Posted on

McFarland 40th Anniversary Sale

We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.

Posted on

McFarland Turns 40

On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.

McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin

McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s.  What to do?  Back to the land!  They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel).  Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op.  I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited.  Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.”  I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto).  They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County.  We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.

I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s.  He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee.  (I was born in Memphis.)

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name.  Founded in April 1979 right here.  I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!).  The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one.  Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times.  We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment.  Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting.  Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).

After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person.  Whew!  So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.

A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and  began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.

My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight.  Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on.  We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).

The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently.  Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel).  We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.

In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors.  Already!  And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard).  The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means.  (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.”  They stayed stacked for years…)  The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons.  (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s.  Lemme be him!)

McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years.  The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets.  He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc.  McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there.  In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters.  High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment.  Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).

Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection.  Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar.  We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.

By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road.  We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits.  We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.

We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher.  (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.)  Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes.  Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D.  We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide.  One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982).  This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print.  We were famous!  (Well, the author was…)

McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene.  (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.)  Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful.  Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).

I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed.  Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna.  When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.

McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size.  Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady:  director of finance and administration.  In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings.  We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…).  We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989.  Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism.  Authors from all over the world.  That part’s fun!  As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.

We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s!  Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves.  On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over):  “Ashe County through the Ages.”  Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990.  Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).

Cheryl and I love Ashe County.  We love the people.  We love the trees, the river.  (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!)  I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods).  The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges.  Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth.  McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented.  When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere.  Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!

The local merchants have become business partners.  Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices.  The restaurants are great for business lunches.  The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter!  Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job.  Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home.  I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning!  Ashe County, we’re for you!

McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th.  We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years.  Come one, come all!

Posted on

Three New Titles Reviewed in Choice

Infield Fly Rule Is in Effect: The History and Strategy of Baseball’s Most (In)Famous Rule
“This reviewer coached college baseball, and before reading this small treasure wrote down every conceivable argument for and against IFR. All of them and more are addressed here precisely, with wit, style, and evidence. One can ask for no more than that…highly recommended.”—Choice

The League That Didn’t Exist: A History of the All-American Football Conference, 1946–1949
“Thoroughly indexed…recommended.”—Choice

The Language of Popular Science: Analyzing the Communication of Advanced Ideas to Lay Readers
“Insightful analysis…this is a very readable and interesting book…recommended.”—Choice

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Literary Journalism in British and American Prose

New on our bookshelf:

Literary Journalism in British and American Prose: An Historical Overview
Doug Underwood

The debate surrounding “fake news” versus “real” news is nothing new. From Jonathan Swift’s work as an acerbic, anonymous journal editor-turned-novelist to reporter Mark Twain’s hoax stories to Mary Ann Evans’ literary reviews written under her pseudonym, George Eliot, famous journalists and literary figures have always mixed fact, imagination and critical commentary to produce memorable works.

Contrasting the rival yet complementary traditions of “literary” or “new” journalism in Britain and the U.S., this study explores the credibility of some of the “great” works of English literature.

Posted on

Two New Titles Reviewed in Booklist

Too Funny for Words: A Contrarian History of American Screen Comedy from Silent Slapstick to Screwball
“Spirited discussion… Kalat’s knowledgeable and conversational style makes the work accessible to all readers not just the cineastes among us. Film fans, students, and researchers will applaud  this lively and impassioned look at a turning point in American film history.”—Booklist

Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
“With a broad range of examples, this examination of humanity’s artificial counterparts offers plenty to delve into for sf fans and everyone interested in a rich context for AI.”—Booklist

Posted on

Newly Published: Seeing the Beat Generation

New on our bookshelf:

Seeing the Beat Generation: Entering the Literature through Film
Raj Chandarlapaty

Beat generation writers dismantled mainstream America. They wrote under the influence of psychedelic drugs; they crossed and navigated multicultural boundaries and questioned the American dream; and they explored homosexuality, feminism and hyper-masculinity, redefining America’s marital and familial codes. Teaching such a history can be daunting, but film adaptations of Beat literature have proven to engage students. This book looks closely at the film adaptations of works by such authors as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as they relate to American history and literary studies.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Ages of The Flash

New on our bookshelf:

The Ages of The Flash: Essays on the Fastest Man Alive
Edited by Joseph J. Darowski

While many American superheroes have multiple powers and complex gadgets, the Flash is simply fast. This simplicity makes his character easily comprehendible for all audiences, whether they are avid comic fans or newcomers to the genre, and in turn he has become one of the most iconic figures in the comic-book industry. This collection of new essays serves as a stepping-stone to an even greater understanding of the Flash, examining various iterations of his character—including those of Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen—and what they reveal about the era in which they were written.

Posted on

Newly Published: Peanuts and American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Peanuts and American Culture: Essays on Charles M. Schulz’s Iconic Comic Strip
Peter W.Y. Lee

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century.

Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.

Posted on

Newly Published: Medieval Crime Fiction

New on our bookshelf:

Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview
Anne McKendry

Combining elements of medievalism, the historical novel and the detective narrative, medieval crime fiction capitalizes upon the appeal of all three—the most famous examples being Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (one of the best-selling books ever published) and Ellis Peters’ endearing Brother Cadfael series.

Hundreds of other novels and series fill out the genre, in settings ranging from the so-called Celtic Enlightenment in seventh-century Ireland to the ruthless Inquisition in fourteenth-century France to the mean streets of medieval London. The detectives are an eclectic group, including weary ex-crusaders, former Knights Templar, enterprising monks and nuns, and historical poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer.

This book investigates the enduring popularity of the largely unexamined genre and explores its social, cultural and political contexts.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom

New on our bookshelf:

The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom: Essays on the Intersection of Religion and Pop Culture
Edited by Carole M. Cusack, John W. Morehead and Venetia Laura Delano Robertson

To the casual observer, similarities between fan communities and religious believers are difficult to find. Religion is traditional, institutional, and serious; whereas fandom is contemporary, individualistic, and fun. Can the robes of nuns and priests be compared to cosplay outfits of Jedi Knights and anime characters? Can travelling to fan conventions be understood as pilgrimages to the shrines of saints?

These new essays investigate fan activities connected to books, film, and online games, such as Harry Potter-themed weddings, using The Hobbit as a sacred text, and taking on heroic roles in World of Warcraft. Young Muslim women cosplayers are brought into conversation with Chaos magicians who use pop culture tropes and characters. A range of canonical texts, such as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sherlock—are examined in terms of the pleasure and enchantment of repeated viewing. Popular culture is revealed to be a fertile source of religious and spiritual creativity in the contemporary world.

Posted on

Newly Published: Robots That Kill

New on our bookshelf:

Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
Judith A. Markowitz

This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein’s monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.

Posted on

Newly Published: Author in Chief

New on our bookshelf:

Author in Chief: The Presidents as Writers from Washington to Trump
Michael B. Costanzo

With the publication of his Personal Memoirs in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant established what is today known as the presidential memoir. Every U.S. president since Benjamin Harrison has written one and many have turned to other forms of writing, as well.

This book covers the history of works—including autobiographies, diaries, political manifestos, speeches, fiction and poetry—authored by U.S. presidents and published prior to, during or after their terms. The writing was easy for some, harder for others, with varying success, from literary comebacks and bestsellers to false starts and failures.

Posted on

Newly Published: Decoding Dylan

New on our bookshelf:

Decoding Dylan: Making Sense of the Songs That Changed Modern Culture
Jim Curtis

Taking readers behind Bob Dylan’s familiar image as the enigmatic rebel of the 1960s, this book reveals a different view—that of a careful craftsman and student of the art of songwriting. Drawing on revelations from Dylan’s memoir Chronicles and a variety of other sources, the author arrives at a radically new interpretation of his body of work, which revolutionized American music and won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Dylan’s songs are viewed as collages, ingeniously combining themes and images from American popular culture and European high culture.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Homophones and Homographs

Now available in softcover:

Homophones and Homographs: An American Dictionary, 4th ed.
Compiled by James B. Hobbs

This expanded fourth edition defines and cross-references 9,040 homophones and 2,133 homographs (up from 7,870 and 1,554 in the 3rd ed.).

