TTU Home Visual & Performing Arts Home The College Presidential Lecture & Performance Series

Presidential Lecture & Performance Series

Presidential Book Award Winners

Swinging the Vernacular: Jazz and African American Modernist Literature

This book reads the work of four twentieth-century African American writers in light of recent critical reconsiderations of American modernism. Recent studies foreground the importance of race in the formation of a distinctly American modernist tradition, and suggest that American modernism thrives on a cultural hybridity unique to the United States.

Focusing on the poetry of Langston Hughes and Michael S. Harper, and the fiction of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, Swinging the Vernacular argues that there is a recognizable strand of African American modernist literature that negotiates this hybridity by adopting signal elements from a jazz musical aesthetic: namely, intertextuality, dialogism, parody.

Reading the work of these writers through both African American literary theory and jazz musicological studies, the book analyzes how this African American jazz-modernist tradition complements the aesthetic innovation of "mainstream" modernism in its experimentation with jazz form, but at the same time constitutes an important political intervention in American culture, as it redresses social inequities through an aesthetic of intertextual play. The book offers a timely contribution to American modernist studies, but is also important to jazz studies for its attention to the music's aesthetic and political importance through different styles, over time.

Wine from Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

Wine from Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

The story of wine, one of the foundations of Western civilization, is the story of religion, medicine, science, war, discovery and dream. The essential historical background and the key developments in the history of wine through the ages are outlined in this compact, engaging, easy-to-read and well-illustrated text, with lists of top vintages. For thousands of years wine mixed with water was the safe drink. It was a key ingredient of medications. The antiseptic properties of the alcohol it contains saved lives. Wine was associated with many religious rituals, some of which survive today.

The story of wine involves scientists like Hippocrates of Kos, Zaccharia Razi, Isaac Newton (albeit indirectly), Louis Pasteur, and many others. It also involves colorful people such as Gregory of Tours and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Vines made their way to the Americas with the Conquistadores. Then wines almost disappeared in the late 1800s as Phylloxera spread throughout the world. This scourge was followed by World War I, the Great Depression, Prohibition, and World War II.

Today, winemaking has enjoyed a renaissance and many excellent and affordable wines are produced throughout the world. This book provides a quick introduction to wine through history, geography, chemistry, and taste. Useful for all who enjoy wine, the book is also designed to be a possible foundation for a one-semester course on the history of wine. Many books discuss today's wines without much historical information. Others overwhelm potential readers by their sheer size. This book provides a quick introduction to wine through history, geography, chemistry, and taste, and is useful for all who enjoy wine.