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Defoe’s Major Fiction: Accounting for the Self
by Elizabeth R. Napier
This book focuses on the pervasive concern with narrativity and self-construction that marks Defoe’s first-person fictional narratives. Defoe’s fictions focus obsessively and elaborately on the act of storytelling—not only in his creation of idiosyncratic voices preoccupied with the telling (and often the concealing) of their own life stories but also in his narrators’ repeated aversion to other, untold stories that compete for attention with their own.
Defoe’s narratives raise profound questions about selfhood and agency (as well as demonstrate competing attitudes about narration) in his fictive worlds. His canon exhibits a broad range of first-person fictional accounts, from pseudo-memoir (A Journal of the Plague Year, Memoirs of a Cavalier) to criminal autobiography (Moll Flanders) to confession (Roxana), and the narrators of these accounts (secretive, compulsive, fractive) exhibit an array of resistances to the telling of their life stories. Such experiments with narration evince Defoe’s deep involvement in projects of self-description and -delineation, as he interrogates the boundaries of the self and dramatizes the arduousness of self-accounting. Defoe’s fictions are emphatically consciousness-centered and the significance of such a focus to the development of the novel is patently as great as is his “realistic” style. Defoe’s narrative project, in fact, challenges current views on the moment at which inwardness and interiority begin, as Lukács argued, to comprise the subject matter of the novel, implicitly attributing to identity and consciousness a place of signal and complex importance in the new genre.
January 2016 ISBN: 978-1611496130 $70.00
Growing Business in Delaware: The Politics of Job Creation in a Small State
by William W. Boyer and Edward C. Ratledge
In this fourth book in the authors’ series about public affairs in Delaware, the state’s strategies to maintain a business-friendly environment are examined, especially by awarding grants and loans to grow businesses and jobs. The book addresses the nation’s 2008-2014 Great Recession that was very severe in Delaware. Among the large Delaware employers that disappeared were Chrysler, General Motors, and Avon. Meanwhile, DuPont cut many jobs, while MBNA’s sale to Bank of America also caused many job losses. This small state’s efforts to deal with this overwhelming crisis are analyzed. Accordingly, the book is timely regarding politics and policy choices involving jobs, competition with other states, and a host of other problems.
The introduction provides a historical context featuring the state’s transition from a passive to a proactive management approach. Each of the following first six chapters provides an in-depth analysis of a prominent recipient awarded state funding to create jobs. Chapter one focuses on the rise and decline of AstraZeneca. Chapter two discusses Delaware’s under-performing port and union politics. Chapter three features the rejuvenation of Wilmington’s riverfront. Chapter four tells how Fisker Automotive’s huge promise and moribund performance ended in bankruptcy. Chapter five reveals how Bloom Energy’s negotiated a deal that stretched credulity and never delivered promised jobs. Chapter six relates how the state’s only refinery finally became profitable.
The remaining four chapters complete the book’s analysis. Chapter seven discusses a potpourri, or hodge-podge, of many more large and small firms that received state grants or loans, showing the process followed no consistent rationale in its entirety, except to note it lacked transparency. Chapter eight concentrates on other means to grow businesses that create jobs, such as tax preferences and real estate development projects. Chapter nine discusses the permeation of politics, defined as the process of affecting the allocation of resources. In this sense, the politics of job creation became ubiquitous, involving variously the media, political parties, special interests, government and business leaders, and citizens and their groups—depending on the situation. The concluding Chapter ten discusses what the authors have learned from their study.
November 2015 ISBN: 978-1611495942 $75.00
Jonathan Swift: Irish Blow-in
by Eugene Hammond
Jonathan Swift: Irish Blow-in covers the arc of the first half of Jonathan Swift’s life, offering fresh details of the contentment and exuberance of his childhood, of the support he received from his grandmother, of his striking affection for Esther Johnson from the time she was ten years old (his pet name for her in her twenties was “saucebox”), of his precocious entry into English politics with his Contests and Dissensions pamphlet, of his brilliant and much misunderstood Tale of a Tub, and of his naive determination to do well both as a vicar of the small parish of Laracor in Ireland and as a writer for the Tory administration trying to pull England out of debt by ending the war England was engaged in with France.
I do not share with past biographers the sense that Swift had a deprived childhood. I do not share the suspicion that most of Swift’s enmities were politically motivated. I do not feel critical of him because he was often fastidious with his money. I do not think he was insincere about his religious faith. His pride, his sexual interests, his often shocking or uninhibited language, his instinct for revenge – emphasized by many previous biographers – were all fundamental elements of his being, but elements that he either used for rhetorical effect, or that he tried to keep in check, and that he felt that religion helped him to keep in check. Swift had as firm a conviction as did Freud that we are born with wayward tendencies; unlike Freud, though, he saw both religion and civil society as necessary and helpful checks on those wayward tendencies, and he (frequently, but certainly not always) acknowledged that he shared those tendencies with the rest of us.
This biography, in two books, Jonathan Swift: Irish Blow-in and Jonathan Swift: Our Dean, will differ from most literary biographies in that it does not aim to show how Swift’s life illuminates his writings, but rather how and why Swift wrote in order to live the life he wanted to live. I have liberally quoted Swift’s own words in this biography because his inventive expression of ideas, both in his public works and in his private letters, was what has made him a unique and compelling figure in the history of literature. I hope in these two books to come closer than past biographies to capturing how it felt to Swift himself to live his life.
