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American Literature
New Books from Oxford U Press, Spring & Fall 1999

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Spring 1999

O Pioneers!
WILLA CATHER
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by MARILEE LINDEMANN, University of Maryland


O Pioneers!, Willa Cather's second novel, tells the story of an immigrant family's struggle to save their Nebraska farm. Cather's placement of a strong and capable woman at the center of the story, her realistic depiction of life on the midwestern prairie, and her vivid portrayal of the immigrant experience at the turn of the century make O Pioneers! a true American classic.
224 pp.; 0-19-283216-6 1999 $7.95 (03) paper

The American
HENRY JAMES
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by ADRIAN POOLE, Trinity College, Cambridge


During a trip to Europe, Christopher Newman, a wealthy American businessman, asks the charming Claire de Cintre to be his wife. To his dismay, he receives an icy reception from the heads of her family, who find Newman to be a vulgar example of the American privileged class. Brilliantly combining elements of comedy, tragedy, romance and melodrama, this tale of thwarted desire vividly contrasts nineteenth-century American and European manners. Oxford's edition of The American, which was first published in 1877, is the only one that uses James' revised 1907 text.
448 pp.; 0-19-283322-7 1999 $10.95 (03) paper

The Literary West
An Anthology of Western American Literature
Edited by THOMAS J. LYON

With more than forty selections, including essays, short stories, plays, poetry, and excerpts from novels and diaries, this stunning anthology offers the panoramic literary range of the American West.

This anthology, gathered and introduced by distinguished western scholar Thomas J. Lyon, offers the panoramic literary range of the American West, from the romance of the mythic Wild West to the present-day creative explosion of the real, diverse West.

The real West has been written about since first contact in the sixteenth century, in the diaries of explorers ranging from Franciscan missionary Pedro Font to Lewis and Clark. A Native American tradition of cultural expression preceded European settlers by thousands of years, and today a contemporary Native renaissance in fiction includes writers N. Scott Momaday and Linda Hogan. The naturalist John Muir stands at the beginning of a lineage of western nature writers, and successors including Mary Austin, Edward Abbey, and Rick Bass have raised ecological awareness of the West.

Over the past century, there has also been a tremendous drive in western fiction to cut through the mythology spread by the "dime novels" that gained popularity in the 1860s; Owen Wister's The Virginian and Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage presented a simplified and heroic West that would hold sway in the public imagination until serious novelists like Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, and Wallace Stegner established a shadow country to the mythic frontier. Today, works coming from ethnic minority writers including Amy Tan, Denise Chavez, and Rudolph Anaya have helped bring the real, diverse West to light. This authoritative and adventuresome collection shows why the West has occupied such a prominent place in the national conscious-ness, and reveals that western writers may currently be mapping out a significant development in American thought.
464 pp.; 5-1/2 x 8-1/4; 0-19-512460-X 1999 $35.00 (01) cloth 1999 $18.95 (03) paper

American Domesticity
From How-to Manual to Hollywood Melodrama
KATHLEEN ANNE MCHUGH, University of California at Riverside

American Domesticity considers representations of domesticity and domestic labor over the last two centuries in didactic, cinematic, and feminist texts, tracing key moments in the construction of an idea whose political power and effectivity in our national imagination cannot be overestimated--that of normative domestic femininity.
248 pp.; 1 halftone; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-512261-5 1999 $49.95 (06)

Conjugal Union
The Body, the House, and the Black American
ROBERT F. REID-PHARR, Johns Hopkins University

This book argues that during the antebellum period a community of free black northeastern intellectuals sought to establish the stability of a Black American subjectivity by figuring the black body as the necessary antecedent to any inteligible Black American public presence. Reid-Pharr goes on to argue that the fact of the the black body's constsnt and often spectacular display demonstrates an incredible uncertainty as to that body's status. Thus antebellum black intellectuals were always anxious about how a stable relationship between the black community might be maintained. Paying particular attention Black American novels written before the Civil War, the author shows how the household was utilized by these writers to normalize this relationship of body to community such that a person could enter a household as a white and leave it as a black.
192 pp.; 9 halftones, & 2 line illus; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-510402-1 1999 $35.00 (01)

The New Red Negro
The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946
JAMES EDWARD SMETHURST, University of North Florida, Jacksonville

