Over at my other blog, Finite Eyes (about academic subjects, and things related to my job as Interim Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State), I've got a few new posts, including one on the pricing of academic books, which might be of at least vague interest to Mumpsimus readers.
Ben Wynne writes, “the names Charley Patton and Jimmie Rodgers are rarely
uttered outside the confines of documentary films or scholarly publications
dealing with American roots music. Most people do not routinely listen to
Patton or Rodgers records, and their songs are no longer heard on the radio.”
 And yet the music of Patton and Rodgers echoes through most popular music
from the middle of the 20th century to now, because Patton was one
of the foundational figures of the Mississippi Delta style of blues and Rodgers
was one of the foundational figures of what today is known as country music.
From Patton and Rodgers we can trace a direct line to Robert Johnson, Bill
Monroe, Hank Williams, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee
Lewis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Bob Dyl…
I haven't published a lot over the last few years, not from lack of writing, but, as I noted in June, more from working on longer projects. Thus, I'm pleased to be able to note here some upcoming publications.
The biggest is my book Modernist Crisis and the Pedagogy of Form: Woolf, Delany, and Coetzee at the Limits of Fiction. The (expensive) hardcover will be out in January, and a (less expensive) paperback will follow about a year later. I certainly wish that Bloomsbury did like other academic publishers and released the hardcover and paperback at the same time (and/or provided an inexpensive ebook), but so it goes. It will be available at academic libraries, and interlibrary loan is a godsend. (I expect my next academic book will be open access and openly licensed.)
I also have two new stories coming out this fall: "A Liberation" in Conjunctions 73: Earth Elegies. This will be my second story in the print edition of Conjunctions (and I've had two stories on We…
My mother died on November 3, 2018. She was, in so many ways, my first reader and my first editor. Five days before her death, she asked me to write her something to read. I went home that night and wrote the following essay. I brought it to her the next day. Her eyesight had weakened, and she didn't have a lot of stamina, but she was able to read a couple paragraphs of it. It turned out to be the last thing I wrote while my mother was alive. I read it at her memorial service, and numerous people asked to have a copy of it, so I am posting it here for all who are interested.
by Matthew Cheney
A reader of horror stories, and a fan of horror movies, I am familiar with ghosts and hauntings. As I’ve grown older, though, it seems strange to me that ghosts are typically represented as frightening, that being haunted is considered undesireable.
Certainly, screaming banshees flying through the ruins of gothic mansions at midnight aren’t exactly comforting. But I’m thinking of a dif…
It's not difficult to
trace the source of all the magic in Reginald Shepherd's first collection of
essays—the author's sensitivity to the fruitful borderlands between aesthetics
and politics—but pinning down each wondrous effect emanating from that source
might take a while.This is a book rich
with ideas and implications, a book that provokes and dazzles and sings. In the introduction to Orpheus in the Bronx, Shepherd calls
himself "someone who has looked to art and literature as a means for the
expansion rather than the constriction of horizons" (1), and that tendency
and quest is evident on every page of every essay.As a poet who is, among other things, black
and gay, he might s…