Category Archives: Academic Journals

What Does Education Have to Do With Capitalism?

The English major, as a chosen specialty by an individual, is most of the time a deal breaker in many situations.  Like in the case when that person is asked, “What is your major?” or “What did you say your bachelor degree is on?”  Many people are actually scare to answer these questions.  It takes great courage to say, with the head up, “I am an English major,” or “I have a Bachelor’s of Art in English.”  Even if you give those answers, people will continue to question you and will pretend that your education has been a waste of time and money.  Education is very important for any given human being, but here in America, in the country of opportunities, we worry more about what people are useful for, instead of how intellectual they are.

While reading an article by Mark Slouka, I realized that what we do is mostly worry about how people are going to use their career and education to make money than anything else.  In his case, Slouka says that one day, when he was telling his soon to be mother-in-law, that he had a Ph.D, her response was the following question, “What’re you going to do, open a philosophy store?” Ha, ha, ha, I don’t know how I would answer that, but what I know is that this is the kind of thinking that we usually hear about, this is actually, “The essential drama of American Education today” (Slouka).  We don’t see education as something beneficial in any other sense, but the economical.  Our thinking has shifted from what education actually is, to what education should be.   It is always about, “the victory of whatever can be quantified over everything that can’t” (Slouka).  It becomes something in the lines of, if it is something, like the English major, please tell me that you will make money with it, or at least help the economic world we live in, or don’t bother telling me about it.

It is incredible how we, as human beings, have gone from the abstract, to the monetary.  Nowadays, “It’s about the quiet retooling of American education into an adjunct of business, an instrument of production” (Slouka).  Will we ever be able to change this trend and thinking?  Will we ever wake up and change our current situation?  Maybe someday we will be able to change this, but it will happen as Slouka says, “Only by attempting to understand what used to be called, in a less embarrassed age, the ‘human condition.’”  Once we understand that, we will know that “In a visible world, the invisible, does not compute” (Slouka).  And therefore we will be able to realize that if education is not visible, to the naked eye, we the English majors can make visible in many other ways, and not only in the economic sense.

We have to remember that, “What is taught, in any given time, in any culture, is an expression of what that culture considers important” (Slouka).  If we let our whole culture think that education is not important, that instead money means more than education, then we are basically letting Capitalism make education bend to its needs in order to find success.  When I was a young boy, my father said to me, “Son, I will never in my life be able to give money, but one thing I can try, and will try, to give you is education.”  This words came from a very poor person, who he himself never had a chance to education in Honduras, yet he wanted his son, me, and my siblings to be educated.  He fulfilled his promise up to the point I could make that decision my own.  And here I am writing, in a second language, and thinking about a different culture.  Money was not my father’s interest, not it is mine, but education has played a huge role in my life and will continue to do so in the life of an English major, even if that means to confront Capitalist thinking and oppression.  If we let capitalism control our thinking and our education, we are basically in the situation that Slouka proposes, “We’re well on the way of producing a nation of employees, not citizens.”  The choice is yours.

Works Cited

Slouka, Mark. “Dehumanized.” Harpers Magazine. N.p., Sept. 2009. Web. 03 May 2013. <http://harpers.org/archive/2009/09/dehumanized/&gt;.

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Hemingway, Sex, Travel and More Recent Conversations by Victoria Garafola

