New Books October 2021

We have had a lot of books hit the shelves at the EFL this October (125 in total!) so this month has some ripe, juicy pickings for our new books display and blog. In the interest of celebrating Black History Month this October, we’ve picked out some thematically appropriate books by black authors and editors to highlight in this month’s blog! As always, you can see the full selection of our new titles over on LibraryThing:

Without further ado, let’s dig in…

Sojourner Truth (et al.). Ain’t I A Woman? 2021.

This miniature but brilliant book contains the speeches of Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, as well as a select few speeches of those who came after her: Maria Stewart, Sarah Parker Remond, and Jennie Carter, among others. The written reproductions of these speeches have been thoughtfully chosen, mindful of the inaccuracies of dialect (which is often over-wrought, and thought unfair by Sojourner) and recorded in standardized English.

Purchased through the E. H. W. Meyerstein bequest grant.

Zora Neale Hurston. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. 2020.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. She wrote short stories through the 1920s and 30s and was considered by Toni Morrison to be “one of the greatest writers of our time”. Her stories explore love, migration, gender, race, and class. This particular collection includes her pieces that were considered to be “lost”, dug up from archives and periodicals deep in the literary dusts.

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Nella Larson. Quicksand: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. 2020.

Nella Larson’s 1928 literary debut (originally titled Cloudy Amber) from the Harlem Renaissance is presented in this Norton Critical Edition with a whole host of extra features: an introduction and annotations by Carla Kaplan, contemporary biographical and cultural contexts, a chronology and bibliography, and related writings by Larson herself. That’s not even mentioning the critical accompaniments from academics such as Ann duCille, Deborah E. McDowell, and Cherene Sherrard-Johnson.

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Una Marson. Selected Poems. 2011.

The eagle-eyed Bodleian blog reader may have spotted a post that recently went up on the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee blog also celebrating Black History Month! If you’re keen to know more about Una Marson (1905-1965), I’d suggest beginning your search there. For now, this selection contains poems from all four of Marson’s published collections, as well as a few poems that went unpublished too. Editor Alison Donnell, who’s written about Marson on multiple occasions, has chosen a fascinating selection of work that demonstrates the breadth of an often underappreciated poet.

Ayanna Thompson. Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage. 2008.

Ayanna Thompson, Director of the Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, has used this book to delve into the relationship between depictions of race and performances of torture in Early Modern Theatre. Her work draws on Antonin Artaud’s manifesto for the Theatre of Cruelty before delving into specific examples through titles such as Titus Andronicus, The Indian Emperor, and Amboyna. Her interest goes beyond mere analysis – with an emphasis on recovering these plays from their past.

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