In Healing Narratives, Gay Wilentz explores the relationship between culture and health. In close reading of works by five women writers - Toni Cade Bambara, Erna Broder, Leslie Marmon Silko, Keri Hulme, and Jo Sinclair-she traces the narrative and structural similarities of a main character moving form a state of mental or physical disease toward wellness through reconnection with her cultural traditions. Whether due to the history of diaspora, colonial oppression, or the subversion of traditional culture by modernity, illness can only be overcome when the cultural construction of disease is recognized and a link to the indigenous is restored. Wilentz's cross-cultural approach-African American, Jamaican, Native American, Maori, and Jewish stories-offers a rich context from which the basis of cultural illness can be examined.
Mabel Lang offers a new interpretation of Herodotus. Her reading of the “Father of History” pinpoints the aspects of his style that clearly derive from oral composition. Lang examines oral techniques in storytelling, known from folktales and other oral literature as well as from Homer. She shows how the dramatic use of speeches—so characteristic of folk literature—played an important part in Herodotus' development of history out of the chronologies and geographies that he knew. Story form and speeches attributed to historical persons, she demonstrates, follow traditional formulas. She also studies in detail Herodotus' distinctive use of proverbs and rhetorical questions. Throughout, Lang draws on a variety of materials and offers particularly revealing comparisons of Homeric and Herodotean styles. This analysis of the evidence for oral composition in Herodotus' Histories opens a new perspective for students and scholars of Greek history.
In the 1970s, Hollywood experienced a creative surge, opening a new era in American cinema with films that challenged traditional modes of storytelling. Inspired by European and Asian art cinema as well as Hollywood's own history of narrative ingenuity, directors such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, William Friedkin, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, and Francis Ford Coppola undermined the harmony of traditional Hollywood cinema and created some of the best movies ever to come out of the American film industry. Critics have previously viewed these films as a response to the cultural and political upheavals of the 1970s, but until now no one has explored how the period's inventive narrative design represents one of the great artistic accomplishments of American cinema.
In Hollywood Incoherent, Todd Berliner offers the first thorough analysis of the narrative and stylistic innovations of seventies cinema and its influence on contemporary American filmmaking. He examines not just formally eccentric films—Nashville; Taxi Driver; A Clockwork Orange; The Godfather, Part II; and the films of John Cassavetes—but also mainstream commercial films, including The Exorcist, The Godfather, The French Connection, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Dog Day Afternoon, Chinatown, The Bad News Bears, Patton, All the President's Men, Annie Hall, and many others. With persuasive revisionist analyses, Berliner demonstrates the centrality of this period to the history of Hollywood's formal development, showing how seventies films represent the key turning point between the storytelling modes of the studio era and those of modern American cinema.