667 Chapters
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Coffee Talk: A Chat with Terry Tempest Williams Aria Seligmann, Eugene Weekly, 2003

Michael Austin Utah State University Press ePub

Environmental writer and poet Terry Tempest Williams sat at a table at the Excelsior Inn about 8 o’clock on a Friday morning a couple of weks ago. In town to lecture and lead some writing workshops at the UO, she squeezed me into her busy schedule. Too early for me, I’d arrived at the restaurant several minutes prior just to get enough coffee down my gullet to be able to ask some questions. Williams, on the other hand, was already put together and naturally beautiful at that early hour, her unique combination of wisdom and grace readily apparent.

A lifetime resident of Utah, environmental writer and poet Terry Tempest Williams writes from her own experiences as a Mormon woman living in that state. She has authored six books, as well as An Unspoken Hunger, a collection of essays, and two children’s books.

Her work has been anthologized widely and reproduced in The New Yorker, The Nation, Outside, Audubon and Orion and she’s best known for Refuge, a book that tells the parallel tales of the degradation of the environment and her mother’s battle with cancer.

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Plates appear after page 140.

Rosemarie McGerr Indiana University Press ePub

1. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 55r

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

2. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 139r

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

3. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 198r

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

4. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 235v

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

5. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 261r

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

6. New Haven, Yale Law School, Goldman Library MssG +St11 no.1, fol. 358r

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Shelf-Life: Varieties of the Aphorism

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


V   A

It might be called the literary expression of the bright idea. The tradition of the aphorism is the only literary genre I know whose most exceptional endorsers all read not only as if they sat down in the same coffeehouse but if as they shared the same library.

The tradition was inaugurated as a brief condensed statement of a set of facts. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is one of its earlier exponents: he used aphorisms as succinct definitions of diseases and remedies. ‘Life is short, and Art is long; the occasion fleeting; experience fallacious; and judgement difficult.’ Aphorisms were clearly a string of bitter pills to be swallowed, the adages or sententiae which, for a long time, served as a teaching tool in medicine and philosophy. Other ancient sayings, such as those of

Heraclitus, as handed down by Plutarch, and those of the author of the Book of Job, are closer to gnomons than aphorisms. While

Danton insists that life itself is an epigram, in Georg Büchner’s play, aphorisms can be distinguished from epigrams (literally

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1. The Narrative Structure of Chol Folktales: One Thousand Years of Literary Tradition

Kerry M. Hull University Press of Colorado ePub

One Thousand Years of Literary Tradition


After listening to Chol storytellers for nearly thirty years, we came to understand that there is a narrative style, a canon that is followed by the best narrators and only marginally controlled by those who are not. Over and over again we noted the same features in stories told by different narrators. For that matter, we noted many of the same features in stories told by speakers of other Mayan languages (England 2009; Josserand and Hopkins 2000), as well as in Classic period Maya hieroglyphic texts (Hopkins and Josserand 1990: 307–310, 1991). That is, there is an established tradition of storytelling that not only appears in the royal texts of the Classic Maya more than 1,000 years ago but which survives today in the telling of sacred and traditional lore.

A good storyteller creates a dramatic narrative by anticipating the reactions of the audience, introducing new information in the right way at the right time, and suppressing some details as background and emphasizing others as focused events. If the story is not being told in a satisfactory way, the audience may break in and begin to tell it right. In several of the stories we have recorded over the years, the principal narrator loses the floor momentarily while someone else takes a turn as narrator. There is a common sense of how stories should be told and an appreciation for narrators who can tell them well.

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Medium 9780856832468


Kenneth Verity Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

IT COULD BE SAID that the Romans poured most of their energy into political and military affairs, but culturally (and in many other ways) Rome was a worthy successor to the Greeks. Artistically, it drew its initial productive impulse from Greek civilization, but the outcome had a native inspirational vigour that flourished in its own right. It was at the time of the decisive contests with Carthage (c250 BC) that the Romans, with the help of mature models obtained from Greece, first began the development of a national literature. Fortuitously, Roman copies of the works of antiquity became an invaluable record-source when, subsequently, the Greek originals had been lost. As to poetry, this had a life and development of its own which we shall explore. To help set the context, an outline of certain major events in Roman history is given in the following figures:





Founding of city of Rome (traditional date).

753 BC-


Development of Etruscan culture.


Roman Republic

Conquest of Italy and Mediterranean
Expulsion of Etruscans and founding of
Roman Republic.

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Talking to Terry Tempest Williams: About Writing, the Environment, and Being a Mormon Tom Lynch, Desert Exposure, 1999

Michael Austin Utah State University Press ePub

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist and writer from Utah. Her book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, which documents the rise and fall of the Great Salt Lake in the mid-1980s as well as the impact of fallout-induced cancer on the women of her family, became an almost instant classic in the literature of nature. She has collaborated in editing a forthcoming anthology, New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community. She is also the author of Pieces of White Shell, Coyote’s Canyon, Desert Quartet, and An Unspoken Hunger, as well as several children’s books. For many years she worked as Naturalist-in-Residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History, and she recently served as the Shirley Sutton Thomas Visiting Professor of English at the University of Utah.

