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Book Beat: December 1998

Recent publications from CLAS faculty.

Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern TextsHaunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts

Edited by Anne Goodwyn Jones (English) and Susan V. Donaldson 
(University Press of Virginia, 1998)
Available through Amazon

In Haunted Bodies, Anne Goodwyn Jones and Susan V. Donaldson have brought together some of our most highly regarded southern historians and literary critics to consider race, gender, and texts through three centuries and from a wealth of vantage points. Works as diverse as eighteenth-century court petitions and lyrics of 1970s rock music demonstrate how definitions of southern masculinity and femininity have been subject to bewildering shifts and disabling contradictions for centuries.

- Publisher

Excerpt

Analyses of gender in American studies have tended to assume that the contours of gender that developed in the first half of the nineteenth century in the American North can be successfully generalized elsewhere....Yet a moment's thought will make it clear that such gender assumptions could not work so smoothly for people in the American South, white or black, rich or poor, slave or free. For manhood, the notion of  "the free play of individual interests" in a rigidly hierarchical and paternalistic society or of gaining social status through achievement rather than birth in a culture based on family lineage had to remain only a gleam in the eye for the Southerner born with the wrong blood or condition of servitude and without a silver spoon in his mouth. Most southern men, that is to say, would not have had access to Rotundo's "American" manhood. And even those most likely to—the men of the master class—argued quite explicitly against such ideas, for example in the proslavery speeches, sermons, and essays.

Alligator Tales

Alligator TalesCompiled by Kevin McCarthy (English) 
(Pineapple Press, 1998)  
Available through Amazon

Collected here are true (and tongue-in-cheek) accounts of alligators and the people who have hunted them, been attacked by them, and tried to save them from extinction. Journey through the Everglades with 1800s Seminoles, experts at stalking and killing gators. Go along with a "Northern girl" as she shoots "my first alligator in my gloves and veil."  And learn how modern alligator hunters go about their business, which hasnít changed much in the last hundred years or so.

This book is filled with amusing black-and-white photos and is punctuated by a full-color section of photographs by John Moran, who has managed to capture the true essence of alligators in their natural habitat.

Excerpt

The University of Florida began using a gator for its mascot back in 1907. At that time, Philip Miller, who owned a stationery store in Gainesville, Florida, was visiting his son at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. When he tried to order some University of Florida pennants there to sell in Gainesville, Miller suggested the alligator for two reasons:  First, no other school at that time had an alligator for a mascot; and second, the reptile was native to Florida.

When the pennant maker admitted that he had never seen an alligator and could therefore not design one for the pennants, Miller's son went to the local library, found a picture of a gator in a book, and presented a copy to the pennant maker. When the pennants arrived in Gainesville in time for the 1908 football season, the blue banners had on them a large orange alligator—and a mascot was born.

Enchanted Paths and Magic Words:  The Quantum Mind and Time Travel in Science and in Literary Myth     

Enchanted Paths and Magic Words:  The Quantum Mind and Time Travel in Science and in Literary MythE.C. Barksdale (Germanic and Slavic Studies
(Peter Lang, 1998)
Available through Amazon 

Dreams of time travel have long haunted the human imagination. Many physicists and philosophers think that time travel is impossible; others, such as Stephen Hawking, ponder whether perhaps it could be done. Part One of this book offers a nontechnical account of some of the major current theories concerned with time travel and with the quantum mind. The mind already makes imaginary journeys in time. The  mind may some day, through a special process of information transfer, make real ones. In Part Two, the reader goes on several trial-run trips in time with great writers and filmmakers as guides.

- Publisher

Excerpt

We cannot really see time as a fourth dimension. Instead we perceive it as a one-directional dimension separate from the three dimensions of space; and we "crawl" along that dimension in one direction going from the past to the present and on to the future. We shall see later in this book that certain famous physicists, including Sir Isaac Newton, have proposed that there is no reason why we cannot in theory "crawl" back in the other direction;  from future to the present and on into the past. So we perceive time as a one-dimensional entity because we can imagine time as a straight line and often we draw time on graphs as a straight line....we always conceive of three dimensions of space as utterly separate from the extra dimension of time.

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