Letter from the Editors:
Imani Owens’s Turn the World Upside Down, is one of the first books in the recently launched Black Lives in the Diaspora: Past/Present/Future, a cross-disciplinary series in partnership with Howard University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Columbia University’s African American and African Diaspora Studies Department. Drawing on a transnational and multi-lingual archive—from Harlem to Havana, from the Panama Canal Zone to Port-au-Prince— Owens considers how Black writers and performers reimagined folk forms through the lens of the unruly to challenge empire.
Our other notable series also have a slew of significant new books out. In the Literature Now series, John Brooks’s The Racial Unfamiliar examines abstractionist and genre-defying works by Black writers and artists, while Timothy Bewes’s already much-discussed and debated Free Indirect asks what kind of thought remains for the novel in the twenty-first century. From the Modernist Latitudes series, we have Hannah Freed-Thall’s Modernism at the Beach, which reads works by Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Claude McKay, and Rachel Carson, among others, to explore the modernist beach as a queer refuge and a visionary threshold at the end of the world. The ever-popular Rereadings series offers up Freedom Reread, in which L. Gibson investigates his love-hate relationship with Jonathan Franzen.
From our list in critical theory, What World Is This? by Judith Butler challenges us to reconsider the sense of the world in the wake of COVID-19. Alain Badiou returns with Images of the Present Time, and Enzo Traverso’s Singular Pasts scrutinizes first-person history as written by novelists and historians.
One of the more exciting developments at the end of 2022 was the extraordinary critical reception of The Backstreets: A Novel from Xinjiang, by Perhat Tursun and by Darren Byler and Anonymous. Widely reviewed and earning the plaudits of J. M. Coetzee, Elif Bautman, and others, The Backstreets is an astonishing novel by a preeminent contemporary Uyghur author who was disappeared by the Chinese state. The book joins our other innovative works of Asian fiction and literary studies found in this catalog.
These are just some of the highlights, and we look forward to these books making their way out into the world. Thank you for your interest.