2021 Faculty Publications
Jessie Hock | The Erotics of Materialism: Lucretius and Early Modern Poetics
In The Erotics of Materialism, Jessie Hock maps the intersection of poetry and natural philosophy in the early modern reception of Lucretius and his De rerum natura. Subtly revising an ancient atomist tradition that condemned poetry as frivolous, Lucretius asserted a central role for verse in the practice of natural philosophy and gave the figurative realm a powerful claim on the real by maintaining that mental and poetic images have material substance and a presence beyond the mind or page. Attending to Lucretius’s own emphasis on poetry, Hock shows that early modern readers and writers were alert to the fact that Lucretian materialism entails a theory of the imagination and, ultimately, a poetics, which they were quick to absorb and adapt to their own uses.
Focusing on the work of Pierre de Ronsard, Remy Belleau, John Donne, Lucy Hutchinson, and Margaret Cavendish, The Erotics of Materialism demonstrates how these poets drew on Lucretius to explore poetry’s power to act in the world. Hock argues that even as classical atomist ideas contributed to the rise of empirical scientific methodologies that downgraded the capacity of the human imagination to explain material phenomena, Lucretian poetics came to stand for a poetry that gives the imagination a purchase on the real, from the practice of natural philosophy to that of politics.
In her reading of Lucretian influence, Hock reveals how early modern poets were invested in what Lucretius posits as the materiality of fantasy and his expression of it in a language of desire, sex, and love. For early modern poets, Lucretian eroticism was poetic method, and De rerum natura a treatise on the poetic imagination, initiating an atomist genealogy at the heart of the lyric tradition.
Anthony Reed | Soundsworks: Race, Sound, and Poetry in Production (Refiguring American Music)
In Soundworks Anthony Reed argues that studying sound requires conceiving it as process and as work. Since the long Black Arts era (ca. 1958–1974), intellectuals, poets, and musicians have defined black sound as radical aesthetic practice. Through their recorded collaborations as well as the accompanying interviews, essays, liner notes, and other media, they continually reinvent black sound conceptually and materially. Soundwork is Reed’s term for that material and conceptual labor of experimental sound practice framed by the institutions of the culture industry and shifting historical contexts. Through analyses of Langston Hughes’s collaboration with Charles Mingus, Amiri Baraka’s work with the New York Art Quartet, Jayne Cortez’s albums with the Firespitters, and the multimedia projects of Archie Shepp, Matana Roberts, Cecil Taylor, and Jeanne Lee, Reed shows that to grasp black sound as a radical philosophical and aesthetic insurgence requires attending to it as the product of material, technical, sensual, and ideological processes.
2020 Faculty Publications
Colin Dayan | Animal Quintet: A Southern Memoir
Colin Dayan meditates on the connection between her personal and family history and her relationship with animals in this lyrical memoir about her upbringing in the South. Unraveling memories alongside family documents and photographs, Animal Quintet takes a raw look at racial tensions and relations in a region struggling to change while providing a disquieting picture of a childhood accessible only through accounts of the non-human, ranging from famed Southern war horses led by Civil War generals and doomed Spanish fighting bulls to the lowly possum hunted by generations of Southerners.
A Conversation with Colin Dayan – Los Angeles Review of Books
Rachel Teukolsky | Picture World: Image, Aesthetics, and Victorian New Media
The modern media world came into being in the nineteenth century, when machines were harnessed to produce texts and images in unprecedented numbers. In the visual realm, new industrial techniques generated a deluge of affordable pictorial items, mass-printed photographs, posters, cartoons, and illustrations. These alluring objects of the Victorian parlor were miniaturized spectacles that served as portals onto phantasmagoric versions of ‘the world.’ Although new kinds of pictures transformed everyday life, these ephemeral items have received remarkably little scholarly attention.
Emily Lordi | The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and resilience since the 1960s (Refiguring American Music)
In The Meaning of Soul, Emily J. Lordi proposes a new understanding of this famously elusive concept. In the 1960s, Lordi argues, soul came to signify a cultural belief in black resilience, which was enacted through musical practices—inventive cover versions, falsetto vocals, ad-libs, and false endings. Through these soul techniques, artists such as Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, and Minnie Riperton performed virtuosic survivorship and thus helped to galvanize black communities in an era of peril and promise. Their soul legacies were later reanimated by such stars as Prince, Solange Knowles, and Flying Lotus. Breaking with prior understandings of soul as a vague masculinist political formation tethered to the Black Power movement, Lordi offers a vision of soul that foregrounds the intricacies of musical craft, the complex personal and social meanings of the music, the dynamic movement of soul across time, and the leading role played by black women in this musical-intellectual tradition.
Lorrie Moore | Collected Stories
A beautiful hardcover edition of the collected stories of one of America’s most revered and admired authors.
Collected here for the first time in one volume are forty stories by Lorrie Moore—originally published in the acclaimed collections Self-Help, Like Life, Birds of America, and Bark and including three additional stories excerpted from her novels.
Candice Amich | Precarious Forms: Performing Utopia in the Neoliberal Americas
This publication explores how performance art and poetry convey utopian desires even in the bleakest of times. Candice Amich argues that utopian longing in the neoliberal Americas paradoxically arises from the material conditions of socioeconomic crisis. Working across national, linguistic, and generic boundaries, Amich identifies new political and affective modes of reception in her examination of resistant art forms. She locates texts in the activist struggles of the Global South, where neoliberal extraction and exploitation most palpably reanimate the colonial and imperial legacies of earlier stages of capitalism.
