Books

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Becoming a Great Essayist

By Jennifer Cognard-Black
Chantilly, VA:  The Great Courses, 2016

If you have a clever anecdote, an interesting memory, a new way to explain how something works, or an opinion on a social or political issue, then you have an essay in you. Unlike a novel, history book, or scientific publication, essays provide you with the versatility to express all the various facets that make you you. The concise and direct nature of an essay means that you may tap into your sense of wit, share your individual point of view, persuade others to your perspective, and record a part of your memories for future generations in as many distinct essay forms as you wish.


From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines

Edited by Joyce Dyer, Jennifer Cognard-Black, and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls
East Lansing, MI:  Michigan State University Press, 2016

The twenty-three distinguished writers included in From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines invite machines into their lives and onto the page. In every room and landscape these writers occupy, gadgets that both stir and stymie may be found: a Singer sewing machine, a stove, a gun, a vibrator, a prosthetic limb, a tractor, a Dodge Dart, a microphone, a smartphone, a stapler, a No. 1 pencil and, of course, a curling iron and a chainsaw.

From Curlers to Chainsaws is a groundbreaking collection of lyrical and illuminating essays about the serious, silly, seductive, and sometimes sorrowful relationships between women and their machines. This collection explores in depth objects we sometimes take for granted, focusing not only on their functions but also on their powers to inform identity. For each writer, the device moves beyond the functional to become a symbolic extension of the writer’s own mind—altering and deepening each woman’s concept of herself.


Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal 

Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite, with a foreword by Marion Nestle
New York: New York University Press, 2014

Whether a five-star chef or beginning home cook, any gourmand knows that recipes are far more than a set of instructions on how to make a dish. They are culture-keepers as well as culture-makers, both recording memories and fostering new ones. 

Organized like a cookbook, Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal is a collection of American literature written on the theme of food: from an invocation to a final toast, from starters to desserts. All food literatures are indebted to the form and purpose of cookbooks, and each section begins with an excerpt from an influential American cookbook, progressing chronologically from the late 1700s through the present day, including such favorites as American Cookery, the Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The literary works within each section are an extension of these cookbooks, while the cookbook excerpts in turn become pieces of literature—forms of storytelling and memory-making all their own. 


Kindred Hands: Letters on Writing by British and American Women Authors, 1865-1935 

Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls
Iowa University Press, 2006

Kindred Hands, a collection of previously unpublished letters by women writers, explores the act and art of writing from diverse perspectives and experiences. The letters illuminate such issues as authorship, aesthetics, collaboration, inspiration, and authorial intent. By focusing on letters that deal with authorship, the editors reveal a multiplicity of perspectives on female authorship that would otherwise require visits to archives and special collections.


Advancing Rhetoric: Critical Thinking & Writing for the Advanced Student

by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Anne Cognard
Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2006

Co-authored by an honors English professor and an award-winning high-school AP teacher, Advancing Rhetoric: Critical Thinking and Writing for the Advanced Student, by Dr. Jennifer Cognard-Black and Dr. Anne M. Cognard, is a composition textbook geared for high-ability learners in both college-level honors and advanced high-school classes, such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes in both Language and Literature.


Narrative in the Professional Age: Transatlantic Readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and George Eliot 

By Jennifer Cognard-Black
New York and London: Routledge, 2004

Challenging previous studies that claim anxiety and antagonism between transatlantic Victorian authors, Jennifer Cognard-Black uncovers a model of reciprocal influence among three of the most popular women writers of the era. Combining analyses of personal correspondence and print culture with close readings of key narratives, this study presents an original history of transatlantic authorship that examines how these writers invented a collaborative aesthetics both within and against the dominant discourse of professionalism.