Cambria Press Publication Review: Juliet of the Tropics: A Bilingual Edition of Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s La Cuarterona (1867)

Congratulations to Professor John Maddox on the great review of his book, Juliet of the Tropics: A Bilingual Edition of Alejandro Tapia y Rivera’s “La Cuarterona” (1867) , by the journal Hispania.


The book review states:

“Thanks to John Maddox’s translation and critical introduction, the play, now in both Spanish and English, has the potential to reach a bilingual audience. Until this volume, none of Tapia’s works of theatre had been translated into English. … Who will use this book? The focus on a Puerto Rican author who championed women, who defended abolitionism, and opposed racism makes this work very suitable for studies in a comparative context in Caribbean literature. The array of characters in addition to the tragic Julia (Juliet) include Carlos, the young man of Spanish blood who loves her, his mother, a Countess whose “noble” family has fallen on hard times, and wealthy don Críspulo, who is portrayed as fat and red, an outsider. That don Críspulo’s daughter, Emilia, who is supposed to marry Carlos, turns out to be a half sister to Julia because don Críspulos’s slave María is the mother of both of them, adds to the themes of miscegenation and societal taboos. …The writings of Alejandro Tapia y Rivera are deserving of wider recognition, and the bilingual and annotated edition of La cuarterona created by John Maddox admirably serves this purpose.”

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Cambria Press Publication Review: State Terrorism and the Politics of Memory in Latin America

Congratulations to Professor Gabriela Fried Amilivia on the outstanding review of her book, State Terrorism and the Politics of Memory in Latin America: Transmissions Across The Generations of Post-Dictatorship Uruguay, 1984–2004, in the Journal of Latin American Studies, which praises the book for being “an invaluable contribution.”


The review notes that:

Gabriela Fried Amilivia’s accomplished work is an invaluable contribution to the modest, yet growing, body of literature to focus exclusively on the evolution of memory in post-dictatorship Uruguay, which has tended to occupy a secondary role in both theoretical and critical debates to its larger neighbour across the Río de la Plata. This study therefore gives the flurry of activity and interest in commemoration since the mid-1990s in Uruguay the nuanced attention it duly deserves, taking its place alongside Eugenia Allier Montaño’s work on sites and practices of memory, Francesca Lessa’s seminal study of transitional memory and justice and Mariana Achugar’s coverage of memory and subjectivity beyond ‘the usual suspects’ to incorporate the Uruguayan military. … Fried’s work differs in a number of ways … What emerges is an intensely rich and moving study of memory, arguably a reflection of the blending of Fried’s personal and professional positions as a member of the latter generation and a scholar and active contributor to academic debates.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond

Congratulations to Professor Chia-rong Wu on the excellent review of his book, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond, in the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC).


The review praises the book, noting that it is “a most welcome addition to the burgeoning field of Sinophone studies” and “makes important contributions to the field.” It further states that:

Through a meticulous delineation of the literary aesthetic trajectory, reformulation, and deformation of the zhiguai genre from traditional Chinese culture to modern and contemporary Sinophone Taiwan, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond succeeds in advancing the field of Sinophone studies in several critical directions. First, it demonstrates the spectral and supernatural genre’s stylistic diversification into the terrains of magical realism, nativism, and translocalism. Second, it reveals the complex histories and narratives of migration, displacement, and global diasporas in both contextual and textual literary production. Furthermore, the emphasis on the literary form and expressive potential of the supernatural and the strange reconfirms the critical value of literature itself, which Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has called the value of ‘unverifiability.’ Finally, engaging with voices and figures that dwell in the shadows of mainstream historicism, nationalist historiography, China-centrism, and patriarchal violence, the book gestures alternatively toward the marginal, the feminist, the racially marked, and the queer. In so doing, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond charts a new direction at the intersections of Sinophone studies, Chinese literary studies, Taiwan studies, and gender studies.

Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Central American Avant-Garde Narrative

Congratulations to Professor Adrian Kane on the excellent review of his book, Central American Avant-Garde Narrative: Literary Innovation and Cultural Change (1926–1936), in the journal Chasqui: revista de literatura latinoamericana.