As the most comprehensive compilation of American homophones (words that sound alike) and homographs (look-alikes), this latest edition serves well where even the most modern spell-checkers and word processors fail—although rain, reign, and rein may be spelled correctly, the context in which these words may appropriately be used is not obvious to a computer.

Posted on

New in Softcover: The Great Monster Magazines

Now available in softcover:

The Great Monster Magazines: A Critical Study of the Black and White Publications of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter

This is a critical overview of monster magazines from the 1950s through the 1970s. “Monster magazine” is a blanket term to describe both magazines that focus primarily on popular horror movies and magazines that contain stories featuring monsters, both of which are illustrated in comic book style and printed in black and white.

The book describes the rise and fall of these magazines, examining the contributions of Marvel Comics and several other well-known companies, as well as evaluating the effect of the Comics Code Authority on both present and future efforts in the field. It identifies several sub-genres, including monster movies, zombies, vampires, sword-and-sorcery, and pulp-style fiction. The work includes several indexes and technical credits.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Harry Potter Generation

New on our bookshelf:

The Harry Potter Generation: Essays on Growing Up with the Series
Emily Lauer and Balaka Basu

The generation of readers most heavily impacted by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—those who grew up alongside “the boy who lived”—have come of age. They are poised to become teachers, parents, critics and writers, and many of their views and choices will be influenced by the literary revolution in which they were immersed. This collection of new essays explores the many different ways in which Harry Potter has shaped this generation’s views on everything from politics to identity to pedagogical spaces online. It seeks to determine how the books have affected fans’ understanding of their place in the world and their capacity to create it anew.

Posted on

Newly Published: Text & Presentation, 2018

New on our bookshelf:

Text & Presentation, 2018
Edited by Jay Malarcher

The 15th in a series drawn from scholarship presented at the annual Comparative Drama Conference at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, this collection provides insights into texts and practices currently at the forefront of theatrical discussion. The volume includes various essays on the intersections of script and performance, and features an exclusive interview with keynote speaker, playwright Simon Stephens.

Posted on

Newly Published: Nuts About Squirrels

New on our bookshelf:

Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture
Don H. Corrigan

Squirrels have made numerous appearances in mass media over the years, from Beatrix Potter’s Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes, to Rocky the flying squirrel of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and to Conker and Squirrel Girl of video game fame. This book examines how squirrel legends from centuries ago have found new life through contemporary popular culture, with a focus on the various portrayals of these wily creatures in books, newspapers, television, movies, public relations, advertising and video games.

Posted on

Newly Published: Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors

New on our bookshelf:

Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors: Inside the Precedent-Setting Defeat of an Arkansas Book Ban
Brian Meadors

In 2002, the Cedarville School Board in Crawford County, Arkansas, ordered the removal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books from library shelves, holding that “witchcraft or sorcery [should not] be available for study.” The Board picked some formidable adversaries. School librarian Estella Roberts, standing on policy, had the books reviewed—and unanimously approved—by a committee of teachers and administrators that included a child and a parent. Not satisfied with the Board’s half-measure permitting access to the books with parental approval, 4th-grader Dakota Counts and her father Bill Counts sued the school district in Federal court, drawing on the precedent Pico v. Island Trees to reaffirm that Constitutional rights apply to school libraries. Written by the lawyer who prosecuted the case, this book details the origins of the book ban and the civil procedures and legal arguments that restored the First Amendment in Cedarville.

Posted on

Newly Published: Lee Smith

New on our bookshelf:

Lee Smith: A Literary Companion
Mary Ellen Snodgrass

This literary companion surveys the works of Lee Smith, a Southern author lauded for her autobiographical familiarity with Appalachian settings and characters. Her dialogue captures the distinct voices of mountain people and their perceptions of local and world events, ranging from the Civil War to ecology and modernization. Mental and physical disability and the Southern cultural norm of including the disabled as both family and community members are recurring themes in Smith’s writing. An A to Z arrangement of entries incorporates specific titles, and themes such as belonging, healing and death, humor, parenting and religion.

Posted on

Newly Published: Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story

New on our bookshelf:

Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story
Laird R. Blackwell

Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) was—with his partner Manfred Lee—the creator of the Ellery Queen detective novels and short stories. Dannay was also a literary historian and critic, and the editor of the renowned Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Queen—both a pen name and the fictional protagonist of the stories—was also a vital force behind the continuing popularity of crime fiction in the early to mid–20th century, after the deaths of Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Melville Davisson Post, and other Old Masters of the genre.

This book presents the first critical study of Ellery Queen’s role in the preservation of the detective short story. Many of the writers, characters and stories EQMM championed are covered, including such celebrated authors as Allingham, Ambler, Ellin, Innes, Vickers, and even William Butler Yeats.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Writer’s Guide to Self-Editing

New on our bookshelf:

The Writer’s Guide to Self-Editing: Essential Tips for Online and Print Publication
Naveed Saleh

Over the years, technological advances have given publishers the ability to produce more books and online publications with greater speed. This new efficiency, however, has increased editors’ workloads, limiting the amount of detailed editorial feedback that they can provide authors. In turn, writers must become self-editors, ensuring that their text is nearly perfect on submission.

This book serves as a guide to self-editing nonfiction print and online publications, including articles for general and academic audiences. It is both prescriptive and descriptive, drawing from stylebooks, dictionaries, research, and more to provide a full picture of both style and grammar. Also provided are techniques that boost search-engine optimization and engagement of Internet audiences.

Posted on

Newly Published: Perspectives on Digital Comics

New on our bookshelf:

Perspectives on Digital Comics: Theoretical, Critical and Pedagogical Essays
Edited by Jeffrey SJ Kirchoff and Mike P. Cook

This collection of new essays explores various ways of reading, interpreting and using digital comics. Contributors discuss comics made specifically for web consumption, and also digital reproductions of print-comics. Written for those who may not be familiar with digital comics or digital comic scholarship, the essays cover perspectives on reading, criticism and analysis of specific titles, the global reach of digital comics, and how they can be used in educational settings.

Posted on

Newly Published: “I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”

New on our bookshelf:

“I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”: Essays on the Intersection of Comics and Punk
Edited by Christopher B. Field, Keegan Lannon, Michael David MacBride and Christopher C. Douglas

Comics and the punk movement are inextricably linked—each has a foundational do-it-yourself ethos and a nonconformist spirit defiant of authority. This collection of new essays provides for the first time a thorough analysis of the intersections between comics and punk. The contributors expand the discussion beyond the familiar U.S. and UK scenes to include the influence punk has had on comics produced in other countries, such as Spain and Turkey.

Posted on

Newly Published: Superman and the Bible

New on our bookshelf:

Superman and the Bible: How the Idea of Superheroes Affects the Reading of Scripture
Nicholaus Pumphrey

In 1938, Superman debuted, jumping off the pages of Action Comics #1. In the cultural context of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. would see the rise of the superhero not only in comic books but in radio programs, animated cartoons and television shows. Superman forever changed one’s concept of the hero and became permanently engrained in both American and worldwide culture.

This study explores the Man of Steel’s narrative as a fresh perspective on readings of the Bible—his character is reflected in such figures as Moses, Samson and Jesus. The author argues that if we read the Bible it can be said we are reading about Superman.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Horror Comic Never Dies

New on our bookshelf:

The Horror Comic Never Dies: A Grisly History
Michael Walton

Horror comics were among the first comic books published—ghastly tales that soon developed an avid young readership, along with a bad reputation. Parent groups, psychologists, even the United States government joined in a crusade to wipe out the horror comics industry—and they almost succeeded. Yet the genre survived and flourished, from the 1950s to today.

This history covers the tribulations endured by horror comics creators and the broader impact on the comics industry. The genre’s ultimate success helped launch the careers of many of the biggest names in comics. Their stories and the stories of other key players are included, along with a few surprises.

