University of Delaware

Books in Brief

LSU, SUNY presses to release new books by UD professors


10:40 a.m., Nov. 11, 2011--New books by University of Delaware faculty members Jesus Cruz and Rachael Hutchinson are being released.

The LSU Press has announced that it will release the new book The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in 19th Century Spain by Cruz, professor of history, in December, and the State University of New York Press will release Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self by Hutchinson, assistant professor of Japanese, in November.

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In the stimulating study The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in 19th Century Spain, Cruz examines middle-class lifestyles -- generally known as bourgeois culture -- in 19th century Spain. Cruz argues that the middle class ultimately contributed to Spain's democratic stability and economic prosperity in the last decades of the 20th century.

Interdisciplinary in scope, Cruz's work draws upon the methodology of various areas of study -- including material culture, consumer studies and social history -- to investigate class. In recent years, scholars in the field of Spanish studies have analyzed disparate elements of modern middle-class milieu, such as leisure and sociability, but Cruz looks at these elements as part of the whole. He traces the contribution of 19th century bourgeois cultures not only to Spanish modernity but to the history of Western modernity more broadly.

The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in 19th Century Spain provides key insights for scholars in the fields of Spanish and European studies, including history, literary studies, art history, historical sociology, and political science.

Cruz, who received his bachelor of arts degree from Universidad Complutense of Madrid and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of California San Diego, specializes in Iberian history and teaches the history of Spain at UD. He joined the UD faculty in 1993.

His publications include Gentlemen, Bourgeois, and Revolutionaries: Political Change and Cultural Persistence among the Spanish Dominant Groups, 1750-1850 and Los notables de Madrid: las bases sociales de la revolución liberal española. He is the general editor of the Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies.

Hutchinson's Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self describes how writer Kafu (1879-1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modern Japanese identity. Kafu spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France.

Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese literature, Hutchinson explores Kafu’s construction of the Western Other, an integral part of his critique of Meiji civilization. Through contrast with the Western Other, Kafu was able to solve the dilemma that so plagued Japanese intellectuals -- how to modernize and yet retain an authentic Japanese identity in the modern world. 

Kafu’s flexible positioning of imagined spaces like the “West” and the “Orient” ultimately led him to a definition of the Japanese Self.

Hutchinson analyzes the wide range of Kafu’s work, particularly those novels and stories reflecting Kafu’s time in the West and the return to Japan, most unknown to Western readers and a number unavailable in English, along with his better-known depictions of Edo’s demimonde. Kafu’s place in Japan’s intellectual history and his influence on other writers are also discussed.

“Hutchinson’s powerful contribution will take its place among the most important books published on Kafu. It stands apart because she expands on important issues in his writing, including Orientalism/Occidentalism, identity, and social critique," said Douglas N. Slaymaker, author of The Body in Postwar Japanese Fiction.

Hutchinson received her doctorate at the University of Oxford in England. Her research interests include 20th century Japanese literature and film, representation and identity studies and censorship and counter-discourse. She is coeditor, with Mark Williams, of Representing the Other in Modern Japanese Literature: A Critical Approach.

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