Kane Book Cover

The review notes that:

While other studies have centered on poetry and manifestos, in Central American Avant-Garde Narrative Kane turns to the genre of narrative fiction to trace the ways in which authors from the isthmus use European techniques of literary experimentation in the 1920s and 1930s to renovate cultural traditions at home. Cosmopolitan authors such as Luis Cardoza y Aragón, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Flavio Herrera (from Guatemala), Max Jiménez (from Costa Rica), and Rogelio Sinán (from Panama) creatively incorporate regional elements within broader, international artistic concerns as they apply locally…

The book review also praises the book because it “fills gaps in the literary criticism of the region” and because ” it calls for a new approach to reading the works addressed and, at the same time, it provides a helpful review of particular strategies of innovation used in the avant-garde in general through the author’s close reading of the texts.”

Central American Avant-Garde Narrative is in the the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: David Malouf and the Poetic

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Smith on another excellent review of her book, David Malouf and the Poetic: His Earlier Writings, this time by Australian Book Review.

David Malouf

The review notes that:

While not a biography per se, the book employs considerable biographical detail to good effect. … Smith covers this biographical record admirably, and uses it judiciously with regard to Malouf ’s published output. Her considerable original research, via interviews, diaries, letters, and drafts of Malouf ’s work is also put to good literary-critical use. In this respect, David Malouf and the Poetic is a major resource for any student of Malouf ’s work. … Smith’s approach – biographical and descriptive analysis – proves to be a powerful way to produce new insights into old works, a number of which (especially Johnno and An Imaginary Life) have already acquired a sizeable critical literature. … Happily, Smith’s study helps us to pay closer attention, in turn, to Malouf ’s important body of early work.

This book is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Dr. Susan Lever.

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The Monster as War Machine by Mabel Moraña: Book Excerpts

The Monster as War Machine, the latest book by Mabel Moraña, was published in January 2018 and launched at the 2018 MLA convention. Hailed as a “tour de force” and “a far-ranging, audacious, erudite, and exquisitely written examination of monsters and the monstrous” by the experts, this book “spans the broad sweep of history, from the Classical and Medieval Periods to the present. It moves deftly between Europe and North America, on the one hand and Latin America, on the other, both in terms of its subject matter and the authors it considers. It bridges the divide between canonical literature and popular forms of expression. It brings together philosophy, literature, history, and anthropology, deftly combining insightful textual analysis and an almost surprising range of theories, to demonstrate how central monsters are and always have been to our social and political lives, to our thought, and to our literature and cinema, manifesting themselves in similar yet different ways across time and space.”

Monster as War Machine

Below is an excerpt from the preface:

In its eight sections, The Monster as War Machine attempts to cover the broad theme of monstrosity from a historical, philosophical, biopolitical, and aesthetico-ideological perspective. The breadth of its task and the intellectual ambition that guides it undoubtedly point to much more than this study could achieve, given the extent of the ground to cover and the unevenness of the terrain. In this sense, the book appeals to the reader’s indulgence and curiosity, that he or she may be inspired by what this analysis is able to suggest in order to develop new paths and to correct its bearings when necessary.

After an introduction that establishes the foundations of a critico-theoretical approach that could contribute to a poetics of the monster, the book sets forth on a necessarily selective historico-cultural itinerary that covers the colonial period to the present, pausing at moments/texts that are representative reflections on the monstrous and its literary and filmic expression. At key moments, mainly in “The Monster in History,” the study pauses to reflect on foundational European works and traditions that were essential for the emergence of the neo-Gothic, as well as for the modern resignification of horror, sublimity, and the like. In this way, even though Latin America constitutes one of the foci of this investigation, the study drifts toward other cultural spheres without which we would never understand the transnationalized and transhistorical trajectory of the monster.

“Monsters and the Critique of Capitalism” concentrates on the tropes of monstrosity utilized by both Marx and post-Marxism in connection to their analysis of world systems and their social and cultural effects. This chapter attempts to offer a vision of the way in which this “Gothic Marxism” has been read and interpreted, particularly with regard to the use of figures like vampires, cyborgs, zombies, and ghosts, which are integrated into the critique of political economy. Although the Deleuzean concept of the war machine came well after Marx, the uses of monstrosity that frequently appear throughout Capital, the Communist Manifesto, and other writings reveal lines of thought that are compatible with Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas about the dynamics of power and resistance and the way in which subjectivity is affected by the rearticulations of hegemony and sovereignty.

