This examination of nineteenth-century journalism explores the specific actions and practices of the publications that provided a true picture of slavery to the general public. From Boston's strident <i>Liberator</i> to Frederick Douglass' <i>North Star</i>, the decades before the Civil War saw more than forty newspapers founded with the specific aim of promoting emancipation. Not only did these sheets provide a platform for discourse, but they also gave slavery a face for a wider audience. The reach of the abolitionist press only grew as the fiery publications became objects of controversy and targets of violence in both South and North. These works kept the issue of slavery in the public eye even as mainstream publications took up the call for emancipation, as the nation went to war, up to the end of slavery. Their legacy has endured, as dedicated reform writers and editors continue to view the press as a vital tool in the fight for equality.
Finalist, 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Throughout his award-winning career, Bruce Weigl has proven himself to be a poet of extraordinary emotional acuity and consummate craftsmanship. In The Abundance of Nothing, these qualities are on full display, animating and informing poems that combine rich, metaphoric imagery with direct, powerful language. Deftly weaving history and everyday experience, Weigl transports readers from the front lines of the Vietnam War and all the tangled cultural and emotional scenes of that time to the slow winds of the American Midwest that softly ease the voice of the veteran returning home. Though the poems struggle with themes of mortality and illness, violence and forgiveness, the poet’s voice never wavers in its meditative calm, poise, and compassion. Elegiac yet agile, ethereal yet embodied, The Abundance of Nothing is a work of searching openness, generous insight, and remarkable grace.
Winner, 2021 Gilda Women's Book Award
In this honest and tender collection of essays, award-winning memoirist Michele Weldon asks what it means to be a mature woman seeking a life of purpose and meaning through work, family, and relationships. Facing ageism and invisibility within popular culture, Weldon examines the effects of raising children, striving for applause, failing expectations, forming new friendships, reconciling lost dreams, and restoring one’s faith. With sincerity and humor, she unwraps family traditions, painting classes, lap swimming, dress codes, and career disappointments. She addresses white privilege and her evolving understanding of racism. And she asks crucial questions about mortality, finding connection in writing and stories.
Frank, eloquent, and daring, Weldon dissects the intricacies of life, journeying toward self-discovery as a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Readers of any age or gender will recognize the universal experience of learning to accept oneself and asking essential questions—even if there are no easy answers.
In Adulterous Nations, Tatiana Kuzmic enlarges our perspective on the nineteenth-century novel of adultery, showing how it often served as a metaphor for relationships between the imperialistic and the colonized. In the context of the long-standing practice of gendering nations as female, the novels under discussion here—George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest, and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, along with August Šenoa’s The Goldsmith’s Gold and Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis—can be understood as depicting international crises on the scale of the nuclear family. In each example, an outsider figure is responsible for the disruption experienced by the family. Kuzmic deftly argues that the hopes, anxieties, and interests of European nations during this period can be discerned in the destabilizing force of adultery. Reading the work of Šenoa and Sienkiewicz, from Croatia and Poland, respectively, Kuzmic illuminates the relationship between the literature of dominant nations and that of the semicolonized territories that posed a threat to them. Ultimately, Kuzmic’s study enhances our understanding of not only these five novels but nineteenth-century European literature more generally.
A critical reading of the unstable structures that organize biological and social life
This timely and radically interdisciplinary volume uncovers the aesthetics and politics of infrastructure. From roads and bridges to harbors and canals, infrastructure is conventionally understood as the public works that allow for the circulation of capital. Yet this naturalized concept of infrastructure, driven by capital’s restless expansion, is haunted by imperial tendencies to occupy territory, extract resources, and organize life. Infrastructure thus undergirds the living nexus of modernity in an ongoing project of racialization, affective embodiment, and environmental praxis. Rather than merely making visible infrastructure’s modes of power, however, The Aesthetic Life of Infrastructure brings literary methods to bear on the interpretive terrain, reading infrastructural space and temporalities to show that their aesthetic and sensorial experience cannot be understood apart from histories of production and political economies.
Building on critical infrastructure studies in anthropology, geography, and media studies, this collection demonstrates the field’s vitality to scholars working across the humanities, including in literary, visual, and cultural studies. By querying the presumed invisibility of infrastructure’s hidden life, the volume’s contributors revitalize ongoing literary debates about reading surface and depth. How, they ask, might infrastructure and aesthetics then function as epistemic tools for rethinking each other? And what urgency do they acquire in light of current crises that bear on death, whether biological, social, or planetary?
In The Aesthetics of Service in Early Modern England, Elizabeth Rivlin explores the ways in which servant-master relationships reshaped literature. The early modern servant is enjoined to obey his or her master out of dutiful love, but the servant's duty actually amounts to standing in for the master, a move that opens the possibility of becoming master. Rivlin shows that service is fundamentally a representational practice, in which the servant who acts for a master merges with the servant who acts as a master.
Rivlin argues that in the early modern period, servants found new positions as subjects and authors found new forms of literature. Representations of servants and masters became a site of contact between pressing material concerns and evolving aesthetic ones. Offering readings of dramas by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Thomas Dekker and prose fictions by Thomas Deloney and Thomas Nashe, Rivlin suggests that these authors discovered their own exciting and unstable projects in the servants they created.
The career of J. G. Fichte, a central figure in German idealism and in the history of philosophy, divides into two distinct phases: the first period, in which he occupied the chair of critical philosophy at the University of Jena (1794-1799); and the following period, after he left Jena for Berlin. Due in part to the inaccessibility of the German texts, Fichte scholarship in the English-speaking world has tended to focus on the Jena period, neglecting the development of this major thinker's mature development. The essays collected in this book begin to correct this imbalance. Concerned in a variety of ways with Fichte's post-Jena philosophy, these essays by distinguished and emerging scholars demonstrate the depth and breadth of Fichte scholarship being done in English.
With an introduction that locates the essays in philosophical and historical terms, the book divides into three related categories: Fichte’s development, his view of religion, and other aspects of his "popular" (or not-so-popular) philosophy. From a wide range of perspectives, the essays show how Fichte’s later development reflects the philosophical concerns of his time, the specific debates in which he engaged, and the complex events of his philosophical career.
After the Nation proposes a series of groundbreaking new approaches to novels, essays, and short stories by Carlos Fuentes and Thomas Pynchon within the framework of a hemispheric American studies. García-Caro offers a pioneering comparativist approach to the contemporary American and Mexican literary canons and their underlying nationalist encodement through the study of a wide range of texts by Pynchon and Fuentes which question and historicize in different ways the processes of national definition and myth-making deployed in the drawing of literary borders. After the Nation looks at these literary narratives as postnational satires that aim to unravel and denounce the combined hegemonic processes of modernity and nationalism while they start to contemplate the ensuing postnational constellations. These are texts that playfully challenge the temporal and spatial designs of national themes while they point to and debase “holy” borders, international borders as well as the internal lines where narratives of nation are embodied and consecrated.
Hasan Sijzi, also known as Amir Hasan Sijzi Dehlavi, is considered the originator of the Indo-Persian ghazal, a poetic form that endures to this day—from the legacy of Hasan’s poetic descendent, Hafez, to contemporary Anglophone poets such as John Hollander, Maxine Kumin, Agha Shahid Ali, and W. S. Merwin.
As with other Persian poets, Hasan worked within a highly regulated set of poetic conventions that brought into relief the interpenetration of apparent opposites—metaphysical and material, mysterious and quotidian, death and desire, sacred and profane, fleeting time and eternity. Within these strictures, he crafted a poetics that blended Sufi Islam with non-Muslim Indic traditions. Of the Persian poets practiced the ghazal, Hafez and Rumi are best known to Western readers, but their verse represents only a small fraction of a rich tradition. This collection reveals the geographical range of the literature while introducing an Indian voice that will find a place on reader’s bookshelves alongside better known Iranian names.
The contributors to Against Life think critically about the turn to life in theory and culture and especially about its redemptive tendencies. Editors Alastair Hunt and Stephanie Youngblood shape their collection to provocatively challenge an assumption rife in the humanities, mainly that the idea of redeeming life might hinder important ethical conversations.
They and their contributors question whether it is intelligent—or even necessary— to orient our collective ethico-political projects from figures of life, and to posit forms of equality and freedom that might emerge if we did not organize being-together under the sign of life. Taken together the essays in Against Life mark an important turn in the ethico-political work of the humanities.
