Both of these books seek to recalibrate the study of US literature within an international framework by juxtaposing it with cultures their authors know intimately from within. In Between Two Fires, Justin Quinn, who now works at the University of West Bohemia, recalls how he first arrived in Czechoslovakia in 1991 to teach English as a foreign language, and the main focus of his book involves examining “the interface . . . between Czechoslovakia and the poetry of the US, Britain, and Ireland” in the expectation that “the Czechoslovak case will illuminate some of the central dynamics of Cold War culture” (42). Hence the title of this book is partially misleading since, despite a final chapter that casts its net wider to discuss Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney, the bulk of Quinn’s material is quite specifically about “the Czechoslovak case.” This...

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