Expanding toward other areas of Western thought, the chapter dedicated to “Monsters and Philosophy” explores some specific concepts and developments around the ideas of the sinister, the abject, difference, the normality/anomaly binary, the notion of event, sublimity, anamorphosis, and posthumanism, the relations between monstrosity and machine, monstrosity and gender, etc. Because it has been a persistent concern of modern thought, the theme of the monstrous and the semantic field associated with it can only be approached in a cursory way, as an introduction to innovative and productive conceptual strategies for the exploration of the role of horror and monstrosity in settings impacted by power struggles both at political and cultural levels.

Then, extending this line of inquiry, “Monstrosity and Biopolitics” reflects on some modulations of biopolitical thought in which the monstrous is consolidated as a fertile catalyst of the conceptualization of hegemony and (bio)resistance and in connection to the metaphorization of the popular, the common, and the social. Because the body is one of the principal components of the aesthetico-ideological assemblage of monstrosity, from both the psychoanalytic perspective and from the point of view of cultural archaeology, different biopolitical orientations offer a broad spectrum of hermeneutic strategies and provide a language directed toward discussion of the monster and its particular forms of social interaction and political activity.

“Monstrosity, Representation, and the Market” is concerned with the spectacularization of monstrosity, which is to say, the carnivalization of the discourse of anomaly and fear in relation to the dynamics of supply and demand that make a symbolic commodity a fetishized and marketable product. In its various forms, the monstrous competes with multiple aesthetic registers for the attention of mass audiences who witness the unfolding of its countercultural message and the emotions it unleashes. From freak shows to David Bowie, passing through the figure and the performances of Michael Jackson and the cinematic works of George Romero (which reformulate the representation of the zombie and its politico-ideological meanings), the topic of consumption is articulated to the mass forms of interpellation generated by monsters. As a representational and interpretative tour de force of collective experience and social consciousness, the attributes of monstrosity have filtered into all discourses, staging difference and making simulacra and artificiality into glamorous forms of the epiphanic. Monstrosity’s repressed, extravagant, grotesque, and delirious contents push up against the system’s limits of tolerance and defy its ordering principles, suggesting something beyond dominant rationality.

The chapter titled “Monsters on the Margin” studies the radical hybridity that the monstrous supposes in relation to the processes of the formation of the popular subject and the expressive devices through which collective subjectivity expresses its fears, anxieties, and desires in peripheral areas, particularly in Latin America. The topic of corporeality (the individual body, sexualized, subjected to violence, indigence, and marginalization, the colonized and subalternized collective body from colonial days to modernity, its enslaved, migratory, deterritorialized, resistant, subverted, fragmented, and disorganized constitution) is an element in discussions about the monster in all its multiple manifestations. Moreover, in the case of postcolonial societies, corporeality constitutes an imperative, both due to the network of meanings in which it is inscribed, linked to labor, exploitation, and sacrifice, and for its metaphorical value. Indeed, corporeality refers to the body surpassed or diminished by the state, the prolific corporeality of the multitude, the sick or mutilated body, the juridical body, the corpus delicti, the body politic. From this organicist fixation, this chapter explores the relation between the real monstrosity of authoritarianism and exploitation, as well as the popular imaginaries that illustrate the precarious positions of each segment of society in relation to systemic violence. Multiple stories and images allegorize the relation between the communitarian body and the monstrous body as well as the symbolic mediations that emerge from popular narratives to allegorize social conflict. Chupacabras, jarjachas, pishtacos, and sacaojos inhabit a dark domain that expresses the feelings that real violence unleashes in rural and even urban communities. The stories of their apparitions and crimes are unable to overshadow testimonies of the real history of torture, genocide, and territorial devastation to which indigenous, peasant, and Afro-descendant communities have historically been subject.

