Follow the UNC Press Blog for a celebration of women’s histories and women historians throughout March. The following excerpt is taken from Lyrical Strains: Liberalism and Women’s Poetry in Nineteenth-Century America by Elissa Zellinger In the opening chapter of Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s unpublished autobiography, “A Human Life,” written while she was in her eighties, the poet… Continue Reading Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s Lyrical Activism
Follow the UNC Press Blog for a celebration of women’s histories and women historians throughout March. The following preview excerpt is taken from the introduction to Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay by Shanna G. Benjamin, available April 2021 Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay… Continue Reading The Private Life and Public Work of Nellie Y. McKay
Guest post by James Smethurst, author of the forthcoming Behold the Land: The Black Arts Movement in the South. One fascinating and frightening aspect of our current moment in the United States is ways that history has been brought to the fore of contemporary political conversations and policy. The heated, sweeping, and seemingly endless debates… Continue Reading Black Arts, Black Artists, and Black History
Lindsay DiCuirci, Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), has been selected to receive the 2020 Early American Literature Book Prize, which is awarded in even calendar years to a first monograph published in the prior two years, and in odd years to a second or subsequent book. DiCuirci’s Colonial… Continue Reading Early American Literature Book Prize for 2020
Announcing a New Journal Partner UNC Press is happy to have formed a new publishing partnership with The Greensboro Review, which has just published issue Number 105 (Spring 2019). Published by the UNC Greensboro MFA Writing Program, the journal showcase writers whose work may be risk-taking or overlooked. Terry L. Kennedy, editor, and Jessie Van… Continue Reading Welcome to The Greensboro Review!
The University of North Carolina Press has received a Humanities Open Book Program grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to reissue out-of-print works from the UNC Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures series. The Press will partner with UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages… Continue Reading UNC Press Receives NEH/Mellon Humanities Open Book Program Grant
Professor Caroline Wigginton of the University of Mississippi has been selected to receive the 2018 Early American Literature Book Prize, which is awarded in even calendar years to a first monograph published in the prior two years, and in odd years to a second or subsequent book. Wigginton’s In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America was… Continue Reading Announcing the Early American Literature Book Prize for 2018
As I argue in The Dying City this was a fantasy universe with critical consequences for the real world. Normalizing the vigilante was one key contingency of Spillane’s bestselling writing. Hammer was by no means the first, he’s preceded in time and succeeded in fame by Batman among others, but he did demonstrate that the vigilante no longer had to hide behind a mask or escape into a cave. He could operate in public, carry a private detective’s shield and a licensed gun and kill suspected criminals because “I like to shoot those dirty bastards.” In my book I connect Hammer with his filmic counterparts in 1970s New York, in particular Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) of Death Wish, and their unfortunate 1980s analogues like Bernard Goetz, the so-called subway vigilante, or the teenage terrorists of Howard Beach, Queens. Continue Reading Brian L. Tochterman: Birth of a Vigilante
First, we are instructed on how to be good slaves: “Never look a white person in the face,” and always say “yes sir and yes ma’am.” As the program promised, we encountered diverse attitudes regarding our fugitivity: slave traders who bought us only after we correctly answered questions about our assumed skills and imagined slave identities (I passed the test when, as a self-described cook, I knew the first step in frying a chicken meant wringing its neck); white women who wanted us off their land because they would have to pay a $500 fine for each of us; another, obviously doomed fugitive slave; a raving white man spuriously blaming us for his wife’s death and his unemployment; Quakers who offered dry cornbread and respite; and a free black family. Before returning to the museum, an oracle appeared to read each participant’s fate. Some would drown, others would settle in Indiana as either dentists or blacksmiths. Me? I would be apprehended by slave catchers, returned to Kentucky, and branded as a runaway. Continue Reading Alisha Gaines: Ninety Minutes a Slave
The reason that we in the twenty-first century need to develop these complementary sensibilities is that the Civil War erupted against a standard of literacy different from our own, one with increasingly unfamiliar conventions of reading and writing. Because most of us know what we know about the war primarily through the medium of writing, understanding the war we read about depends to a large extent on our understanding as many historical and aesthetic layers of its writings as possible. Continue Reading Stephen Cushman: Stephen Crane, Historical Researcher
The editors of Early American Literature are pleased to announce the third annual Early American Literature Book Prize, which is given for the best newly released academic book about American literature in the colonial period through the early republic (roughly 1830). The prize is offered in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Press, the Society of Early Americanists, and the MLA’s Forum on American Literature to 1800. Continue Reading Early American Literature Invites Nominations for Its 2017 Book Prize
