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Washington University in St. Louis
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Publications by Faculty
The Sickroom in Victorian Fiction
In this exploration of the significance of illness in the Victorian literary imagination Miriam Bailin maps the cultural implications and narrative effects of the sickroom as an important...
Mary Jo Bang
Apology for Want
Winner of the 1996 Bakeless Literary Publication Prize for Poetry
The winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and a 2008 New York Times Notable Book.
Inferno: A New Translation
Award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang has translated the Inferno into English at a moment when popular culture is so prevalent that it has even taken Dante, author of the fourteenth century epic...
Louise in Love
In this stunning new collection of poems, Mary Jo Bang jettisons the reader into the dreamlike world of Louise, a woman in love. With language delicate, smooth, and wryly funny, Louise is...
The Bride of E: Poems
In her sixth collection, The Bride of E, Mary Jo Bang uses a distinctive mix of humor and directness to sound the deepest sort of anguish: the existential condition. Timeless yet tirelessly...
The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans
This compelling book takes its title from Samuel Beckett's Ohio Impromptu. In Beckett's play, a grieving beloved seeks relief from the haunting presence of a departed lover in a place where...
The Eye Like a Strange Balloon: Poems
The ever-adventurous author of Louise in Love looks to the visual arts for inspiration with this astonishing fourth collection. The poems in The Eye Like a Strange Balloon find their seed...
The Orphaned Imagination
Studies of the English Romantic poets generally portray them either as transcending the workings of capitalism or as working in complicity with an entrepreneurial economy. In The Orphaned...
J Dillon Brown
J. Dillon Brown examines the intersection between British literary modernism and the foundational West Indian novels that emerged in London after World War II...
Duplex: A Novel
HELL-part mystery, part domestic meditation, part horror story-isa brilliantly eerie novel in which three households coexist in a single restless vision: a dollhouse; a dysfunctional family...
A New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction, Kathryn Davis's "dazzling first novel" (Kirkus Reviews) "transforms a literary commonplace -- a...
The Girl who Trod on a Loaf
Helle Ten Brix, a Danish composer of operas, dies leaving as part of her will her unfinished opera, "The Girl Who Trod On a Loaf", to Frances Thorn, a young woman whom Helle has befriended...
The Thin Place
In a thin place, according to legend, the membrane separating this world from the spirit world is almost nonexistent. The small New England town of Varennes is such a place, and Kathryn...
The Walking Tour
Two couples -- businessman Bobby Rose and his artist wife, Carole Ridingham; his partner, Coleman Snow, and Snow's wife, Ruth Farr -- have gone on a walking tour in Wales, during which a...
Versailles is the story of an expansive spirit locked in a pretty body and an impossible moment in history. As the novel begins, fourteen-year-old Marie Antoinette is traveling from Austria...
Attempts at a Life
Operating somewhere between fiction and poetry, biography and theory, the pieces in Attempts at a Life, though nominally stories, might indeed be thought of as "attempts." They do what...
S P R A W L
Fiction. An absurdly comic and decidedly digressive novel, S P R A W L chronicles the mercurial inner life of one suburban woman. With vertiginous energy and a deadpan eye, the narrator...
A Level Playing Field
As Americans, we believe there ought to be a level playing field for everyone. Even if we don’t expect to finish first, we do expect a fair start. Only in sports have African Americans...
One Nation Under A Groove: Motown and American Culture
In its heyday Motown Records was a household word, one of the most famous and successful black-owned businesses in American history, and, arguably, the most significant of all American...
This Is Where I Came In: Black America in the 1960s
The fascinating and turbulent black America of the 1960s emerges in these essays, through the lenses of dissent and its contradictions. Gerald L. Early revisits this volatile time in...
God, Cosmos, and Man
An insightful and exhilarating journey, exploring the innermost self and its links to the universe.
The Past Leads a Life of Its Own
The Past Leads a Life of Its Own is a compelling collection of stories centered around one boy's childhood in the rural midwest in the 1950s, his love of nature, his family, and their often...
Union of Words: A History of Presidential Eloquence
In this unique history of presidential speechmaking, from the founding to the present day, an accomplished storyteller and professor of rhetoric amply documents how presidents have used the...
