Monthly Archives: November 2013

University Press Week, World Book Night, and Young Men and Fire

November 12, 2013
By
University Press Week, World Book Night, and Young Men and Fire

    This week marks the second annual University Press Week, which celebrates “the variety of ways that university and academic presses are innovating both in the formats that they publish in and the subject areas in which they find vital research to further excellence in scholarship.” Taking off on last year’s inaugural initiative, #UPWEEK features a variety of endeavors ranging from online panel discussions and a blog tour to events at national and local booksellers, the full schedule of which is accessible at the American Association of University Press’s website. In case you missed it, and to help kick things off, we’re delighted to announce that Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire has been selected to participate in World Book Night 2014—the first book published by a university press chosen to do so. In addition to Young Men and Fire, we’re proud to include Maclean’s A River Runs Through It, The Norman Maclean Reader, and Custer’s Last Stand: The Unfinished Manuscript (a Chicago Short) as part of our list in literature and literary studies. The book, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, was published posthumously after Maclean’s death in 1990, and its chronicle of the 1949 Mann Gulch forest fire, an event that haunted Maclean for nearly . . .

Read more »

On Victor Brombert’s Ninetieth Birthday

November 11, 2013
By
On Victor Brombert’s Ninetieth Birthday

To launch our part of University Press Week, honor Veterans Day, and to celebrate the 90th birthday of scholar, writer, and World War II veteran Victor Brombert, Alan Thomas, our Editorial Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences, offers below an introduction to some reflections by Alexander Nehamas, philosopher and friend of Brombert. *** As Victor Brombert writes in the prologue to Musings on Mortality, no author chooses a subject innocently, least of all when the subject is mortality and the author is in his eighties. Before he had yet reached thirty, Brombert was already too familiar with mortality—the deaths of a younger sister, of family and friends in the Holocaust, of fellow soldiers on the battlefields of World War II. Brombert survived with a spirit of buoyancy that inspired generations of students and that today, his ninetieth birthday, still fills his friends with admiration and delight. It was books, he recalls, that rescued him upon his return from war: “I was elated by my readings. . . . For I began to understand that all art and the love of art allow us, according to André Malraux’s famous pronouncement, to negate our nothingness.” On October 22, Victor Brombert gave . . .

Read more »

Jonathan Silvertown’s The Long and the Short of It

November 8, 2013
By

Jonathan Silvertown’s The Long and the Short of It: The Science of Life Span and Aging explores the study of longevity from the perspective of natural history and considers the cases for aging, heredity, and decay via stories about the senescence of potatoes, water fleas, dragonflies, men, women, bacteria, poets, and kings. Along the way, Silvertown addresses key concerns, such as: What causes again, and what determines the length of an individual life? If the lifespan of our species is increasing so dramatically, why haven’t we evolved to become immortal? The below excerpt introduces the foundation of his argument (here, both literal and figurative), beginning with a rumination on the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey: *** Sooner or later, everyone ponders their mortality. It is the privilege of youth to be oblivious to death, but the fate of old age to contemplate oblivion. Each person searches for answers in his or her own way, but eventually all ask the same questions: How long might I live, and why must I die? What rhyme or reason is there in aging or mortality? Long before science offered reasons, art sought a rhyme that would give meaning to the mysteries of life and . . .

Read more »

Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois

November 6, 2013
By
Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois

From the November 5, 2013, edition of the Chicago Tribune: Lawmakers approved gay marriage Tuesday in a historic vote that saw supporters overcome cultural, racial and geographic divides and put Illinois in line with a growing number of states that have extended the right to wed to same-sex couples. After more than a year of intense lobbying by both sides, gay lawmakers made emotional pleas to colleagues to give their families equal rights even as opponents argued that doing so would unravel the foundation of society. *** An excerpt from The Nuptial Deal: Same-Sex Marriage and Neo-Liberal Governance by Jaye Cee Williams: I met Patrick Singleton and Bryce Kiplinger at an outreach event sponsored by Marriage Rights Now. The purpose of the event was to sign up members in a well-known, “gay-friendly” sports bar. As we waited for potential supporters to enter the bar, Patrick broke the ice by introducing me to his partner, Bryce: “As you can probably guess, when we hold hands, we get a lot of second glances.” Patrick is a graying white man who looks as if he must be nearing his sixties. Bryce is a thin black man who is yet to turn thirty. Bryce echoed . . .

Read more »

Andrew Piper on the new world of electronic reading

November 5, 2013
By
Andrew Piper on the new world of electronic reading

In 2012, Andrew Piper published Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times, which expanded upon his established interest in textual circulation, embodiment, and identity (see Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age) under the pressures of the digital. Since then, in a year that has evidenced the e-book’s continuing encroachment into the literary market share (from 20 percent in 2012 to early estimates of 30 percent in 2013), Piper has upped the stakes of his argument: we have already gone electronic, and it’s only because of our own constraints that we still make e-books look and act like printed books. If we know that “literature is data,” how can we poise ourselves to take much greater advantage of that knowledge amid semi-seismic technological shifts? In a recent essay for World Literature Today, Piper considered the case for computational reading: a way of translating literary texts into quantifiable units—rather than simply mirroring them as the printed book’s shadow self—that can be used for purposes such as determining the authorial identity of Elizabethan authors or sussing out whether late-career works by Agatha Christie reveal symptoms comparable to those found in Alzheimer’s patients. Piper, whose own recent . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors