This far-reaching collection of essays offers a serious and thought-provoking account of the complexities spawned by cross-cultural interpretation. The essays hold broad implications for issues spanning the range of literary criticism: the relations of text and context; the usefulness of genre as a defining term; the consequences of binary thinking; the links between practical criticism and literary theory; and--perhaps most explosively--from the visions and revisions invoked by shifting notions of nationality to the unpredictable attitudes toward gender and sexual difference entertained by the field of literary criticism at large.
"...Gelfant has directed us to see better certain real complexities that face us when we think the truth of a culture is somewhere in the text." Slavic and East European Journal "...Gelfant's analysis is often exemplary--rich, subtle, and sensitive to the play of ambiguities and the hidden life of texts." American Literature "Blanche H. Gelfant is a critic, like Susan Sontag or Annie Dillard, who writes about literature in a way that is exciting in itself, whether or not the reader knows or cares about the books she is discussing. She is a consumate stylist, able to fix in a descriptive phrase or two something about a book that says more than any lengthy analysis could achieve." Canadian Review of American Studies "Expert teacher that she is, Gelfant provokes her readers to go beyond her interpretations and even to challenege and extend them...From her wanderings, reckonings, and alert harkening to voices of multiplicity of cultures, classes, languages, and artistic temperaments, Gelfant renders her account of the rich variety of voices that strike the same profoundly resonant chords: aching desires for love, warmth, and security; torturous yearnings for intellectual stimulation and the aesthetic pleasures of Nature and art; and the unrelenting hope of discovering compassion and charity within global cultures that seem to generate only a cold and barren bottom-line mentality. In this bold and seminal work, she lets us hear how the articulations of many seemingly disparate speakers may be clarified and given new meaning through the voice of a powerful scholar-critic." Emory Elliot, Novel