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"I'm an LA native with a lot of love for LA crime fiction, but instead of preaching to the noir choir about The Long Goodbye, I'd like to gush about Southland by Nina Revoyr. It's a brilliant, ambitious, moving literary crime novel about two families in South Los Angeles and their tangled history between the 1930s and the 1990s. The central mystery is the death of four black boys in a Japanese-American man's store during the Watts Rebellion of 1965. It's a powerful book, one that I think about often, as well as a huge influence on my work. Right up there with Chandler."
--Stephanie Cha (of the LARB) in GQ on "The Greatest Crime Novelists on Their Favorite Crime Novels Ever"

"Jackie Ishida's grandfather had a store in Watts where four boys were killed during the riots in 1965, a mystery she attempts to solve."
--New York Times Book Review, Ross MacDonald on "Where Noir Lives in the City of Angels"

"[A]n absolutely compelling story of family and racial tragedy. Revoyr's novel is honest in detailing southern California's brutal history, and honorable in showing how families survived with love and tenacity and dignity."
--Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon

Southland brings us a fascinating story of race, love, murder and history, against the backdrop of an ever-changing Los Angeles. A young Japanese-American woman, Jackie Ishida, is in her last semester of law school when her grandfather, Frank Sakai, dies unexpectedly. While trying to fulfill a request from his will, Jackie discovers that four African-American boys were killed in the store Frank owned during the Watts Riots of 1965. Along with James Lanier, a cousin of one of the victims, Jackie tries to piece together the story of the boys' deaths. In the process, she unearths the long-held secrets of her family's history.

Southland depicts a young woman in the process of learning that her own history has bestowed upon her a deep obligation to be engaged in the larger world. And in Frank Sakai and his African-American friends, it presents characters who find significant common ground in their struggles, but who also engage each other across grounds--historical and cultural--that are still very much in dispute.

Moving in and out of the past--from the internment camps of World War II, to the barley fields of the Crenshaw District in the 1930s, to the streets of Watts in the 1960s, to the night spots and garment factories of the 1990s--Southland weaves a tale of Los Angeles in all of its faces and forms.

Nina Revoyr is the author of The Necessary Hunger ("Irresistible." --Time Magazine). She was born in Japan, raised in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and is of Japanese and Polish-American descent. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.
 
In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.
 
Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.
 
The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.
 
Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.
“A remarkable story.”—Publishers Weekly

Set in the nineteenth century, Isabel Miller’s classic lesbian novel traces the relationship between Patience White, an educated painter, and Sarah Dowling, a cross-dressing farmer, whose romantic bond does not sit well with the puritanical New England farming community in which they live. They choose to live together and love each other freely, even though they know of no precedents for their relationship; they must trust their own instincts and see beyond the disdain of their neighbors. Ultimately, they are forced to make life-changing decisions that depend on their courage and their commitment to one another.

First self-published in 1969 in an edition of one thousand copies, the author hand-sold the book on New York street corners; it garnered increasing attention to the point of receiving the American Library Association’s first Gay Book Award in 1971. McGraw-Hill’s version of the book a year later brought it to mainstream bookstores across the country.

Patience & Sarah is a historical romance whose drama was a touchstone for the burgeoning gay and women’s activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It celebrates the joys of an uninhibited love between two strong women with a confident defiance that remains relevant today.

This edition features an appendix of supplementary materials about Patience & Sarah and the author, as well as an introduction by Emma Donoghue, the Irish novelist whose numerous books include the contemporary Dublin novels Stirfry and Hood, the latter of which won the ALA’s Gay and Lesbian Book Award in 1995.

Little Sister’s Classics is an Arsenal Pulp Press imprint dedicated to reviving lost and out-of-print gay and lesbian classic books, both fiction and nonfiction. The series is produced in conjunction with Little Sister’s Books, the heroic gay Vancouver bookstore well-known for its anti-censorship efforts.

Isabel Miller was the author of numerous novels, including two under her real name, Alma Routsong. She died in 1996.

After explaining how and why women have been excluded from the rhetorical tradition from antiquity through the Renaissance, Cheryl Glenn provides the opportunity for Sappho, Aspasia, Diotima, Hortensia, Fulvia, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Margaret More Roper, Anne Askew, and Elizabeth I to speak with equal authority and as eloquently as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Augustine. Her aim is nothing less than regendering and changing forever the history of rhetoric.

To that end, Glenn locates women's contributions to and participation in the rhetorical tradition and writes them into an expanded, inclusive tradition. She regenders the tradition by designating those terms of identity that have promoted and supported men's control of public, persuasive discourse -- the culturally constructed social relations between, the appropriate roles for, and the subjective identities of women and men.

