Bookbeat: December 2010

The Language of the Heart: A Cultural History of the Recovery Movement from Alcoholics Anonymous to Oprah WinfreyThe Language of the Heart: A Cultural History of the Recovery Movement from Alcoholics Anonymous to Oprah Winfrey

by Trysh Travis
Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research
(University of Florida Press, 2009)
Available through UNC Press

In The Language of the Heart Trysh Travis explores the rich cultural history of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its offshoots and the larger "recovery movement" that has grown out of them. Moving from AA's beginnings in the mid-1930s as a men's fellowship that met in church basements to the thoroughly commercialized addiction treatment centers of today, Travis chronicles the development of recovery and examines its relationship to the broad American tradition of self-help, highlighting the roles that gender, mysticism, and print culture have played in that development.

Travis draws on hitherto unexamined materials from AA's archives as well as a variety of popular recovery literatures. Her analysis traces AA's embrace of the concept of alcoholism as disease, the rise of feminist sobriety discourse and the codependence theories of the 1970s and 80s, and Oprah Winfrey's turn-of-the-millennium popularization of metaphysical healing. What unites these varied cultures of recovery, Travis argues, is their desire to offer spiritual solutions to problems of gender and power.

Treating self-help seekers as individuals whose intellectual and aesthetic traditions are worth excavating, The Language of the Heart is the first book to attend to the evolution and variation found within the recovery movement and to treat recovery with the attention to detail that its complexity requires.

- Publisher

Brazil, Lyric, and the AmericasBrazil, Lyric, and the Americas

by Charles A. Perrone
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
(University of Florida Press, 2009)
Available through University of Florida Press

In this highly original volume, Charles Perrone explores how recent Brazilian lyric engages with its counterparts throughout the Western Hemisphere in an increasingly globalized world. This pioneering, tour-de-force study focuses on the years from 1985 to the present and examines poetic output--from song and visual poetry to discursive verse--across a range of media.

At the core of Perrone's work are in-depth examinations of five phenomena: the use of the English language and the reception of American poetry in Brazil; representations and engagements with U.S. culture, especially with respect to film and popular music; epic poems of hemispheric solidarity; contemporary dialogues between Brazilian and Spanish American poets; and the innovative musical, lyrical, and commercially successful work that evolved from the 1960s movement Tropicalia.

"This is Perrone at his most brilliant. Erudite but accessible, thorough but playful: Brazil, Lyric, and the Americas is the latest contribution by the most knowledgeable U.S.-based scholar of the Brazilian lyric."

- Severino Joao Albuquerque, University of Wisconsin

"Perrone retraces the dialogue of the Brazilian lyric with the poetry of the Americas in the generous spirit that the poets' utopia of solidarity will serve as a counterpoint to the harsher side of globalization."

-Luiza Moreira, Binghamton University

- Publisher

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