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 imbalance does lead to some unevenness in the...
Between Two Fires: Transnationalism and Cold War Poetry
After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East
Paul Giles is the Challis Professor of English at the University of Sydney. His most recent book is Antipodean America: Australasia and the Constitution of U.S. Literature (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013). He is currently working on a cultural history of time across a transnational axis.
Paul Giles; Between Two Fires: Transnationalism and Cold War Poetry
After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East. American Literature 1 March 2017; 89 (1): 194–196. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-3788801
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