The Hemingway Review is a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ). This membership elevates the quality of the work submitted and imposes specific guidelines for submissions to discourage ill fitting articles. Additionally, as a member of the CELJ, the Hemingway Review outlines specific regulations regarding inclusion notification and publication. On top of the requirements imposed by the CELJ, the Hemingway Review also has its own set of guidelines that help to ensure quality work is submitted. A word limit of 6,250 words is considered “ideal” by the Hemingway Society and works that have been published elsewhere are not accepted. Additionally, while the journal is open to all academic approaches, it does not publish creative writing such as poetry or fiction. Additionally, those submitting work to the Hemingway Review are strongly encouraged to consult The Elements of Style by E.B White as well as George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” Furthermore, submitters should be very familiar with the existing conversation concerning Hemingway scholarship, his works, and his biography. Each issue of the Hemingway Review contains an updated biography. After observing the past two years in Hemingway scholarship, I have concluded that queer theory, gender identity, and travel are all trends in the most recent Hemingway conversation.
After consulting the past two years worth of issues in the Hemingway Review, I have noticed definitive trends within the current conversation on Hemingway scholarship. The most recent issue, published in fall of 2012, deals with queer theory, lesbian identity, and the works of Ernest Hemingway. These ideas, as observed in Chikako Tanimoto’s “Queering Sexual Practices in ‘Mr. and Mrs. Eliot’” and in Jennifer Haytock’s “Hemingway, Wilhelm, and a Style for Lesbian Representation,” show a clear trend in the most recent Hemingway scholarship and provide a framework for future conversations with this topic.
Last spring’s issue of the Hemingway Review trended several articles dealing with nature in relation to Hemingway’s work. Alexander Hollenberg’s “The Spacious Foreground: Interpreting Simplicity and Ecocritical Ethics in The Old Man and the Sea” and John Voelker’s “Some Post-Fishing Thoughts on Hemingway and Writing” also incorporates Hemingway’s love of the outdoors into its criticism. Another idea trending in this issue is the notion of international travel. It is well know that Hemingway was a proud expat, however these recent articles explore that part of Hemingway’s identity. In “ ‘A Trick Men Learn in Paris’ : Hemingway, Esquire, and Mass Tourism” by Kevin Maier and in “ ‘He Was Sort of a Joke, In Fact’ : Ernest Hemingway in Spain” by Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera one notices a clear renaissance of Hemingway scholarship that deals with his international travels and love of all things foreign.
In the Spring 2011 issue of the Hemingway Review, I noticed clear trends discussing masculinity and race in regards to Hemingway. Josep M. Armegol-Carrera wrote an article titled “Race-ing Hemingway: Revisions of Masculinity and/as Whiteness in Ernest Heningway’s Green Hills of Africa and Under Killmanjaro.” Additionally, in the same issue an article by Andrew Feldman was titled “Leopoldina Rodriguez: Hemingway’s Cuban Lover?” and another article titled “The Elephant in the Writing Room: Sympathy and Weakness in Hemingway’s “Masculine Test,” The Garden of Eden.” These articles all come full circle with the most recent issues’s conversation about queer theory and lesbian representations in Hemingway’s work.
Most important to realize is the gravity of these trends. They are not a coincidence. Rather, they are an insight into the current conversation and new theories circulating around Hemingway’s bibliography. Moving forward, this knowledge will enable me to write about Hemingway in a way that contributes to the current conversation without reiterating someone else’s ideas.

Full text of these and other issues of the Hemingway Review can be found at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hemingway_review/

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Justice for Juniors: Trends in Children’s Literature

By: Molly Boylan

No longer can children just cuddle up with a nice novel without being infiltrated with double meanings and hidden statements. Nope, there is always a double meaning attached to these materials. For many years, the Journal of Children’s Literature has been decoding and exploring the different genres and themes of children’s and young adult literature with the help of scholars, teachers, librarians and students submitting their papers and research. In turn, this is the same audience for the journal. The articles that are commonly accepted in the journal are ones dealing with “research, theory, content analysis, instruction, and critical issues in children’s literature,” (Albright). The main trends among the most recent issues are children’s involvement in reading, social justice, and multiculturalism.

Foremost, a theme that I noticed to be throughout the journal is children’s involvement with the texts and in the journal articles. It seems as though some of the articles have acquired and synthesized what children are saying about the texts given to them.  By looking at the titles we can see this pattern: “In Search of the Ideal reader for Nonfiction Children’s Books about Dia de los Muertes” and “Becoming Characters: Deepening Young Children’s Literary Understanding through Drama,” (Journal of Children’s Literature Vols. 37-38). These articles seem to be asking the question: how can I get the students involved? Here, we can see the large emphasis put on understanding the readers. No longer is the child just reading the book, but they are becoming an active member in the discussions. There is great stress on having the children be able to analyze and read into the text. This would cultivate active learners rather than passive learners. Getting the children involved in the reading and implementation of the materials could be a reason why the following trends have also come about.