Airline Highway is a rollicking play that, with great insight, humor, and subtlety, examines a tight knit community of "outsiders" over the course of a single, legendary day. The Hummingbird Hotel is the figurative or literal home for a group of strippers, French Quarter service workers, hustlers, and poets who are bound together by their bad luck, bad decisions, and complete lack of pretense. Presiding over them is Miss Ruby, a beloved former burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies. As the people whose lives she has touched gather to celebrate her, they must face themselves, each other, and the consequences of the choices they have made. Airline Highway shows us the tenuous hold that community, authenticity, and real-time ritual have on a rapidly gentrifying New Orleans.
In Algorithmic Desire, Matthew Flisfeder shows that social media is a metaphor that reveals the dominant form of contemporary ideology: neoliberal capitalism. The preeminent medium of our time, social media’s digital platform and algorithmic logic shape our experience of democracy, enjoyment, and desire. Weaving between critical theory and analyses of popular culture, Flisfeder uses examples from The King’s Speech, Black Mirror, Gone Girl, The Circle, and Arrival to argue that social media highlights the antisocial dimensions of twenty‑first-century capitalism. He counters leading critical theories of social media—such as new materialism and accelerationism—and thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, proposing instead a new structuralist account of the ideology and metaphor of social media. Emphasizing the structural role of crises, gaps, and negativity as central to our experiences of reality, Flisfeder interprets the social media metaphor through a combination of dialectical, Marxist, and Lacanian frameworks to show that algorithms may indeed read our desire, but capitalism, not social media, truly makes us antisocial. Wholly original in its interdisciplinary approach to social media and ideology, Flisfeder’s conception of “algorithmic desire” is timely, intriguing, and sure to inspire debate.
In the middle of the night, somewhere in Oklahoma—or is it Missouri?—a bus hurtles down an anonymous American highway. Its passengers, among them two children traveling on their own, a retired salesman, an unwed teenage mother, an unemployed chemist, and the driver who ferries and broods over all of them, are in the middle of their journeys. Soon, two of the passengers will be lost, and then the bus itself will lose its way.
The open road and, before that, the open frontier have long been part of the American romance, cherished features of the nation's traditional vision of itself. In her latest novel, A. G. Mojtabai stands this tradition on its head. Instead of the expansive thrust into unknown territory, the camaraderie of the open road, adventure, and the joys of vagabondage, we witness constriction, isolation, and fear. Instead of freedom, we find people fleeing from coast to coast in search of home and the ever-beckoning, ever-retreating promise of a better life. Richly drawn, evocative, and thought-provoking, All That Road Going is a challenging new departure from the road novel canon.
Traveling through China in 1989, not long after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Fanny hopes to make sense of her brother Bruno’s death in a motorcycle accident by finding a woman with whom he had exchanged letters. On her journey Fanny’s fate becomes entwined with a handsome British rogue, an American of Russian-Cuban descent returning to Tashkent, and two Chinese men—one who loves Charles Dickens, the other a budding, entrepreneurial con man—struggling to find their way in a country undergoing tumultuous transformation. Kathleen Lee’s debut novel explores the tension between the allure of the unfamiliar that draws us to distant lands and its unbidden tendency to reveal us to ourselves. With its rollicking sense of humor and slyly lyrical voice, as well as an extraordinary deftness in the rendering of place, All Things Tending towards the Eternal is an unforgettable ride.
Winner of the American Literary Translators Association 2010 National Translation Award
Petra Hůlová became an overnight sensation when All This Belongs to Me was originally published in Czech in 2002, when the author was just twenty three years old. She has since established herself as one of the most exciting young novelists in Europe today. Writings from an Unbound Europeis proud to publish the first translation of her work in English.
All This Belongs to Me chronicles the lives of three generations of women in a Mongolian family. Told from the point of view of a mother, three sisters, and the daughter of one of the sisters, this story of secrets and betrayals takes us from the daily rhythms of nomadic life on the steppe to the harsh realities of urban alcoholism and prostitution in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. All This Belongs to Me is a sweeping family saga that showcases Hůlová's genius.