Mark Jarman | Dailiness: Essays on Poetry
The essays in Dailiness are about how a poet makes a poem. For Mark Jarman a poem results from a deliberate and conscious act. He is especially interested in the way human consciousness connects devotional prayer to poetry. In these essays he considers poems written millennia apart from Gilgamesh to George Herbert s work, from the poems of Robert Frost to those of Seamus Heaney, to his own recently-written poems and those of his contemporaries. As the poems celebrate the work of daily creation, they possess a religious aspect. In Dailiness Jarman sheds light on how poems accomplish this work.
Bridget Orr | British Enlightenment Theatre: Dramatizing Difference
In this ground-breaking work, Bridget Orr shows that popular eighteenth-century theatre was about much more than fashion, manners and party politics. Using the theatre as a means of circulating and publicizing radical Enlightenment ideas, many plays made passionate arguments for religious and cultural toleration, and voiced protests against imperial invasion and forced conversion of indigenous peoples by colonial Europeans. Irish and labouring-class dramatists wrote plays, often set in the countryside, attacking social and political hierarchy in Britain itself. Another crucial but as yet unexplored aspect of early eighteenth-century theatre is its connection to freemasonry. Freemasons were pervasive as actors, managers, prompters, scene-painters, dancers and musicians, with their own lodges, benefit performances and particular audiences. In addition to promoting the Enlightened agenda of toleration and cosmopolitanism, freemason dramatists invented the new genre of domestic tragedy, a genre that criticized the effects of commercial and colonial capitalism.
Teresa Goddu | Selling Antislavery: Abolition and Mass Media in Antebellum America
Beginning with its establishment in the early 1830s, the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) recognized the need to reach and consolidate a diverse and increasingly segmented audience. To do so, it produced a wide array of print, material, and visual media: almanacs and slave narratives, pincushions and gift books, broadsides and panoramas. Building on the distinctive practices of British antislavery and evangelical reform movements, the AASS utilized innovative business strategies to market its productions and developed a centralized distribution system to circulate them widely. In Selling Antislavery, Teresa A. Goddu shows how the AASS operated at the forefront of a new culture industry and, by framing its media as cultural commodities, made antislavery sentiments an integral part of an emerging middle-class identity. She contends that, although the AASS’s dominance waned after 1840 as the organization splintered, it nevertheless created one of the first national mass markets.
Jonathan Lamb | The Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies: Key Terms in the Field (Routledge Handbooks)
The Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies provides the first overview of significant concepts within reenactment studies. The volume includes a co-authored critical introduction and a comprehensive compilation of key term entries contributed by leading reenactment scholars from Europe, North America, and Australia. Well into the future, this wide-ranging reference work will inform and shape the thinking of researchers, teachers, and students of history and heritage and memory studies, as well as cultural studies, film, theater and performance studies, dance, art history, museum studies, literary criticism, musicology, and anthropology.
Kate Daniels | In the Months of My Son’s Recovery
The poems of In the Months of My Son’s Recovery inhabit the persona of a woman whose grown child is in recovery from drug addiction. With clear perception and precise emotional tones, Kate Daniels explores recovery experiences from multiple, evolving points of view. These intimately voiced, often harrowing poems reveal the collateral damage that addiction can inflict on the families and friends of people with Substance Use Disorder in addition to the primary damage sustained by addicts, themselves. Offering bold descriptions of medical processes, maternal love, and the potential for hope as an antidote to despair, this timely collection contributes to our understanding of the many crises at the heart of the opioid epidemic.
Colin Dayan | In the Belly of Her Ghost
“Colin Dayan has one of the most original minds in America and also one of the fiercest. Here for the first time she turns her rigorous intellect toward her own life, onto her vexed relationship with her mother and subsequent suffering ― and she does so with her usual uncompromising clarity. It’s rare for such a tormented work to be so masterful. In the Belly of her Ghost is not exactly an easy read, but it’s also very hard to put down.”
— Madison Smartt Bell
Lynn Enterline | Elizabethan Narrative Poems: The State of Play
This volume traces dynamic conversations that took place in narrative verse in London in the 1590s when Shakespeare and a coterie of similarly educated dramatists, poets, and lawyers published erotic minor epics in response to one another. Putting Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece into dialogue with minor epics written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, these chapters explore humanism’s unintended consequences while drawing attention to the complex connections among Latin pedagogy, sexuality, masculinity, and vernacular poetic invention.
Amanda Little | The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World
In this fascinating look at the race to secure the global food supply, environmental journalist and professor Amanda Little tells the defining story of the sustainable food revolution as she weaves together stories from the world’s most creative and controversial innovators on the front lines of food science, agriculture, and climate change.
Lorraine Lopez | Postcards from the Gerund State
“Lorraine López has done it again. With singular wit and humor, she has gifted us with stories that probe the meaning of art and the realities of being an artist, a woman, and a caregiver. Postcards from the Gerund State is hilarious, heartbreaking and memorable.”
— Daisy Hernández, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed