Browse Our MLA Virtual Book Exhibit with Philip Leventhal

Welcome to the Columbia University Press virtual exhibit for the MLA conference. I am Philip Leventhal, editor for literary studies, and while it is disappointing not to have the opportunity to see everyone in person at MLA this year, I am excited to share some of our forthcoming and recently published books. Please visit this blog over the next few days for author interviews, videos, book excerpts, and more.

Also, please feel free to contact me if you have a book project that you think might be a good fit for Columbia. I would love to hear from you!

Below are some books I’d like to highlight, and I also invite you to look at our catalog for more titles. 

First, I would like to congratulate, Jean-Christophe Cloutier, author of Shadow Archives: The Lifecycles of African American Literature, whose book received the Matei Calinescu Prize, and Ben Baer, whose Indigenous Vanguards: Education, National Liberation, and the Limits of Modernism received honorable mention.

Those books reflect our continuing emphasis on twentieth-century literary studies and are complemented by several other new titles, including Jill Richards’s The Fury Archives, 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; Daniel Ryan Morse’s Radio Empire, a study of how radio became a cauldron of global modernism and an unlikely nexus of artistic exchange; and Ulysses by Numbers, by Eric Bulson, a new way of reading Joyce’s novel as it considers the use and abuse of quantitative methods in literary analysis. (Eric Bulson explains why there might actually be something new to say about Ulysses in this video).

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 (Richard also recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, “Just How White Is the Book Industry?”).

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. (In this video, Matthew Hart discusses why the concept of the extraterritorial is so central to contemporary fiction.)

We also have three books that reveal the surprising and different ways that 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. Those Jane Austen–themed socks you got for the holidays? 

In Bookishness, Jessica Pressman shows how the fetishization of books has caught the attention of readers and contemporary writers. Is poetry dead? Mike Chasar challenges this cliche in Poetry Unbound by illuminating this literary form’s multimedia history.

Two new works provide important reconsiderations of crucial twentieth-century figures: Subterranean Fanon, by Gavin Arnall, offers a new way of understanding Fanon’s views on revolutionary change, and Lynne Huffer’s Foucault’s Strange Eros rewrites the French thinker as a Sapphic poet. (Lynne Huffer discussed the book with Penelope Deutscher and Jana Sawicki in this video.)

The humanities are 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 from a couple of new series. Books in the Rereadings series look at novels both celebrated and neglected and aim to display the full range of the possibilities of criticism through experiments with form, voice, and method in an attempt to find different paths among scholarship, theory, and creative writing. We have two titles to kick off the series: Peter Coviello’s Vineland Reread offers a spirited and frequently moving reclamation of an oft-overlooked Pynchon novel. Ivan Kreilkamp, whom Rob Sheffield describes as “versed in both Middlemarch and Minor Threat,” brings his chops as a literary and rock critic to bear in A Visit from the Goon Squad Reread. And in Aimlessness, one of the first books from the No Limits series, which examines open-ended ideas and concepts from an intensely personal and creative point of view, Tom Lutz pushes against the culture of purpose, achievement, and accumulation.

As always, we have an excellent and diverse 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.

I hope you share my excitement and enthusiasm for these books, and thanks for joining us.

Philip Leventhal, Senior Editor

Save 20 percent on our conference titles on display when you use coupon code MLA at checkout from our website by March1, 2021.

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