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Series: Series in Literary Studies

The Wizard of Mecosta: Russell Kirk, Gothic Fiction, and the Moral Imagination

Camilo Peralta, Joliet Junior College

ISBN: 978-1-64889-853-2
Availability: Pre-order
$78 £62 €73

"The Wizard of Mecosta" offers an extended analysis of the fiction of Russell Amos Kirk (1918-1994), a central figure in modern American conservatism who is often referred to as “the father” of the same. Born and raised in Michigan, Kirk was also a prolific writer of fiction, who published almost two dozen short stories and three novels over the course of his long career. At the heart of everything Kirk wrote was what he referred to as the “moral imagination,” a phrase he borrowed from Edmund Burke and often used to describe the instructive and enlightening purposes of great literature. Despite his prominent reputation as a public man of letters and the respect of fellow authors including Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Kirk’s fiction was never very popular, and has fallen into almost complete obscurity in the present. "The Wizard of Mecosta" is the first full-length study ever published about Kirk’s fiction, and the only work of any length to consider the entirety of his output, including all of the stories and novels he wrote. By emphasizing how Kirk’s fiction illuminates certain aspects of his social and political theory, "The Wizard of Mecosta" distinguishes itself from the half-dozen or more studies of the author’s life and work that have been published since his death in 1994. It should appeal to anyone with an interest in American conservatism, as well as fans and scholars of the sort of Gothic horror in which Kirk, unexpectedly, excelled. Through his stories of avenging ghosts and timeless journeys through the afterlife, he reminds us of the existence of “permanent things,” the core values and beliefs of Western society, which he strove all his life to preserve. It is high time that his fiction found a more appreciative, and larger, audience.

Tolkien’s Transformative Women: Art in Triptych

Annie Brust, Kent State University

January 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-623-1
Availability: In stock
282pp. ¦ $78 £61 €72

J.R. R. Tolkien has been revered as the father of twentieth-century fantasy; however, many initially criticized him for his handling of the textual matter as male-centric magical lands that did not feature prominent female roles or significant female characters. This book will highlight the vast community of powerful female figures that Tolkien created in his fantasy writing, stemming from the distinct and dominant female forces he created in his academic translation and poetry. These fierce women serve as a culmination of the powerful forces of women and female character that originated in Medieval, Norse, and Celtic traditions. They help to create the framework from which Tolkien shaped his female community, not merely as singular figures, as previously featured, but as a dynamic network of figures who shape Tolkien's creative art. For the first time, this discussion looks at the entire community of women, featuring previously excluded figures from his academic works and highlighting translation bias in modern manuscripts of the extant medieval works that influenced these women. It also seeks to create a comprehensive guide and detailed appendices exploring the female characters and influences throughout his writing portfolio. This book seeks to uncover the hidden voices of the past to find their rightful home in the strong female voices of the present, rewriting history to regain a sense of the past.

Psychedelic Modernism: Literature and Film

Raj Chandarlapaty

February 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-823-5
Availability: In stock
268pp. ¦ $78 £62 €72

The primary purpose of 'Psychedelic Modernism: Literature and Film' is to trace the development of ideas and perspectives from the writing and private ambitions of 20th-century modernist writers, including Aldous Huxley. The purpose of the book is to offer a rough chronology during which ideas were first given a literary imagination, then transposed onto discussions of science and psychology, and then theoretically democratized to bring fruit to a relatively de-centered process where images, text, and interviews could re-conceptualize the modern Being from an admixture of modernist, historical, and pop roots that could express a greater moment in the human action. The work includes discussions from scientists such as Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, rock stars such as Jerry Garcia, and unconfirmed mystics such as Carlos Castaneda. The primary focus of this work isn’t literature per se, but the literary imagination as it may correspond to greater, wider, and more impactive goals than the writing of 20th-century fiction. While there is some outreach that favors de-centered models such as the Beat Generation, the author’s primary purpose is to assemble an anthology covering the study and quests for knowledge from as many sides as could power the relative 1960s countercultural movement.

Eros and Thanatos. Love across Civilizations

Alberto Castelli, Hainan University, China

November 2023 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-804-4
Availability: In stock
254pp. ¦ $82 £65 €76

'Eros and Thanatos' is about the deadly nature of love. It is remarkable that literary critics have paid so little attention to the combination between love and death in literature. This book seeks to address this significant scholarly lacuna by exploring key literary texts of the last two hundred years as exemplary of a consistent tendency toward love and death. Its emphasis on singular characters and close readings suggests the spectrum of an arbitrary dichotomy never fully resolved. The existential discussion triggered by each plot is so intense that the erotic and the merely sexual seem inappropriate. Indeed, each writer chose to reduce it to the setting and background of a story that takes place elsewhere. With this in mind, the author intends to reflect love’s paradoxical nature. If love is triggered by beauty, beauty can be immoral and love must die to preserve the illusion of beauty.

Women’s Representations from Radical Naturalism to the New Woman Response

A Transatlantic Perspective of European, Latin American, and American Narratives

José F. Rojas-Viana, Louisiana State University

November 2023 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-791-7
Availability: In stock
147pp. ¦ $56 £45 €53

In this book, Rojas explores comparatively the representations of deviant and criminal women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from Transatlantic perspectives in literary productions of the first-wave feminist writers of the New Woman movement and writers of Radical Naturalism. This work addresses how the writers' sex is relevant in depictions of social constructions of female characters and how they established a dialogue based on gender through the themes of 'femme fatale', marginal spaces, eugenics, and social Darwinism in the novels of Emilia Pardo Bazán's 'La piedra angular' (1891), 'La gota de sangre' (1911), and "Tio Terrones" (1920); Refugio Barragán de Toscano's 'La hija del bandido o los subterráneos del nevado' (1887); Federico Gamboa's 'Santa' (1903); Kate Chopin's (Katherine O'Flaherty) 'The Awakening' (1899); Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' (1891); and 'Grand's Ideala' (1888). There is a good volume of research on different aspects of these novels, but this book addresses issues of the social constructions of deviant and criminal women from an interdisciplinary and metatheoretical perspective often missed from established criticism. This work is not only reachable for the non-expertise reader, graduate, or undergraduate students but also it is sufficiently elaborated for the expert reader in different fields. It provides a detailed analysis of the social, historical, philosophical, and scientific background that shows how the treatment of the female characters converges and diverges from male and female writers of the New Woman and Radical Naturalism points of view. It can be a good contribution for references or classes in Hispanic studies, gender studies, women's studies, sexuality studies, nineteenth-century studies, and in other fields.

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