This book surveys African American poetry between the onset of the Depression and the early days of the Cold War. The New Red Negro considers the relationship between the thematic and formal choices of African American poets and organized ideology from the "proletarian" early 1930s to the "neo-modernist" late 1940s. This study examines poetry by writers who are canonical, less well-known, and virtually unknown.
304 pp.; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-512054-X 1999 $45.00 (06)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
MARK TWAIN
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by EMORY ELLIOTT

Called "the veriest trash" by a member of the Concord, Massachusetts Library Board that banned the novel when it was first published, Huckleberry Finn has come to be viewed, as H.L. Mencken put it, as "one of the great masterpieces of the world." Ernest Hemingway wrote that "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn....There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." A daringly ironic attack on racism American-style, Twain's story of what he once called a "sound heart" triumphing over a "deformed conscience" is poignant, powerful, and fresh. It is no wonder that this extraordinary book continues to captivate readers around the world. This handsome Oxford World's Classic edition uses the reliable 1885 text and includes an in-depth, up-to-date Introduction and explanatory notes.
352 pp.; 1 map; 0-19-282441-4 1999 $4.95 (03) paper

Black Hunger
Food and the Politics of U.S. Identity
DORIS WITT, University of Iowa

Black Hunger looks at how the association of African American women with food has helped structure twentieth-century U.S. psychic, cultural, sociopolitical, and economic life. Taking as her main focus the debates over the authenticity of soul food during the tumultuous era of the late 1960's and early 1970's, Doris Witt locates complex practices of black intraracial othering in relation to an ongoing narrative of white fascination with black culture.
304 pp.; 9 halftones; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-511062-5 1999 $45.00 (06)

An American Mosaic
Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk
Edited by ROBERT WOLF
Illustrations by BONNIE KOLOC

"Bob Wolf's approach to oral history is unique in capturing the visions, dreams, and fears of small farmers today. His work is more than a lament; it is a battle cry."--Studs Terkel, author of My American Century

From Walt Whitman's catalog of America to Thomas Hart Benton's American epics painted on walls across the country to Studs Terkel's documentaries, much artistic and literary labor has stemmed from the urge to figure out what makes this country tick. Any attempt at so large a canvas as this disparate country will be fragmented and incomplete, but like Benton's 1932 mural "American Today", American Mosaic is composed of pieces that taken together provide a vivid look at vanishing scenes of American life.

Here, Robert Wolf offers a collective autobiography of the American heartland written for the most part by everyday men and women without literary ambition. Focusing on the second half of the twentieth century, this collection of essays, short stories, poems, and memoirs--woven together with Wolf's introductory notes--is the culmination of nine years of Free River Press writing workshops conducted by Wolf for the purpose of documenting contemporary American life.

The volume includes work from homeless men and women from Tennessee, small farmers in rural Iowa, residents of Midwestern small towns, the Mississippi Delta, and river communities on the Mississippi. These first-person, eyewitness accounts offer glimpses of daily life: the farmers' struggles against large corporations; poetic meditations on life in the streets, on the road, and in prison; tall tales of river town saloons; and the social rituals of cooking, town hall and party phone lines across America's small towns.

Together, these diverse stories comprise panels of a literary mural of America. American Mosaic is a compelling testament to regional and local American voices and folkways which are fast disappearing through the relentless push towards a global economy and culture.

352 pp.; 5-1/2 x 8-1/4; 0-19-512712-9 1999 $17.95 (03) paper 1999 $30.00 (01) cloth

Fall 1999

A Historical Guide to Walt Whitman
Edited by DAVID S. REYNOLDS

Few authors are so well suited to historical study as Whitman, who is widely considered America's greatest poet. This Guide combines contemporary cultural studies and historical scholarship to illuminate Whitman's diverse contexts. The essays explore dimensions of Whitman's dynamic relationship to working-class politics, race and slavery, sexual mores, the visual arts, and the idea of democracy. The poet who emerges from this volume is no "solitary singer," distanced from his culture, but what he himself called "the age transfigured," fully enmeshed in his times and addressing issues that are still vital today.

288 pp.; 26 halftones; 5-1/2 x 8-1/4; 0-19-512081-7 December 1999 $35.00 (06) Tentative
cloth December 1999 $15.95 (01) Tentative paper

A Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway
Edited by LINDA WAGNER-MARTIN

The 1999 Hemingway centennial marks the perfect time for the reevaluation of his position as America's premier modernist writer. These essays, all written specially for this collection, plumb unexplored historical details of Hemingway's life to illuminate new and often unexpected dimensions of the force of his literary accomplishment. Discussing biographical details of his personal and professional life along with the subtleties of his character, the text includes a number of fascinating photos and images.