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Children’s Literature from Fall 2012, the most noticeable trend is social justice. Evidence of this trend can be seen in the titles of the various published articles: “Developing Understandings of Social Justice: Critical Thinking in Action Literature Discussion Group”, “Injustice and Irony: Student’s Respond to Japanese American Internment Picturebooks”, “Freedom Riders: A National Geographic Journey in Social Justice through Imagery”, and a poem entitled “The Activist” (Journal of Children’s Literature Vol.38). This trend can be derived from the recent social changes that are going on. For example, in movies such as The Hunger Games and The Batman series the main protagonist is pitted against a powerful source of injustice. For Katniss, it is the strongly unjust Capital making children fight to the death. For Batman, he is forcefully fighting against whatever villain is trying to take over Gotham. While watching the movie, the audience is silently cheering for justice to prevail over the antagonist. Thus, when goodness prevails the crowd is pleased. In the same way, novels and children’s books can be the source of this morality and activism being found in today’s generation.

Another trend that I found in the journal was an emphasis on the readers acceptance of multiculturalism. For example, titles like: “Some People Do Things Different Than Us: Exploring Personal and Global Cultures in the First Grade Classroom,” “My Story, Your Story, Our Story: Cultural Connections and Issues on Children’s Literature” and “I Have a Dream Too!: The American Dream in Coretta Scott King Award-Winning Books,” all have to deal with different cultures other than what the reader may be used to (Journal of Children’s Literature Vols. 37-38). These titles were taken from the 2011 and 2012 issues of the Journal of Children’s Literature. I theorize that this trend is in conjunction with the political debates and social debates of today. Furthermore, at the time, the acceptance of people “different than me” seems to be reigning in the newspaper headlines. Everyone has been calling for acceptance of other people beliefs, sexuality, religion, skin color and others, which is still happening today. By the children’s book being able to start this conversation, children will be able to grow up learning about acceptance and how there are different stories in life other than their own.

In closing, noticing the trends of young reader’s involvement, social justice, and acceptance of culture, will bring about a new understanding of the power of literature for children. There is a grand influence in the books children are reading. We need to accept it, step into the conversation, and act on it; just like the young readers are doing.

 

 

Works Cited

Albright, Lettie K.1. “Call For Manuscripts.” Journal Of Children’s Literature 38.2 (2012): 3-4. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

The Journal of Children’s Literature 38.1 (2012): n. pag. Education Full Text. Web. 25 Feb. 2012.

The Journal of Children’s Literature 38.2 (2012): n. pag. Education Full Text. Web. 25 Feb. 2012.

The Journal of Children’s Literature 37.1 (2011): n. pag. Education Full Text. Web. 25 Feb. 2012.

The Journal of Children’s Literature 37.2 (2011): n. pag. Education Full Text. Web. 25 Feb. 2012.

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Works Written By: A Lady–still relavant 200 years and counting

By: Noelle Kozak

In the scholarly world of Jane Austen, one of the most prominent journals comes from JANSA—The Jane Austen Society of North America—whose mission is to promote the reading, study, understanding, and enjoyment of Jane Austen, her work, life and genius (JANSA). Their publication, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line, is published every 16th of December and features a wide variety of scholarly work (JANSA). Currently they are accepting submissions for Persuasions with no specific topic being listed. However, there are guidelines which include a word limit of 2000 to 4000 words written under MLA with reference to specific editions of Jane Austen’s works (JANSA). In addition to this, the organization is also offering  conducting an essay contest which “ aligns with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Pride and Prejudice . . . Timeless” (JANSA). After looking at the four most recent volumes of work compiled by JANSA, (winter editions from 2009-2012) I have discovered many different trends. Some of those trends that are of scholarly notice are that of feminism and adaptations.

From 2009-2012, feminism played a prominent role in studies of Jane Austen’s work. Scholars are continually finding new ways to look at her characters and interpret their personalities, actions, relationships etc. Within Persuasions, feminism is present  trend in a variety of works including the following:  “The City of Sisterly Love: Jane Austen’s Community as Sorority;” “The Liberation of Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice;” “Aisha, Rajshree Ojha’s Urban Emma: Not Entirely Clueless” and  “ ‘Jane Would Approve:’ ” Gender and Authenticity at Louisiana’s Jane Austen Literary Festival.”  This trend in feminism is of great interest to scholars today because of the way Austen wrote her characters ahead of her time.