While the poems in Steve Straight’'s new collection lead the reader "into the dark forest of memory / or onto the carnival ride of hypothesis, / or even right off the cliff of surprise," they maintain a sure course through the din and distraction of modern life. Bits of news from the natural sciences, chance encounters, and even convicted felon and crafting queen Martha Stewart all fall under Straight’s observant eye. The result is a collection of conversational poems that lend a sense of wonder to the commonplace.
Honorable Mention, 2006 The Society of Midland Authors Adult Fiction Award
For decades, Richard Stern has been acclaimed as one of the American masters of the short story. Almonds to Zhoof: Collected Stories brings together for the first time forty-nine of Stern's best short works and novellas-from "Dr. Cahn's Visit," which The New Republic praised as "the very best very short story in the English language," to classics like "Teeth" and "Wanderers."
Stern's stories-witty, moving, always full of energy-never sacrifice storytelling to mere elegance or wandering wisdom. This collection demonstrates Stern's astonishing ability to portray people from all walks of life, their flawed relationships to ideas, their sometimes bizarre relationships with lovers and friends, their often brilliant, if skewed, appraisals of themselves. The stories always reflect an abiding compassion for his characters whoever they are and whatever their origins. All exist within the politics and workplaces and bedrooms of the real world. All are incorrigibly human.
Photojournalism has long been the medium of urgency and social change. It has profoundly affected American public opinion, going back at least to Mathew Brady's images from the Civil War. In American Photojournalism: Motivations and Meanings, Claude Cookman explores the history and future of the medium through the work of such exemplary photojournalists as Jacob Riis, Dorothea Lange, Weegee, Margaret Bourke-White, W. Eugene Smith, Gordon Parks, Rich Clarkson, and Carol Guzy, among others. The traditional approach to studying American photojournalism explains the what and who of photojournalism--what events and developments occurred, what notable images were taken, and who took them. Without neglecting these concerns, American Photojournalism emphasizes the why. Cookman argues convincingly that contemporary photojournalism is grounded in the desire to witness and record history, and the embrace of a universal humanism. Unafraid to engage questions of truth and intentionality, American Photojournalism will only become more relevant as the medium evolves.
Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Pressargues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.
The historic election of Barack Obama was rife with references to Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest lawyer-president, whose legal career spanned 25 years and 5,100 cases. President Obama’s ties to Lincoln are part of a great tradition begun by John Adams, the first lawyer-president, who combined a twenty-year law practice with major contributions to our nation’s founding charters. His son, John Quincy Adams, argued landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases both before and after his presidency, one of eight lawyer-presidents to appear as counsel before the highest court in the land. And Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison were among those lawyer-presidents who handled notable high-profile cases, including sensational murder trials.
These are but a few of the fascinating—yet still largely unknown—stories about America’s lawyer-presidents. Now available in an updated, expanded paperback edition, America’s Lawyer-Presidents sheds light on the legal backgrounds of each of these chief executives and how their experiences as lawyers impacted and shaped their presidencies. Written by historians and presidential scholars and featuring an engaging and image-rich presentation, America’s Lawyer-Presidents provides unique insights into our national leaders and their lives and times, from colonial days to the present.
The Poetry and Poetics Colloquium, in conjunction with Northwestern University Press, is delighted to announce that Nicole Sealey is the winner of the fourth annual Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named will be published by Northwestern University Press with a planned launch party at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in January 2016.
At turns humorous and heartbreaking, The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named explores in both formal and free verse what it means to die, which is to say, also, what it means to live. In this collection, Sealey displays an exquisite sense of the lyric, as well as an acute political awareness. Never heavy-handed or dogmatic, the poems included in this slim volume excavate the shadows of both personal and collective memory and are, at all points, relentless. To quote the poet herself, here is a debut as luminous and unforgiving "as the unsparing light at tunnel’s end."
Originally published in 1975, The Apology and the Last Days is the final volume in a trilogy of novels—also including The Rise and Fall of Icarus Gubelkian and How to Quiet a Vampire—about the aftermath of World War II, by Borislav Pekić, one of the former Yugoslavia’s most important postwar writers. The narrator tells his story from prison, where he is serving time for the murder of a former Nazi official. As the novel unfolds, we learn that the victim was the same person whom the narrator, while a lifeguard during the war, saved from drowning, thus making him vulnerable to charges of collaboration. In this tragicomic tale, Pekić explores eternal questions of fate and individual responsibility.