Historical Guides to American Authors:

The new Historical Guides series is an interdisciplinary, historically sensitive series that combines close attention to the United States' most widely read and studied authors with a strong sense of time, place, and history. Placing each writer in the context of the vibrant relationship between literature and society, volumes in the series contain historical essays written on subjects of contemporary social, political, and cultural relevance. They also includes a capsule biography and dual chronology detailing important cultural events as they coincided with the author's life and works, while photographs and illustrations of the period capture the flavor of the author's time and milieu. Accessible to all readers of American fiction, while providing insights useful to teachers and scholars, the volumes offer a complete and rounded picture of each author in his or her America.

256 pp.; 29 halftones; 5-1/2 x 8-1/4; 0-19-512151-1 December 1999 $35.00 (06) Tentative
cloth December 1999 $15.95 (01) Tentative paper

The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States
Edited by LINDA WAGNER-MARTIN and CATHY N. DAVIDSON

"A sumptuous selection of short fiction and poetry....Its invitation to share the passion of women's voices characterizes the entire volume."-- USA Today

Reveling in the awareness that the best U.S. women's writing is, quite simply, some of the best in the world, editors Linda Wagner-Martin and Cathy N. Davidson have gathered selections in The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States spanning four centuries and reflecting the rich variety of American women's lives. This volume presents short stories, poems, essays, plays, speeches, performance pieces, erotica, diaries, correspondence, and even a few recipes from nearly one hundred of our best women writers.

The collection embraces the perspectives of age and youth, the traditional and the revolutionary, the public and the private. Among many fascinating pieces, here is Judith Sargent Murray's 1790 essay "On the Equality of the Sexes," journalist Martha Gellhorn's "Last Words on Vietnam, 1987," and Alice Walker's meditation, "Longing to Die of Old Age." From powerful short stories by Zora Neale Hurston, Edith Wharton, Cynthia Ozick, and Toni Morrison to letters by Abigail Adams, Sarah Moore Grimke, Emma Goldman, and Georgia O'Keeffe, the collection is filled with eye-opening and unexpected selections.

"A generous survey of American women's voices that is as remarkable for its quality as it is for its breadth....As textbook, reference work, or cover-to-cover recreational reading, this collection is an outstanding editorial achievement."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Editors Wagner-Martin and Davidson pay tribute to the vibrant variety of American women's lives and writing in this meandering and happily idiosyncratic anthology....a wonderful spectrum."--Booklist
Includes short stories, poems, essays, plays, speeches, erotica, letters--and even a few recipes!
608 pp.; 5-5/16 x 8; 0-19-513245-9 1999 $18.95 (03) paper

The Portrait of a Lady
HENRY JAMES
With an introduction by JOHN UPDIKE

Described by F. R. Leavis as one of the two most brilliant novels in the language, The Portrait of a Lady tells the story of Isabel Archer, young, American, and eager to embrace life, as she makes her choice from the suitors who court her. She is true to her principles, but at what cost?

704 pp.; 0-19-210038-6 1999 $17.00 (02)

The Education of Henry Adams
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by IRA NADEL, University of British Columbia

"Every generalization that we settled forty years ago, is abandoned."

As a journalist, historian and novelist born into a family that included two past presidents of the United States, Henry Adams was constantly focused on the American experiment. An immediate bestseller awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1919, his The Education of Henry Adams (1918) recounts his own and the country's education from 1838, the year of his birth, to 1905, incorporating the Civil War, capitalist expansion and the growth of the United States as a world power. Exploring America as both a success and a failure, contradiction was the very impetus that compelled Adams to write the Education, in which he was also able to voice his deep skepticism about mankind's power to control the direction of history. Written with immense wit and irony, reassembling the past while glimpsing the future, Adams's vision expresses what Henry James declared the `complex fate' to be an American, and remains one of the most compelling works of American autobiography today.

560 pp.; 0-19-282369-8 1999 $10.95 (03) paper


  Please direct all inquiries to: orders@leabooks.com
Home --- Professional Books --- American Literature --

LEA Book Distributors 1999