[Writing about Kidada Williams’ new book a couple weeks back reminded me that it’s been too long since I’ve focused a series on new scholarship. So this week I’ll highlight a handful of great recent books—add your nominations for a crowd-sourced Friday post (ahead of the monthly recap on the weekend), please!]
For my Wish for the AmericanStudies Elves this past holiday season, I highlighted one of the phrases that has most consistently defined my goals for both this blog and my work overall: expanding our collective memories. That often means focusing (here, in my Saturday Evening Post columns, in the specific examples I include in book chapters, and so on) on subjects that have been less well-remembered. But that is of course not the only kind of subject that needs our AmericanStudying, and another interesting category would be those topics that we do seem to remember well but that need a lot more depth and nuance than we too often give them. It’s in that category that I would place David Waldstreicher’s excellent new biography of Phillis Wheatley, The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journey through American Slavery and Independence (2023). Whatever we think we know about Wheatley—and I’m entirely include myself in that “we”—Waldstreicher reveals how much more we have to learn, and all the American lessons we can draw from those layers. That’s a pretty great pair of AmericanStudying goals as well!
Next scholarly highlight tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Other scholarly books or work you’d highlight?
PPS. For a lot more—I mean a lot more—great recent books, check out that section of all my #ScholarSunday threads!