Posted on

Newly Published: Snakes in American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
Jesse C. Donahue and Conor Shaw-Draves

The literature on snakes is manifold but overwhelmingly centered on the natural sciences. Little has been published about them in the fields of popular culture or the history of medicine.

Focusing primarily on American culture and history from the 1800s, this study draws on a wide range of sources—including newspaper archives, medical journals, and archives from the Smithsonian Institute—to examine the complex relationship between snakes and humans.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Detective and the Artist

New on our bookshelf:

The Detective and the Artist: Painters, Poets and Writers in Crime Fiction, 1840s–1970s
J.K. Van Dover

This book focuses on the distinctive role that artists have played in detective fiction—as detectives, as villains and victims, and as bystanders. With a few significant exceptions, literary detectives have always identified themselves as essentially the deconstructors of the artful crimes of others. They may use various methods—ratiocinative, scientific, or hard-boiled—but they always unravel the threads that the villains have woven into deceptive covers for their crimes.

The detective does, in the end, produce a work of art: a narrative that explains everything that needs explanation. But the detective’s moral work is often juxtaposed to the aesthetic work of the painters, poets, and writers that the detective encounters during an investigation. The author surveys this juxtaposition in works by important authors from the early development of the genre (Poe, Conan Doyle), the golden age (Bentley, Christie, Sayers, James, et al.), and the hard-boiled era (Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald, Spicer et al.).

Posted on

Newly Published: The Body, the Dance and the Text

New on our bookshelf:

The Body, the Dance and the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History
Edited by Brynn Wein Shiovitz

This collection of new essays explores the many ways in which writing relates to corporeality and how the two work together to create, resist or mark the body of the “Other.” Contributors draw on varied backgrounds to examine different movement practices. They focus on movement as a meaning-making process, including the choreographic act of writing. The challenges faced by marginalized bodies are discussed, along with the ability of a body to question, contest and re-write historical narratives.

Posted on

Biographies and Memoirs Catalog and Sale

McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes.  On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.

Posted on

Newly Published: American Small-Town Fiction, 1940–1960

Newly Published:

American Small-Town Fiction, 1940–1960: A Critical Study
Nathanael T. Booth

In literature and popular culture, small town America is often idealized as distilling the national spirit. Does the myth of the small town conceal deep-seated reactionary tendencies or does it contain the basis of a national re-imagining?

During the period between 1940 and 1960, America underwent a great shift in self-mythologizing that can be charted through representations of small towns. Authors like Henry Bellamann and Grace Metalious continued the tradition of Sherwood Anderson in showing the small town—by extension, America itself—profoundly warping the souls of its citizens. Meanwhile, Ray Bradbury, Toshio Mori and Ross Lockridge, Jr., sought to identify the small town’s potential for growth, away from the shadows cast by World War II toward a more inclusive, democratic future. Examined together, these works are key to understanding how mid–20th century America refashioned itself in light of a new postwar order, and how the literary small town both obscures and reveals contradictions at the heart of the American experience.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Paranormal Surrounds Us

New on our bookshelf:

The Paranormal Surrounds Us: Psychic Phenomena in Literature, Culture and Psychoanalysis
Richard Reichbart

Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Joyce, E.M. Forster and Ingmar Bergman all made the paranormal essential to their depiction of humanity. Freud recognized telepathy as an everyday phenomenon. Observations on parapsychological aspects of psychoanalysis also include the findings of the Mesmerists, Jung, Ferenczi and Eisenbud.

Many academicians attribute such psychic discoveries to “poetic license” rather than to accurate understanding of our parapsychological capacities. The author—a practicing psychoanalyst and parapsychologist, and a lawyer familiar with Navajo culture—argues for a fresh appraisal of psi phenomena and their integration into psychoanalytic theory and clinical work, literary studies and anthropology.

Posted on

Three Books Named Choice Outstanding Academic Titles

Congratulations to these Choice Outstanding Academic Titles!

Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality: What He Actually Did and Said
Richard M. Langworth

Freedom Narratives of African American Women: A Study of 19th Century Writings
Janaka Bowman Lewis

The Postmodern Joy of Role-Playing Games: Agency, Ritual and Meaning in the Medium
René Reinhold Schallegger

 

Posted on

Newly Published: The Language of Popular Science

New on our bookshelf:

The Language of Popular Science: Analyzing the Communication of Advanced Ideas to Lay Readers
Olga A. Pilkington

If you read (or write) popular science, you might sometimes wonder: how do the authors manage to make subjects that once put you to sleep in science class both so entertaining and approachable? The use of language is key.

Based on analyses of popular science bestsellers, this linguistic study shows how expert popularizers use the voices and narratives of scientists to engage readers, demonstrating the power of science and portraying researchers as champions of knowledge. By doing so they often blur the lines between nonfiction and fiction, inviting readers to take part in thought experiments and turn ordinary scientists into omnipotent heroes.

Posted on

Newly Published: Swedish Marxist Noir

New on our bookshelf:

Swedish Marxist Noir: The Dark Wave of Crime Writers and the Influence of Raymond Chandler
Per Hellgren

Marxist theories have had a profound influence on crime fiction, beginning with the works of the American writers of the 1930s. This study explores the development of a Swedish Marxist noir subgenre after the 1990s through a Marxist reading of central works, from the Marlowe novels of Raymond Chandler to the 1960s social crime fiction of Sjöwall-Wahlöö to modern bestselling authors such as Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, Roslund & Hellström, Jens Lapidus, Arne Dahl and others. The works of these writers show a common thread of Marxist worldview in their portrayal of a modern world gone wrong.

Posted on

Newly Published: The British Comic Book Invasion

New on our bookshelf:

The British Comic Book Invasion: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and the Evolution of the American Style
Jochen Ecke

What makes a successful comics creator? How can storytelling stay exciting and innovative? How can genres be kept vital?

Writers and artists in the highly competitive U.S. comics mainstream have always had to explore these questions but they were especially pressing in the 1980s. As comics readers grew older they started calling for more sophisticated stories. They were also no longer just following the adventures of popular characters—writers and artists with distinctive styles were in demand. DC Comics and Marvel went looking for such mavericks and found them in the United Kingdom. Creators like Alan Moore (WatchmenSaga of the Swamp Thing), Grant Morrison (The InvisiblesFlex Mentallo) and Garth Ennis (Preacher) migrated from the anarchical British comics industry to the U.S. mainstream and shook up the status quo yet came to rely on the genius of the American system.

Posted on

Newly Published: American Gothic Literature

New on our bookshelf:

American Gothic Literature: A Thematic Study from Mary Rowlandson to Colson Whitehead
Ruth Bienstock Anolik

American Gothic literature inherited many time-worn tropes from its English Gothic precursor, along with a core preoccupation: anxiety about power and property. Yet the transatlantic journey left its mark on the genre—the English ghostly setting becomes the wilderness haunted by spectral Indians. The aristocratic villain is replaced by the striving, independent young man. The dispossession of Native Americans and African Americans add urgency to traditional Gothic anxieties about possession.

The unchanging role of woman in early Gothic narratives parallels the status of American women, even after the Revolution. Twentieth century Gothic works offer inclusion to previously silent voices, including immigrant writers with their own cultural traditions. The 21st century unleashes the zombie horde—the latest incarnation of the voracious American.

Posted on

Newly Published: Immersive Theater and Activism

New on our bookshelf:

Immersive Theater and Activism: Scripts and Strategies for Directors and Playwrights
Nandita Dinesh

Immersive theater calls upon audience members to become participants, actors and “others.” It traditionally offers binary roles—that of oppressor or that of victim—and thereby stands the risk of simplifying complex social situations.

Challenging such binaries, this book articulates theatrical “grey zones” when addressing juvenile detention, wartime interventions and immigration processes. It presents scripts and strategies for directors and playwrights who want to create theatrical environments that are immersive and pedagogical; aesthetically evocative and politically provocative; simple and complex.

Posted on

Holiday 2018 Sale—Get 25% Off All Books!

The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!

