Monthly Archives: June 2014

New Book: Emily Dickinson’s Rich Conversation by Richard E. Brantley

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From The publisher, “Emily Dickinson’s Rich Conversation explores the function of hope in Dickinson’s poems and looks to place her in a broad cultural context. Brantley teases out the implications of a succinct central perception by treating that perception as a pebble tossed into the pool of late-19th-century transatlantic culture. His departure from familiar stylistics and his challenging yet entertaining mode of analysis make for delightful reading.” – Paul Crumbley, Professor of English and Director of the Undergraduate American Studies Program, Utah State University, USA

New Book: Literature and Music in the Atlantic World, 1767-1867 by Catherine Jones

literature.music.coverFrom Amazon.com: “This new study looks at the relationship of rhetoric and music in the era’s intellectual discourses, texts and performance cultures principally in Europe and North America. Catherine Jones begins by examining the attitudes to music and its performance by leading figures of the American Enlightenment and Revolution, notably Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. She also looks at the attempts of Francis Hopkinson, William Billings and others to harness the Orphean power of music so that it should become a progressive force in the creation of a new society. She argues that the association of rhetoric and music that reaches back to classical Antiquity acquired new relevance and underwent new theorisation and practical application in the American Enlightenment in light of revolutionary Atlantic conditions. Jones goes on to consider changes in the relationship of rhetoric and music in the nationalising milieu of the nineteenth century; the connections of literature, music and music theory to changing models of subjectivity; and Romantic appropriations of Enlightenment visions of the public ethical function of music.”

 

New Book: The Poetics and Politics of Diaspora: Transatlantic Musings by Jerome C. Branche

Poetics.politics.coverFrom Amazon.com:“This book studies the creative discourse of the modern African diaspora by analyzing poems, novels, essays, hip-hop and dub poetry in the Caribbean, England, Spain, and Colombia, and capturing diasporan movement through mutually intersecting axes of dislocation and relocation, and efforts at political group affirmation and settlement, or “location.” Branche’s study connects London’s multimillion-dollar riots of 2011, and its antecedents associated with the West Indian settler community, to the discontent and harrowing conditions facing black immigrants to contemporary Spain as gateway to Fortress Europe. It links the brutal massacres that target Colombia’s dispossessed and displaced poor – and mainly black – “throwaway” citizens, victims of the drug trade and neoliberal expansionism, to older Caribbean stories that tell of the original spurts of capitalist greed, and the colonial cauldron it created, at the center of which lay the slave trade. In revisiting the question of what really has awaited Afro-descendants at the end of the Middle Passage, this volume brings transatlantic slavery, the making of weak postcolonial states that bleed people, and the needle’s eye of racial identification together through a close reading of rappers, black radicals, dub poetry, and novelists from Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Branche at once demonstrates the existence of an archive of Afro-modern diasporan, discursive production, and just as importantly, points toward a historically-rooted theoretical framework that would contain its liberatory trajectory.”

New Book: A Short History of Transatlantic Slavery by Kenneth Morgan

transatlantic.slavery.coverFrom Amazon.com: “From 1501, when the first slaves arrived in Hispaniola, until the nineteenth century, some twelve million people were abducted from west Africa and shipped across thousands of miles of ocean – the infamous Middle Passage – to work in the colonies of the New World. Perhaps two million Africans died at sea. Why was slavery so widely condoned, during most of this period, by leading lawyers, religious leaders, politicians and philosophers? How was it that the educated classes of the western world were prepared for so long to accept and promote an institution that would later ages be condemned as barbaric? Exploring these and other questions – and the slave experience on the sugar, rice, coffee and cotton plantations – Kenneth Morgan discusses the rise of a distinctively Creole culture; slave revolts, including the successful revolution in Haiti (1791-1804); and the rise of abolitionism, when the ideas of Montesquieu, Wilberforce, Quakers and others led to the slave trade’s systemic demise. At a time when the menace of human trafficking is of increasing concern worldwide, this timely book reflects on the deeper motivations of slavery as both ideology and merchant institution.”

New Book: The Golden Leaf: How Tobacco Shaped Cuba and the Modern World by Charlotte Cosner

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From Amazon.com: “Through the rise and fall of empires, ideologies, and economies, tobacco grown on the tiny island of Cuba has remained an enduring symbol of pleasure and extravagance. Cultivated as one of the first reliable commodities for those inhabitants who remained after conquistadors moved on in search of a mythical wellspring of gold, tobacco quickly became crucial to the support of the swelling Spanish Empire in the 17th seventeenth and 18th eighteenth centuries. Eventually, however, tobacco became one of the final stabilizing forces in the empire, and it ultimately proved more resilient than the best laid plans of kings and queens. Tobacco, and those whose livelihoods depended on it, shrugged off the Empire’s collapse and pressed on into the twentieth century as an economic force any state or political power must reckon with.”