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The English Department: A Personal and Institutional History

The English Department: A Personal and Institutional History
by W. Ross Winterowd
Southern Illinois University Press, $19.95

W. Ross Winterowd brings 40 years of service in his discipline to this subject — a history of English studies in the university since the Enlightenment. The Bruce McElderry Professor of English emeritus presents a unique history that tells the whole story of English studies and traces the massive influence on English studies exerted by textbooks such as the Harbrace College Handbook. Winterowd is very much a part of the story as well. Not simply a disinterested scholar searching for the truth, he invites controversy, discussion — and possibly argument — with his reinterpretations of the Romantic legacy inherited by English departments and of major literary figures and theory. Winterowd writes, “One curse of being in English is the obligation to read impeccable, dull scholarly articles and impeccable, dull scholarly books.” He writes that humor, wit, and grace are compatible with sound scholarship and flawless reasoning — and he imbues this volume with all those elements.

Women in the Third World: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Issues
Edited by Nelly P. Stromquist
Garland Publishing Inc., $135

This concise reference work written by a team of more than 80 international experts and edited by Nelly P. Stromquist, a professor in the School of Education, presents essays that summarize the most recent scholarship on a wide range of subjects throughout the Third World. The volume details contemporary issues, such as recent developments in the prevention of violence against women, the conditions of women’s lives across regions and countries and women’s participation in government, science, and technology. “It was a daunting task to locate scholars in such a range of fields,” writes Stromquist. “Production of the encyclopedia clearly demonstrated the obstacles that researchers, and feminist researchers in particular, face in developing countries.” In her preface, Stromquist writes: “The encyclopedia seeks to provide a feminist perspective on issues involved in socioeconomic development of Third World countries.” But, she allows, there are multiple “feminist perspectives” in the social sciences and among activist groups — and that diversity is found in this work. Stromquist aims to present a vast amount of information on subjects that have implications for Third World women as they move toward the 21st century, stimulate border crossing of disciplines, inform readers of the condition of women in different settings and countries, and show the relationship between gender and power.

Edward Bond, Letters 4
Edited by Ian Stuart
Harwood Academic Publishers, $23

This fourth in a series of volumes by Ian Stuart, assistant professor in the School of Theatre, on the works of British playwright Edward Bond focuses on four areas of the artist’s works: education, imagination and the child; theater in education; At the Inland Sea (Bond’s 1995 play for young people); and language and imagery in Lear and In the Company of Men. Bond’s letters attack modern education and suggest that social problems are caused by an oppression of the imagination. Many of the letters refer directly to a particular play, and Stuart reminds readers what “a formidable and ultimately fruitless task it is attempting to group this writer’s correspondence into specific areas” — yet it is the only useful way to chronicle Bond’s thinking on his own plays and on society in general. Although Stuart provides some notes and lectures Bond prepared for presentation at conferences and meetings, as well as footnotes, Stuart’s intention is to allow Bond’s letters to speak for themselves.

The Exceptional Individual: Achieving Business Success One Person at a Time
by Peter Engel
St. Martin’s Press, $22.95

Peter Engel, a professor of entrepreneurial studies in the USC Marshall School of Business, is a former top Colgate-Palmolive executive. He offers step-by-step advice and techniques for success. Engel contends there are no principles of business structure that ensure success, and that consultants who claim they have the answers are wrongheaded at best, fraudulent at worst. He maintains that excellence in business begins and ends with those rare individuals who are able carry a new idea forward and get it realized. His chapters outline the characteristics of exceptional individuals, show how to identify, retain and encourage them, and discuss their support system, influence and future. “The men or women who will lead the business of the next century will necessarily have wholly different skills than today’s exceptional individuals,” writes Engel, “ . . . but the magical motivating force, the hunger for achievement, the yearning for personal excellence, will remain.”

Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands
Edited by Jennifer Wolch and Jody Emel
Verso Books, $19

This broad-ranging collection of essays, co-edited by Jennifer Wolch, professor of geography, contributes to a much-needed fundamental rethinking about the relationships between hu-mans and animals. The plight of animals, the editors contend, has never been more serious than it is today, as humans poison, dissect, displace, hold in captivity and consume animals. Essays explore zoos and wolves; the U.S. meatpacking industry and meat production in the Indian state of Rajasthan; cougars, spotted owls and environmental politics; and legal and ethical approaches to human-animal relations. This volume compels a profound rethinking of the nature of human-animal relations and offers proposals for reconstituting this relationship on an ecologically and ethically progressive basis.

Screenwriting From the Soul
by Richard Krevolin
Renaissance Books, $14.95

This volume teaches not only the craft of writing a script, but also explains what it takes to be a working screenwriter in the business. In a “letter” to an aspiring screenwriter, Richard Krevolin, a professor of screenwriting in the School of Cinema-Television, writes, “Why write? Why try to become a screenwriter? Why bother when it’s just so much easier to watch TV or go to the movies? . . . Why write? One might as well ask, Why breathe?” It’s that kind of passion that drives Krevolin as well as others with many screen credits and thousands of wannabes standing in the wings. Through a mix of humor and sage advice, Krevolin tells readers how to turn a concept into a successful screenplay while learning about themselves in the process. “Hollywood,” he writes, “is a town where you must hurl your scripts at people until they stick and then, if you’re lucky, one day people will start hurling scripts back at you.”

Joycean Cultures/Culturing Joyces
Edited by Vincent J. Cheng, Kimberly J. Devlin and Margot Norris
University of Delaware Press, $39.50

Vincent J. Cheng, professor of English, notes that this volume of essays was inspired by a conference held at USC in June 1993, “Joyce and Culture.” Jointly sponsored by USC, and UC Irvine and UC Riverside, where Cheng’s co-editors work, the conference explored topics such as the construction of the gendered body in the Joycean text and the interactions between text and image in illustrations of Joyce’s work. The editors write: “The essays press beyond the Irish, European and American intellectual, artistic and polar cultures of the early 20th century, and explore the effects of Joyce’s texts on our contemporary cultural life.” The 14 essays presented here, from “Finnegans Wake and the Daughter’s Fate,” to “Mourning, Melancholia and the Maternal Body: Cultural Con-structions of Bereavement in Ulysses,” illustrate the dynamic interaction of art, culture and criticism, and explore the impact that Joyce’s own culture, both high and low, had on his art.

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