Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rutgers University Press Book Sale

Rutgers University Press is having a sale with 40% off all titles for a limited time when you use code 02SPRG14. While RUP's catalog isn't very rich in folklore related titles, I thought these two may be of interest to readers here: The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories and The Lives of Dwarfs: Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation.

My links are to Amazon since that is the easiest way for me to generate images and stable links for the books but follow the RUP link to buy the books directly from the publisher if you like--with the discount code they are cheaper there for as long as the code is valid. The Glass Slipper is also available in ebook format for about the same price as the paperback with the discount code and you can preview the book on Amazon by using the Look Inside feature.

Personally, I am more interested in the book about dwarfs. I also imagine that it is richer with fairy tale references.

Book description for The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories:

Why is the story of romance in books, magazines, and films still aimed at women rather than at men? Even after decades of feminism, traditional ideas and messages about romantic love still hold sway and, in our “postfeminist” age, are more popular than ever. Increasingly, we have become a culture of romance: stories of all kinds shape the terms of love. Women, in particular, love a love story.

The Glass Slipper is about the persistence of a familiar Anglo-American love story into the digital age. Comparing influential classics to their current counterparts, Susan Ostrov Weisser relates in highly amusing prose how these stories are shaped and defined by and for women, the main consumers of romantic texts. Following a trajectory that begins with Jane Austen and concludes with Internet dating sites, Weisser shows the many ways in which nineteenth-century views of women’s nature and the Victorian idea of romance have survived the feminist critique of the 1970s and continue in new and more ambiguous forms in today’s media, with profound implications for women.

More than a book about romance in fiction and media, The Glass Slipper illustrates how traditional stories about women’s sexuality, femininity, and romantic love have survived as seemingly protective elements in a more modern, feminist, sexually open society, confusing the picture for women themselves. Weisser compares diverse narratives—historical and contemporary from high literature and “low” genres—discussing novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, Victorian women’s magazines, and D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Disney movies; popular Harlequin romance novels; masochistic love in films; pornography and its relationship to romance; and reality TV and Internet ads as romantic stories.

Ultimately, Weisser shows that the narrative versions of the Glass Slipper should be taken as seriously as the Glass Ceiling as we see how these representations of romantic love are meant to inform women’s beliefs and goals. In this book, Weisser’s goal is not to shatter the Glass Slipper, but to see through it.

Book description for The Lives of Dwarfs: Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation:

"The Lives of Dwarfs is extraordinary in its range and vision. Beautifully written. Totally absorbing."—Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River

"As a little person, husband, and father of a little person, I dream of the day when dwarfs attain full acceptance in society. The Lives of Dwarfs provides a giant step in that direction."—Rick Spiegel, former president of Little People of America

"This important book makes it possible for both average- and short-statured people to challenge our collective understanding of dwarfism as a synonym for diminishment or as an array of cute and evil fairy-tale figures. The libratory work of this book is to invite us all to reimagine dwarfism as a livable experience and tenable way of being in the world."—Rosemarie Garland Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature

"A work of compassionate scholarship. A unique contribution to the literature of physical deformity and social isolation and a gift to the individuals whose personal struggle this is."—Linda Hunt, actor

Historically, they have borne the labels "freaks" and "oddities"; they have been collected as pets, displayed as spectacles, and treated as comic relief. Now, for the first time, in this elegant and comprehensive volume, the lives of dwarfs are explored in all their fullness and humanity.

Spanning the centuries from ancient Egypt to the present, this unique social history chronicles the various ways this population has been exploited, describes their strategies for coping, and notes the persistent influence of mythology upon perceptions of them by others. The narrative also highlights the lives of eminent individuals and contains a thought-provoking account of the representation and participation of dwarfs in the arts, enhanced by outstanding color photographs. Betty M. Adelson, the mother of a daughter with dwarfism, brings special insight and sensitivity to the research. She traces the widespread mistreatment of dwarfs over the centuries, engendered by their being viewed as curiosities rather than as human beings capable of the same accomplishments as people of average height, and deserving of the same pleasures. For much of their history, dwarfs have resorted to exhibiting themselves: because of social stigma no other employment was available.

Only in recent years have short-statured individuals begun to challenge their position in society. Medical advances, new economic opportunities, and disability legislation have led to progress, mainly in Western nations. Advocacy groups have also formed in countries as diverse as Chile, South Korea, and Nigeria. Adelson compares what she refers to as the "small revolution" to similar social and cultural awakenings that women, African Americans, gays and lesbians, and persons with disabilities experienced when they identified themselves as a community with shared goals and obstacles.

Written with passion, grace, and the dignity that the subject deserves, The Lives of Dwarfs will not only revolutionize current perceptions about the historically misrepresented dwarf population, but also offer pause for thought on issues of disability, medical treatment, height, beauty, and identity.

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