Thursday, March 1, 2012

American Secrets: The Politics and Poetics of Secrecy in the Literature and Culture of the United States.

Edited by José Liste-Noya and Eduardo Barros-Grela

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Predicated upon the principles of political freedom, cultural openness, religious tolerance, individual self-reliance, and ethnic diversity, the United States of America has been tempted recurrently by the lures of the secret. American Secrets explores this political, historical, and cultural phenomenon from many, often surprisingly, overlapping angles in these analyses of the literary and cultural uses and abuses of secrecy within a democratic culture. Through analyses of diverse literary works and cultural manifestations-from Mark Twain's anti-imperialist prophecies to 9/11 conspiracy theories, from the traumas of the Vietnam war to the homophobia of the American military establishment, from the unresolved dilemmas of nuclear politics to the secret ecologies shunted aside by the exploitation of the environment, from the questionings of national identity on the ethnic and (trans)sexual margins to the confessional modes of poetry and the poetics of the unspeakable and unrepresentable-these essays reveal the politics within the poetics and, indissociably, the poetics fueling the politics of secrecy in its ambivalent deployment.

Secrecy often seems to be a question without an answer or an answer that either seems to beg the question or to be a question itself. These essays address this paradox with their own questioning explorations. In answering such questions, the volume as a whole provides an illuminating overview of the pervasiveness of the secret and its modalities in American culture while also dealing specifically with the poetics of the secret in its various, historically recurrent literary manifestations.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: America the Secret
  • Secret Nation / Nation of Secrets
  • "None but the Dead Are Permitted to Tell the Truth": Mark Twain's Missives to the Future
    Shelley Fisher Fishkin
  • The Ultimate Secrecy: Feminist Readings of Masculine Trauma in Vietnam War Literature
    Carmen Méndez García
  • (Don't) Trust the U.S. Government: Paul Greengrass' United 93 and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
    Esther Pérez Villalba
  • The Desert as a National Sacrifice Zone: The Nuclear Controversy in Nevada Fiction
    David Río
  • Hidden Truths and Open Lies: The Performance of U.S. History and Mythography in Tony Kushner's Angels in America and its Film Adaptation
    Boris Vejdovsky
  • Dirty Laundry on the Line: Staging the Nation in Contemporary U.S. Drama and Performance
    Robert Vorlicky
  • Secret Selves
  • Lolita, the Secret of/in Lolita: "Poerotics" of Secrecy
    Marie C. Bouchet
  • American Secrets on the Road towards the West
    Carmen Induráin Eraso
  • Family Secrets: Carving Identity out of Silence in Borderlands/La Frontera.
    Inmaculada Lara Bonilla
  • The Black Sheep I Am: Anne Sexton, Madness, and the Performance of Confession
    Steve Schessler
  • Dickinson, Doubt, and the Skeptical Argument: Notes for a Defense of the Unspoken
    Paul Scott Derrick
  • Enabling Secrecy: Hermeneutics, the Lyric, and Dickinson's Poem 340
    Jefferey Simons
  • (The) Other('s) Secrets
  • Whispers in the Wind, Visions in the Fog: Nature's Secrets in Linda Hogan's Novels
    Carmen Flys Junquera
  • Blood on the Tire Iron: Battle on Secret Ideological Frontiers in Brokeback Mountain
    Christian Hummelsund Voie
  • Secret Links in Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker: Reflections on Another Composite Novel by an Ethnic Writer
    Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz
  • AIDS-The Disease With No Name?: Jamaica Kincaid's My Brother (1997)
    María Frías
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

About the Editors:

Eduardo Barros is postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of English at Universidade da Coruña, Spain.

José Liste Noya teaches American literature at the Universidade da Coruña in northwestern Spain.


Reproduced with permission from the European Association of American Studies.

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