Books

Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots

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Part adventure story, part cautionary tale, DJ Lee’s quest weaves through memory and meaning like a broken trail. The ghosts she is searching for—her grandmother, her grandfather, her friend lost in the wilderness and never found—appear and disappear in moments of mystery. Like the archivist she is, Lee pins her investigations to historical and archeological facts, even as she revels in the lyrical otherworldliness of extreme isolation. Her narrative reads like a journal of longing and belonging, bravery and fear, clarity and insanity, celebration and lament. Always, what she offers is a map that we might follow: more than blood, it is story that binds us—all that we have to make sense of our lives. — Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

DJ Lee has achieved an intricate weave of myriad strands, of the lives of family members and strangers past and present as well as her own intimate knowledge and experience, as she explores the perilous and profound implications of wilderness and in particular the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana. –Mary Clearman Blew, author of Jackalope Dreams and Ruby Dreams of Janis Joplin

DJ Lee deftly intertwines the evocative and the provocative into a beautifully written and fully engaging memoir. Her fascinating interwoven stories sweep us into the complexities and mysteries of the human wilderness, too, each chapter offering unpredictable surprises and insights that stay with us. A profound pleasure to read.  –Joy Passanante, author of Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father’s Wars

When you dive into a book about a mountain range, you don’t usually expect it to be just as compelling about the people of the mountains as it is about the peaks themselves. But that’s just what DJ Lee has brought off withRemote: both an intimate portrait of the immensely wild Selway-Bitterroot, and a deeply engaging look into the lives of a whole tribe of lovers of this particular wilderness. The author, her family, and their friends and mentors are no simple lot, and how they tussle and circle over several generations around one remote ranger station (with more than one mystery thrown in) will draw you in as deeply as it did me. — Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and Magdalena Mountain

Offers profound and moving meditations on nature and narrative, frequently on the two phenomena together. This book about “remoteness” is actually a book about proximity, about deep and close relationships, relationships edging toward obsessions. –Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility

When DJ Lee’s dear friend vanishes in the vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana, she travels there to seek answers. The journey unexpectedly brings to an end her fifteen-year quest to uncover the buried history of her family in this remote place. Although Lee doesn’t find all the answers, she comes away with a penetrating memoir that weaves her present-day story with past excursions into the region, wilderness history, and family secrets. Skillfully intertwining history, outdoor adventure, and mystery, Lee’s memoir is an engaging contribution to the growing body of literature on women and wilderness and a lyrical tribute to the spiritual connection between people and the natural world.

The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History

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The authors and editors Debbie Lee and Kathryn Newfont, as well as other naturalists included here, describe this careful attention to the land and the creatures that live on it, and declare that “the land itself speaks.” It is this possibility of discovering what various animals and plants mean by what they do that makes this book unusual and fascinating. –Valerie Yow, The Oral History Review

Debbie Lee and Kathryn Newfont’s collection of essays explores the way everyday people talk about their relationships to public lands. — Jillian Sparks, RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage

The Land Speaks explores the intersections of two vibrant fields, oral history and environmental studies. The essays cover urban, rural, suburban, and wilderness areas. They examine forests, rivers, lakes, and agricultural fields. They treat crops, trees, dunes, mammals, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Narrators and authors contest established narratives and shed light on entirely untold stories. They consider topics ranging from environmental activism to wilderness management to public health, raising questions about the roles of water, neglected urban spaces, land ownership concepts, protectionist activism, and climate change. The authors argue that oral history can capture communication from the land and serve as a tool for environmental problem solving.

Romantic Liars: Obscure Women Who Became Impostors and Challenged an Empire

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The stories told by Debbie Lee in Romantic Liars–of women who led fake lives and fooled a great many people–are extraordinary. The details of how they got away with their impersonations for as long as they did remain fascinating, and Lee is lives to the sensational aspects of many of these tales, which are told in an easy and informal style. — Sharon Ruston, The Times Literary Supplement

Lee skillfully weaves together biography and cultural history to bring out the social implications of imposture: why is the impostor a transgressive figure? why do they become celebrities? what function do they serve? Almost all of Lee’ s impostors are women who disguised themselves to create social opportunities which they lacked through gender and class prejudice. — Nick Groom, Romanticism on the Net

Lee unfolds the stories of six women with a cast of supporting characters such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Benjamin Franklin, Stamford Raffles and Napoleon against the grand narrative of England’s 18th century empire building. This book is a meticulously researched, spellbinding tale of tragedy, transformation and triumph in the age of reason.

Literature, Science, and Exploration: Bodies of Knowledge

"Literature, Science and Exploration," Cambridge 2004.