Posted on

Newly Published: Carl Hiaasen

New on our bookshelf:

Carl Hiaasen: Sunshine State Satirist
David Geherin

Carl Hiaasen has been described as “one of the funniest crime writers in decades,” “America’s finest satirical novelist,” and a “great American writer about the great American subjects of ambition, greed, vanity, and disappointment.”

A columnist for thirty years, Hiaasen also wrote several award-winning young adult books but is best known for his 14 crime novels. His distinctive blend of outrageous humor and biting satire appeals to mystery fans, as well as readers of comic fiction and those interested in social and environmental issues.

The author examines Hiaasen’s entire body of work, from his earliest writing as a reporter and then columnist for the Miami Herald to his bestselling novels for both adult and young readers. While much of his writing focuses on his beloved Florida, his work has a universal appeal that has earned him global fame.

Posted on

Newly Published: I Wanna Wrock!

New on our bookshelf:

I Wanna Wrock! The World of Harry Potter–Inspired “Wizard Rock” and Its Fandom
Paul A. Thomas

“Wizard rock”—music based on the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling—is an idiosyncratic subgenre, with band names like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys and The Whomping Willows. Drawing on input from insiders and fans, and interviews with more than a dozen wizard rockers, this book explores the history and aesthetics of the movement. An appendix lists dozens of popular bands, members and discographies: a must-have for fandom scholars and wizard rock devotees alike.

Posted on

Newly Published: A Life Both Public and Private

New on our bookshelf today:

A Life Both Public and Private: Expressions of Individuality in Old English Poetry
Brent R. LaPadula

The concept of the individual or the self, central in so many modern-day contexts, has not been investigated in depth in the Anglo-Saxon period. Focusing on Old English poetry, the author argues that a singular, Anglo-Saxon sense of self may be found by analyzing their surviving verse. The concept of the individual, with an identity outside of her community, is clearly evident during this period, and the widely accepted view that the individual as we understand it did not really exist until the Renaissance does not stand up to scrutiny.

Posted on

Newly Published: George Orwell

New on our bookshelf today:

George Orwell: A Literary Companion
Mark Connelly

George Orwell (1903–1950) is one of the most influential authors in the English language. His landmark novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) have been translated into many foreign languages and inspired numerous stage and film adaptations. His well-known essays “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant” are widely anthologized and often taught in college composition classes. The writer is credited with inventing the terms “Big Brother,” “thought crime,” “unperson” and “double think.” His name itself has become an adjective—“Orwellian.”

Seventy years after its publication, Nineteen Eighty-Four remains very popular, its sales surging in an era of enhanced surveillance and media manipulation. This literary companion provides an extensive chronology and more than 175 entries about both his literary works and personal life. Also included are discussion questions and research topics, notable quotations by Orwell and an extensive bibliography of related sources.

Posted on

Newly Published: Stopping by Woods

New on our bookshelf today:

Stopping by Woods: Robert Frost as New England Naturalist
Owen D.V. Sholes

Robert Frost was a practicing farmer, a skilled naturalist and one of America’s best-loved poets. His body of work provides a vivid and compelling narrative of New England’s changing environment—though it can be hard to discern when its parts are scattered through hundreds of different poems, voices and moods.

This book pieces together Frost’s environmental commentary, examining his poems thematically and in a logical order. In them, homesteads are carved out of the forest, families make their living from an obdurate land, property is abandoned when it fails to sell, and plants and animals reclaim deserted farms. Frost bemoaned the loss of people from the land but also celebrated the flora and fauna that thrived in fallow fields and empty barns.

Posted on

Newly Published: Vying for the Iron Throne

New on our bookshelf today:

Vying for the Iron Throne: Essays on Power, Gender, Death and Performance in HBO’s Game of Thrones
Edited by Lindsey Mantoan and Sara Brady

Game of Thrones has changed the landscape of television during an era hailed as the Golden Age of TV. An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series has taken on a life of its own with original plotlines that advance past those of Martin’s books.

The death of protagonist Ned Stark at the end of Season One launched a killing spree in television—major characters now die on popular shows weekly. While many shows kill off characters for pure shock value, death on Game of Thrones produces seismic shifts in power dynamics—and resurrected bodies that continue to fight. This collection of new essays explores how power, death, gender, and performance intertwine in the series.

Posted on

Newly Published: Lovable Crooks and Loathsome Jews

New on our bookshelf today:

Lovable Crooks and Loathsome Jews: Antisemitism in German and Austrian Crime Writing Before the World Wars
T.S. Kord

In the years leading up to the World Wars, Germany and Austria saw an unprecedented increase in the study and depiction of the criminal. Science, journalism and crime fiction were obsessed with delinquents while ignoring the social causes of crime. As criminologists measured criminals’ heads and debated biological predestination, court reporters and crime writers wrote side-splitting or heart-rending stories featuring one of the most popular characters ever created—the hilarious or piteous crook. The author examines the figure of the crook and notions of “Jewish” criminality in a range of antisemitic writing, from Nazi propaganda to court reporting to forgotten classics of crime fiction.

Posted on

Halloween Sale: Horror Books

We realize that the stores have had their trees and Christmas decorations out for sale for weeks now.  At McFarland though, no one wants to leapfrog past our favorite holiday, Halloween!  McFarland has scheduled a sale for our books about horror – whether on film, television, literature, games, comics, culture or anything else.  When you order direct from our website using the coupon code HORROR25, print editions of all horror books are 25% off Friday, October 26 through Halloween, October 31.  Be prepared to be up late with the lights on…

Posted on

Newly Published: The Archive Incarnate

New on our bookshelf today:

The Archive Incarnate: The Embodiment and Transmission of Knowledge in Science Fiction
Joseph Hurtgen

We live in an information economy, a vast archive of data ever at our fingertips. In the pages of science fiction, powerful entities—governments and corporations—attempt to use this archive to control society, enforce conformity or turn citizens into passive consumers. Opposing them are protagonists fighting to liberate the collective mind from those who would enforce top-down control.

Archival technology and its depictions in science fiction have developed dramatically since the 1950s. Ray Bradbury discusses archives in terms of books and television media, and Margaret Atwood in terms of magazines and journaling. William Gibson focused on technofuturistic cyberspace and brain-to-computer prosthetics, Bruce Sterling on genetics and society as an archive of social practices. Neal Stephenson has imagined post-cyberpunk matrix space and interactive primers. As the archive is altered, so are the humans that interact with ever-advancing technology.

Posted on

Newly Published: Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction
Edited by Kevin A. Morrison

This companion to Victorian popular fiction includes more than 300 cross-referenced entries on works written for the British mass market. Biographical sketches cover the writers and their publishers, the topics that concerned them and the genres they helped to establish or refine. Entries introduce readers to long-overlooked authors who were widely read in their time, with suggestions for further reading and emerging resources for the study of popular fiction.

Posted on

Newly Published: Fantasy Literature and Christianity

New on our bookshelf today:

Fantasy Literature and Christianity: A Study of the Mistborn, Coldfire, Fionavar Tapestry and Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series
Weronika Łaszkiewicz

The debate surrounding the Christian aspects of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has revealed not only the prominence of religious themes in fantasy fiction, but also readers’ concerns over portrayals of religion in fantasy. Yet while analyses of these works fill many volumes, other fantasy series have received much less attention. This critical study explores the fantastic religions and religious themes in the works of American and Canadian writers Stephen R. Donaldson (Chronicles of Thomas Covenant), Guy Gavriel Kay (Fionavar Tapestry), Celia S. Friedman (Coldfire Trilogy), and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn) series. References to biblical tradition and Christian teachings reveal these writers’ overall approach to Christianity and the relationship between Christianity and the fantasy genre.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Bite, the Breast and the Blood

New on our bookshelf today:

The Bite, the Breast and the Blood: Why Modern Vampire Stories Suck Us In
Amy Williams Wilson

Central to every vampire story is the undead’s need for human blood, but equally compelling is the human ingestion of vampire blood, which often creates a bond. This blood connection suggests two primal, natural desires: breastfeeding and communion with God through a blood covenant.

