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The Deep End: A Memoir of Growing Up
by Mary Rose Callaghan
One day, when Mary Rose Callaghan was 13, her mother jumped into the freezing Irish Sea. Knowing that her mother was an asthmatic, the shock of seeing her dive into “the deep end” began Mary Rose’s curiosity about her mother’s life. That curiosity spawned the writing of this memoir, a coming-of-age tale focused on Mary Rose’s relationship with her mother, which endured through economic hardship, and her mother’s descent into mental illness and alcoholism. The Deep End begins by tracing her mother’s arrival in Ireland in the 1930s, training to be a nurse, and marriage to Mary Rose’s father, continues through Mary Rose’s difficult childhood and later triumphs as a writer, and culminates with her marriage to Robert Hogan and her mother’s death.
October 2016 ISBN: 978-1611496222 $75.00
Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh in Early Modern France
by Nora Martin Peterson
Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh in Early Modern France was inspired by the observation that small slips of the flesh, which I call involuntary confessions of the flesh, are omnipresent in early modern texts of many kinds. I read these slips (which bear similarities to what we would today call the Freudian slip) as forces that disrupt and destabilize constructs of body, self, and text, but nonetheless, in their very messiness, participate in their defining moments. Rather than try to resolve these tensions, Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh capitalizes on volatile moments and textual hesitations, arguing that this very instability provides the tools to navigate and understand the complexity of the early modern world. Such moments reveal the challenge—and urgency—with which early modern thinkers tried to confront and define the relationships between body, self, and text.Thus, rather than locate the body within any kind of discourse (Foucauldian, psychoanalytic), Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh argues that the vocabulary of the body is itself a category to be reckoned with. Moments in which the body hesitates exist in a liminal space not exactly outside of discourse, but not necessarily subject to it, either. By eluding and frustrating attempts to contain it, this book suggests, the body’s surface repeatedly undermines the very possibility of truth.
Interdisciplinary in its scope, Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh pairs major French literary works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (by Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Madame de Lafayette) with cultural documents of three kinds (confession manuals, legal documents about the application of torture, and courtly handbooks). It is the first study of its kind to bring these discourses into thematic (rather than linear or chronological) dialogue with each other. In so doing, it emphasizes the shared struggle of many different early modern conversations to come to terms with the body.
September 2016 ISBN: 978-1611496253 $75.00
The Theatre of Death: Rituals of Justice from the English Civil Wars to the Restoration
by Paul Klemp
This book discusses some rituals of justice—such as public executions, printed responses to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s execution speech, and King Charles I’s treason trial—in early modern England. Focusing on the ways in which genres shape these events’ multiple voices, I analyze the rituals’ genres and the diverse perspectives from which we must understand them.
The execution ritual, like such cultural forms as plays and films, is a collaborative production that can be understood only, and only incompletely, by being alert to the presence of its many participants and their contributions. Each of these participants brings a voice to the execution ritual, whether it is the judge and jury or the victim, executioner, sheriff and other authorities, spiritual counselors, printer, or spectators and readers. And each has at least one role to play. No matter how powerful some institutions and individuals may appear, none has a monopoly over authority and how the events take shape on and beyond the scaffold. The centerpiece of the mid-seventeenth-century’s theatre of death was the condemned man’s last dying utterance. This study focuses on the words and contexts of many of those final speeches, including King Charles I’s (1649), Archbishop William Laud’s (1645), and the Earl of Strafford’s (1641), as well as those of less well known royalists and regicides. Where we situate ourselves to view, hear, and comprehend a public execution—through specific participants’ eyes, ears, and minds or accounts—shapes our interpretation of the ritual. It is impossible to achieve a singular, carefully indoctrinated meaning of an event as complex as a state-sponsored public execution.
Along with the variety of voices and meanings, the nature and purpose of the rituals of justice maintain a significant amount of consistency in a number of eras and cultural contexts. Whether the focus is on the trial and execution of the Marian martyrs, English royalists in the 1640s and 1650s, or the Restoration’s regicides, the events draw on a set of cultural expectations or conventions. Because rituals of justice are shaped by diverse voices and agendas, with the participants’ scripts and counterscripts converging and colliding, they are dramatic moments conveying profound meanings.
October 2016 ISBN: 978-1611496284 $105.00