During the same four years, adaptations have also been a really prominent trend within this journal. Since there are many adaptations of Jane Austen in many shapes and forms, the contributing authors had a lot to work with. Within the journal adaptation trends have included  a variety of pieces including the following: “Adapting Emma for the Twenty-first Century: An Emma No One Will Like;” “Our Austen: Fan Fiction in the Classroom;” “From Page to Screen: Emma Thompson’s Film Adaptation of Sense and Sensibility” and “Variations on a Theme: Openings, Closings, and Returns in Pride & Prejudice.” Just as feminism is constantly being discussed in Austen, adaptations are extremely relevant today. Austen’s work is constantly being re-imagined, revised and rewritten for a modern audience in very unique ways.

Austen lovers and scholars alike should take these themes into consideration because new ideas are constantly happening in the world of Jane Austen. And, they can only build on each other. Yet the very idea that scholars are still finding ways to critically examine and engage her work over two hundred years later, really says something about her standing as an author. Two hundred years later everyone is still asking Why Jane, and why now? That has to count for something.

Works Cited

“The Jane Austen Society of North America.” The Jane Austen Society of North America. http://www.jasna.org/index.html, 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

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Still talking about Whitman

By: Kelsey Healey

One might wonder how much there is left to say about an author as widely studied as Walt Whitman. Apparently, quite a lot.

The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review is a peer-reviewed journal produced by the University of Iowa.   Founded in 1983, the journal publishes scholarly articles, essays, and book reviews dealing with Whitman’s life, work, and influence.  Anyone can submit work to be considered for publication (provided that it is compliant with the copyright and publication policies) but only a few (roughly 4-9) articles are published in each issue. Most issues consist of a few critical essays, one book review, and a brief article on some new piece of relevant information or discovery.  Overall, there are a wide variety of topics covered, but there seems to be an emphasis on the discovery of new connections between Whitman and other writers or artists, and new ways of looking at Whitman’s relationship with American culture.

One trend that stands out is the sheer number of essay titles that include the phrases: “never-before-seen,” “previously unknown,” “recently discovered,” etc.  It is interesting that there is still new information being unearthed about Whitman, and there is still more primary-source material for scholars to look at. One issue includes a “previously unrecorded” photograph. Another refers to a recently discovered note on the inside of one of Whitman’s notebooks, and another refers to two previously undocumented reviews of Leaves of Grass. Other articles  make seemingly unlikely new connections that build on our body of knowledge. For example, one article explores the connections between Whitman and the Korean writer, Yi Hyoseok, and demonstrates how Western influence and Whitman’s persona in Leaves of Grass appear in some of Yi Hyoseok’s work. Other, smaller trends that appear in recent issues of the Walt Whitman Quarterly include a re-examination of Whitman’s relationship with the American South, and new perspectives on the homo-erotic elements in his work, based on re-reading and looking at Whitman’s work in new contexts. I think all of these trends point to what we have been discussing in class – that literature is not a stagnant thing, nor does it exist in a vacuum.

People often say that the more times you read a particular book, or visit a particular place, the more you will find there. Whitman is like that.

One of the things about this journal that I found most interesting, and super helpful, is that each issue contains an updated annotated bibliography of Whitman scholarship. This bibliography is also available as a searchable database through the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review website.

Preconceived Culture

The depiction of culture is essential to any well-constructed novel. In order for the author to create a believable “world” or “society,” they have to describe culture. Usually writers are good at this, however, the description of various cultures throughout literature may lead to preconceived ideas or even stereotypical ideas of a race, social group, state, city, or nation.

Duke University Press produces a triannual peer-reviewed journal entitled Novel: A Forum on Fiction which goes into detail about various struggles plaguing writers and readers of fiction alike. In the past few issues, the topics of culture and sociology have played a major role in the publication. According to its mission, Novel “publishes essays concerned with the novel’s role in engaging and shaping the world (Duke).” The means that the way in which we as readers and students perceive the world is A) important and B) influenced by the books we read.

