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Transformations, Ideology, and the Real in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Other Narratives: Finding 'The Thing Itself'
by Maximillian E. Novak
Transformations, Ideology, and the Real in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Other Narratives: Finding 'The Thing Itself' explores important problems in the fiction of Daniel Defoe, from his interest in rendering reality (what he called "the Thing itself"), whether in painting or prose fiction, to the various ways in which Defoe's works were read by contemporaries and by those novelists who attempted to imitate and comment upon his Life and Strange Surprizing Adventure of Robinson Crusoe decades after its publication. A number of sections of the book attempt to consider the complexities of various aspects of Defoe's writings: his way of evoking the inability of language to describe a vivid scene or moments of overwhelming emotion, his interest in the fiction of islands or utopia, his gradual development of the concepts surrounding Crusoe's cave, Defoe’s fascination for the horrors of cannibalism, and some of the ways he attempted to defend his work and serious fiction in general. Transformations, Ideology, and the Real in Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Other Narratives: Finding 'The Thing Itself' establishes the complexities and originality of Defoe as a writer of fiction.
October 2014 ISBN: 978-1611494853 $75.00

William T. Vollmann: A Critical Companion
Edited by Christopher K. Coffman and Daniel Lukes
Contributions by Georg Bauer; Carla Bolte; Aaron Chandler; Heather Corcoran; John K. Cox; Okla Elliott; James Franco; Jonathan Franzen; Michael Glawogger; Mariya Gusev; Joshua Jensen; Priscilla Juvelis; Miles Liebtag; Larry McCaffery; Françoise Palleau-Papin; Melissa Petro; Jordan A. Rothacker; Bryan Santin; Geoffrey D. Smith; Mary Austin Speaker; Michael K. Walonen and Buell Wisner.

The essays in this collection make a case for regarding William T. Vollmann as the most ambitious, productive, and important living author in the US. His oeuvre not only includes outstanding work in numerous literary genres, but also global reportage, ethical treatises, paintings, photographs, and many other productions. His reputation as a daring traveler and his fascination with life on the margins have earned him an extra-literary renown unequaled in our time. Perhaps most importantly, his work is exceptional in relation to the literary moment. Vollmann is a member of a group of authors who are responding to the skeptical ironies of postmodernism with a reinvigoration of fiction's affective possibilities and moral sensibilities, but he stands out even among this cohort for his prioritization of moral engagement, historical awareness, and geopolitical scope. Included in this book in addition to twelve scholarly critical essays are reflections on Vollmann by many of his peers, confidantes, and collaborators, including Jonathan Franzen, James Franco, and Michael Glawogger. With a preface by Larry McCaffery and an afterword by Michael Hemmingson, this book offers readings of most of Vollmann's works, includes the first critical engagements with several key titles, and introduces the work of several foreign Vollmann scholars to American audiences.
October 2014 ISBN: 978-1611495102 $90.00

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