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English

Winter 2017

Homer on a flash drive

Plato is sitting at the feet of his mentor Socrates, writing down what the old philosopher says. What Socrates is saying, ironically, is that writing is bad for you: It rots your memory. Preserved in Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates’s opinion of the then-emerging technology sounds strange to us now—until you recall that that’s pretty much exactly what pundits in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been saying about TV, video games, and texting.

Dene Grigar, director of Washington State University Vancouver’s program in Creative Media and Digital Culture, laughs and nods. She’s also the president of the Electronic Literature Organization, an international team of scholars and … » More …

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women's Writing cover
Fall 2017

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women’s Writing

Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women's Writing cover

Donna M. Campbell

University of Georgia Press: 2016

 

In 1921, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel, The Age of Innocence. Wharton was part of a new generation born in the 1860s and 1870s who, equipped with new biological theories, challenged conventions of the Victorian era.

Deriving its title from one of Wharton’s remarks … » More …

WSU Emeritus Professor and writer Alex Kuo. Courtesy Alex Kuo
Winter 2015

Triple Shanghai

Alex Kuo’s writing confronts censorship both explicit and hidden

In a pivotal moment from Alex Kuo’s new novel shanghai.shanghai.shanghai, several Chinese card players watch a team of Americans publicly disavow George W. Bush’s administration in front of an international audience. Struck by the brazen criticism, a pickpocket known as Bogota Man questions how such anti-government opinions could ever be voiced openly.

He contends that political dissent in China can mean life in solitary confinement. A friend quickly responds that in America the defiant act of protest is more likely to be completely ignored.

“I’m not sure which is worse,” she says.

» More …

Fall 2015

Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way

 

Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way cover

Linda Russo

Shearsman Books: 2015

Linda Russo translates the environmental characteristics of the Palouse from scenery to words in this slender volume of her poetry. The cohabitation between humans and nature is explored everywhere from a home garden to the vast wheat fields. Her other poems delve into post-pastoral themes of consumer development on farmable land:

shopping centers and cheap food production

the song of arable, or … » More …

John Florio
Summer 2014

The time in between

England came late to the Renaissance. But by the time it arrived, its greatest contribution would be literary. John Donne, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson served a literate aristocracy eager to be informed and entertained.

Into the late sixteenth century comes the observant figure of Michel de Montaigne, a French statesman and prolific essayist who wrote about nearly everything his mind encountered, “from cannibals to codpieces, suicide to faith,” as Will Hamlin, WSU’s English literature and Renaissance scholar, puts it. For most English readers of the time, Montaigne’s French Essais were made accessible by a translation undertaken by his contemporary John Florio, a language teacher … » More …

Kathleen Flenniken
Spring 2014

On the Road

Washington’s Poet Laureate brings poetry to, and discovers it in, each of the state’s 39 counties

Although my parents lived in the same house in Richland, Washington—my hometown—for 50 years, they never stopped being proud, relentless Oregonians. But in 1989 Mother and Dad celebrated Washington’s centenary in a big way. They dreamed up one of those projects that makes sense to retired couples but bemuses their children: visiting and photographing all 39 Washington county courthouses. They were even written up in the Tri-City Herald for achieving their goal, and photographed paging through their album. A family friend rediscovered the newspaper clipping more than twenty years … » More …