February 2016 ISBN: 978-1611496062 $140.00
The Latest Early American Literature
by R. C. De Prospo
The Latest Early American Literature, “a collection of polemics and manifestoes” according to readers for the University of Delaware Press, presumes to disagree. In it R.C. De Prospo bids to follow in the footsteps of the two rare provocateurs whom Phillip Gura once distinguished as “prophets without honor in the field,” the late William Spengemann and Michael Colacurcio, by contending that a supposedly retired nationalist/modernist “telos” continues to reign in most of the latest scholarship, and even more influentially in all of the latest literary histories and anthologies, no matter how expansive in gender, ethnic, racial, and “hemispheric” inclusiveness they profess to be. Old teloi, in particular that old American exceptionalist one, can be cunning.
Updating and expanding upon essays written over the past thirty years, De Prospo proposes not only negatively to critique how the latest scholarly receptions of early American literature differ insignificantly from the earliest ones, but positively to propose how a transnationalist concession—that as a neocolonial culture America’s lags behind that of Europe—might advance post-modern historiography by radically repositioning the past as no longer the present’s diachronic predecessor but, to quote Lyotard’s semiotics, its synchronic “differend.” Closer to earth, De Prospo tries at the same time to remain mindful of the pedagogical imperative that ultimately to save the texts of early American literature will require making them legible to average non-specialist, never-to-become specialist undergraduate general education students. To facilitate this he introduces in the concluding section of The Latest Early American Literature what will probably be taken as its most radical intervention: the redefinition of Edgar Allan Poe as an early American writer.
January 2016 ISBN: 978-1611495997 $95.00
Marguerite, Countess of Blessington: The Turbulent Life of a Salonnière and Author
by Susan Matoff
This new biography of Lady Blessington, the first in over eighty years, illuminates the private and public life of this important but neglected salonnière and author. The study enriches our knowledge of the social, political and literary history of the post-Romantic and early Victorian era, and throws light upon Lady Blessington’s close friendships with politicians and writers, especially Edward Bulwer Lytton and Benjamin Disraeli. Statesmen, diplomats, writers and artists were her constant visitors, finding her frienship and conversation invaluable to their professional and social lives.
The circumstances of a life lived in luxury and indulgence changed on the death of Lady Blessington’s husband, forcing her to support herself and several dependants by her writing. Throughout this biography Lady Blessington’s voice is in evidence, and should reawaken scholarly and popular interest in her voluminous works. She wrote twenty novels in genres including silver-fork fiction, psychological drama and a verse narrative. She also produced four travel books, many short stories and numerous poems. In addition she edited the popular literary gift annuals, Heath’s Book of Beauty and The Keepsake.
This book reveals the humanity of a woman whom contemporary gossip considered scandalous, because of the alleged relationship with her step-daughter’s estranged husband, the dandy Count D’Orsay. Lady Blessington’s struggle to face her many challenges is an inspiring story of individual strength. It is a tale of a woman whose life was one of integrity, determination and sheer hard work, and whose legacy provides us with insights into an era and society often overlooked by history.
December 2015 ISBN: 978-1611495911 $90.00
Reflections on Sentiment: Essays in Honor of George Starr
Edited by Alessa Johns – Contributions by Barbara Benedict; James P. Carson; Alison Conway; Amy J. Pawl; Joanna Picciotto; John Richetti; Simon Stern; George Haggerty and Geoffrey Sill
Reflections on Sentiment not only addresses current scholarly interest in feeling and affect but also provides an occasion to celebrate the career of George Starr, who, in more than fifty years of incisive scholarship and committed teaching, has elucidated the work of Daniel Defoe and the role of sentimentalism in what was once reductively termed an age of reason and realism. Due to the critique Starr spearheaded, scholars today can approach with greater assurance the complex interplay of reason and emotion, thought and sensibility, science and feeling, rationality and enthusiasm, judgment and wit, as well as forethought and instinct, as these shaped the scientific, religious, political, social, literary, and cultural revolutions of the Enlightenment.
Indeed, contributors to this anthology take inspiration from Starr’s work to shed new light on Enlightenment thought and sociocultural formations generally, offering fresh interpretations of a period in which Reflection and Sentiment circulated, mutually influenced each other, and contended equally for cultural attention. In nine separate essays they explore: the ways sentiment and sentimentalism inflect the moral and ideological ambit of Enlightenment discourses; the sociopolitics of religious debate; the issues promoted by women writers, by gender and family relations; the artistic and rhetorical uses of lived language; the impacts of cultural developments on novelistic form; and the wide shifts in the literary marketplace. Deploying tools advanced by new work in animal studies, gender criticism, media analysis, genre studies, the new formalism, and ethical inquiry, and enabled by the power of digitization and new databases, the authors of this volume explain how and to what ends denizens of the Enlightenment were touched and moved.
December 2015 ISBN: 978-1611495881 $75.00
Violet Oakley: An Artist’s Life
by Bailey Van Hook
Violet Oakley: An Artist’s Life is the first full-length biography of Violet Oakley (1874–1961), the only major female artist of the beaux-arts mural movement in the United States. While not a “sensational page turner,” there is much of human interest here — a pampered and spoiled young woman who suddenly finds herself in greatly reduced circumstances, forced by necessity to make a living in illustration and support her parents; a sensitive and idealistic young woman who, in a desperate attempt to save her neurasthenic father, is driven to embrace Christian Science, a religion derided by her family and friends; a 28 year old woman who receives one of the plum commissions of the era, a mural cycle in the Pennsylvania State Capitol, in a field dominated by much older and predominantly male artists; a woman in her forties who although professionally successful finds herself very much alone and who ‘falls’ for her student, Edith Emerson; a friend of artists like dancer Ruth St. Denis and violinist Albert Spalding who nevertheless was supremely conscious of social mores, the “Miss Oakley” of the Social Register who preferred the company of upper class to bohemian society; the tireless self-promoter who traveled abroad to become the unofficial visual historian of the League of Nations yet who ironically was increasingly regarded as a local artist.
January 2016 ISBN: 978-1611495850 $100.00