Throughout her work, Terry Tempest Williams interweaves family, story, landscape, and the more-than-human world, exploring how human communities relate for good and ill with the natural world. She is one of the most graceful yet forceful voices for the preservation of wilderness areas.

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Medium 9780253211903

16. Pragmatism as the Logic of Abduction (Lecture VII)

Edited by the Peirce Edition Project Indiana University Press ePub


MS 315. [Published in CP 5.180–212 (in part) and in HL 241–56). Untitled by Peirce, this is the last of the seven Harvard lectures, delivered on 14 May 1903.] This lecture was added so that Peirce could extend his remarks about the relation of pragmatism to abduction. He elaborates in particular on three key points raised in the sixth lecture: (1) that nothing is in the intellect that is not first in the senses, (2) that perceptual judgments contain general elements, and (3) that abductive inference shades into perceptual judgment without any sharp line of demarcation between them. Pragmatism follows from these propositions. Peirce reiterates that the function of pragmatism is to help us identify unclear ideas and comprehend difficult ones. It is in this lecture that Peirce delivers his famous dictum: “The elements of every concept enter into logical thought at the gate of perception and make their exit at the gate of purposive action; and whatever cannot show its passports at both those two gates is to be arrested as unauthorized by reason.” In developing these ideas, Peirce emphasizes that in making every conception equivalent to a conception of “conceivable practical effects,” the maxim of pragmatism reaches far beyond the merely practical and allows for any “flight of imagination,” provided only that this imagination “ultimately alights upon a possible practical effect.”

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51. Embroidered Thessaly

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Embroidered Thessaly

[Found among the papers of an attorney recently deceased]

1892 and c. 1897

Houghton Library

The writer was yesterday called into his lumber-room to pronounce upon the disposition to be made of a roll of two loom-fabrics his rummaging young people had found there. The first to be displayed was a queer tapestry, on which was embroidered in worsteds in bold, rough style, with long stitches, a view of the three mountains Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus, as they appear from the town of Trichala, with the plain of Thessaly between, and figures in the foreground, dancing. The writer blushed as he looked at it; for it brought to his remembrance how there was in the early sixties a precious young fool upon whom a rather extraordinary sort of glamour had been cast, and how it was that young fool’s skin in which the world today recognized a man of method and prudence; and the man himself was persuaded that valuable reputation appertained to him by good right. But the sight of the embroidery aforesaid almost made him doubt his own genuine identity.

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Medium 9780253007278

12 Things Fall Apart; the Left Cannot Hold

Gerald Sorin Indiana University Press ePub

In his very last column for the Daily Worker, on June 12, 1956, several days after the full text of Khrushchev’s speech had been published in English, Fast was still saying he was not an enemy of the Soviet Union. He did finally admit, however, that while “I have written . . . bluntly and consistently of the injustice that exists” in America, “I failed miserably . . . in not exercising the same judgment toward the Soviet Union.” He had learned as early as 1949 “that Jewish culture had been wiped out in Russia.” This, he confessed, “I did not challenge.” He had also known “that artists . . . writers and scientists were intimidated, but [had] accepted this as a necessity of Socialism.”1

Fast’s mea culpa was significantly compromised, however, by his continuing to argue that unlike what the Soviets did, “no similar . . . injustices carried out by capitalist governments . . . have been publicly admitted and corrected.”2 Moreover, he contended that any evils committed in the USSR were to be blamed not on the inherent nature of Marxist-Leninism, Communism, or totalitarianism, but on the “madness and weakness of a handful of Soviet leaders,” including Khrushchev, who to Fast’s great dismay and disgust continued Stalin’s brutal policy of executing his political enemies.

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Third Person to Herself: Marguerite Duras

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Third Person to Herself

M D

Her life was her best novel, and M.D. – or ‘La Duras’ as even she referred to herself in old age – knew it. She kept ransacking it, covering her tracks, refining her ability to confuse the issue, ‘for having us believe lies she then ended up believing herself’. So says

Laure Adler – historian, French television pundit and acquaintance of the older Duras – in her scrupulous biographical reconstruction not just of M.D.’s life but of the many other visible and not so visible lives subsumed in  books and nearly  films.

One of the last sacred monsters of French cultural life, award of the  Goncourt Prize for her most conventional novel The Lover

– it sold more than a million copies and ended up as a film she detested – brought M.D. fame. So much, in fact, that a writer who believed writing was the opposite of telling a story had to resign herself to the maddening way a personal truth tends to reveal itself

– in the breach: The Lover was read as her life story.

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7. Death

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Walden lives up almost entirely to the purpose Thoreau announces in the epigraph: “I do not intend to write an ode to dejection.” (5) However varied his moods may have been during the book’s nine-year gestation, Thoreau produced a consistently optimistic work by sticking to a strict compositional plan: “I put the best face on the matter.” As a result, in the midst of so much high spirits, the famous penultimate paragraph of “Where I Lived and What I lived For” seems not only obscure but unexpected:

If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimiter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. (70)

Thoreau had written like this before. Using the same odd phrase, “to front a fact,” he had previously imagined his enterprise as another kind of life-and-death struggle:

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Terry Tempest Williams and Ona Siporin: A Conversation Ona Siporin, Western American Literature, 1996

Michael Austin Utah State University Press ePub

William Stafford once wrote:

Justice will take us millions of intricate moves.

