Letter from the Editors:
Thank you for your interest in Columbia University Press’s new books in literary studies. Amid the many crises we continue to confront, reading and studying literature continues to provide important ways for us to understand our world and each other. We hope these books reflect that as they foreground what makes literature distinctly revelatory and pleasurable. It’s been a challenging year, and we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful and dedicated authors.
One of the defining features of our list has been its emphasis on twentieth- and twenty-first- century literary studies. The Literature Now series has been crucial in providing important new critical perspectives on contemporary literature and culture. Forthcoming books from the series include Literature in Motion, Ellen Jones’s remarkable new book on literary multilingualism; Free Indirect by Timothy Bewes, which develops a compelling new theory of the novel; and Vidyan Ravinithiran’s Worlds Woven Together, a thoughtful and beautifully written collection of essays that puts Western and South Asian poetry in conversation.
David Kurnick’s The Savage Detectives Reread is our newest entry in our popular and critically acclaimed Rereadings series. In it, Kurnick brings passionate, critical insight to Bolano’s novel and its complicated reception. We also have two new books in our other recently launched series, No Limits: in Taste, poet Jehanne Dubrow considers how we come to know ourselves and others through the daily act of tasting. Self-Improvement by Mark Coeckelbergh, demonstrates how self-improvement culture became so toxic—and why we need both a new concept of the self.
Our list in Black literary studies and I am looking forward to the publication of Robert O’Meally’s Antagonistic Cooperation, which examines how key African American writers,musicians, and visual artists provided a lens to understand American society and the global African diaspora. John Brooks’s The Racial Unfamiliar, also part of the Literature Now series,considers how contemporary Black writers and artists challenge ideas about Black identity.
Columbia University Press’s list in Asian literary studies continues to shape the field with works of innovative scholarship. Hoyt Long’s The Values of Numbers, which offers a reinterpretation of modern Japanese literature through computational methods. The Promise and Peril of Things by Wai-yee Lee, traces notions of the pleasures and dangers of things in the literature and thought of late imperial China. 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.