This analysis of vampire stories explores the benefits of the bonding experiences of breastfeeding and Christian and vampire narratives, arguing that modern readers and viewers are drawn to this genre because of our innate fascination with the relationship between human and maker.

Posted on

Four New Titles Reviewed in October Issue of Choice

Freedom Narratives of African American Women: A Study of 19th Century Writings
“Compelling…crucially contributing to feminist recovery work and scholarship in African American studies, Freedom Narratives of African American Women is required reading for those interested in 19th-century America…essential.”

The Postmodern Joy of Role-Playing Games: Agency, Ritual and Meaning in the Medium
“Groundbreaking study…this volume is required reading for RPG and gaming scholars…essential.”

The American Soldier, 1866–1916: The Enlisted Man and the Transformation of the United States Army
“This is a rewarding study of enlisted men in the post–Civil War era…recommended.”

Organized Crime in the United States, 1865–1941
“Challenges widely accepted views…an interesting historical analysis…recommended.”

Posted on

Newly Published: The Fabulous Journeys of Alice and Pinocchio

New on our bookshelf today:

The Fabulous Journeys of Alice and Pinocchio: Exploring Their Parallel Worlds
Laura Tosi with Peter Hunt

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) and Carlo Collodi’s Le Avventure di Pinocchio (1883) are among the most influential classics of children’s literature. Firmly rooted in their respective British and Italian national cultures, the Alice and Pinocchio stories connected to a worldwide audience almost like folktales and fairy tales and have become fixtures of postmodernism.

Although they come from radically different political and social backgrounds, the texts share surprising similarities. This comparative reading explores their imagery and history, and discusses them in the broader context of British and Italian children’s stories.

Posted on

Newly Published: Writing for College

New on our bookshelf today:

Writing for College: A No-B.S. Guide
Robert Alden Rubin

This book guides first-year students through the dos and don’ts of composition, from such basic questions as “Can I use ‘I’ in a college essay?” to more advanced points about structure and style. Emphasizing the importance of writing in all majors, the author encourages students to find their own voice and to express themselves without jargon or “academese.” Tips are provided on concision, use of supporting claims, marshaling arguments, researching topics, documenting sources, and revision.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Echo of Odin

New on our bookshelf today:

The Echo of Odin: Norse Mythology and Human Consciousness
Edward W.L. Smith

The pagan mythology of the Vikings offers a rich metaphor for consciousness. This book presents the cosmography of Norse mythology as a landscape of human inner life. Each of the nine worlds of this cosmography is viewed as a symbol of a distinct type of consciousness that is emblematic of a particular perspective or way of relating to others.

Individual gods and goddesses are considered nuanced personifications of their worlds. The philosophy of pagan mythology is explored by comparing and contrasting the Sayings of Odin from the Norse Edda with the Christian Ten Commandments.

Posted on

Newly Published: Video Gaming in Science Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Video Gaming in Science Fiction: A Critical Study
Jason Barr

As video gaming and gaming culture became more mainstream in the 1970s, science fiction authors began to incorporate aspects of each into their work. This study examines how media-fueled paranoia about video gaming—first emerging almost fifty years ago—still resonates in modern science fiction. The author reveals how negative stereotypes of gamers and gaming have endured in depictions of modern gamers in the media and how honest portrayals are still wanting, even in the “forward thinking” world of science fiction.

Posted on

Newly Published: Pirates in History and Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf today:

Pirates in History and Popular Culture
Edited by Antonio Sanna

This collection of new essays covers the myriad portrayals of the figure of the pirate in historical records, literary narratives, films, television series, opera, anime and games. Contributors explore the nuances of both real and fictional pirates, giving attention to renowned works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and the anime One Piece, as well as less well known works such as pirate romances, William Clarke Russell’s The Frozen Pirate, Lionel Lindsay’s artworks, Steven Speilberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and Pastafarian texts.

Posted on

Newly Published: Memory and Identity in Canadian Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Memory and Identity in Canadian Fiction: Self-Inventive Storytelling in the Works of Five Authors
Sharon Selby

Covering the works of Canadian authors Alistair Macleod, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, Margaret Atwood and Drew Hayden Taylor, the author explores how the themes of memory, storytelling and identity develop in their fiction. For the narrative voices in these works, the past is embedded in the present and a wider cultural history is written over with personal significance. The act of storytelling shapes the characters’ lives, letting them rewrite the past and be haunted by it. Storytelling becomes an existential act of everyday connection among ordinary people and daily (often unrecognized) acts of heroism.

Posted on

Newly Published: George Orwell on Screen

New on our bookshelf today:

George Orwell on Screen: Adaptations, Documentaries and Docudramas on Film and Television
David Ryan

British author and essayist George Orwell shot to fame with two iconic novels: the anti–Stalinist satire Animal Farm and the dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four.

A few years after his death in 1950, the CIA bankrolled screen adaptations of both novels as Cold War propaganda. Orwell’s depiction of a totalitarian police state captivated the media in the 1980s. Today, mounting anxieties about digital surveillance and globalization have made him a hot property in Hollywood.

Drawing on interviews with actors, writers, directors and producers, this book presents the first comprehensive study of Orwell on film and television. Beginning with CBS’s 1953 live production of Nineteen Eighty-Four that mirrored the McCarthy witch hunts, the author covers 20 wide-ranging adaptations, documentaries and biopics, including two lost BBC dramatizations from 1965.

Posted on

Newly Published: Shakespeare’s Apprenticeship

New on our bookshelf today:

Shakespeare’s Apprenticeship: Identifying the Real Playwright’s Earliest Works
Ramon Jiménez

The contents of the Shakespeare canon have come into question in recent years as scholars add plays or declare others only partially his work. Now, new literary and historical evidence demonstrates that five heretofore anonymous plays published or performed during his lifetime are actually his first versions of later canonical works.

Three histories, The Famous Victories of Henry the FifthThe True Tragedy of Richard the Third, and The Troublesome Reign of John; a comedy, The Taming of a Shrew; and a romance, King Leir, are products of Shakespeare’s juvenile years. Later in his career, he transformed them into the plays that bear nearly identical titles. Each is strikingly similar to its canonical counterpart in terms of structure, plot and cast, though the texts were entirely rewritten.

Virtually all scholars, critics and editors of Shakespeare have overlooked or disputed the idea that he had anything to do with them. This addition of five plays to the Shakespeare canon introduces a new facet to the authorship debate, and supplies further evidence that the real Shakespeare was Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford.

Posted on

King Arthur Sales Starts Now

What is known of the legendary King Arthur is mostly derived from folklore and literature.  Though today, one is just as likely to have been introduced to King Arthur by a cartoon boy pulling a sword from a stone.  You’ll find books covering all disciplines in our new King Arthur catalog
For film studies, McFarland’s latest catalog includes such titles as Kevin J. Harty’s groundbreaking Cinema Arthuriana and The Reel Middle Ages.  For students (and professors) of Arthurian literature, William W. Kibler and R. Barton Palmer have brought us a very useful book for the classroom, Medieval Arthurian Epic and Romance.   It offers new translations from Latin, Middle English and Old French of texts that exemplify the most important traditions of Arthurian literature in the Middle Ages.  In addition to Arthuriana in folklore, literature and film, this new catalog also includes our line of popular works debating the evidence about historic sites and figures, including Hengest, Gwrtheyrn and the Chronology of Post-Roman BritainWhen you order direct from our website using the coupon code Arthur25, print editions of all Arthuriana books are 25% off September 15 through September 30.
Posted on

Newly Published: Adapted from the Original

New on our bookshelf today:

Adapted from the Original: Essays on the Value and Values of Works Remade for a New Medium
Edited by Laurence Raw

Critics and audiences often judge films, books and other media as “great” —but what does that really mean? This collection of new essays examines the various criteria by which degrees of greatness (or not-so) are constructed—whether by personal, political or social standards—through topics in cinema, literature and adaptation. The contributors recognize how issues of value vary across different cultures, and explore what those differences say about attitudes and beliefs.

