All the books written by the Berkeley English faculty

Books written by people who teach literature for a living
Signs of the Times: The Visual Politics of Jim Crow
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Signs of the Times: The Visual Politics of Jim Crow

by Elizabeth Abel

About the book:  Signs of the Times traces the career of Jim Crow signs—simplified in cultural memory to the “colored/white” labels that demarcated the public spaces of the American South—from their intellectual and political origins in the second half of the nineteenth century through their dismantling by civil rights activists in the 1960s and ’70s. In this beautifully written, meticulously researched book, Elizabeth Abel assembles a variegated archive of segregation signs and photographs that translated a set of regional practices into a national conversation about race. Abel also brilliantly investigates the semiotic system through which segregation worked to reveal how the signs functioned in particular spaces and contexts that shifted the grounds of race from the somatic to the social sphere.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Modernism and After
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Modernism and After

by Charles Altieri

About the book:  Written by a leading critic, this invigorating introduction to modernist American poetry conveys the excitement that can be generated by a careful reading of modernist poems. Encourages readers to identify with the modernists’ sense of the revolutionary possibilities of their art. Embraces four generations of modernist American poets up through to the 1980s. Gives readers a sense of the ambitions, the disillusionments and the continuities of modernist poetry. Includes close readings of particular poems which show how readers can use these works to connect with what concerns them.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity: Toward a Phenomenology of Value
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity: Toward a Phenomenology of Value

by Charles Altieri

About the book:  Charles Altieri, one of our foremost analysts of modernism, has in his recent work argued for the importance of the affects, which philosophy has too long subordinated to cognition and ethics. In Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity, Altieri focuses his attention on modernist poetry, especially that of Wallace Stevens. He argues that critics have failed to appreciate the degree to which modernist poetry, like modernist art, breaks from the epistemology that arose from cultures of empiricism. If we recognize the limits of that authority we can also recognize the close positive affinities between how we feel and how we value.Nineteenth-century writing wanted to build values out of ways of looking at what could be established as fact. Early modernist poetry, particularly that of Stevens and Pound, labors to adapt Nietzschean attitudes toward poetry. Then Stevens embarked on an imaginative journey to find in linguistic activity itself a sufficient model for how we compose values. In both stages of his career facts must be respected, but they will not bear values simply by virtue of their connectedness to the world. We have to understand the constructive power taking place on intimate levels as we pursue that connectedness. Stevens matters, Altieri argues, because of the range and depth and intelligence by which he explores what such connectedness might involve. Stevens offers elaborate and moving experiments exploring how imaginative writing can help human beings grapple with questions about values that are at the very heart of our common experience.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Reckoning with the Imagination: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Reckoning with the Imagination: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience

by Charles Altieri

About the book:  Much current theorizing about literature involves efforts to renew our sense of aesthetic values in reading. Such is the case with new formalism as well as recent appeals to the notion of “surface reading.” While sympathetic to these efforts, Charles Altieri believes they ultimately fall short because too often they fail to account for the values that engage literary texts in the social world. In Reckoning with the Imagination, Altieri argues for a reconsideration of the Kantian tradition of Idealist ethics, which he believes can restore much of the power of the arguments for the role of aesthetics in art. Altieri finds a perspective for that restoration in a reading of Wittgenstein’s later work that stresses Wittgenstein’s parallel criticisms of the spirit of empiricism. Altieri begins by offering a phenomenology of imagination, because we cannot fully honor art if we do not link it to a distinctive, socially productive force. That force emerges in two quite different but equally powerful realizations in his reading of John Ashbery’s “Instruction Manual,” which explicitly establishes a model for a postromantic view of imagination, and William Butler Yeats’s “Leda and the Swan.” He then turns to Wittgenstein with chapters on the role of display as critique of Enlightenment thinking, the honoring of qualities like sensitivity and the ability to attune to the actions of others, the role of expression in the building of models, and the contrast between ethical and confessional modes of judgment. Finally, Altieri produces his own model of aesthetic experience as participatory valuation and makes an extended argument for the social significance of appreciation as a way to escape the patterns of resentment fundamental to our current mode of politics. A masterful work by one of our foremost literary and philosophical theorists, Reckoning with the Imagination will breathe new life into ongoing debates over the value of aesthetic experience.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
The Improbability of Othello: Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

The Improbability of Othello: Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood

by Joel B. Altman

About the book:  Shakespeare’s dramatis personae exist in a world of supposition, struggling to connect knowledge that cannot be had, judgments that must be made, and actions that need to be taken.  For them, probability—what they and others might be persuaded to believe—governs human affairs, not certainty. Yet negotiating the space of probability is fraught with difficulty. Here, Joel B. Altman explores the problematics of probability and the psychology of persuasion in Renaissance rhetoric and Shakespeare’s theater.Focusing on the Tragedy of Othello, Altman investigates Shakespeare’s representation of the self as a specific realization of tensions pervading the rhetorical culture in which he was educated and practiced his craft. In Altman’s account, Shakespeare also restrains and energizes his audiences’ probabilizing capacities, alternately playing the skeptical critic and dramaturgic trickster. A monumental work of scholarship by one of America’s most respected scholars of Renaissance literature, The Improbability of Othello contributes fresh ideas to our understanding of Shakespeare’s conception of the self, his shaping of audience response, and the relationship of actors to his texts.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
 The Third Citizen
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