What the River Knows: An Angler in Midstream
At the age of forty-two, Wayne Fields set upon a sort of pilgrimage when he waded the near twenty-mile stretch of a small river in northern Michigan with fly rod in hand. He emerged with a...
The Tender Land: A Family Love Story
A superb portrait of family life, THE TENDER LAND is a love story unlike any other. The Finnerans -- parents and five children, Irish Catholics in St. Louis -- are a seemingly unexceptional...
Cyrus Collingwood, age nineteen, suspects that he may be a genius without a calling. He is a year-round resident of East Sooke, Vancouver Island, and has a natural resentment for the summer...
The grouped stories in
trace the many forms of emotional inheritance—cultural, romantic, and historical. Some deftly portray both time and place, while others mine...
From Jesus Christ to Salman Rushdie, from Moses to Freud, blasphemy has been a force in producing many forms of Western cultural identity. Blasphemy continues to influence our relations...
The book begins with a brief prefatory discussion of its relation to structuralist and post-structuralist criticism. The first chapter, `Apocryphal Voices', surveys the basis of modern...
Faith, Text and History: The Bible in English
Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship
Writing before the institution of copyright, Renaissance authors were not recognized as owning their works. Yet, in an environment in which the written word could be variously marketed by...
The Author's Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright
The Author's Due offers an institutional and cultural history of books, the book trade, and the bibliographic ego. Joseph Loewenstein traces the emergence of possessive authorship from the...
William J. Maxwell
F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover's Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature
Few institutions seem more opposed than African American literature and J. Edgar Hoover’s white-bread Federal Bureau of Investigation. But behind the scenes the FBI’s hostility to black...
New Negro, Old Left
Howard "Stretch" Johnson, a charismatic Harlemite who graduated from Cotton Club dancer to Communist Party youth leader, once claimed that in late 1930s New York "75% of black cultural...
The English Cult of Literature: Devoted Readers, 1774-1880
What constitutes reading? This is the question William McKelvy asks in The English Cult of Literature. Is it a theory of interpretation or a physical activity, a process determined by...
Buster Keaton: Tempest In A Flat Hat
This “appreciative biography that rolls as smoothly as a film reel” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) celebrates one of cinema’s greatest clowns, painting a detailed portrait of the man behind the...
The Backwash Squeeze and Other Improbable Feats
At one time the game was even bigger than baseball. Today bridge is played by more than twenty-five million people in the United States alone, with Bill Gates, a sitting Supreme Court...
Before Gertrude Stein became the twentieth century’s preeminent experimental writer, she spent a decade conducting research in both the leading psychological laboratory and the leading...
Exiled Royalties: Melville and the Life We Imagine
is a literary/biographical study of the course of Melville's career from his experience in Polynesia through his retirement from the New York Custom House and his...
Hawthorne's Habitations: A Literary Life
The first literary/biographical study of Hawthorne's full career in almost forty years, Hawthorne's Habitations presents a self-divided man and writer strongly attracted to reality for its...
Reimagining Thoreau synthesizes the interests of the intellectual and psychological biographer and the literary critic in a reconsideration of Thoreau's literary career. The aims of the...
Laughter: Notes on a Passion
Most of our theories of laughter are not concerned with laughter. Rather, their focus is the laughable object, whether conceived of as the comic, the humorous, jokes, the grotesque, the...
The Traffic in Women's Work: East European Migration and the Making of Europe
“Welcome to the European family!” When East European countries joined the European Union under this banner after 1989, they agreed to the free movement of goods, services, capital, and...
Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Art and Life of Poetry
The "coin of the realm" is, classically, the currency that for any culture most holds value. In art, as in life, the poet Carl Phillips argues, that currency includes beauty, risk, and...
The contemporary scene is fully present, with all its new and old terrors--AIDS, loneliness--but Phillips' richness of mind is such that he often encounters in this life the artifacts of a...
Double Shadow: Poems
Comparing any human life to “a restless choir” of impulses variously in conflict and at peace with one another, Carl Phillips, in his eleventh book, examines the double shadow that a life...
From the Devotions: Poems
With From the Devotions, Carl Phillips takes us even further into that dangerous space he has already made his own, where body and soul--ever restless--come explosively together. Speaking...
In The Blood
Winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize (1992)