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New Orleans
A Literary History

$44.95 (G)

T. R. Johnson, Anthony Wilson, Erin Greenwald, Calvin Schermerhorn, Ed Folsom, Jarrod Hayes, Rien Fertel, Matthew Smith, S. Frederick Starr, Tara T. Green, Emily Toth, Kirsten Silva Greusz, Bryan Wagner, Milena Marinkova, Daniel Stein, Thomas Bonner, Thadious Davis, Henry I. Schvey, William Bedford Clark, Richmond M. Eustis, Jr, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Taylor Hagood, Cory MacLauchlin, Monica Carol Miller, Marguerite Nguyen, Holly Hobbs, Kevin Rabalais
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  • Date Published: October 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108498197

$ 44.95 (G)

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About the Authors
  • New Orleans is an indispensable element of America's national identity. As one of the most fabled cities in the world, it figures in countless novels, short stories, poems, plays, and films, as well as in popular lore and song. This book provides detailed discussions of all of the most significant writing that this city has ever inspired - from its origins in a flood-prone swamp to the rise of a creole culture at the edges of the European empires; from its emergence as a cosmopolitan, hemispheric crossroads and a primary hub of the slave trade to the days when, in its red light district, the children and grandchildren of the enslaved conjured a new kind of music that became America's greatest gift to the world; from the mid-twentieth-century masterpieces by William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Walker Percy to the realms of folklore, hip hop, vampire fiction, and the Asian and Latin American archives.

    • Presents comprehensive coverage of the literary history of New Orleans
    • Includes a very diverse group of scholarly approaches and styles
    • Presents in-depth discussion of historical contexts and specific texts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Anyone giving serious consideration to the writing of New Orleans must have this book. T. R. Johnson has brought together between these covers a stunning collection of essays that never fail to delight and occasionally shock. This book expertly captures the varied essence of the great city: its fatalism, its history, it magic.' Maurice Carlos Ruffin, author of We Cast a Shadow

    'Johnson has performed a Herculean service, giving us a book that plumbs the hidden depths of a literary legacy alternately as dark and as hilarious as only honest writing about New Orleans can be. Sure, the music, the food, the architecture; but also, Johnson shows us, the literature of New Orleans is like that of no other place.' Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans

    'A profound and lyrical book about the literary history of the Big Easy.' Bernice L. McFadden, author of The Book of Harlan

    'World history, American history, music history - all unthinkable without New Orleans, the city that was 'day and night a show'. Now T. R. Johnson and a state-of-the-scholarship crew of contributors offer a panorama of new perspectives on this unique city’s always-vivid literature. If you think you know New Orleans, read on, and prepare to be amazed, challenged, entertained, and horrified. If you teach New Orleans culture, this book is an indispensable tool.' Ned Sublette, author of The World that Made New Orleans

    'Fatalism has stalked New Orleans almost from the moment convicts and enslaved Africans dragged it from the mud. Plague-stricken, flood prone, and more Caribbean than American concerning matters that make survival worthwhile, the town has attracted an outsize quota of top-flight writers who have memorialized it in a literature of lasting significance. In assembling an eclectic array of scholarly talent on the subject seldom found between the covers of the same book, T. R. Johnson has put us all in his debt.' Lawrence N. Powell, author of Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans

    'It’s not possible to write in New Orleans without writing about New Orleans. The city saturates the imagination, casting an irresistible and enervating spell. New Orleans writers must contrive to sink and swim at the same time. T. R. Johnson’s collection of essays, as eclectic as the figures on a local Voodoo altar, invites the reader to discover how far back the peculiar strains of fatalism and irony that color the world view of the New Orleanian really go. No other American city has consistently offered a literature that is at once so appealing and so alien to the rest of the country. New Orleans: The Literary History is a welcome guide to that fabulous reality found only on the printed page.' Valerie Martin, author of Property