We matter!

The most recent issue of Novel includes an article called “A Picture of Europe: Possession Trance in Heart of Darkness” written by Nidesh Lawtoo. The article focuses on Conrad’s stereotypical depiction of African people, especially the activity of dancing to the “sound of drums in a state of frenzy.” Lawtoo uses this article as a means of proving Conrad’s racism but ponders whether the dramatized description may also function as a “means to realize the dreadfulness of ritual frenzy in any place.” Regardless of Lawtoo’s conclusion, it  is clear that he is investigating how an author’s portrayal of a place or people can drastically alter how the reader perceives them.

In Lisa Zunshine’s article “Sociocognitive Complexity” she explores how the mind of fictional characters interacts with the reader. This relates to culture because the way in which certain characters perceive events that happen to them throughout a piece of literature may influence the reader’s perception of the same events, places, or people. The idea of historicism comes into play in her article as well as she explores the history of psychological understanding and progress of mental states.

Nathan Hansley discusses the shift in historicism and how cultural forms come about at the end of the “imperial life cycles.” Although Hansley focuses on three canonical works, the idea of historicism as in flux is applicable to most literature, including contemporary fiction. It correlates nicely with the idea of cultural depictions throughout literary history as well, because the same area, event, or people may be described differently depending on what the author thinks or the time during which he or she writes their work.

Finally, Christopher Douglas focuses on the depiction of multiculturalism in America – dealing specifically with Christianity. He bases his article upon “Gilead” bu Marilynne Robinson, because he sees it as different from most American fiction written today. Although religion may not play a major role in all literature, there are other defining characters aside from religion that may define a character, country, or other aspect of a literary work. He focuses on how contemporary American fiction leans toward an agnostic viewpoint but Robinson’s work focuses on the difference between spirituality and politicized religion. Again, this relates to the reader’s perception of the subject at hand.

Novel provided me with several different perspectives concerning how an author’s idea of a place, concept, event, or culture can drastically alter the reader’s own perception.

While it is important to allow the author’s views to permeate our thoughts as readers, it is essential to look at the opposing claim, play devil’s advocate when reading, and discover our individual understandings of  the subjects at hand.

 

 

Our Rhetorical Need

The Rhetoric Review is a journal that focuses on rhetoric and the way it has changed, as well as how different groups of people use it. It discusses the problems that rhetoric faces or has faced. It looks at current rhetoric and how it has changed due to our culture and due to different societal groups. Through the issues of the journal different trends have appeared. The following trends have been found in the Rhetoric Review from Volume 29 Issue 4 2010 to Volume 30 Issue 3 2011, discussion of cultural and societal issues of rhetoric, the growth of technology and its effect on rhetoric, learning and adapting rhetoric which can be done by looking at its history.

            The focus on cultural and societal issues is the trend that appeared in Volume 29 Issue 4. Two articles that stuck out were “Reading, Writing, and Redemption: Literary Sponsorship and the Mexican-American” and “Riding Out of Bounds: Women Bicyclists’ Embodied Medical Authority. It’s something to note that two groups that have struggled to be heard and have rights in America are now focusing on the use of rhetoric. I find it interesting that these groups have turned to the power of words to find their voices and be heard. Volume 30 Issue 3 also contained some articles that pertained to current cultural or societal issues that rhetoric now faces. Titles like “The God Strategy: How Religion became a Political Weapon in America” and “Identity Strategy Rhetorical Selves in Conversation” also display social issues; the issues of religion and finding ones identity. And in today’s society the issue of debate is always a heated one, claiming who is right or wrong is always how those debates end. The issue of identity is one that the media of our society has created, what is out or in, and who or what you should be is always changing, as is language and rhetoric. An interesting idea would be to look at rhetoric could be used to combat this.

