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Some publications featured in the Libraries' Celebration exhibition

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Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody
Columbia University Press, 2011
Carolyn Williams
Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences

Gilbert and Sullivan's productions always rose to the level of social commentary, despite being impertinent, absurd, or inane. Some viewers may take them straight, but what looks like sexism or stereotype was actually a clever strategy of critique. Parody was a powerful weapon in the culture wars of late-nineteenth-century England, and with defiantly in-your-face sophistication, Gilbert and Sullivan proved that popular culture can be intellectually as well as politically challenging. Carolyn Williams underscores Gilbert and Sullivan's creative and acute understanding of cultural formations. Her unique perspective shows how anxiety drives the troubled mind in the Lord Chancellor's "Nightmare Song" in Iolanthe and is vividly realized in the sexual and economic phrasing of the song's patter lyrics. The modern body appears automated and performative in the "Junction Song" in Thespis, anticipating Charlie Chaplin's factory worker in Modern Times. Williams also illuminates the use of magic in The Sorcerer, the parody of nautical melodrama in H.M.S. Pinafore, the ridicule of Victorian aesthetic and idyllic poetry in Patience, the autoethnography of The Mikado, the role of gender in Trial by Jury, and the theme of illegitimacy in The Pirates of Penzance. With her provocative reinterpretation of these artists and their work, Williams recasts our understanding of creativity in the late nineteenth century.

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Irresistable Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity
University of Toronto Press, 2010
Paola Gambarota
Department of Italian, School of Arts and Sciences

Language is now understood as a key component of cultural identity, but discourses on linguistic nationalism are only a few centuries old. In Irresistible Signs, Paola Gambarota investigates the connection between Italian language and national identity over four hundred years, from late-Renaissance linguistic theories to nineteenth- century nationalist myths. Challenging the consensus that linguistic nationalism originated with nineteenth century German philosophers, Irresistible Signs advances a more nuanced theory of how culture and language become inextricably linked through literary and rhetorical elements. Gambarota combines Anglo-American theories of the nation with the most advanced Italian scholarship on language ideology and delves into ideas from Giambattista Vico, Giacomo Leopardi, and Melchiorre Cesarotti. Irresistible Signs also explores how images of national communities are represented within vernaculars, affirming their influence in shaping contemporary models of monolingual nationhood.

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Strange Humors: Mackey, Daugherty, Syler [Music CD]
Naxos, 2010
Rutgers Wind Ensemble, led by William Berz with Maureen Hurd on Clarinet and Todd Quinlan on Timpani
Department of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts

Maureen Hurd is a featured soloist in this Naxos recording of Michael Daugherty's clarinet concerto Brooklyn Bridge, performed with The Rutgers Wind Ensemble conducted by William Berz. The CD was recorded in March 2008 and was released in December 2010. The CD presents four engaging works rich with cross-cultural allusions. Daugherty, who won this year's Grammy award for Best Classical Composition for Deus Ex Machina and is on the faculty of the University of Michigan, describes Brooklyn Bridge this way: "As I have lingered and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge over the years, the stunning vistas of the New York skyline have inspired me to compose a panoramic clarinet concerto. Like the four cables of webs of wire and steel that hold the Brooklyn Bridge together, my ode to this cultural icon is divided into four movements. Each movement of the clarinet concerto is a musical view from the Brooklyn Bridge. In the final movement of the concerto, I also imagine Artie Shaw, the great jazz swing clarinetist of the 1940s, performing with his orchestra in the once glorious Rainbow Room on the sixty-fifth floor of the Rockefeller Center."
Note: The image of the Brooklyn Bridge in the CD cover was secured from

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The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind
Harvard University Press, 2011
Robin Fox
Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences

We began as savages, and savagery has served us well—it got us where we are. But how do our tribal impulses, still in place and in play, fit in the highly complex, civilized world we inhabit today? This question, raised by thinkers from Freud to Levi-Strauss, is fully explored in this book by the acclaimed anthropologist Robin Fox. It takes up what he sees as the main—and urgent—task of evolutionary science: not so much to explain what we do, as to explain what we do at our peril. Ranging from incest and arranged marriage to poetry and myth to human rights and pop icons, Fox sets out to show how a variety of human behaviors reveal traces of their tribal roots, and how this evolutionary past limits our capacity for action. Among the questions he raises: How real is our notion of time? Is there a human "right" to vengeance? Are we democratic by nature? Are cultural studies and fascism cousins under the skin? Is evolutionary history coming to an end—or just getting more interesting? In his famously informative and entertaining fashion, drawing links from Volkswagens to Bartok to Woody Guthrie, from Swinburne to Seinfeld, Fox traces our ongoing struggle to maintain open societies in the face of profoundly tribal human needs—needs which, paradoxically, hold the key to our survival.

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Volcanoes of the Deep Sea: Twelve Thousand Feet Down, Life is Erupting
Image Entertainment, 2003
Executive Producer: James Cameron
Science Director: Richard A. Lutz
Contributing Scientist: Peter A. Rona
Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Science

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea reveals the astounding sights that lie 12,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, while delivering a real-life tale of mystery as scientists search for an animal that may be one of Earth's greatest survivors—an ancient species that is decorating the deep sea floor with its strange hexagonal trademark. In pursuit of this elusive animal and an understanding of its mysterious habitat, the film propels audiences from the dramatic sea cliffs of Spain, through two oceans, into deep-sea sites dense with astounding life forms and even into the far reaches of space. For more information on the film, see:

For more information on the Celebration of Recently Published Faculty Authors exhibition and the opening reception, please see:

Posted March 4, 2011; March 16, 2011 (updated)