Category Archives: American literature

Experimental, strange, and unabashedly feminist, Joanna Russ’s groundbreaking science fiction grew out of a belief that the genre was ideal for expressing radical thought. Her essays and criticism, meanwhile, helped shape the field and still exercise a powerful influence in … Continue reading

Linda A. Morris is a Professor of Emeritus at UC Davis. Her current research is on gender play in the works of Mark Twain. Her earlier published work focused primarily on women’s humor in nineteenth-century America. Her teaching and research … Continue reading

Jonathan Fenderson is an assistant professor of African and African American studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He recently answered some questions about his new book Building the Black Arts Movement: Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s.  … Continue reading

Joseph Vogel is an assistant professor of English at Merrimack College. He is the author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. He recently answered some questions about his new book, James Baldwin and the 1980s: … Continue reading

The Chicago Black Renaissance was a time of growth and innovation for Chicago’s Black artistic community. During the early to mid 20th century, Chicago was the place where poets and musicians like Gwendolyn Brooks and Nat King Cole flourished. Here are … Continue reading

As main man LeVar Burton can attest, you can go twice as high if you take a look, it’s in a book. Reading, though an essential skill to anyone outside politics, is also a topic of intense literary interest. Scholars across … Continue reading

On February 25, 2009, science fiction master Philip José Farmer—author of the Riverworld series and the Hugo-winning To Your Scattered Bodies Go—departed our reality at age 91. When it happened I wondered, How did Philip José Farmer end up in Peoria? But it turned out he … Continue reading

Octavia Butler accomplished many near-impossibles. She succeeded as a woman in science fiction. She succeeded as an African American woman in science fiction. She also broke out of the genre’s restraints to earn attention in the American literary sphere. It … Continue reading

Excerpts from Octavia E. Butler, the new Modern Masters of Science Fiction book by Gerry Canavan: “If we humans are, as Lauren believes, and as I believe, a part of Earth in significant ways, then perhaps we can’t, or shouldn’t, leave … Continue reading

Last year Slate ran an article that, in that annoying Slate way, made it clear: the battle is won. We no longer have to fear book banning. It is a rare phenomenon, in America, at least, and true bannings—as opposed to, say, a … Continue reading