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Mr. Townsend's fellow countrymen must feel themselves to be put under a beautiful obligation to him by his work entitled Kentucky in American Letters. He has thus fenced off for the lovers of New World literature a well watered bluegrass pasture of prose and verse, which they may enter and range through according to their appetites for its peculiar green provender and their thirst for the limestone spring. This strip of pasture is a hundred years long; its breadth may not be politely questioned! For the backward-looking and for the forward-looking students of American literature, not its merely browsing readers, he has wrought a service of larger and more lasting account. Whether his patiently done and richly crowned work be the first of its class and kind, there is slight need to consider here: fitly enough it might be a pioneer, a path-blazer, as coming from the land of pioneers, path-blazers. But whether or not other works of like character be already in the field of national observation, it is inevitable that many others soon will be. There must in time and in the natural course of events come about a complete marshalling of the American commonwealths, especially of the older American commonwealths, attended each by its women and men of letters; with the final result that the entire pageant of our literary creativeness as a people will thus be exhibited and reviewed within those barriers and divisions, which from the beginning have constituted the peculiar genius of our civilization. When this has been done, when the States have severally made their profoundly significant showing, when the evidence up to some century mark or half-century mark is all presented, then for the first time we, as a reading and thoughtful self-studying people, may for the first time be advanced to the position of beginning to understand what as a whole our cis-Atlantic branch of English literature really is. Thus Mr. Townsend's work and the work of his fellow-craftsmen are all stations on the long road but the right road. They are aids to the marshalling of the American commonwealths at a great meeting-point of the higher influences of our nation. Now, already American literature has long been a subject in regard to which a library of books has been written. The authors of by far the most of these books are themselves Americans, and they have thus looked at our literature and at our civilization from within; the authors of the rest are foreigners who have investigated and philosophized from the outside. Altogether, native and foreign, they have approached their theme from divergent directions, with diverse aims, and under the influence of deep differences in their critical methods and in their own natures. But so far as the writer of these words is aware, no one of them either native or foreign has ever set about the study of American literature, enlightened with the only solvent principle that can ever furnish its solution.
Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Identity explores how the mythical and mystical past informs national imaginations. Building on notions of invented tradition and myths of the nation, it looks at the power of narrative and fiction to shape identity, with particular reference to the British and Celtic contexts. The authors consider how aspects of the past are reinterpreted or reimagined in a variety of ways to give coherence to desired national groupings, or groups aspiring to nationhood and its 'defence'. The coverage is unusually broad in its historical sweep, dealing with work from prehistory to the contemporary, with a particular emphasis on the period from the eighteenth century to the present. The subject matter includes notions of ancient deities, Druids, Celticity, the archaeological remains of pagan religions, traditional folk tales, racial and religious myths and ethnic politics, and the different types of returns and hauntings that can recycle these ideas in culture. Innovative and interdisciplinary, the scholarship in Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Identity is mainly literary but also geographical and historical and draws on religious studies, politics and the social sciences. Thus the collection offers a stimulatingly broad number of new viewpoints on a matter of great topical relevance: national identity and the politicization of its myths.
This work contains 3,500 profiled American, British and important foreign films, complete with credits, synopses, and anecdotal material, plus an addition 10,000 entries with director and actor credits.