The intricate moves of Terry Tempest Williams in her efforts towards environmental justice are to turn the kaleidoscope ninety degrees, to listen to a shell (Pieces of White Shell), to translate the calligraphy of herons in flight (An Unspoken Hunger), to name the snows (The Secret Language of Snow), and to trace the rapid unraveling of the lives of the women in her family (Refuge). Time spent with Williams reveals a woman whose intriguing power, determination, and ambition remain half-obscured by seeming contradictions.

In late April of this year, at the request of Western American Literature, I drove up canyon out of Salt Lake and introduced myself at Terry’s door. She showed me into a living room where we sat by the windows and talked. I wanted to hear how Terry would situate herself. Perhaps it should seem obvious. She is the naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City, has a master’s degree in environmental education, and has won the Southwest Book Award. In her many works it is clear that her concerns are with the Great Basin and the deserts.

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Medium 9780253019622

6. Ethnoliterary Modernity: Jewish Ethnography and Literature in the Russian Empire and Poland (1890–1930) / Annette Werberger

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub

Jewish Ethnography and Literature in the
Russian Empire and Poland (1890–1930)


In ethnoliterary texts, modernity is expressed in relation to culture or “ethnos.” Authors seek this kind of modernity by exploring folklore and ethnology, which provide access to a certain “vanishing” premodern culture and deal with all forms of otherness: the near, the distant, and the alien. The catalyst of ethnoliterary texts is often the expressed notion of a crisis or rupture within “tradition” and the need to salvage the threatened lore of one’s own or a foreign “folk,” who still live outside modernity as a “survival” of ancient times.

I consider ethnoliterary texts, scenes, and motifs from Eastern Europe that show the special interest of Jewish authors in the “near” and not the “elsewhere” (Marc Augé). There had been great transformations and challenges within the Russian empire and Poland by 1900. The “modern” person (or undzer modern as Y. L. Peretz writes in Yiddish) need not look far to find tradition in the supposedly premodern ways of living and thinking, exotic clothing, or practices of superstition and magic outside of Warsaw, Kiev, or Vilna.1 The interest in folklore affected a people who thought of themselves as modern; they searched in the Pale of Settlement and the Warsaw underground for primordial Jewish expression, hoping to rescue themselves and to salvage their own modernity, although they preferred to see themselves as the saviors of the folk and tradition. Peretz wrote in 1911:

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7. Narrative Structure and the Drum Major Headdress

Kerry M. Hull University Press of Colorado ePub



Classic period inscriptions refer to the accession of a lord into the office of king in a variety of ways. One accession statement refers to the fastening of a white headband on the new king (k’ahlaj “fasten, enclose, bind, or tie,” sak huun “white head-band”) (Grube, cited in Schele 1992: 39–40; Schele, Mathews, and Lounsbury 1990: 4–5; Stuart 1996: 155). Several scenes, such as the Palenque Temple XIX platform and Bonampak Sculptured Stone 1, show a sak huun headband being handed to the incoming ruler. This crown of kingship is illustrated as a flexible headband of bark cloth tied onto the head with a large knot in the back (Schele 1992: 22–24). Another headdress that appears on four monuments at Palenque has been nicknamed the drum major headdress for its visual similarity to headgear worn by the leader of a marching band. This headdress is composed of a tall base of jades capped with a short crop of feathers and long tail feathers. In some examples, the long feathers are tipped with jade beads. The drum major headdress has also been identified as a crown of kingship (Fields 1991: 167; Freidel 1990: 74; Schele 1978; Taube 1998: 454–460). By examining the narrative structure of these four monuments, we will argue in this chapter that the drum major headdress represented an office or function that was related to, but quite separate from, the office of king. We will also discuss the possibility that one of the duties of the secondary lords of Palenque, who carried the title yajawk’ahk’, may have been to maintain one particular drum major headdress and the buildings that housed it.

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Chapter Eight

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

“What sort of test is it?” Phoenix asked nervously, licking the narco-flavored paint from his lips.

“It’s called an ingathering.” Teeg lay face-down, back arched so that her upper trunk was lifted off the floor. “It’s a form of collective trance. Pioneered by the Quakers centuries ago.”

They were in Teeg’s apartment, where she was demonstrating yoga positions for him, and he was doing his best to avoid staring at her. She wore a body-colored shimmersuit—“The next best thing,” as she had informed him one day, “to nakedness.” Phoenix sat muffled in several meters of gown, feeling like a cheap present extravagantly wrapped. He had come to her place straight from work, so he was still bedaubed and bewigged and befrocked in the public manner. “All right, I fall into this trance. Then what happens?”

If you achieve the trance,” she corrected him, her back arching further, vertebrae popping, “you drift toward the center.”

“Where’s the center?”

“It’s not a place. It’s an experience. Kind of a stillness, a brightness. In the ingathering we all gravitate there. If everyone’s perfectly clear, we merge together in the—well, the shining.”

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