The Third Citizen

by Oliver Arnold

About the book:  The new practices and theories of parliamentary representation that emerged during Elizabeth's and James' reigns shattered the unity of human agency, redefined the nature of power, transformed the image of the body politic, and unsettled constructs and concepts as fundamental as the relation between presence and absence. In The Third Citizen, Oliver Arnold argues that recovering the formation of political representation as an effective ideology should radically change our understanding of early modern political culture, Shakespeare's political art, and the way Anglo-American critics, for whom representative democracy is second nature, construe both. In magisterial readings of Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, and the First Tetralogy, Arnold discovers a new Shakespeare who was neither a conservative apologist for monarchy nor a prescient, liberal champion of the House of Commons but instead a radical thinker and artist who demystified the ideology of political representation in the moment of its first flowering. Shakespeare believed that political representation produced (and required for its reproduction) a new kind of subject and a new kind of subjectivity, and he fashioned a new kind of tragedy to represent the loss of power, the fall from dignity, the false consciousness, and the grief peculiar to the experiences of representing and of being represented. Representationalism and its subject mark the beginning of political modernity; Shakespeare’s tragedies greet political representationalism with skepticism, bleakness, and despair.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Julius Caesar, A Longman Cultural Edition
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Julius Caesar, A Longman Cultural Edition

by William Shakespeare,Oliver O. Arnold

About the book:  Handsomely produced and affordably priced, Julius Caesar, A Longman Cultural Edition presents this classic work in provocative and illuminating contexts-cultural, critical, and literary. 


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
The Phantom Table: Woolf, Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

The Phantom Table: Woolf, Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism

by Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism THE PHANTOM TABLE: WOOLF, FRY, RUSSELL AND THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF MODERNISM by Banfield, Ann (Author) on Dec-01-2006 Paperback The Phantom Table: Woolf

About the book:  This study is a major reappraisal of Virginia Woolf's relationship to Bloomsbury and the aesthetic and philosophical developments of her time. Through extensive archival research, Ann Banfield offers the first full analysis of Woolf's engagement with the theories of a remarkable trinity of thinkers: G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Roger Fry.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
The Fugitive's Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

The Fugitive's Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession

by Stephen M. Best

About the book:  In this study of literature and law before and since the Civil War, Stephen M. Best shows how American conceptions of slavery, property, and the idea of the fugitive were profoundly interconnected. The Fugitive's Properties uncovers a poetics of intangible, personified property emerging out of antebellum laws, circulating through key nineteenth-century works of literature, and informing cultural forms such as blackface minstrelsy and early race films.Best also argues that legal principles dealing with fugitives and indebted persons provided a sophisticated precursor to intellectual property law as it dealt with rights in appearance, expression, and other abstract aspects of personhood. In this conception of property as fleeting, indeed fugitive, American law preserved for much of the rest of the century slavery's most pressing legal imperative: the production of personhood as a market commodity. By revealing the paradoxes of this relationship between fugitive slave law and intellectual property law, Best helps us to understand how race achieved much of its force in the American cultural imagination. A work of ambitious scope and compelling cross-connections, The Fugitive's Properties sets new agendas for scholars of American literature and legal culture.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
A Concise Companion to Postwar British and Irish Poetry
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

A Concise Companion to Postwar British and Irish Poetry

by 

About the book:  This volume introduces students to the most important figures, movements and trends in post-war British and Irish poetry. An historical overview and critical introduction to the poetry published in Britain and Ireland over the last half-century Introduces students to figures including Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, and Andrew Motion Takes an integrative approach, emphasizing the complex negotiations between the British and Irish poetic traditions, and pulling together competing tendencies and positions Written by critics from Britain, Ireland, and the United States Includes suggestions for further reading and a chronology, detailing the most important writers, volumes and events