Posted on

Newly Published: Terrifying Texts

New on our bookshelf today:

Terrifying Texts: Essays on Books of Good and Evil in Horror Cinema
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

From Faust (1926) to The Babadook (2014), books have been featured in horror films as warnings, gateways, prisons and manifestations of the monstrous. Ancient grimoires such as the Necronomicon serve as timeless vessels of knowledge beyond human comprehension, while runes, summoning diaries, and spell books offer their readers access to the powers of the supernatural—but at what cost?
 This collection of new essays examines nearly a century of genre horror in which on-screen texts drive and shape their narratives, sometimes unnoticed. The contributors explore American films like The Evil Dead (1981), The Prophecy (1995) and It Follows (2014), as well as such international films as Eric Valette’s Malefique (2002), Paco Cabeza’s The Appeared (2007) and Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981).

Posted on

Newly Published: Storytelling in the Modern Board Game

New on our bookshelf today:

Storytelling in the Modern Board Game: Narrative Trends from the Late 1960s to Today
Marco Arnaudo

Over the years, board games have evolved to include relatable characters, vivid settings and compelling, intricate plotlines. In turn, players have become more emotionally involved—taking on, in essence, the role of coauthors in an interactive narrative.

Through the lens of game studies and narratology—traditional storytelling concepts applied to the gaming world—this book explores the synergy of board games, designers and players in story-oriented designs. The author provides development guidance for game designers and recommends games to explore for hobby players.

Posted on

Newly Published: Teens and the New Religious Landscape

New on our bookshelf today:

Teens and the New Religious Landscape: Essays on Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
Edited by Jacob Stratman

How are teenagers’ religious experiences shown in today’s young adult literature? How do authors use religious texts and beliefs to add depth to characters, settings and plots? How does YA fiction place itself in the larger conversation regarding religion?

Modern YA fiction does not shy away from the dilemmas and anxieties teenagers face today. While many stories end with the protagonist in a state of flux if not despair, some authors choose redemption or reconciliation.

This collection of new essays explores these issues and more, with a focus on stories in which characters respond to a new (often shifting) religious landscape, in both realistic and fantastic worlds.

Posted on

Newly Published: Redes literarias

New on our bookshelf today:

Redes literarias: Antología del texto hispánico en su contexto histórico-cultural
Compilado y comentado por Mindy E. Badía y Bonnie L. Gasior

Esta nueva antología literaria—dirigida a estudiantes del tercer o cuarto año de un programa de español universitario—abarca poesía, prosa narrativa, drama y ensayo de autores españoles, latinoamericanos, y latinos. Las lecturas están organizadas cronológicamente y cada selección está acompañada por una introducción a su contexto histórico y sus conexiones con otras obras. Redes proporciona un conocimiento básico de la historia literaria del mundo hispano además de una introducción a los aspectos formales del análisis  literario.

This literary anthology—aimed at students in the third or fourth years of a university-level Spanish program—includes poetry, prose narrative, drama and essays by Spanish, Latin American and Latino authors. The readings are organized chronologically, and each selection is accompanied by an introduction to its historical context and its connections to other works. Redes provides a background of the literary history of the Hispanic world as well as an introduction to the formal aspects of literary analysis.

Posted on

Newly Published: Six Plays of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

New on our bookshelf today:

Six Plays of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Edited by Jamil Khoury, Michael Malek Najjar and Corey Pond

A bold and singular collection of six plays by Arab and Jewish playwrights explores the human toll of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The Admission by Motti Lerner, Scenes From 70* Years by Hannah Khalil, Tennis in Nablus by Ismail Khalidi, Urge for Going by Mona Mansour, The Victims by Ken Kaissar, and The Zionists by Zohar Tirosh-Polk.

Rather than striving to achieve balance and moral equivalency between “competing” narratives, the plays investigate themes of identity, justice, occupation, exile, history and homeland with honesty and integrity. The plays do not “take sides” or adhere to ideological orthodoxies but challenge tribalism and narrow definitions of nationalism, while varying widely in thematic content, dramatic structure, and time and place.

Where politicians and diplomats fail, artists and storytellers may yet succeed—not in ratifying a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, but in building the sort of social and political connectivity that enables resolution.

Posted on

Newly Published: Crime Fiction from a Professional Eye

New on our bookshelf today:

Crime Fiction from a Professional Eye: Women Writers with Law Enforcement and Justice Experience
Lili Pâquet

There is a new category of authors blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction: women who work or have worked in criminal justice—lawyers, police officers and forensic investigators—who publish crime fiction with characters that resemble real-life counterparts. Drawing on their professional experience, these writers present compelling portrayals of inequality and dysfunction in criminal justice systems from a feminist viewpoint. This book presents the first examination of the true-crime-infused fiction of authors like Dorothy Uhnak, Kathy Reichs and Linda Fairstein.

Posted on

Newly Published: Worlds Gone Awry

New on our bookshelf today:

Worlds Gone Awry: Essays on Dystopian Fiction
Edited by John J. Han, C. Clark Triplett and Ashley G. Anthony

Dystopian fiction captivates us by depicting future worlds at once eerily similar and shockingly foreign to our own. This collection of new essays presents some of the most recent scholarship on a genre whose popularity has surged dramatically since the 1990s. Contributors explore such novels as The Lord of the FliesThe Heart Goes LastThe Giver and The Strain Trilogy as social critique, revealing how they appeal to the same impulse as utopian fiction: the desire for an idealized yet illusory society in which evil is purged and justice prevails.

Posted on

Newly Published: Finding Monte Cristo

New on our bookshelf today:

Finding Monte Cristo: Alexandre Dumas and the French Atlantic World
Eric Martone

During his lifetime, Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870)—grandson of a Caribbean slave and author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo—faced racial prejudice in his homeland of France and constantly strove to find a sense of belonging. For him, “Monte Cristo” was a symbol of this elusive quest.

It proved equally elusive for those struggling to overcome slavery and its legacy in the former French colonies. Exiled to the margins of society, 19th and 20th century black intellectuals from the Caribbean and Africa drew on Dumas’ work and celebrity to renegotiate their full acceptance as French citizens. Their efforts were influenced by earlier struggles of African Americans in the decades after the Civil War, who celebrated Dumas as a black American hero.

Posted on

Newly Published: Young Adult Literature in the Composition Classroom

New on our bookshelf today:

Young Adult Literature in the Composition Classroom: Essays on Practical Application
Edited by Tamara Girardi and Abigail G. Scheg

Young adult literature holds an exceptional place in modern American popular culture. Accessible to readers of all levels, it captures a diverse audience and tends to adapt to the big screen in an exciting way. With its wide readership, YAL sparks interesting discussions inside and outside of the classroom. This collection of new essays examines how YAL has impacted college composition courses, primarily focusing on the first year. Contributors discuss popular YA stories, their educational potential, and possibilities for classroom discussion and exercise.

Posted on

Newly Published: Alternate Worlds

New on our bookshelf today:

Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, 3d ed.
James Gunn

Alternate Worlds was first published in 1975 and became an instant classic, winning a Hugo award. This third edition brings the history of science fiction up to date, covering developments over the past forty years—a period that has seen the advent of technologies only imagined in the genre’s Golden Age.

As a literature of change, science fiction has become ever more meaningful, presaging dangers to humanity and, as Alvin Toffler wrote, guarding against “the premature arrival of the future.” The world has begun to recognize science fiction in many different ways, incorporating its elements in products, visual media and huge conventions.

Posted on

Newly Published: Longfellow in Love

New on our bookshelf today:

Longfellow in Love: Passion and Tragedy in the Life of the Poet
Edward M. Cifelli

After four years travelling through Europe and a yearlong romance with Giulia Persiani in Rome, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came back home in 1829 and fell in love again, this time with Mary Storer Potter, whom he married in 1831. They travelled together to England and Scandinavia in 1834 but their happiness was cut short when she died in 1835.

