Know It by Heart

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2017-02-09 01:47Z by Steven

Know It by Heart

Northwestern University Press
June 2003
256 pages
5.5 x 8.5
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-1-880684-95-5

Karl Luntta, Director of Media Relations
The State University of New York, Albany

When a racially mixed family moves into an all-white neighborhood in East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1961, lives are altered forever. Karl Luntta’s Know It by Heart follows the adventures of young Dub Teed, his sister Susan and neighbor Doug Hammer, who befriend newly arrived Ricky Dubois, the daughter of an African-American woman and her white husband. When burning crosses appear at night-and worse-the young adolescents set out to find justice and discover themselves in the process.

Despite the book’s serious anti-racist theme, Know It by Heart is filled with humor reminiscent of Mark Twain. In this suspenseful novel, Karl Luntta brilliantly captures the world of the young adolescent in his characters and dialogue and in the innate comedy and awkwardness of that age. This is a book that will appeal to parents and teenagers alike.

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Selected Plays

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-08 22:04Z by Steven

Selected Plays

Northwestern University Press
April 2011
272 pages
6 x 9
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-0-8101-2751-7

Alice Childress (1916—1994)

Edited by:

Kathy A. Perkins, Professor of Theatre
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

As the first African American woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City (Gold Through the Trees, in 1952) and the first woman to win an Obie for Best Play (for Trouble in Mind, in 1956), Alice Childress occupies an important but surprisingly under-recognized place in American drama. She herself rejected an emphasis on the pioneering aspects of her career, saying that “it’s almost like it’s an honor rather than a disgrace” and that she should “be the fiftieth and the thousandth by this point”—a remark that suggests the complexity and singularity of vision to be found in her plays. Childress worked as an actress before turning to playwriting in 1949, and she was a political activist all of her life.

Spanning the 1940s to the 1960s, the plays collected here are the ones Childress herself believed were her best, and offer a realistic portrait of the racial inequalities and social injustices that characterized these decades. Her plays often feature strong-willed female protagonists whose problems bring into harsh relief the restrictions faced by African American women. This is the first volume devoted exclusively to the work of a major playwright whose impact on the American theater was profound and lasting.

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Kafka’s Blues: Figurations of Racial Blackness in the Construction of an Aesthetic

Posted in Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-02 19:26Z by Steven

Kafka’s Blues: Figurations of Racial Blackness in the Construction of an Aesthetic

Northwestern University Press
June 2016
184 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8101-3286-3
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8101-3285-6
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8101-3287-0

Mark Christian Thompson, Associate Professor of English
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Kafka’s Blues proves the startling thesis that many of Kafka’s major works engage in a coherent, sustained meditation on racial transformation from white European into what Kafka refers to as the “Negro” (a term he used in English). Indeed, this book demonstrates that cultural assimilation and bodily transformation in Kafka’s work are impossible without passage through a state of being “Negro.” Kafka represents this passage in various ways—from reflections on New World slavery and black music to evolutionary theory, biblical allusion, and aesthetic primitivism—each grounded in a concept of writing that is linked to the perceived congenital musicality of the “Negro,” and which is bound to his wider conception of aesthetic production. Mark Christian Thompson offers new close readings of canonical texts and undervalued letters and diary entries set in the context of the afterlife of New World slavery and in Czech and German popular culture.

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The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2016-04-22 01:34Z by Steven

The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles

Northwestern University Press
2016-04-15
250 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1882688524

Edited by:

Daniel A. Olivas

Neelanjana Banerjee

Ruben J. Rodriguez

This anthology features the vitality and variety of verse in the City of Angels, a city of poets. This is more about range then representation, voice more than volume. Los Angeles has close to 60 percent people of color, 225 languages spoken at home, and some of the richest and poorest persons in the country. With an expansive 502.7 square miles of city (and beyond, including the massive county of 4,752.32 square miles), the poetry draws on imagery, words, stories, and imaginations that are also vast, encompassing, a real “leaves of grass.”

Well-known poets include Holly Prado, Ruben Martinez, traci kato-kiriyama, and Lynne Thompson. Many strong new voices, however, makes this a well-rounded collection for any literary class, program, bookstore, or event.

The image of the coiled serpent appears in various forms in mythologies throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, India, and America. In pre-conquest times, Quetzalcoatl—the Precious Serpent—served as a personification of earth-bound wisdom, the arts and eldership in so-called Meso-America, one of seven “cradles of civilization” that also includes China, Nigeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Peru.

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Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Biography, Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-12-21 01:46Z by Steven

Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness

Northwestern University Press
May 2006
488 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paper ISBN: ISBN 978-0-8101-1971-0

Edited by:

Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy (1951-2015), Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Russian Literature and Culture
Barnard College
Columbia University, New York, New York

Nicole Svobodny, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Senior Lecturer, International & Area Studies
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Ludmilla A. Trigo

Foreword by:

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor; Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Roughly in the year 1705, a young African boy, acquired from the seraglio of the Turkish sultan, was transported to Russia as a gift to Peter the Great. This child, later known as Abram Petrovich Gannibal, was to become Peter’s godson and to live to a ripe old age, having attained the rank of general and the status of Russian nobility. More important, he was to become the great-grandfather of Russia’s greatest national poet, Alexander Pushkin. It is the contention of the editors of this book, borne out by the essays in the collection, that Pushkin’s African ancestry has played the role of a “wild card” of sorts as a formative element in Russian cultural mythology; and that the ways in which Gannibal’s legacy has been included in or excluded from Pushkin’s biography over the last two hundred years can serve as a shifting marker of Russia’s self-definition.

The first single volume in English on this rich topic, Under the Sky of My Africa addresses the wide variety of interests implicated in the question of Pushkin’s blackness-race studies, politics, American studies, music, mythopoetic criticism, mainstream Pushkin studies. In essays that are by turns biographical, iconographical, cultural, and sociological in focus, the authors-representing a broad range of disciplines and perspectives-take us from the complex attitudes toward race in Russia during Pushkin’s era to the surge of racism in late Soviet and post-Soviet contemporary Russia. In sum, Under the Sky of My Africa provides a wealth of basic material on the subject as well as a series of provocative readings and interpretations that will influence future considerations of Pushkin and race in Russian culture.

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