New Faculty Books In 2017
August 18, 2017
Nicholas Frankel presents a new and revisionary account of Wilde’s final years, spent in poverty and exile on the European continent following his release from an English prison for the crime of “gross indecency” between men. Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years challenges the prevailing, traditional view of Wilde as a broken, tragic figure, a martyr to Victorian sexual morality, and shows instead that he pursued his post-prison life with passion, enjoying new liberties while trying to resurrect his literary career.
After two bitter years of solitary confinement, Wilde emerged from prison in 1897 determined to rebuild his life along lines that were continuous with the path he had followed before his conviction, unapologetic and even defiant about the crime for which he had been convicted. England had already done its worst. In Europe’s more tolerant atmosphere, he could begin to live openly and without hypocrisy.
Of Clint McCown's latest poetry, Total Balance Farm, poet Kevin Stein proclaims: "Clint McCown's meditative locale is a menagerie of hawks and hummingbirds, eagles and turtles, a wife's idle boot and the brown recluse who'll find uneasy home in it. Through philosophers Greek and ruralist, McCown finds terror in beauty and beauty in the terrified ones adrift in earth's vertiginous sway."
Meanwhile, writer Mark Cox (Natural Causes) adds, "This is a fine book steeped in hard work and even harder questions. Using precise depictions of the natural world and honest portrayals of human ambition, these poems perceptively consider our mysteries and our limitations. 'Thinking is the only voice I own,' McCown writes, but he also sings with a rough and seasoned music; that ear, coupled with his rich narrative gifts and his keen wit, make for an engaging, artful, greatly rewarding experience."
Using a range of familiar and lesser-known print and manuscript plays, as well as literary accounts and documentary evidence, Matteo Pangallo's Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare's Theater shows how these playgoers wrote and revised to address what they assumed to be the needs of actors, readers, and the Master of the Revels; how they understood playhouse materials and practices; and how they crafted poetry for theatrical effects. The book also situates them in the context of the period's concepts of, and attitudes toward, playgoers' participation in the activity of playmaking.
Sachi Shimomura and John Brinegar's Luminous Pursuit: Jellyfish, GFP, and the Unforeseen Path to the Nobel Prize (2017) narrates the uniquely intertwined life and scientific career of Nobel laureate Osamu Shimomura, with particular attention to his discovery of aequorin and Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). It includes his early memories of Manchuria and wartime Japan featuring an eyewitness account of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, his postwar studies and his travels to collect and research more than fifteen bioluminescent species, in locations ranging from Japan to San Juan Island, Bermuda, New Zealand and Norway. Dr Shimomura describes the unique combination of serendipity and perseverance that led ultimately to his 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The book provides an engaging account of the life of a dedicated scientist, emphasizing the value of determination in the pursuit of pure scientific knowledge, and showing how a general understanding of science helped him open up new areas of research that have led to unforeseen applications in cell biology and medicine.
For the Scribe continues David Wojahn’s explorations of the interstices between the public and the private, the historical and the personal. Poems of recollection and elegy commingle and conjoin with poems which address larger matters of historical and ecological import.
Poet Linda Bierds proclaims, "The poems in For the Scribe are electric in their vitality. Here are the tragedies that define our time; here, also, are the powers of shaped sound—from vocalization to music, from primal utterance to the notes of the crested warbler to Sonny Boy Williamson’s delta blues. Through a swirl of time frames and historical figures, we meet, in one poem, Pizarro and Dee Dee Ramone; in another, Ezra Pound, Che Guevara, Osama bin Laden, and ‘a pirate copy of Titanic’ humming from a VCR. At times shocking, at times humorous, at times fueled by rage, the juxtapositions in this extraordinary book are, in the end, both separate and united. They quiver together like filings on a magnet: This is our fractured world."