            The next trend was that of technology. Technology has greatly influenced our society and in turn has influenced rhetoric. Volume 30 Issue 1 heavily focuses on technology. Articles like “Rhetoric and Technologies: New Directions in Writing and Communication” and “Going Wireless: A Critical Exploration of Wireless and Mobile Technologies for Composition Teachers and Researchers” show the influence of technology in the rhetoric of today.  

            The final trend is that of learning from rhetoric and adapting it. Some articles pointed towards history to teach about rhetoric. Rhetoric has changed over time and articles from Volume 30 Issues 2 and 3,  in this journal such as; “A Return to being Reasonable”, “Why History?”, “The Female Monarchy: A Rhetorical Strategy of Early Modern Rule” display and discuss this. Rhetoric has evolved with time and experience and people need to understand the changes and learn how to adapt with them and use them. It’s also beneficial to look at history to gain insight on other ways to use rhetoric and to compare the issues the rhetoric faced then and now and how each time rhetoric was able to adapt and be carried on.

            These trends matter. Even to the people that do not study rhetoric or have no direct interest in it. The trends matter because rhetoric is part of our daily life.

Rhetoric is communication.

Communication is how we interact. Rhetoric incorporating social and cultural issues is beneficial because it shows that it is all inclusive and that the use of rhetoric can help solve issues. The acknowledgement of technology is also extremely important because technology has grown vastly in the last 10 years and its continuing to expand, tying technology and rhetoric together shows that rhetoric is not stuck in time, it can adapt as things change and shift. This too ties into the need to learn from rhetoric, where it has been, where it is at, and where it is going because rhetoric is how we speak, it’s how we persuade, it’s how we connect, and it’s how we are able to articulate our own thoughts, opinions, and ideas.

Rhetoric is language and without language what would our society really be?

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Volume 5: Why are the Kardashians Famous?

by: Megan Zappe

Cather Studies is a journal published by the University of Nebraska Press once every two years. It is a journal highlighting important issues found in and surrounding Willa Cather’s works. The audience consists of scholars interested in ideas and topics arising from readings of Cather as well as some American history and its effect on literature. In order to submit to any of the University of Nebraska Press’ journals, there are strict guidelines a writer must follow. As with any publication, a proposal must be drafted, as well as a sample chapter of one’s research (UNP.org). The UNP warns that to reviewing proposals could take six to eight weeks due to the multitude of submissions they receive. Each published Cather Studies journal follows a theme, whether it is types of literary criticism, historical, or autobiographical.

The first trend resulting from Volume 5 of Cather Studies deals with ecological issues in Cather’s works. Her novels O Pioneers!, My Antonia, and Song of the Lark are all part of a group known as the Prairie Novels. In “Catherland,” the study of environmental issues in Cather’s works is known as Ecological Imagination. The fifth volume of Cather Studies has essays titled “My Antonia and the Parks Movement,” “A Guided Tour of Ecocriticism, with Excursions to Catherland,” and “Willa Cather: The Plow and the Pen.” These essays all deal specifically with the representation of the wild Nebraskan plains in Cather’s written works. These trends may have developed after scholars realized that there was a significant tie to natural elements other than the fact that Cather lived in the West (Rosowski). They began to explore reasons for including these elements as well as the role that nature adopted in her works.

In the next installment of Cather Studies, the trending issues were history, memory, and military conflict. The essays in this journal deal specifically with One of Ours and The Professor’s House, which are the most renowned war-time works that Cather has written. Essays in this volume are titled “Recreation in World War I and the Practice of Play in One of Ours,” “Looking at Agony: World War I in the Professor’s House,” and “Between Two Wars in a Breaking World: Willa Cather and the Persistence of War Consciousness.” These essays are mostly concerned with the ways that war and human ideas about war have influenced Cather’s literary works. These works were written in a post-war America where the acquisition of wealth was the main goal of most Americans. The authors of these essays were primarily concerned with how the effect of war had changed literature (Trout).