Finally, the “Coda” brings together some general elaborations on the different topics dealt with in the book, attempting to articulate critico-theoretical directions that can be instrumental in the recuperation of debates and positions on the monstrous and its significance in the world today.” —The Monster as War Machine, xii–xvi

Title: The Monster as War Machine
 Mabel Moraña
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979862
554 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage:

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Author Interview with Carolyn T. Brown on Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung

The following is an interview with Dr. Carolyn T. Brown, author of the new book Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung, which is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

Cambria Press Publication Author Carolyn Brown Lu Xun


Why did you decide to write this book?
Carolyn T. Brown: The seeds of this book lie in the mid-1980s when I was an academic in Chinese literature. My career took a turn away from academia, and the book sat in the drawer for several decades. But the nascent book wouldn’t allow me to forget it. So after I retired, I refurbished my reading knowledge of Chinese and finished the book. Somewhere during those decades I encountered the work of Carl Jung and over time, the resonances between the two emerged naturally for me. In the end, there were two questions that drove the book: why were Lu Xun’s stories so personally compelling to me and what did he mean by wanting to cure the spirits of the Chinese people. I found these questions so compelling that in the end it was easier to write the book than to not write it.

What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
Naturally I hope that readers will gain a more precise appreciation for Lu Xun’s psychological depth and masterful techniques, and also a deepened sense of why he might have been, and still is, important in China. For those not overly interested in China but deeply interested in literature and psychology, I hope my analysis will suggest new historical connections between Chinese and Western literature. I am well aware that it is out of fashion to speak of certain universal features of human life, which is labeled “essentializing,” and I understand that superficial statements about how “we’re all the same” usually involve colonialist impositions by “us” onto the “them.” Nevertheless, human beings do wrestle with some of the same deep issues, and the human similarities lie at that level of questions, not necessarily of answers. For example, Lu Xun deeply pondered the issue of scapegoating, and as best I can tell, that psychological syndrome has been alive and well in all societies over time. So I hope readers will see, in addition to the enormous differences of history and culture, similarities in the issues that troubled this sensitive man and that still trouble us today. In addition I hope that readers in China will find that my reading of Lu Xun gives them further permission to think about their great writer not just in terms of history and politics, which have been, quite appropriately, the driving force in Chinese interpretations of his work, but also will find in the book a further way of appreciating his sensitive pondering of illness and health at multiple levels of society and self, questions that are perennial.

What other research do you believe is useful on this topic?
CTB: The book itself suggests two questions ripe for further study. Scholars who have wondered about the influence of Western literature on Lu Xun’s short stories have focused on issues of content. My book suggests influence in structural elements, in particular Lu Xun’s use of the literary techniques of doubling and splitting, which was prevalent in nineteenth-century Europe. I would love to see someone take a list of the books that he was known to have read and trace parallels in the literary techniques that he used, not just those of doubling and splitting, but multiple “tricks of the literary trade,” including use of quotation and summary, ordering of plot elements, and so forth. A good knowledge of literary techniques in the Chinese tradition would help reveal what exactly Lu Xun did that was new to China and probably also what was different from the same Western writers.

Another issue that surfaced but which I wasn’t able to pursue was a new way of thinking about Nietzsche’s influence on Lu Xun. Prior studies that I encountered looked at issues of content. I stumbled upon parallels in the way each man frames his questions, and in fact these parallels in structure shed light on the works of Carl Jung as well. I suspect that there is a lot more to discover about the structure of thinking of these two when viewed together. It is even possible that a focus on structure will illuminate the work of other writers and thinkers of that period.

About the author: Carolyn Thompson Brown is retired from her position as Director of the Office of Scholarly Programs and the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. She holds a PhD in Literature from American University and an MA and BA from Cornell University. She served as Associate Dean for Humanities at Howard University before moving to the Library of Congress, where she held numerous positions including Director of Area Studies Collections. During her academic career she published in several journals, including CLEAR and Modern Chinese Literature, and edited Psycho-sinology: the Universe of Dreams in Chinese Culture. She serves as a trustee of the Fetzer Institute.

Title: Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung
 Carolyn T. Brown
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979374
312 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage:

See also Dr. Brown’s speech for her book launch at the 2018 Association of Asian Studies conference in Washington, DC.


See also The Chinese Prose Poem: A Study of Lu Xun’s “Wild Grass (Yecao)”
by Nicholas A. Kaldis.

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