    'What T. R. Johnson has assembled in New Orleans: The Literary History is a tremendous contribution to the city’s self-understanding - and to everyone’s understanding of the city’s impact on broader literary histories. With an embracing, inclusive agility, the book excavates layers of culture and language to deliver a comprehensive, international vision of three hundred years’ worth of writing, from the published letters of an Ursuline nun in the 1730s to the sissy bounce music of Big Freedia today. Taken together, these scholars present an argument for how New Orleans’s literary history has shaped our sense of the pleasures of cities in general and also of the urban imagination itself as a dynamic, shifting thing, with poetry, fiction, memoir and drama intertwining throughout New Orleans’s history like the forces that create its legendary climate of heat, humidity, and storm.' Ed Skoog, author of Run the Red Lights

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108498197
    • length: 396 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • contains: 25 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface T. R. Johnson
    1. Swamp City Anthony Wilson
    2. Mixed motives: writing for French audiences from colonial New Orleans Erin Greenwald
    3. 'As I have seen and known it': ex-slave autobiographers and the New Orleans Slave Market Calvin Schermerhorn
    4. What New Orleans Meant to Walt Whitman Ed Folsom
    5. Coloring sex, love, and desire in Creole New Orleans's long nineteenth century Jarrod Hayes
    6. The white Creole tradition: Alfred Mercier, Charles Gayarré, Adrien Rouquette, and Grace King Rien Fertel
    7. The Civil War's literary aftershocks: George Washington Cable Matthew Smith
    8. Illusion and disillusion: the making of Lafcadio Hearn S. Frederick Starr
    9. Local color, social problems, and the living dead in the late nineteenth-century short fiction of Alice Dunbar-Nelson Tara T. Green
    10. Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier, and the predicament of the intellectual woman in New Orleans Emily Toth
    11. Converging Americas: New Orleans in Spanish-language and Latina/o/x literary culture Kirsten Silva Greusz
    12. A Jazz origin-myth: Bras Coupe in history, folklore, and literature Bryan Wagner
    13. 'Stepping out' of the storyville frame: recent literary representations of the New Orleans red light district Milena Marinkova
    14. Louis Armstrong's autobiographical art Daniel Stein
    15. New Orleans, modernism, and The Double Dealer, 1921–1926 Thomas Bonner
    16. 'Because what else could he have hoped to find in New Orleans, if not the truth': William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! Thadious Davis
    17. 'The place I was made for': Tennessee Williams in New Orleans Henry I. Schvey
    18. A Civil Rights era novel of the American Civil War: Robert Penn Warren's Band of Angels William Bedford Clark
    19. How to survive the best environments: narrating Protean place in Walker Percy's The Moviegoer Richmond M. Eustis, Jr
    20. Tom Dent and the development of black literature in New Orleans Kalamu Ya Salaam
    21. The gothic tradition in New Orleans Taylor Hagood
    22. A Flaneur in the French Quarter and beyond: John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces Cory MacLauchlin
    23. Literary fiction by New Orleans women, 1961–2003: Shirley Anne Grau, Ellen Gilchrest, Sheila Bosworth, and Valerie Martin Monica Carol Miller
    24. Asian American New Orleans Marguerite Nguyen
    25. New Orleans rap and bounce: recovering and archiving an expressive tradition Holly Hobbs
    26. The literature of Hurricane Katrina Kevin Rabalais
    Afterword: swan song? T. R. Johnson
    Contributors biographies

  • Editor

    T. R. Johnson, Tulane University, Louisiana
    T. R. Johnson is a Professor of English and Weiss Presidential Fellow at Tulane University, Louisiana. He has written books about Lacanian psychoanalysis, the teaching of writing, and about prose-style. He has also taught at Boston University and the University of Louisville.


    T. R. Johnson, Anthony Wilson, Erin Greenwald, Calvin Schermerhorn, Ed Folsom, Jarrod Hayes, Rien Fertel, Matthew Smith, S. Frederick Starr, Tara T. Green, Emily Toth, Kirsten Silva Greusz, Bryan Wagner, Milena Marinkova, Daniel Stein, Thomas Bonner, Thadious Davis, Henry I. Schvey, William Bedford Clark, Richmond M. Eustis, Jr, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Taylor Hagood, Cory MacLauchlin, Monica Carol Miller, Marguerite Nguyen, Holly Hobbs, Kevin Rabalais

Part 1: An interview with T. R. Johnson on New Orleans: A Literary History

Part 2: An interview with T. R. Johnson on New Orleans: A Literary History

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