“…many worlds I’ve come since I first left home.”—Brokedown Palace, The Grateful Dead
I stopped by Sage House last Saturday evening to finish packing up some books and pictures. I played songs on the guitar there for the last time. The twelve-foot ceilings provide excellent acoustics.
I reflected on the last four years in this palace of knowledge creation. I loved every minute of being at Cornell University Press—the staff, the faculty, the university, the library, the hockey rink, the town, and especially the apples. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at Duke University Press as much as I will miss the people of Cornell.
Continue reading “Notes from an Outgoing Director, by Dean Smith”
I suspect that many avid readers have a special book that becomes inseparable from themselves, part of their existence. Without this special book, what I call a “soul book,” a fulfilling life would be difficult. There are also books that are like family or friends—dependable, loving, present when you need them, always willing to provide help and support, but not necessarily consulted regularly or assimilated into one’s existential core. And then there are books that are acquaintances, that surface periodically at points in a reader’s life, often to exert a surprising force or influence that belies the infrequency of one’s association with them. For me, Victor Turner’s The Forest of Symbols has been an acquaintance, as I have had only three interactions with the book, each separated by a number of years. With its inclusion on CUP’s anniversary list of 150 notable publications, I have the opportunity to remember these meetings and renew my acquaintance.
Continue reading “150 Notable Books: Getting Acquainted with Victor Turner’s The Forest of Symbols”
Yet again, the controversial Palestinian leader Hajj Amin al-Husayni is making headlines. In May 2019, in a Washington post op-ed, Middle East studies scholar Dr. Maha Nassar addressed recent critics of US House Representative Rashida Tlaib, saying that ‘by citing the pro-Nazi propaganda of Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husayni to claim that “Palestinian leaders at the time sided with Hitler,” they conflate the statements and actions of a single individual with those of an entire people.’ This conflation is indeed a problem.
Notorious for siding with the Nazis during the Second World War and for his inclusion on the UN War Crimes Commission list, Husayni’s prewar career comes into focus in Statecraft by Stealth. When writing the book, I tried to address the Mufti’s prewar career without being unduly influenced by our knowledge of his collaboration with the Nazis. In fact, I argued that he showed little interest in the Nazis before the war. It is helpful to examine the beginning of Husayni’s career in order to better understand the events which led up to his disastrous choices of the 1940s.
Continue reading “On Brand – the Fashion Choices of Hajj Amin al-Husayni”
A few weeks ago, I received an email about the Cornell Library and Press Service and Recognition Awards. This is the first time we’ve participated in an official program like this.
A number of Cornell University Press staff nominated their colleagues. It was exciting to see staff appreciating each other in an open forum.
As we zero in on our second straight year of break-even performance, I nominate our entire staff. Their willingness to embrace change and innovation has produced outstanding results.
Everyone in Sage House has contributed to the Press’s success.
Continue reading “Hiking Cascadilla Gorge with Ange”
We boarded the bus soaking wet. I was clingy tightly to my two bags full of books, catalogs, and other goodies, trying to protect them from the rain. We had just walked several blocks in the pouring rain, feet sore from roaming the Javits Center for hours. A memorable experience for my first-time visiting NYC. Nevertheless, it was a great day!
If you’re wondering why we were boarding a bus soaking wet with bags full of books, well, BookExpo. My colleague Sarah and I spent last Thursday attending the biggest book trade show in North America, a nice change in scenery from our typical Thursdays spent at Sage House. Neither of us had been to BookExpo before so we were both thrilled when we were given the opportunity to attend.
BookExpo was a book lovers dream.
Booths upon booths filled with stacks of books in every genre, many available for you to take and read. The best booths were inviting and modern, with couches and chairs for you to sit, talk, read, or even charge your phones like we did in a cool poetry booth.
We spent some time talking with other university presses and looking at their catalogs, and the types of books that they publish. We also met authors, sales people, and fellow marketers; we even ran into old high-school acquaintances. This event was a great place to meet people, and listen to other people in the industry. As fairly new members of the publishing world, Sarah and I found this experience invaluable.
Continue reading “A Book Lovers Dream: First time at BookExpo”
From the emergence of the study of English literature as an academic discipline in Victorian England until the re-emergence of Cornell University Press in 1932, academic publishing had devoted itself principally to the production of scholarly apparatus: dictionaries of Old and Middle English, inventories of manuscript collections, and biographies, bibliographies, and variorum editions of great and minor poets. When Cornell revised its press under the directorship of Robert Patterson, it acquired rights from Yale University Press to all 17 volumes of the Cornell Studies in English, to which it added 26 more titles over the next 35 years. Volumes in this series included an index of names in Middle English poetry, Milton’s prose tracts and Latin poems, and several collections of the correspondence of Wordsworth and his circle. One of the most successful entries in this series Were Edwin Nungezer’s Dictionary of Actors and of Other Persons Associated with the Public Representation of Plays in England before 1642—still a useful reference, although if it were published today it would undoubtedly have been given a snappier title.
Much of this useful and interesting work still goes on at university presses, though much of it has been supplanted by searchable online databases.
Another successful volume in the series, Harold Wilson Blodgett’s Walt Whitman in England, was an early example of what would become a defining characteristic of Cornell titles: the exploration of a little-known aspect of a well-covered subject. Continue reading “One-hundred fifty notable books: Literary studies (PART ONE)”
More and more frequently, online dating apps are becoming the answer to the question, “so, how did you two meet?” The widespread appearance of Tinder and other dating apps have changed the way people find and interact with each other, both in a positive and negative way. And just as the communication and social dynamics have changed with the creation of dating apps, so they have with the movement towards a different kind of relationship: the long-distance love.
Danielle J. Lindemann’s Commuter Spouses: New Families in a Changing World explores how married couples cope when they live apart to meet the demands of their dual professional careers. Her book gives readers almost one-hundred in-depth interviews with current or former commuter spouses that demonstrate the reflection, embodiment, and sometimes disruption of large-scale developments in the ways we think about gender and marriage, the ways we communicate, and the ways we conceptualize family.
Continue reading “Commuter spouses: together, apart”