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

by 

About the book:  The fifteen Native women writers in Reckonings document transgenerational trauma, yet they also celebrate survival. Their stories are vital testaments of our times. Unlike most anthologies that present a single story from many writers, this volume offers a sampling of two to three stories by a select number of both famous and lesser known Native women writers in what is now the United States. Here you will find much-loved stories, many made easily accessible for the first time, and vibrant new stories by well-known contemporary Native American writers as well as fresh emergent voices. These stories share an understanding of Native women's lives in their various modes of loss and struggle, resistance and acceptance, and rage and compassion, ultimately highlighting the individual and collective will to endure against all odds. Reckonings features short stories by: Paula Gunn Allen, Kimberly M. Blaeser, Beth E. Brant, Anita Endrezze, Louise Erdrich, Diane Glancy, Reid Gómez, Janet Campbell Hale, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Misha Nogha, Beth H. Piatote, Patricia Riley, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Anna Lee Walters.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power after Slavery
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power after Slavery

by Bryan Wagner

About the book:  W. C. Handy waking up to the blues on a train platform, Buddy Bolden eavesdropping on the drums at Congo Square, John Lomax taking his phonograph recorder into a southern penitentiary―some foundational myths of the black vernacular remain inescapable, even as they come under increasing pressure from skeptics.In Disturbing the Peace, Bryan Wagner revises the history of the black vernacular tradition and gives a new account of black culture by reading these myths in the context of the tradition’s ongoing engagement with the law. Returning to some familiar examples (trickster tales, outlaw legends, blues lyrics) central to previous studies of the black vernacular expression, Wagner uses an analytic framework he has developed from the historical language of the law to give new and surprising analyses. Wagner’s work draws both on his deep understanding of history and on a wealth of primary sources that range from novels to cartoons to popular ballads and early blues songs to newspapers and court reports. Through his innovative engagement with them, Wagner gives us a new and deeper understanding of black cultural expression, revealing its basis in the relational workings of African Americans in the social world.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
One Flesh: Paradisal Marriage and Sexual Relations in the Age of Milton
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

One Flesh: Paradisal Marriage and Sexual Relations in the Age of Milton

by James Grantham Turner

About the book:  Noteworthy for its historical detail and intellectual incisiveness, this study establishes Milton as a monumental but divided figure--torn between radical and conservative mentalities, between eroticism and hatred of the flesh, and between patriarchal and egalitarian conceptions of Paradisal marriage.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
A Common Loss: A Novel
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

A Common Loss: A Novel

by Kirsten Tranter

About the book:  From the critically acclaimed author of The Legacy comes a riveting new novel about a group of friends whose longtime tensions and rivalries are suddenly exposed after one of them dies suddenly.  A WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS P APERBACK ORIGINAL THEY WERE ORIGINALLY FIVE. Elliot. Brian. Tallis. Cameron. And Dylan—charismatic Dylan—the mediator, the man each one turned to in a time of crisis. Five close friends, bonded in college, still coming together for their annual trip to Las Vegas. This year they are four. Four friends, sharing a common loss: Dylan’s tragic death. A common loss that, upon their arrival in Vegas, will bring with it a common threat: one that will make them question who their departed friend really was, and whether he was ever worthy of their grief. “Brimming with blackmail and deception” and “laced with simmering emotional tension” (Australian Bookseller & Publisher), A Common Loss is a hypnotic tale from an exciting new voice in literary fiction.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

by Emily V. Thornbury

About the book:  Combining historical, literary and linguistic evidence from Old English and Latin, Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England creates a new, more complete picture of who and what pre-Conquest English poets really were. It includes a study of Anglo-Saxon words for 'poet' and the first list of named poets in Anglo-Saxon England. Its survey of known poets identifies four social roles that poets often held - teachers, scribes, musicians and courtiers - and explores the kinds of poetry created by these individuals. The book also offers a new model for understanding the role of social groups in poets' experience: it argues that the presence or absence of a poetic community affected the work of Anglo-Saxon poets at all levels, from minute technical detail to the portrayal of character. This focus on poetic communities provides a new way to understand the intersection of history and literature in the Middle Ages.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1
Anglophilia: Deference, Devotion, and Antebellum America
The Amity Affliction - Pittsburg
The Amity Affliction - Shine on
See your ratings

Anglophilia: Deference, Devotion, and Antebellum America

by Elisa Tamarkin

About the book:  Anglophilia charts the phenomenon of the love of Britain that emerged after the Revolution and remains in the character of U.S. society and class, the style of academic life, and the idea of American intellectualism. But as Tamarkin shows, this Anglophilia was more than just an elite nostalgia; it was popular devotion that made reverence for British tradition instrumental to the psychological innovations of democracy. Anglophilia spoke to fantasies of cultural belonging, polite sociability, and, finally, deference itself as an affective practice within egalitarian politics. Tamarkin traces the wide-ranging effects of anglophilia on American literature, art and intellectual life in the early nineteenth century, as well as its influence in arguments against slavery, in the politics of Union, and in the dialectics of liberty and loyalty before the civil war. By working beyond narratives of British influence, Tamarkin highlights a more intricate culture of American response, one that included Whig elites, college students, radical democrats, urban immigrants, and African Americans. Ultimately, Anglophila argues that that the love of Britain was not simply a fetish or form of shame-a release from the burdens of American culture-but an anachronistic structure of attachement in which U.S. Identity was lived in other languages of national expression.


Buy on Amazon Add to your reading list Remove from your reading list
Available on: Asset 1 Asset 1 Asset 1