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Covers images from books by Matt Bell, Gregory Castle, and Matthew Prior

Happy 'pub' days: Bell, Castle, Prior


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Three Department of English faculty members are celebrating the recent releases of their newest books.


A Tree or a Person or a Wall (Soho Press, 2016)

On September 13, Soho Press published Assistant Professor Matt Bells A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories. From the publisher:

A 19th-century minister builds an elaborate motor that will bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of forgetfulness. The story of Red Riding Hood is run through a potentially endless series of iterations. A father invents an elaborate, consuming game for his hospitalized son. Indexes, maps, a checkered shirt buried beneath a blanket of snow: they are scattered through these pages as clues to mysteries that may never be solved, lingering evidence of the violence and unknowability of the world.

A Tree or a Person or a Wall brings together Bell’s previously published shorter fiction — the story collection How They Were Found and the acclaimed novella Cataclysm Baby — along with seven dark and disturbing new stories, to create a collection of singular power.

Bell teaches creative writing (fiction) at ASU. He is the author of two novels, two previous books of short fiction and a non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur’s Gate II. He is also the former senior editor of Dzanc Books and the founding editor of The Collagist, an online literary journal.


Standish O'Grady's Cuculain: A Critical Edition (Syracuse University Press, 2016)

Professor Gregory Castle’s and Patrick Bixby’s (ASU West) Standish O’Grady’s Cuculain: A Critical Edition was launched in early October by Syracuse University Press. From the publisher:

A concise, abridged version of the story of Cuculain, the central figure in Standish O’Grady’s History of Ireland, along with an introduction, glossary, and critical essays, demonstrating its significance for the continued reimagining of Ireland’s past, present, and future.

Between 1878 and 1881, Standish O’Grady published a three-volume History of Ireland that simultaneously recounted the heroic ancient past of the Irish people and helped to usher in a new era of cultural revival and political upheaval. At the heart of this history was the figure of Cuculain, the great mythic hero who would inspire a generation of writers and revolutionaries, from W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory to Patrick Pearse. Despite the profound influence O’Grady’s writings had on literary and political culture in Ireland, they are not as well-known as they should be, particularly in view of the increasingly global interest in Irish culture. This critical edition of the Cuculain legend offers a concise, abridged version of the central story in History of Ireland—the rise of the young warrior, his famous exploits in the Táin Bó Cualinge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), and his heroic death. Castle and Bixby’s edition also includes a scholarly introduction, biography, timeline, glossary, editorial notes, and critical essays, demonstrating the significance of O’Grady’s writing for the continued reimagining of Ireland’s past, present, and future. Inviting a new generation of readers to encounter this work, the volume provides the tools necessary to appreciate both O’Grady’s enduring importance as a writer and Cuculain’s continuing resonance as a cultural icon.

Castle teaches literature at ASU. His primary interests are in Irish studies (especially the works of Joyce, Yeats, Wilde and Stoker), the history and theory of the novel and literary and cultural theory (especially critical theory) from Adorno to Zizek and posthumanist studies.


Emotion in Multilingual Interaction (John Benjamins, 2016)

Also in early October, Assistant Professor Matthew Prior and Gabriele Kasper (University of Hawai'i at Manoa) announced their edited volume, Emotion in Multilingual Interaction was published by John Benjamins.

From the publisher:

This volume brings together for the first time a collection of studies that investigates how multilingual speakers construct emotions in their talk as a joint discursive practice. The contributions draw on the well-established, converging traditions of conversation analysis, discursive psychology, and membership categorization analysis together with recent work on interactional storytelling, stylization, and multimodal analysis. By adopting a discursive approach to emotion in multilingual talk, the volume breaks with the dominant view of emotions as cognitive and intra-psychological phenomena and their study through self-report. Through detailed analyses of original recorded data, the chapters examine how participants produce emotion-implicative actions, identities, stances, and morality through their interactional work in ordinary face-to-face conversation, computer-mediated interaction, institutional talk in medical, educational, and broadcast media settings, and in research interviews. The volume addresses itself to students and researchers interested in language and emotion, multilingual speakers and settings, pragmatics, and discourse analysis.

Prior teaches linguistics at ASU. His interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include second language acquisition; language and emotion; socio-psychological dimensions of language use; multilingualism and identity; discourse analysis (narrative, discursive constructionism, talk-in-interaction, conversation analysis, discursive psychology); qualitative methodologies; and sociolinguistic belonging, particularly for immigrant, transcultural, and LGBTQ communities.