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Regionalism And The Reading Class

Author: Wendy Griswold
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226309266
Size: 38.93 MB
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Globalization and the Internet are smothering cultural regionalism, that sense of place that flourished in simpler times. These two villains are also prime suspects in the death of reading. Or so alarming reports about our homogenous and dumbed-down culture would have it, but as Regionalism and the Reading Class shows, neither of these claims stands up under scrutiny—quite the contrary. Wendy Griswold draws on cases from Italy, Norway, and the United States to show that fans of books form their own reading class, with a distinctive demographic profile separate from the general public. This reading class is modest in size but intense in its literary practices. Paradoxically these educated and mobile elites work hard to put down local roots by, among other strategies, exploring regional writing. Ultimately, due to the technological, economic, and political advantages they wield, cosmopolitan readers are able to celebrate, perpetuate, and reinvigorate local culture. Griswold’s study will appeal to students of cultural sociology and the history of the book—and her findings will be welcome news to anyone worried about the future of reading or the eclipse of place.

Sum Of The Parts

Author: Kent C Ryden
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587299887
Size: 11.83 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Proponents of the new regional history understand that regional identities are constructed and contested, multifarious and not monolithic, that they involve questions of dominance and power, and that their nature is inherently political. In this lively new book, writing in the spirit of these understandings, Kent Ryden engagingly examines works of American regional writing to show us how literary partisans of place create and recreate, attack and defend, argue over and dramatize the meaning and identity of their regions in the pages of their books. Cleverly drawing upon mathematical models that complement his ideas and focusing on both classic and contemporary literary regionalists, Ryden demonstrates that regionalism, in the cultural sense, retains a great deal of power as a framework for literary interpretation. For New England he examines such writers as Robert Frost and Hayden Carruth, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Edith Wharton, and Carolyn Chute and Russell Banks to demonstrate that today’s regionalists inspire closer, more democratic readings of life and landscape. For the West and South, he describes Wallace Stegner’s and William Faulkner’s use of region to, respectively, exclude and evade or confront and indict. For the Midwest, he focuses on C. J. Hribal, William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Gruchow, and others to demonstrate that midwesterners continually construct the past anew from the materials at hand, filling the seemingly empty midlands with history and significance. Ryden reveals that there are many Wests, many New Englands, many Souths, and many Midwests, all raising similar issues about the cultural politics of region and place. Writing with appealing freshness and a sense of adventure, he shows us that place, and the stories that emerge from and define place, can be a source of subversive energy that blunts the homogenizing force of region, inscribing marginal places and people back onto the imaginative surface of the landscape when we read it on a place-by-place, landscape-by-landscape, book-by-book basis.

Dear Appalachia

Author: Emily Satterwhite
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813130115
Size: 47.96 MB
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Much criticism has been directed at negative stereotypes of Appalachia perpetuated by movies, television shows, and news media. Books, on the other hand, often draw enthusiastic praise for their celebration of the simplicity and authenticity of the Appalachian region. Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878 employs the innovative new strategy of examining fan mail, reviews, and readers’ geographic affiliations to understand how readers have imagined the region and what purposes these imagined geographies have served for them. As Emily Satterwhite traces the changing visions of Appalachia across the decades, from the Gilded Age (1865–1895) to the present, she finds that every generation has produced an audience hungry for a romantic version of Appalachia. According to Satterwhite, best-selling fiction has portrayed Appalachia as a distinctive place apart from the mainstream United States, has offered cosmopolitan white readers a sense of identity and community, and has engendered feelings of national and cultural pride. Thanks in part to readers’ faith in authors as authentic representatives of the regions they write about, Satterwhite argues, regional fiction often plays a role in creating and affirming regional identity. By mapping the geographic locations of fans, Dear Appalachia demonstrates that mobile white readers in particular, including regional elites, have idealized Appalachia as rooted, static, and protected from commercial society in order to reassure themselves that there remains an “authentic” America untouched by global currents. Investigating texts such as John Fox Jr.’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1908), Harriette Arnow’s The Dollmaker (1954), James Dickey’s Deliverance (1970), and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain (1997), Dear Appalachia moves beyond traditional studies of regional fiction to document the functions of these narratives in the lives of readers, revealing not only what people have thought about Appalachia, but why.

Cultures And Societies In A Changing World

Author: Wendy Griswold
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 1412990548
Size: 80.61 MB
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In today′s world, both cultures and societies are changing more quickly than ever before. The Fourth Edition of Cultures and Societies in a Changing World sheds light on the role culture plays in shaping our social world. A vital and personal aspect of individual identity, culture shapes a person′s norms, values, beliefs and practices. This Fourth Edition introduces the sociology of culture and explores cultural phenomena including stories, beliefs, media, ideas, art, religious practices, fashions and rituals from a global-sociological perspective. The author takes a global approach by considering cultural examples from various countries and time periods, by delving into the ways globalization processes are affecting cultures and by offering an explanation of the post-Cold War era culture-related conflicts. Readers will develop a deeper appreciation of culture and society from this text, gleaning useful insights that will help them overcome cultural misunderstandings, conflicts, and ignorance and will help equip them to live their professional and personal lives as effective, wise citizens of the world.