Glenn is the first scholar to contextualize, analyze, and follow the migration of women's rhetorical accomplishments systematically. To locate these women, she follows the migration of the Western intellectual tradition from its inception in classical antiquity and its confrontation with and ultimate appropriation by evangelical Christianity to its force in the medieval Church and in Tudor arts and politics.

Glenn sets the scope of her study from antiquity to the Renaissance for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Enlightenment saw the end of classical rhetoric as the dominant and most influential system of education and communication. Equally important, the Enlightenment brought about the demise of the one-sex model of humanity that centered on the telos of perfect maleness --with women and children being perceived as undeveloped men.

Glenn expands the history of rhetoric by including the contributions of women. She is not writing a compensatory history or a history of rhetoric by women; she is integrating the rhetorical accomplishments of women into the context of the male-dominated and male-documented rhetorical tradition and, in the process, enriching that tradition.

A manifesto for "toxic girls" that reclaims the wives and mistresses of modernism for literature and feminism.

I am beginning to realize that taking the self out of our essays is a form of repression. Taking the self out feels like obeying a gag order―pretending an objectivity where there is nothing objective about the experience of confronting and engaging with and swooning over literature."
― from Heroines

On the last day of December, 2009 Kate Zambreno began a blog called Frances Farmer Is My Sister, arising from her obsession with the female modernists and her recent transplantation to Akron, Ohio, where her husband held a university job. Widely reposted, Zambreno's blog became an outlet for her highly informed and passionate rants about the fates of the modernist "wives and mistresses." In her blog entries, Zambreno reclaimed the traditionally pathologized biographies of Vivienne Eliot, Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, and Zelda Fitzgerald: writers and artists themselves who served as male writers' muses only to end their lives silenced, erased, and institutionalized. Over the course of two years, Frances Farmer Is My Sister helped create a community where today's "toxic girls" could devise a new feminist discourse, writing in the margins and developing an alternative canon.

In Heroines, Zambreno extends the polemic begun on her blog into a dazzling, original work of literary scholarship. Combing theories that have dictated what literature should be and who is allowed to write it―from T. S. Eliot's New Criticism to the writings of such mid-century intellectuals as Elizabeth Hardwick and Mary McCarthy to the occasional "girl-on-girl crime" of the Second Wave of feminism―she traces the genesis of a cultural template that consistently exiles female experience to the realm of the "minor," and diagnoses women for transgressing social bounds. "ANXIETY: When she experiences it, it's pathological," writes Zambreno. "When he does, it's existential." By advancing the Girl-As-Philosopher, Zambreno reinvents feminism for her generation while providing a model for a newly subjectivized criticism.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale

At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer.  This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early  rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; "Burning Bushes," which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and "Dire Cartographies," which investigates Utopias and Dystopias.  In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must.

Note: The electronic version of this title contains over thirty additional, illuminating eBook-exclusive illustrations by the author.

Sure to take its place alongside the literary landmarks of modern feminism, Elaine Showalter's brilliant, provocative work chronicles the roles of feminist intellectuals from the eighteenth century to the present.
With sources as diverse as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Scream 2, Inventing Herself is an expansive and timely exploration of women who possess a boundless determination to alter the world by boldly experiencing love, achievement, and fame on a grand scale. These women tried to work, travel, think, love, and even die in ways that were ahead of their time. In doing so, they forged an epic history that each generation of adventurous women has rediscovered.
Focusing on paradigmatic figures ranging from Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret Fuller to Germaine Greer and Susan Sontag, preeminent scholar Elaine Showalter uncovers common themes and patterns of these women's lives across the centuries and discovers the feminist intellectual tradition they embodied. The author brilliantly illuminates the contributions of Eleanor Marx, Zora Neale Hurston, Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Mead, and many more.
Showalter, a highly regarded critic known for her provocative and strongly held opinions, has here established a compelling new Who's Who of women's thought. Certain to spark controversy, the omission of such feminist perennials as Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Virginia Woolf will surprise and shock the conventional wisdom.
This is not a history of perfect women, but rather of real women, whose mistakes and even tragedies are instructive and inspiring for women today who are still trying to invent themselves.
Marilyn Booth's elegantly conceived study reveals the Arabic tradition of life-writing in an entirely new light. Though biography had long been male-authored, in the late nineteenth century short sketches by and about women began to appear in biographical dictionaries and women's journals. By 1940, hundreds of such biographies had been published, featuring Arabs, Turks, Indians, Europeans, North Americans, and ancient Greeks and Persians. Booth uses over five hundred "famous women" biographies—which include subjects as diverse as Joan of Arc, Jane Austen, Aisha bt. Abi Bakr, Sarojini Naidu, and Lucy Stone—to demonstrate how these narratives prescribed complex role models for middle-class girls, in a context where nationalist programs and emerging feminisms made defining the ideal female citizen an urgent matter.

