gender discrimination and more opportunities for women in film.

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