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Recent Books by Faculty in LLC

Celena Kusch's textbook Literary Analysis: The Basics Literary Analysis: The Basics by Celena Kusch(1)
Routledge, April 2016

Literary Analysis: The Basics
 offers an introduction to analysing a wide range of literary forms. Providing a clear outline of the methodologies employed in twenty-first century literary analysis, it introduces readers to the genres, canons, terms, issues, critical approaches, and contexts that affect the analysis of any text. It addresses such questions as:

  • What counts as literature?
  • Is analysis a dissection?
  • How do gender, race, class and culture affect the meaning of a text?
  • Why is the social and historical context of a text important?
  • Can digital media be analysed in the same way as a poem?

With examples from ancient myths to young adult fiction, a glossary of key terms, and suggestions for further reading, Literary Analysis: The Basics is essential reading for anyone wishing to improve their analytical reading skills.


Race Romance RebellionColleen O'Brien's Race, Romance, and Rebellion: Literatures of the Americas in the Nineteenth Century
University of Virginia Press, October 2013
As in many literatures of the New World grappling with issues of slavery and freedom, stories of racial insurrection frequently coincided with stories of cross-racial romance in nineteenth-century U.S. print culture. Colleen O’Brien explores how authors such as Harriet Jacobs, Elizabeth Livermore, and Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda imagined the expansion of race and gender-based rights as a hemispheric affair, drawing together the United States with Africa, Cuba, and other parts of the Caribbean. Placing less familiar women writers in conversation with their more famous contemporaries—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Lydia Maria Child—O’Brien traces the transnational progress of freedom through the antebellum cultural fascination with cross-racial relationships and insurrections. Her book mines a variety of sources—fiction, political rhetoric, popular journalism, race science, and biblical treatises—to reveal a common concern: a future in which romance and rebellion engender radical social and political transformation.

Caster-2011 Fathers Preachers Rebels Men

Peter Caster’s co-edited collection Fathers, Preachers, Rebels, Men: Black Masculinity in U.S. History and Literature, 1820-1945
Ohio State University Press, June 2011
This book brings together scholars of history and literature focused on the lives and writing of black men during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States. The interdisciplinary study demonstrates the masculine character of cultural practices developed from slavery through segregation. Black masculinity embodies a set of contradictions, including an often mistaken threat of violence, the belief in its legitimacy, and the rhetorical union of truth and fiction surrounding slavery, segregation, resistance, and self-determination. The attention to history and literature is necessary because so many historical depictions of black men are rooted in fiction. The essays of this collection balance historical and literary accounts, and they join new descriptions of familiar figures such as Charles W. Chesnutt and W. E. B. Du Bois with the less familiar but critically important William Johnson and Nat Love.

Gulf book coverBrock Adams’s Gulf
Pocol Press, March 2010
The short story collection Gulf refers not only to the physical meaning of the word; several of the stories take place on or near the Gulf of Mexico; but also on the metaphysical meaning, focusing on the human ability, or lack thereof, to bridge the psychological gulfs, and to find emotional healing. Three major currents run through the lives of the characters in Gulf; difficulties in relationships, struggles with identity, and a sense of being haunted by the unexplained. The collection was translated into Italian as Cose Che Puoi Fare Con Un Barattolo di Zuppa Campbell, Round Robin, 2010.

Esther Godfrey's The January-May Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature.
Palgrave Macmillan, February 2009
January May Marriage book cover
Abstract: Marriage between older husbands and younger wives was common in nineteenth-century literature, and as Godfrey skillfully argues, provides a useful window into the dynamics of the patriarchic paradigm. Examining canonical and non-canonical texts fromSense and Sensibility to Dracula, this study finds that literary January-May marriages respond to distinctively nineteenth-century anxieties regarding gender roles by deploying a surprising range of modes—parody, incest, aesthetics, horror, economics, and love. The January-May Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature ultimately argues that age—like race, sexuality and class—is an essential component of gendered identities.  

Cathy Canino's Shakespeare and the Nobility
Cambridge University Press, 2007

Shakespeare and the Nobility book cover Abstract: Shakespeare and the Nobility examines, for the first time, how Shakespeare was influenced by the descendants of the aristocratic characters in his early history plays. The Henry VI trilogy and Richard III are among the first plays in the English dramaturgy that reflect the lives and activities of the ancestors of sixteenth-century aristocrats. In a time when the upper classes of England were obsessed with family lineage and reputation, the salient question is how William Shakespeare, a socially inferior playwright and actor, handled the delicate matter of portraying the complex and often unattractive ancestors of the most powerful people of his day. In answer to this question, this study examines the lives of the historical figures and their descendants, presenting fresh readings of the early histories, and argues that Shakespeare consistently modified his portrayal of the ancestors with their descendants in mind.  

Peter Caster's Prisons, Race, and Masculinity in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Film
Ohio State University Press, January 2008 
Prisons Race and Masculinity book cover 
In Prisons, Race, and Masculinity, Peter Caster demonstrates the centrality of imprisonment in American culture, illustrating how incarceration, an institution inseparable from race, has shaped and continues to shape U.S. history and literature in the starkest expression of what W. E. B. DuBois famously termed “the problem of the color line.” A prison official in 1888 declared that it was the freeing of slaves that actually created prisons: “we had to establish means for their control. Hence came the penitentiary.” Such rampant racism contributed to the criminalization of black masculinity in the cultural imagination, shaping not only the identity of prisoners (collectively and individually) but also America’s national character. Caster analyzes the representations of imprisonment in books, films, and performances, alternating between history and fiction to describe how racism influenced imprisonment during the decline of lynching in the 1930s, the political radicalism in the late 1960s, and the unprecedented prison expansion through the 1980s and 1990s. Offering new interpretations of familiar works by William Faulkner, Eldridge Cleaver, and Norman Mailer, Caster also engages recent films such as American History X, The Hurricane, and The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison alongside prison history chronicled in the transcripts of the American Correctional Association. This book offers a compelling account of how imprisonment has functioned as racial containment, a matter critical to U.S. history and literary study.

Thomas McConnell's A Picture Book of Hell and Other Landscapes
Texas Tech University Press, January 2005
A Picture Book of Hell Book Cover Imagine Chaucer’s pilgrims—without a Canterbury. Across a landscape devoid of monumental shrines, they would wander still, having no more alternative than the planet swimming in its system, just as they would continue to talk the stories of their lives. Such pilgrims are the characters inhabiting A Picture Book of Hell. In stories and situations that chime against one another like variations on musical themes, the quiet wanderers in this collection seem all entrained on the “pointless quest for the questless point,” as one narrator concludes. Two old friends repeatedly fail to rendezvous, save in the last connection of a suicide note. A reluctant bank teller abandons his life and his rented house to take the place of a dead vagabond. The volume’s title novella discloses a veteran of the First World War struggling to reconcile the two worlds he’s come to know too well, neither of which seems to fit his frame. From Ireland to the New South, whether exiled from home or homeland, from others or their own retreating selves, these characters rustle through their days rather like the series of small and vulnerable creatures that scurry and flee through the landscapes of these allusive and elliptical stories.


Languages, Literature, and Composition
Dr. Celena Kusch
Department Chair

Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche
Assistant Department Chair

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