Booth begins by asking how cultural traditions shaped women's biography, and to whom the Egyptian biographies were directed. The biographies were published at a time of great cultural awakening in Egypt, when social and political institutions were in upheaval. The stories suggested that Islam could be flexible on social practice and gender, holding out the possibility for women to make their own lives. Yet ultimately they indicate that women would find it extremely difficult to escape the nationalist ideal: the nuclear family with "woman" at its center. This conflict remains central to Egyptian politics today, and in her final chapter Booth examines Islamic biographies of women's lives that have been published in more recent years.
A wise, lyrical memoir about the power of literature to help us read our own lives—and see clearly the people we love most.

“Transcendent.”—The Washington Post • “You’d be hard put to find a more moving appreciation of Woolf’s work.” —The Wall Street Journal

Katharine Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Virginia Woolf’s modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death—a calamity that claimed her favorite person—she returned to that beloved novel as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief.

Smyth’s story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf’s Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss, and homecoming. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of To the Lighthouse, and her artful adaptation of its groundbreaking structure, Smyth guides us toward a new vision of Woolf’s most demanding and rewarding novel—and crafts an elegant reminder of literature’s ability to clarify and console.
 
Braiding memoir, literary criticism, and biography, All the Lives We Ever Lived is a wholly original debut: a love letter from a daughter to her father, and from a reader to her most cherished author.

Praise for All the Lives We Ever Lived

“This searching memoir pays homage to To the Lighthouse, while recounting the author’s fraught relationship with her beloved father, a vibrant figure afflicted with alcoholism and cancer. . . . Smyth’s writing is evocative and incisive.”—The New Yorker

“Like H Is for Hawk, Smyth’s book is a memoir that’s not quite a memoir, using Woolf, and her obsession with Woolf, as a springboard to tell the story of her father’s vivid life and sad demise due to alcoholism and cancer. .  . . An experiment in twenty-first century introspection that feels rooted in a modernist tradition and bracingly fresh.”—Vogue

“Deeply moving – part memoir, part literary criticism, part outpouring of longing and grief… This is a beautiful book about the wildness of mortal  life, and the tenuous consolations of art.”—The Times Literary Supplement

“Blending analysis of a deeply literary novel with a personal story... gently entwining observations from Woolf's classic with her own layered experience. Smyth tells us of her love for her father, his profound alcoholism and the unpredictable course of the cancer that ultimately claimed his life.”—Time
Frankenstein is one of the most popular classroom texts in high school and college, and Shelley's other works are attracting renewed attention. This reference is a comprehensive guide to her life and career. Included are hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries about her works, friends, relatives, residences, fictional characters, allusions, and more.

Mary Shelley has only recently emerged from the shadows of her famous parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, and that of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Today, Frankenstein (1818, 1831) is one of the most popular classroom texts in high school and college, and Mary Shelley's other works are attracting renewed attention. These works reveal much about the Romantic literary period and Shelley's ongoing development as a writer. In addition to her novels, Shelley wrote short stories, poems, and dramas. These texts illustrate the difficulties of a shifting literary marketplace, while her travel writings illuminate her rich personal experiences and keen intellect. This reference is a comprehensive guide to her life and career.

Included are hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries about her works, friends, relatives, residences, fictional characters, allusions, and more. Some entries briefly identify and contextualize their topics, while others offer more extensive discussions. Many entries cite sources of further information, and the volume closes with a bibliography. The work is fully cross-referenced and includes a detailed index and an appendix that discusses the sources of Shelley's quotations.

As in the United States, fairy-tale characters, motifs, and patterns (many from the Western canon) have pervaded recent Japanese culture. Like their Western counterparts, these contemporary adaptations tend to have a more female-oriented perspective than traditional tales and feature female characters with independent spirits.In From Dog Bridegroom to Wolf Girl: Contemporary Japanese Fairy-Tale Adaptations in Conversation with the West, Mayako Murai examines the uses of fairy tales in the works of Japanese women writers and artists since the 1990s in the light of Euro-American feminist fairy-tale re-creation and scholarship. After giving a sketch of the history of the reception of European fairy tales in Japan since the late nineteenth century, Murai outlines the development of fairy-tale retellings and criticism in Japan since the 1970s. Chapters that follow examine the uses of fairy-tale intertexts in the works of four contemporary writers and artists that resist and disrupt the dominant fairy-tale discourses in both Japan and the West. Murai considers Tawada Yoko’s reworking of the animal bride and bridegroom tale, Ogawa Yoko’s feminist treatment of the Bluebeard story, Yanagi Miwa’s visual restaging of familiar fairy-tale scenes, and Konoike Tomoko’s visual representations of the motif of the girl’s encounter with the wolf in the woods in different media and contexts. Forty illustrations round out Murai’s criticism, showing how fairy tales have helped artists reconfigure oppositions between male and female, human and animal, and culture and nature. From Dog Bridegroom to Wolf Girl invites readers to trace the threads of the fairy-tale web with eyes that are both transcultural and culturally sensitive in order to unravel the intricate ways in which different traditions intersect and clash in today’s globalising world. Fairy-tale scholars and readers interested in issues of literary and artistic adaptation will enjoy this volume.
On the two hundredth anniversary of her birth, a landmark biography transforms Charlotte Brontë from a tragic figure into a modern heroine.
 
Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition.

Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity. She seizes upon a moment in Charlotte’s adolescence that ignited her determination to reject poverty and obscurity: While working at a girls’ school in Brussels, Charlotte fell in love with her married professor, Constantin Heger, a man who treated her as “nothing special to him at all.” She channeled her torment into her first attempts at a novel and resolved to bring it to the world's attention.

Charlotte helped power her sisters’ work to publication, too. But Emily’s Wuthering Heights was eclipsed by Jane Eyre, which set London abuzz with speculation: Who was this fiery author demanding love and justice for her plain and insignificant heroine? Charlotte Brontë’s blazingly intelligent women brimming with hidden passions would transform English literature. And she savored her literary success even as a heartrending series of personal losses followed.

Charlotte Brontë is a groundbreaking view of the beloved writer as a young woman ahead of her time. Shaped by Charlotte’s lifelong struggle to claim love and art for herself, Harman’s richly insightful biography offers readers many of the pleasures of Brontë’s own work.
During a life that spanned ninety years, Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) witnessed dramatic and intensely debated changes in the gender roles of American women. Mary Titus draws upon unpublished Porter papers, as well as newly available editions of her early fiction, poetry, and reviews, to trace Porter’s shifting and complex response to those cultural changes. Titus shows how Porter explored her own ambivalence about gender and creativity, for she experienced firsthand a remarkable range of ideas concerning female sexuality. These included the Victorian attitudes of the grandmother who raised her; the sexual license of revolutionary Mexico, 1920s New York, and 1930s Paris; and the conservative, ordered attitudes of the Agrarians.

Throughout Porter’s long career, writes Titus, she “repeatedly probed cultural arguments about female creativity, a woman’s maternal legacy, romantic love, and sexual identity, always with startling acuity, and often with painful ambivalence.” Much of her writing, then, serves as a medium for what Titus terms Porter’s “gender-thinking”--her sustained examination of the interrelated issues of art, gender, and identity.

Porter, says Titus, rebelled against her upbringing yet never relinquished the belief that her work as an artist was somehow unnatural, a turn away from the essential identity of woman as “the repository of life,” as childbearer. In her life Porter increasingly played a highly feminized public role as southern lady, but in her writing she continued to engage changing representations of female identity and sexuality. This is an important new study of the tensions and ambivalence inscribed in Porter’s fiction, as well as the vocational anxiety and gender performance of her actual life.

One of the most often repeated anecdotes about the direction of literary studies over the past three decades concerns a graduate student who complained of reading Kate Chopin's The Awakening in three classes and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick in none. But Chopin has not always been featured in the literary curriculum. Though she achieved national success in her lifetime (1850--1904) as a writer of Louisiana "local color" fiction, after her death her work fell into obscurity until 1969, when Norwegian literary scholar Per Seyersted published The Complete Works of Kate Chopin and sparked a remarkable American literary revival. Chopin soon became a major presence in the canon, and today every college textbook surveying American literature contains a Chopin short story, her novel The Awakening, or an excerpt from it.
In this unique work, twelve prominent Chopin scholars reflect on their parts in the Kate Chopin revival and its impact on their careers. A generation ago, against powerful odds, many of them staked their reputations on the belief -- now fully validated -- that Chopin is one of America's essential writers. These scholars energetically sponsored Chopin's works in the 1970s and 1980s and encouraged reading, studying, and teaching Chopin. They wrote books and articles about her, gave talks about her, offered interviews to newspapers and magazines, taught her works in their classes, and urged their colleagues to do the same, helping to build a network of teachers, students, editors, journalists, librarians, and others who continue to promote Chopin's work.
Throughout, these essays stress several elements vital to the revival's success. Timing proved critical, as the rise of the women's movement and the emergence of new sexual norms in the 1960s helped set an ideal context for Chopin in the United States and abroad in the 1970s and 1980s. Seyersted's biography of Chopin and his accurate texts of her entire oeuvre allowed scholars to quickly publish their analyses of her work. Popular media -- including Redbook, New York Times, and PBS -- took notice of Chopin and advanced her work outside the scholarly realm. But in the final analysis, as the contributors point out, Kate Chopin's irresistible writing itself made her revival possible.
Highly personal, at times amusing, and always thought provoking, these revealing recollections and new critical insights offer a fascinating firsthand account of a decisive moment in American literary history.
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