Literary Criticism/Cultural Studies

Ellen Handler Spitz Reviews Children’s Literature

by Phillip Witteveen May 15, 2014
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“Almost entirely absent from elementary school curriculums, rarely chosen as bedtime reading by parents, poetry — formerly a joyful accouterment of youth, an inexhaustible gift — seems forgotten,” writes Press author Ellen Handler Spitz in this week’s New York Times’ Sunday Book Review. “Yet poetry and children belong together.” Spitz’s review centers on two children’s books that “strive to create, by very different means and with different results, a sense of the poet Emily Dickinson as a person.” In this and other published criticism, she returns to the relationship between aesthetics and psychology, especially in youth cultures. For Spitz, a […]

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Buerkle to Deliver ‘Faye Sigman Woman of Valor Lecture’ at UW-Milwaukee

by Meredith Kahn May 7, 2014
cover of Nothing Happened: Charlotte Salomon and an Archive of Suicide

Darcy C. Buerkle, Associate Professor of History at Smith College and author of Nothing Happened: Charlotte Salomon and an Archive of Suicide, will deliver the 2014 Faye Sigman Woman of Valor Lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday, May 8. The lecture is sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UW-Milwaukee. Buerkle’s Nothing Happened takes a close look at Charlotte Salomon’s fantastical autobiography Life? or Theater? and the way that German social history has omitted the stories of German Jewish women and suicide. Salomon’s Life? or Theater? consists of 769 sequenced gouache paintings, through which she imagined the […]

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OFFERED AGAIN: ‘Guide to Editing Middle English’ and ‘Emily Dickinson’s Open Folios’

by Shaun Manning April 30, 2014
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In recent years, modern digital printing techniques have enabled a much greater flexibility in reprinting and inventory management. But what about books published before the digital age? As part of the University of Michigan Press’s mission to keep the scholarship it publishes available and in print, we have already converted many of our backlist titles to take advantage of the new technology, ensuring we are consistently able to meet demand. Even so, with an in-print backlist of some 3000 titles, the time and effort required has meant that some titles have remained out of stock much longer than we would […]

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As Denzel Washington opens ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ on Broadway, Ellen Handler Spitz’ ‘Illuminating Childhood’ explores the play’s significance

by Shaun Manning March 6, 2014
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“Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play, A Raisin in the Sun, was both her first and the first by any playwright of color to astonish Broadway,” Ellen Handler Spitz writes in Illuminating Childhood: Portraits in Film, Fiction, and Drama, opening an entire chapter devoted to the play. “Crossing boundaries of race, ideology, and class, it puts onstage an unforgettable portrayal of parent-child relations, bridging all gaps, and the maturity of Hansberry’s grasp, at the age of twenty-eight, is breathtaking.” The latest revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon and starring Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, begins […]

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On the Passing of Doris Lessing

by Meredith Kahn November 20, 2013

Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing died this week at home in London. Gayle Greene’s Doris Lessing: The Poetics of Change, published by the U-M Press in 1995, continues to be an important source for the study of Lessing’s work and impact. Describing her as “quite simply the most extraordinary woman writer of our time,” Greene seeks to explain the seemingly irreconcilable differences of genre and philosophical orientation present in Lessing’s long career by drawing attention to the constancy of “change” and a search for “something new” in both her fiction and autobiographical works. On the continuing importance of Lessing’s work for future readers […]

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