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An important requirement for the establishment of knowledge is knowledge of the establishment. the authors of this well-researched and fascinating book have illustrated this truth more amply than they concede. –Robert Fraser, Modern Language Review

This is a wonderfully provocative book, replete with broad speculations, new ideas, forgotten facts, and neglected histories. Jointly conceived by three authors, it represents the best of interdisciplinary inquiry and scholarly engagement. The clarity of its introduction assures from the start an ongoing usefulness to students, general readers, and scholars. — Hermione de Almeida, Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History

In 1768, Captain James Cook made the most important scientific voyage of the eighteenth century. He was not alone: scores of explorers like Cook, travelling in the name of science, brought new worlds and new peoples within the horizon of European knowledge for the first time. Their discoveries changed the course of science. Old scientific disciplines, such as astronomy and botany, were transformed; new ones, like craniology and comparative anatomy, were brought into being. Scientific disciplines, in turn, pushed literature of the period towards new subjects, forms and styles. Works as diverse as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Wordsworth’s Excursion responded to the explorers’ and scientists’ latest discoveries. This wide-ranging and well-illustrated study shows how literary Romanticism arose partly in response to science’s appropriation of explorers’ encounters with foreign people and places and how it, in turn, changed the profile of science and exploration. Coauthored with Tim Fulford and Peter J. Kitson 

Slavery and the Romantic Imagination

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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Winner of the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship

This lively new study explores the diverse ways in which British Romantic writers responded to the ‘great moral question’ of their era, that of slavery. . . . A valuable reconstruction of a key aspect of the cultural imagination of the Romantic period. — Times Literary Supplement

A major contribution to the cultural understanding of Romanticism. Though there have been studies of Romanticism and slavery, none has the range of historical reference and the broad interpretive contexts provided by Lee. —Alan Bewell, University of Toronto

Intelligent and carefully researched. . . . Strongly recommended. — Choice

The Romantic movement had profound social implications for nineteenth-century British culture. Among the most significant, Debbie Lee contends, was the change it wrought to insular Britons’ ability to distance themselves from the brutalities of chattel slavery. In the broadest sense, she asks what the relationship is between the artist and the most hideous crimes of his or her era. In dealing with the Romantic period, this question becomes more specific: what is the relationship between the nation’s greatest writers and the epic violence of slavery? In answer, Slavery and the Romantic Imagination provides a fully historicized and theorized account of the intimate relationship between slavery, African exploration, “the Romantic imagination,” and the literary works produced by this conjunction.

Early Black British Writing

earlyblkbritishwriting

Coedited with Alan Richardson
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One of the most significant developments in current literary studies is the rediscovery and reevaluation of texts by British writers of African descent. This volume combines popular texts with hard-to-find selections in a format that enables students to place them in their historical and cultural contexts. For instructors, the collection offers reliable texts, stimulating context pieces, and the most useful modern critical essays. The book is divided into four sections: Narratives, Poetry, Voices (letters), and Criticism. Native African and African-heritage authors living in Great Britain and British colonies include Ukawasaw Gronniosaw, an African prince; John Jea, a preacher; Mary Prince, a slave living in the West Indies; and Juan Francisco Manzano, a slave living in Cuba.

Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation

8 volumes
Lead General Editor with Peter J. Kitson
Volume Editors: Sukhdev Sandhu, David Dabydeen, Alan Richardson, Jeffrey N. Cox, Srinivas Aravamudan, Alan Bewell
Advisory Editors: Anne Mellor, and James Walvin

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This eight-volume series brings together primary texts which reveal the complexity of opinion about abolition and emancipation during this period. One collect whole works and selections which represent everything written by late 18th-century and early 19th century black writers. Two presents documents from the abolition debate. Three, four, and five contain the most influential and representative literary pieces in poetry, prose, and drama. Six reprints excerpts from slavery’s representations in narrative. Finally, seven and eight document how the growing mass of ethnological, scientific, botanical, epidemiological, and geographical data supplied a ready source for all kinds of schemes designed to reduce strangeness to order. 

Travels, Explorations, and Empires, 1770-1835

8 volumes
Editor of Volume 5: African Travels
General Editors: Peter J. Kitson and Tim Fulford

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The editors have done a magnificent job of selecting the most seminal texts from a truly massive corpus of contemporary travel literature. — James McKusick, The Wordsworth Circle

This compendium’s eight volumes bring together selections from approximately a hundred travelogues, most of which have not been reedited since they were first published in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries . . . this compilation will be of enormous utility to those historians or literature specialists. —EBRO: Eighteenth-Century Book Reviews Online

A collection of work that attempts to reflect the diversity of travel literature from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This literature often reveals something of the cultural and gender difference of the travelers, as well as ideas on colonialism, anthropology and slavery. 

 

Selected Essays, Chapters, & Reviews

Traveling in Wilderness, The Cambridge History of Travel Writing