The final installment of Cather Studies deals with Willa Cather as a Cultural Icon. This volume addresses the role of Cather outside of the literary world. After Cather’s success as a writer, scholars began to examine autobiographical instances in her works. Essays in this volume include “What Happens to Criticism When the Artist Becomes an Icon?,” “Willa Cather and Her Public in 1922,” and “Cather’s Secular Humanism: Writing Anacoluthon and Shooting Out into the Eternities.” After Cather had become a household name, scholars were focusing on everything but the “quintessential frontier” in her works (Reynolds). Cather’s life had not revolved around Nebraskan prairie novels and she had explored many other types of writing such as poetry, short story, criticism, and journalism.

In Cather Studies, trends studying Willa Cather’s works revolved around Ecological Imagination, Post-war America represented in literature, and aspects of Cather’s life that were not studied as prominently as her famous prairie novels. There is obvious difference between the topics of these volumes, but they were molded from the concerns of scholars. The fifth volume of Cather Studies was published in 2003, when the world became much more informed about recycling, ozone layers, and saving the polar bears. This was just a mere three years before Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” The sixth volume reflects the United State’s connection with war and Cather, because the war with Afghanistan had began in 2001 and was still being fought in 2006, though people were questioning the reasons for war. Finally, viewing Cather as an icon when volume seven was published in 2007 reflects changing social ideals about famous people and their successes. It just so happens that “Keeping up with the Kardashians” aired in 2007, and people began to ask why we are so obsessed with famous people’s lives. It is interesting how current events strike new ideas about literature written 80 years ago and this is reflected in the trends of Cather Studies.

                         

 

*Rosowski, Trout, and Reynolds are all editors of and wrote the introductions to the three volumes of Cather Studies. The full-text versions of these volumes can be found at: http://cather.unl.edu/index.cs.html

Recent Trends in “Arthuriana”

By Katie Owens

I was able to find a journal that fits my topic perfectly. It is called Arthuriana and is produced at Purdue on behalf of the International Arthurian Society-North American Branch. It describes itself as “a multidisciplinary journal of Arthurian studies from beginnings to the present” (Arthuriana.org). It has been in publication since 1995, and continues to be released quarterly. The journal’s website says that they are the only academic journal in the world that is centered solely on Arthurian legend. This makes what they choose to publish especially important. In the last year, they have published a wide range of articles. Among these articles, however, a few distinct themes are apparent. These themes are gender roles within Arthurian culture and exploration of adaptations throughout time.

Surrounding the stories of the knights and their round table, there has been a lot of scholarship about the women of the legends. In the recent issues of Athuriana, there are numerous articles about gender and women’s roles. These include: “‘His Princess’: An Athurian Family Drama,” “The Girl’s King Arthur: Retelling Tales,” “Helping Girls to Be Heroic?: Some Recent Arthurian Fiction for Young Adults,” “Grrrls and Arthurian Stories,” and “Women’s Power in Late Medieval Romance.” This recent trend is not one that is only seen in this field. More and more attention is being paid to gender roles across literature, art, and politics. What makes it interesting in this field is that no one at the time when these stories were originally written would have been thinking about any of the ideas these articles represent. This creates an interesting idea of what gender issues are present in the old text that are able to be flushed out in newer texts.

Another trend that I noticed was studies of the changing nature of Arthurian legend over time.  Articles that fit into this trend include: “Malory, Hardyng, and the Winchester Manuscript: Some Preliminary Conclusions,” “Translation or Adaptation? Parcevals saga as a Result of Cultural Transformation,” “Ectors saga: An Arthurian Pastiche in Classical Guise,” “Tristram: From Civilizing Hero to Power Politician.” In addition to these articles, there were a series of reviews in the Spring 2012 issue of books that center around film adaptations of the Middle Ages. These two trends show that scholars are concentrating on relating different Arthurian tales to one another and see how that transform over time. (Which is good news for me.) This is important because it shows that no matter how much time passes, new discoveries will continue to be made. It also shows that adaptations and related productions continue to be made, 600 years after Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.

By examining these trends, one can notice where the scholarship in the genre has been concentrating its focus recently. Issues of gender roles and examination of adaptations are both trends that can be seen in the most recent issues of Arthuriana. I think that these trends can be particularly helpful when considering literature as a whole. Feminist readings and issues of adaptation are present across the board in current criticism. It is interesting to see that in a genre as old as Arthurian literature, modern trends still apply to what people are finding interesting.