In 1836, traveling in Switzerland, he met the woman who would become the grand passion of his life, 18-year old Fanny Appleton of Boston. But she, a wealthy textile heiress, was not interested in settling down with a Harvard professor. She rebuffed his advances for six years—then suddenly changed her mind and married him on July 13, 1843. For the next 18 years they were “America’s couple,” and Longfellow became America’s poet—and then tragedy struck once again.

Posted on

Newly Published: A Dune Companion

New on our bookshelf today:

A Dune Companion: Characters, Places and Terms in Frank Herbert’s Original Six Novels
Donald E. Palumbo

This companion to Frank Herbert’s six original Dune novels—DuneDune MessiahChildren of DuneGod Emperor of DuneHeretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune—provides an encyclopedia of characters, locations, terms and other elements, and highlights the series’ underrated aesthetic integrity. An extensive introduction discusses the theme of ecology, chaos theory concepts and structures, and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth in Herbert’s narratives.

Posted on

Newly Published: Gary Paulsen

New on our bookshelf today:

Gary Paulsen: A Companion to the Young Adult Literature
Mary Ellen Snodgrass

McFarland Companions to Young Adult Literature American novelist Gary Paulsen is best known for his young adult fiction, including bestsellers NightjohnSoldier’s Heart, and Woods Runner. From his trenchant prose in The Rifle and The Foxman to the witty escapades of Harris and Me and Zero to Sixty, Paulsen crafts stories with impressive range. The tender scenes in The Quilt and A Christmas Sonataspeak to his empathy for children, with characters who endure the same hardships that marred his own early life.

This literary companion introduces readers to his life and work. A-to-Z entries explore themes such as alcoholism, coming of age, slavery, survival, and war. A glossary defines terms unique to his work. Appendices provide related historical references, writing, art, and research topics.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton

New on our bookshelf today:

The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton: A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction
Laird R. Blackwell

G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories are widely considered to be some of the finest detective short stories ever published, offering vivid writing, brilliant puzzles, biting social criticism, and metaphysical explorations of life’s great questions. This book presents the first in-depth analysis of his works both as classics of the detective genre and as meaningful philosophical inquiries. The Father Brown stories are examined along with Chesterton’s less well known fiction, including the short stories about Mr. Pond, Gabriel Gale, Basil and Rupert Grant, Horne Fisher, Dr. Adrian Hyde and Philip Swayne, and the novels The Man Who Was Thursday and Manalive.

Posted on

Newly Published: Teaching Huckleberry Finn

New on our bookshelf today:

Teaching Huckleberry Finn: Why and How to Present the Controversial Classic in the High School Classroom
John Nogowski

Nearly all of the Gadsden County’s student body is black and considered economically disadvantaged, the highest percentage of any school district in Florida. Fewer than 15 percent perform at grade level.

An idealistic new teacher at East Gadsden High, John Nogowski saw that the Department of Education’s techniques would not work in this environment. He wanted to make an impact in his students’ lives. In a room stacked with battered classics like A Raisin in the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird, he found 30 pristine, “quarantined” copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Abused by an alcoholic father, neglected by his own community, consigned to a life of privation and danger. Wouldn’t Huck strike a chord with these kids? Were he alive today, wouldn’t he be one of them? Part lesson plan, part memoir, Nogowski’s surprising narrative details his experience teaching Twain’s politically charged satire of American racism and hypocrisy to poor black teens.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf today:

The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture
Karen Dillon

The cultural fantasy of twins imagines them as physically and behaviorally identical. Media portrayals consistently offer the spectacle of twins who share an insular closeness and perform a supposed alikeness—standing side by side, speaking and acting in unison.

Treating twinship as a cultural phenomenon, this first comprehensive study of twins in American literature and popular culture examines the historical narrative—within the discourses of experimentation, aberrance and eugenics—and how it has shaped their representations in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Posted on

Newly Published: Violence and Victimhood in Hispanic Crime Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Violence and Victimhood in Hispanic Crime Fiction: Essays on Contemporary Works
Edited by Shalisa M. Collins, Renée W. Craig-Odders and Marcella L. Paul

At the heart of crime fiction is an investigation into an act of violence. Studies of the genre have generally centered on the relationship between the criminal and the investigator. Focusing on contemporary crime fiction from the Spanish-speaking world, this collection of new essays explores the role of the victim.

Contributors discuss how the definition of “victim,” the nature of the crime, the identification of the body and its treatment by authorities reflect shifting social landscapes, changing demographics, economic crises and political corruption and instability.

Posted on

July Transportation Sale: Get 25% off ALL Transportation Titles

Some of you may share a guilty failing of our editors.  When they receive proposals and manuscripts, while reading about almost any car–learning how it took shape, its quirks and qualities, how it changed over the production run–desire starts to sprout.  Previously ignored vehicles (and even disliked vehicles) show their hidden appeal.  On more than one occasion, an editor has looked at ads and undertaken calculations (financial, emotional, marital) for said cars.
 
If you’re the same, peruse our transportation catalog with caution!  In addition to a broad range of books about automobiles, you’ll find offerings about aircraft, locomotives, bicycles, ships, military vehicles and transportation-related topics.  When you order direct from our website using the coupon code TRANSPORT25, print editions of all transportation books are 25% off July 16 through July 31. Happy motoring and happy reading!
Posted on

Author Stephen Knight Receives George N. Dove Award

Congratulations to author Stephen Knight, the 2018 recipient of the George N. Dove Award! Presented annually by the Mystery Area of the Popular Culture Association, the Dove Award recognizes an outstanding scholar in mystery and crime fiction research.

Knight is the author of four McFarland books: The Mysteries of the CitiesSecrets of Crime Fiction ClassicsTowards Sherlock Holmes, and Australian Crime Fiction.

Posted on

Newly Published: In Search of Elena Ferrante

New on our bookshelf today:

In Search of Elena Ferrante: The Novels and the Question of Authorship
Karen Bojar

Elena Ferrante—named one of the 100 most influential people in 2016 by Time magazine—is best known for her Neapolitan novels, which explore such themes as the complexity of female friendship; the joys and constraints of motherhood; the impact of changing gender roles; the pervasiveness of male violence; the struggle for upward mobility; and the impact of the feminist movement. Ferrante’s three novellas encompass similar themes, focusing on moments of extreme tension in women’s lives.

This study analyzes the integration of political themes and feminist theory in Ferrante’s works, including men’s entrapment in a sexist script written for them from time immemorial. Her decision to write under a pseudonym is examined, along with speculation that Rome-based translator Anita Raja and her husband Domenico Starnone are coauthors of Ferrante’s books.

Posted on

Newly Published: Edith Wharton and Mary Roberts Rinehart at the Western Front, 1915

New on our bookshelf today:

Edith Wharton and Mary Roberts Rinehart at the Western Front, 1915
Ed Klekowski and Libby Klekowski

By 1915, the Western Front was a 450–mile line of trenches, barbed wire and concrete bunkers, stretching across Europe. Attempts to break the stalemate were murderous and futile. Censorship of the press was extreme—no one wanted the carnage reported.

Remakably, the Allied command gave two intrepid American women, Edith Wharton and Mary Roberts Rinehart, permission to visit the front and report on what they saw. Their travels are reconstructed from their own published accounts, Rinehart’s unpublished day-by-day notes, and the writings of other journalists who toured the front in 1915. The present authors’ explorations of the places Wharton and Rinehart visited serves as a travel guide to the Western Front.

Posted on

Four New Titles Reviewed in Choice

Four new titles are reviewed in the July issue of Choice!

Scenes from an Automotive Wonderland: Remarkable Cars Spotted in Postwar Europe
“Any car spotter will enjoy this book, and may find a 26 horsepower favorite. The book is presented in a pleasant, easily readable format and contains a useful index and excellent bibliography… recommended.”

Women in the American Revolution
“effective… enriches the breadth of scholarship published on this topic… Wike’s multicultural net captures the multifaceted roles of women… recommended.”