Writing Out Of Place

Author: Judith Fetterley
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252027673
Size: 20.55 MB
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"In a series of sketches, regionalist writers such as Alice Cary, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Sarah Orne Jewett, Grace King, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Sui Sin Far, and Mary Austin critique the approach to regional subjects characteristic of local color and present narrators who serve as cultural interpreters for persons often considered "out of place" by urban readers. In their approach to these writers, Fetterley and Pryse offer contemporary readers an alternative vantage point from which to consider questions of regions and regionalism in the global economy of our own time."--Jacket.

The Political Economy Of Regionalism

Author: Michael Keating
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780714646589
Size: 73.75 MB
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Examining the effects of economic and political restructuring on regions in Europe and North America, the main themes here are: international economic restructuring; political realignments questions of territorial identity; and policy choices and policy conflicts in regional development.

Reading As Therapy

Author: Timothy Aubry
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587299569
Size: 31.78 MB
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Why do Americans read contemporary fiction? This question seems simple, but is it? Do Americans read for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation? To satisfy their own insatiable intellectual curiosities? While other forms of media have come to monopolize consumers’ leisure time, in the past two decades book clubs have proliferated, Amazon has sponsored thriving online discussions, Oprah Winfrey has inspired millions of viewers to read both contemporary works and classics, and novels have retained their devoted following within middlebrow communities. In Reading as Therapy, Timothy Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, one that validates their own private dysfunctions while supporting elusive communities of strangers unified by shared feelings. Aubry persuasively makes the case that contemporary literature’s persistent appeal depends upon its capacity to perform a therapeutic function. Aubry traces the growth and proliferation of psychological concepts focused on the subjective interior within mainstream, middle-class society and the impact this has had on contemporary fiction. The prevailing tendency among academic critics has been to decry the personal emphasis of contemporary fiction as complicit with the rise of a narcissistic culture, the ascendency of liberal individualism, and the breakdown of public life. Reading as Therapy, by contrast, underscores the varied ideological effects that therapeutic culture can foster. To uncover the many unpredictable ways in which contemporary literature answers the psychological needs of its readers, Aubry considers several different venues of reader-response—including Oprah’s Book Club and Amazon customer reviews—the promotional strategies of publishing houses, and a variety of contemporary texts, ranging from Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner to Anita Shreve’s The Pilot’s Wife to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. He concludes that, in the face of an atomistic social landscape, contemporary fiction gives readers a therapeutic vocabulary that both reinforces the private sphere and creates surprising forms of sympathy and solidarity among strangers.

The Color Of Democracy In Women S Regional Writing

Author: Jean Carol Griffith
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 0817316612
Size: 54.66 MB
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An exciting addition to the ongoing debate about the place of regionalism in American literary history. American regionalism has become a contested subject in literary studies alongside the ubiquitous triad of race, class, and gender. The Color of Democracy in Women's Regional Writing enters into the heart of an ongoing debate in the field about the significance of regional fiction at the end of the 19th century. Jean Griffith presents the innovative view that regional writing provided Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, and Willa Cather with the means to explore social transformation in a form of fiction already closely associated with women readers and writers. Griffith provides new readings of texts by these authors; she places them alongside the works of their contemporaries, including William Faulkner and Langston Hughes, to show regionalism's responses to the debate over who was capable of democratic participation and reading regionalism's changing mediations between natives and strangers as reflections of the changing face of democracy. This insightful work enriches the current debate about whether regionalism critiques hierarchies or participates in nationalist and racist agendas and will be of great interest to those invested in regional writing or the works of these significant authors.

Bearing Witness

Author: Wendy Griswold
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691186308
Size: 10.40 MB
Format: PDF
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Greed, frustrated love, traffic jams, infertility, politics, polygamy. These--together with depictions of traditional village life and the impact of colonialism made familiar to Western readers through Chinua Achebe's writing--are the stuff of Nigerian fiction. Bearing Witness examines this varied content and the determined people who, against all odds, write, publish, sell, and read novels in Africa's most populous nation. Drawing on interviews with Nigeria's writers, publishers, booksellers, and readers, surveys, and a careful reading of close to 500 Nigerian novels--from lightweight romances to literary masterpieces--Wendy Griswold explores how global cultural flows and local conflicts meet in the production and reception of fiction. She argues that Nigerian readers and writers form a reading class that unabashedly believes in progress, rationality, and the slow-but-inevitable rise of a reading culture. But they do so within a society that does not support their assumptions and does not trust literature, making them modernists in a country that is simultaneously premodern and postmodern. Without privacy, reliable electricity, political freedom, or even social toleration of bookworms, these Nigerians write and read political satires, formula romances, war stories, complex gender fiction, blood-and-sex crime capers, nostalgic portraits of village life, and profound explorations of how decent people get by amid urban chaos. Bearing Witness is an inventive and moving work of cultural sociology that may be the most comprehensive sociological analysis of a literary system ever written.