Books in Brief, Dec. 20, 2010
Joan Brown


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9:20 a.m., Dec. 20, 2010----Books in Brief is a roundup of recent books by University of Delaware faculty, staff and alumni.

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Joan L. Brown, Elias Ahuja Professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Confronting Our Canons: Spanish and Latin American Studies in the 21st Century, Bucknell University Press. Brown's book, based on research at UD, discusses the implications of a statistical study of graduate reading lists in the United States. She finds that the canon of required reading of “great books” in Spanish and Latin American literature is more extensive for Spanish Advanced Placement high school students than for doctoral students, and she urges Hispanic studies professionals to reach a consensus on flexible, diverse canons of required readings. A Choice review gave the book four stars, its highest rating, and noted: “The author identifies and discusses important extrinsic and intrinsic criteria for use in developing such a canon. The alternative, Brown fears, is irrelevance of this literature in higher education in the U.S. going forward. A fundamental book for scholars of Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic literatures and cultures.” Brown said the research for the book “reflects our collaborative advantage at UD. Much of its evidence derives from a statistical analysis of the contents of graduate reading lists in Spanish and Latin American literature in the United States. Without statistical support overseen by Lawrence Hotchkiss, information resource consultant for Information Technologies-Client Support and Services, and without the contributions of my Foreign Languages and Literatures colleague, Crista Johnson, instructor of Spanish, this analysis would not have been possible.”

Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, chair of the Department of Art History, is author of Theodore Gericault (1791-1824), Phaidon Press (London), a book about the painter, a quintessential Romantic who embodied rebellion in both the arts and the politics of his time. Gericault is best known for his monumental work The Raft of the Medusa (1819), inspired by a political scandal.

Brock W. Jobe, adjunct professor in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, and Jack O'Brien, who earned his master's degree in English at UD in 1996, are co-authors, with Gary R. Sullivan, of Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850, which has won the 16th annual Historic New England Book Prize. Published in conjunction with a Winterthur exhibition in 2009, the book explores the variety of furniture craftsmanship in southeastern Massachusetts during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Alastair Sim, who earned his master's degree in English in 1994, The Unbelievers, Macmillan Minotaur Books. Described as a Victorian detective novel of ideas, The Unbelievers draws directly on Sim's academic work at UD. Publishers Weekly has called the murder mystery a “well-written historical' and said the author “does a fine job in bringing the mean streets of Victorian Edinburgh to life.”

Paige Wolf, who graduated in 2001 with a degree in English, Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt, Lombard Books. Wolf, owner of a public relations firm in Philadelphia and a new mother, is an advocate for green lifestyles. In the book, she interviews experts and parents to try to help others raise their children on an environmentally “reasonable and responsible course without losing their minds.”

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