It’s such an incongruous moment to perpetuate Founders Chic, to applaud the man who is the ideological father of Wall Street, the debt economy, deportation, militarism, and the criminalization of protest. I can’t sing to that. Continue Reading John Mac Kilgore: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: An Early American Scholar’s Response to Hamilton
If he were still alive, Orson Welles (1915-1985) would be 101 years old today. Welles is remembered as one of America’s most important filmmakers, but before he became famous for his movies, Welles ruled the airwaves. Continue Reading Jeff Porter: The Many Lives of Orson Welles
From Jacob Oson’s “A Search for Truth; or, An Inquiry for the Origin of the African Nation” to Ann Plato’s Essays to William Still’s The Underground Railroad, nineteenth-century book writers connected their scholarly endeavors to unearthing a communal past. Oson accentuated Africa’s role as central to human history. Plato used the quiet dignity of her essays to highlight the role of black women in the immediate and larger communities of the period. Still presented the Underground Railroad as the living embodiment of a race’s communal struggle for dignity and recognition. He did so in a postbellum moment fraught with the politics of sectional reconciliation, which sought to eradicate the memory of a contested past. Continue Reading Stephen G. Hall: Black History Month: Revisiting the Communal Nature of the Black Past
The audience eagerly anticipated a larger-than-life figure, a novelist, journalist, sailor, war correspondent, exponent of modern marriage, sportswriter, and, most recently, a gentleman farmer-rancher. His audience reached from the workers with “hard hands and strong arms” to the affluent bourgeoisie of “placid . . . sedentary existence.” Awaiting his appearance in the hall, many in the audience opened purses or dug into trouser pockets to snap up the ten-cent “‘genuine’ blood red flags, the ‘Jack London souvenirs of a great and momentous occasion.’” The fiery female union organizer from the coalfields, Mother Jones, was in the hall, and her shout-out later in the evening was to be memorable for its typical “crisp” and “clipped speech.” The atmosphere was amiable, though the speaker was overdue because his train was late. When London finally took the stage at 9:15 P.M., no one in the audience (not even the New York Times reporter) guessed that the celebrated Jack London was half-sick from lingering effects of the flulike grippe. This was America’s epicenter of capitalism, and Gotham could flatten a man who didn’t show himself fit in body and mind. Such a man wouldn’t last one round. Continue Reading Excerpt: Jack London, by Cecelia Tichi
As we travel home this Thanksgiving, it is worth taking time to reflect on the various meanings of this holiday—personal, collective, regional, and national. A product of nineteenth-century sectional, socio-sexual, and imperialist imperatives, Thanksgiving is far from a physically satisfying celebration involving a return to an uncomplicated home. Continue Reading J. Samaine Lockwood: Nineteenth-Century New England’s Queer Thanksgivings
Gina Mahalek: Jack London is well known for his adventure novels, like The Call of the Wild. But apart from tales such as the one about a dog in the Yukon, who was he? And why does he matter today?
Cecelia Tichi: Jack London (1876-1916) was the most popular U.S. writer of the early 20th century, the first to earn $1 million. In a career spanning twenty years, he published fifty books, hundreds of short stories, and numerous essays. His books sold well internationally and have been translated into several languages. He continues to be one of the most famous and esteemed writers in the world—arguably better known and respected abroad than here in the United States. Continue Reading Interview: Cecelia Tichi on Jack London’s Fight for a Better America
These accounts were prefatory to what in the Puritan era would have been termed the “application” of Apess’s texts, specifically, how they served as “looking-glasses” or mirrors for white people to see themselves as they were. Look at the “reservations” in the New England states, Apess commanded, home to “the most mean, abject, miserable race of beings in the world,” places of “prodigality and prostitution” where rum corroded the inhabitants’ moral fiber, and sexual exploitation often was the result. “Agents” or overseers appointed by the state offered no help and often participated in the Natives’ exploitation, neglecting to educate them as the law required and helping themselves to wood and other cash crops on tribal lands. And why? It was because of racial prejudice, whites’ unwillingness to acknowledge the simple humanity of the Indians. “I would ask,” Apess wrote, “if there cannot be as good feelings and principles under a red skin as there can be under a white” (155–56). Continue Reading Excerpt: The Life of William Apess, Pequot, by Philip F. Gura
It seems fitting that I should document the AMAZING PLACEment of this wonderful book on the New York Times Bestseller List. Thursday, May 7, 2015, I got word it was named #8 by the New York Times Bestseller list for the TRAVEL category. Continue Reading Marianne Gingher: Amazing Place Is a NY Times Bestseller
“What Would Jesus Do About Measles?” asks Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in the opinion pages of the New York Times. Recalling the 1991 measles epidemic in Philadelphia (1400 people were infected; 9 children died), Offit points out that the outbreak was so virulent because two fundamentalist Christian churches that discouraged vaccination were at its epicenter. Public health officials brought the epidemic under control—in part—by getting a court order to vaccinate children over their parents’ protests. Citing the current measles outbreak and the approximately 30,000 children in the United States who are unvaccinated for religious reasons, Offit makes the case for eliminating the religious vaccination exemption. Moreover, Offit thinks Jesus—who stood up for children—would get them vaccinated against measles to keep them safe and to protect others. Continue Reading Erin A. Smith: What Would Jesus Do?