The First 50 Super Bowls: How Football’s Championships Were Won
“This readable book will no doubt be enjoyed by his intended audience of football and sports fans… recommended.”

Henry Green: Havoc in the House of Fiction
“Nuanced… one leaves this study with a thorough knowledge of Green’s oeuvre and full insight into his mastery of high modernism… recommended.”

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Growing Up with Vampires

New on our bookshelf today:

Growing Up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media
Edited by Simon Bacon and Katarzyna Bronk

Vampire narratives are generally thought of as adult or young adult fare, yet there is a long history of their appearance in books, film and other media meant for children. They emerge as expressions of anxiety about change and growing up but sometimes turn out to be new best friends who highlight the beauty of difference and individuality.

This collection of new essays examines the history of vampires in 20th and 21st century Western popular media marketed to preteens and explores their significance and symbolism.

Posted on

Newly Published: Deadwood and Shakespeare

New on our bookshelf today:

Deadwood and Shakespeare: The Henriad in the Old West
Susan Cosby Ronnenberg

Set in politically unstable environments, Shakespeare’s history plays—Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV and Henry V—and HBO’s Western series Deadwood (2004–2006) all stand as critiques of myths of national origin, the sanitized stories we tell ourselves about how power imposes order on chaos. Drawing parallels between the Shakespeare plays and Deadwood, the author explores questions about legitimate political authority, the qualities of an effective leader, gender roles and community, and the reciprocal relationship between past and present in historical narratives.

Posted on

Newly Published: I Am Legend as American Myth

New on our bookshelf today:

I Am Legend as American Myth: Race and Masculinity in the Novel and Its Film Adaptations
Amy J. Ransom

Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend has spawned a series of iconic horror and science fiction films, including The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007). The compelling narrative of the last man on earth, struggling to survive a pandemic that has transformed the rest of humanity into monsters, has become an American myth. While the core story remains intact, filmmakers have transformed the details over time, reflecting changing attitudes about race and masculinity.

This reexamination of Matheson’s novel situates the tale of one man’s conflicted attitude about killing racialized “others” within its original post–World War II context, engaging the question of post-traumatic stress disorder. The author analyzes the several film adaptations, with a focus on the casting and interpretations of protagonist Robert Neville.

Posted on

Newly Published: “The game’s afoot”

New on our bookshelf today:

“The game’s afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare
Cynthia Lewis

Like the age-old feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, the enduring rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers makes for great drama. Macbeth’s career began with promise but ended in ruin—not unlike Pete Rose’s. Twelfth Night’s Viola’s disguise as a boy to enter into a man’s world is echoed in Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ challenge to the pro golf patriarchy when she competed in the Los Angeles Open.

Exploring parallels between Shakespeare’s plays and famous events in the world of sports, this book introduces seven of the best-known plays to the sports enthusiast and offers a fresh perspective to Shakespeare devotees.

Posted on

Newly Published: H.P. Lovecraft

New on our bookshelf today:

H.P. Lovecraft: Selected Works, Critical Perspectives and Interviews on His Influence
H.P. Lovecraft
Edited by Leverett Butts

This collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s most influential works presents several of his most famous stories, a sampling of his poetry and an abridgment of his monograph Supernatural Horror in Literature, with commentary providing background and context. Criticism is included from such scholars as S.T. Joshi and Robert M. Price, along with essays by writers Brad Strickland and T.E.D. Klein, and interviews with Pulitzer-nominated author Richard Monaco (Parsival) and award-winning novelists Cherie Priest (Boneshaker) and Caitlin Kiernan (The Drowning Girl).

Posted on

Newly Published: Postmodern Artistry in Medievalist Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Postmodern Artistry in Medievalist Fiction: An International Study
Earl R. Anderson

Focusing on modern-day fiction set in the Middle Ages or that incorporates medieval elements, this study examines storytelling components and rhetorical tropes in more than 60 works in five languages by more than 40 authors.

Medievalist fiction got its “postmodern” start with such authors as Calvino, Fuentes, Carpentier and Eco. Its momentum increased since the 1990s with writers whose work has received less critical attention, like Laura Esquivel, Tariq Ali, Matthew Pearl, Matilde Asensi, Ildefonso Falcones, Andrew Davison, Bernard Cornwell, Donnal Woolfolk Cross, Ariana Franklin, Nicole Griffith, Levi Grossman, Conn Iggulden, Edward Rutherfurd, Javier Sierra, Alan Moore and Brenda Vantrease.

The author explores a wide range of “medievalizing” tropes, discusses the negative responses of postmodernism and posits four “hard problems” in medievalist fiction.

Posted on

Newly Published: Don Quixote as Children’s Literature

New on our bookshelf today:

Don Quixote as Children’s Literature: A Tradition in English Words and Pictures
Velma Bourgeois Richmond

Cervantes is regarded as the author of the first novel and the inventor of fiction. From its publication in 1605, Don Quixote—recently named the world’s best book by authors from 54 countries—has been widely translated and imitated. Among its less acknowledged imitations are stories in children’s literature.

In context of English adaptation and critical response this book explores the noble and “mad” adventures retold for children by distinguished writers and artists in Edwardian books, collections, home libraries, schoolbooks and picture books. More recent adaptations including comics and graphic novels deviate from traditional retellings. All speak to the knight-errant’s lasting influence and appeal to children.

Posted on

Newly Published: Shocking and Sensational

New on our bookshelf today:

Shocking and Sensational: The Stories Behind Famous True Crime and Scandal Books
Julian Upton

Already part of a genre known for generating controversy, some true crime and scandal books have wielded a particular power to unsettle readers, provoke authorities and renew interest in a case. The reactions to such literature have been as contentious as the books themselves, clouding the “truth” with myths and inaccuracies.

From high-profile publishing sensations such as Ten Rillington PlaceFatal Vision and Mommie Dearestto the wealth of writing on the JFK assassination, the death of Marilyn Monroe and the Black Dahlia murder, this book delves into that hard copy era when crime and scandal books had a cultural impact beyond the genre’s film and TV documentaries, fueling outcries that sometimes matched the notoriety of the cases they discussed and leaving legacies that still resonate today.

Posted on

Newly Published: Modern Science Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Modern Science Fiction: A Critical Analysis: The Seminal 1951 Thesis with a New Introduction and Commentary
James Gunn
Edited by Michael R. Page

James Gunn—one of the founding figures of science fiction scholarship and teaching—wrote in 1951 what is likely the first master’s thesis on modern science fiction. Portions were in the short-lived pulp magazine Dynamic but it has otherwise remained unavailable.

Here in its first full publication, the thesis explores many of the classic Golden Age stories of the 1940s and the critical perspective that informed Gunn’s essential genre history Alternate Worlds and his anthology series The Road to Science Fiction.

The editor’s introduction and commentary show the historical significance of Gunn’s work and its relevance to today’s science fiction studies.

Posted on

Newly Published: Once Upon a Time in a Dark and Scary Book

New on our bookshelf today:

Once Upon a Time in a Dark and Scary Book: The Messages of Horror Literature for Children
K. Shryock Hood

Contemporary American horror literature for children and young adults has two bold messages for readers: adults are untrustworthy, unreliable and often dangerous; and the monster always wins (as it must if there is to be a sequel).

Examining the young adult horror series and the religious horror series for children (Left Behind: The Kids) for the first time, and tracing the unstoppable monster to Seuss’s Cat in the Hat, this book sheds new light on the problematic message produced by the combination of marketing and books for contemporary American young readers.

Posted on

Newly Published: Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld

New on our bookshelf today:

Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld: Mythic Origins, Sovereignty and Liminality
Sharon Paice MacLeod

Despite censorship and revision by Christian redactors, the early medieval manuscripts of Ireland and Britain contain tantalizing clues to the cosmology, religion and mythology of native Celtic cultures. Focusing on the latest research and translations, the author provides fresh insight into the indigenous beliefs and practices of the Iron Age inhabitants of the British Isles. Chapters cover a broad range of topics, including creation and cosmogony, the deities of the Gaels, feminine power in early Irish sources, and priestesses and magical rites.