Letter from the Editors:
We are pleased to present the 2021 Columbia University Press literary studies catalog. The past year was a challenging one on many fronts and we hope the books in this catalog reflect the various ways in which literary studies and literature provide new ways of thinking and understanding our world. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many of the authors included in the catalog and are excited to be sharing these books with you.
One of the defining features of our list has been its emphasis on twentieth- and twenty-first- century literary studies. In 2021, I am excited to be publishing Robert O’Meally’s Antagonistic Cooperation, which examines how key African American writers, musicians, and visual artists shaped each other’s work and provided a lens to understand American society and the global African diaspora. Jill Richards’s The Fury Archives provides an alternative literary and cultural history of women’s rights, practiced by female arsonists, suffragette rioters, industrial saboteurs, self-named terrorists, lesbian criminals, and queer resistance cells. For our list in modernist studies, Daniel Ryan Morse’s Radio Empire demonstrates how radio became a cauldron of global modernism and an unlikely nexus of artistic exchange and Ulysses by Numbers, by Eric Bulson, provides a new way of reading Joyce’s novel as it considers the use (and misuse) of quantitative methods in literary analysis.
Moving into the postwar and contemporary eras, Redlining Culture, by Richard So, demonstrates the unmistakable role of racial inequality in twentieth-century American fiction and literary culture. Tonal Intelligence, by Sunny Xiang, reveals how anxieties about racial intelligibility shaped Asian American and Asian literature and culture, and Matthew Hart’s Extraterritorial reads writers such as Margaret Atwood, Amitav Ghosh, Chang-rae Lee, and China Miéville and how their work draws on spaces that are neither global or national.
We also have three books that reveal how new technologies have affected literature and the physical form of the book: Postprint, by N. Katherine Hayles, explores how the interweaving of print and digital technologies has changed not only books but also language, authorship, and what it means to be human. In Bookishness, Jessica Pressman shows how the fetishization of books has caught the attention of readers and contemporary writers. Mike Chasar challenges the cliché of the death of poetry in Poetry Unbound by illuminating this literary form’s multimedia history.
Three new works reconsider crucial twentieth-century figures: Subterranean Fanon, by Gavin Arnall, offers a new way of understanding Fanon’s views on revolutionary change; Lynne Huffer’s Foucault’s Strange Eros rewrites the French thinker as a Sapphic poet and in A Face Drawn in the Sand; Rey Chow articulates the plight of the humanities in the age of global finance and neoliberal mores via Foucault’s concept “outside.”
The humanities are also reconsidered and reimagined in Eric Hayot’s Humanist Reason, which makes a positive and provocative case for what humanists are actually doing and how their work can be reconceived for the twenty-first century.
I’d also like to call your attention to books in the recently launched Rereadings series, which looks at novels both celebrated and neglected and to display the full range of the possibilities of criticism through scholarship, theory, and creative writing. We have three books to kick off the series: Peter Coviello’s Vineland Reread offers a spirited and moving reclamation of an oft-overlooked Pynchon novel. Ivan Kreilkamp brings his chops as a literary and rock critic to bear in A Visit from the Goon Squad Reread. And in To Write as if Already Dead, noted novelist Kate Zambreno revisit’s Hervé Guibert’s To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life.
As always, we have an excellent selection of new books in Asian literary studies, including Pleasure in Profit: Popular Prose in Seventeenth-Century Japan, by Laura Moretti; Staging Personhood: Costuming in Early Qing Drama, by Guojung Wang; and Photo Poetics: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Media Culture, by Shengqing Wu. Likewise, be sure to check out our equally amazing new works in East Asian and Russian literature.
We hope you share our excitement and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss your own book project.