Archaeologies of Modernity explores the shift from the powerful tradition of literary forms of Bildung—the education of the individual as the self—to the visual forms of “Bildung” (from Bild) that characterize German modernism and the European avant-garde. Interrelated chapters examine the work of Franz Kafka, Jean/Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, and Carl Einstein, and of artists such as Oskar Kokoschka or Kurt Schwitters, in the light of the surge of an autoformation (Bildung) of verbal and visual images at the core of expressionist and surrealist aesthetics and the art that followed. In this first scholarly focus on modernist avant-garde Bildung in its entwinement of conceptual modernity with forms of the archaic, Rumold resituates the significance of the poet and art theorist Einstein and his work on the language of primitivism and the visual imagination. Archaeologies of Modernity is a major reconsideration of the conception of the modernist project and will be of interest to scholars across the disciplines.
Winner of the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars
Taking the reader on an inward journey from façades to closets, from physical to psychic space, Architectural Involutions offers an alternative genealogy of theater by revealing how innovations in architectural writing and practice transformed an early modern sense of interiority. The book launches from a matrix of related “platforms”—a term that in early modern usage denoted scaffolds, stages, and draftsmen’s sketches—to situate Alberti, Shakespeare, Jonson, and others within a landscape of spatial and visual change.
As the English house underwent a process of inward folding, replacing a logic of central assembly with one of dissemination, the subject who negotiated this new scenography became a flashpoint of conflict in both domestic and theatrical arenas. Combining theory with archival findings, Mimi Yiu reveals an emergent desire to perform subjectivity, to unfold an interior face to an admiring public. Highly praised for its lucid writing, comprehensive supplementary material, and engaging tone, Architectural Involutions was the winner of the 2016 MLA Prize for Independent Scholars.
A capacious analysis of a legendary intellectual friendship and the material legacies it left behind
Over the course of their decades-long friendship, Hélène Cixous and Jacques Derrida assembled overlapping archives of written experiments and exchanges that document a shared interest in their literary afterlives. In this incisive account, Laura Hughes shows how pushing against the limits of writing and of life itself means not only imagining but manifesting a community of future readers.
Archival Afterlives: Cixous, Derrida, and the Matter of Friendship examines the embodied nature of literary creation, taking letters, fragments, notes, and other ephemera as objects of critical analysis and care. Combining close readings of key texts and previously unexamined archival materials, Hughes traces critical connections between Cixous and Derrida, between the theoretical and the autobiographical, and between life writing and its limits. In putting deconstruction into dialogue with new material analyses and archive studies, Archival Afterlives positions this historical and intellectual relationship as a lens through which to reexamine the legacy of critical theory itself.
A nuanced extrapolation of Hannah Arendt’s theory of judgment through her highly provocative reading of Immanuel Kant
More than a half century after it was first published, Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism rose to the top of best-seller lists as readers grappled with the triumph of Trumpism. Arendt, Kant, and the Enigma of Judgment directs our attention to her later thought, the posthumously published and highly provocative Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Martin Blumenthal-Barby puts this work in dialogue with Arendt’s other writings, including her notes on Kant’s Critique of Judgment, to outline her own theory of judgment for the twentieth century. In an era of post-truths and artificial intelligence, the idea that authentic judgment—for example, the ability to distinguish right from wrong—is incommensurable with abstract, automated processes lies at the center of Arendt’s late work and at the fore of our collective reckoning.
Rather than presenting us with a fixed account, Blumenthal-Barby suggests, Arendt’s drawing and redrawing of conceptual distinctions is itself an enactment of judgment, a process that challenges and complicates what she says at every turn. In so doing, Arendt, in thoroughly Kantian fashion, establishes judgment as a performative category that can never be taught but only demonstrated. As sharp as it is timely, this incisive book reminds us why a shared reality matters in a time of intense political polarization and why the democratic project, vulnerable as it may appear today, crucially depends on it.
As in her Tony Award–winning Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman transforms Greek mythology—here the story of Jason and the Argonauts—into a mesmerizing piece of theater. Encountering an array of daunting challenges in their “first voyage of the world,” Jason and his crew illustrate the essence of all such journeys to follow—their unpredictability, their inspiring and overwhelming breadth of emotion, their lessons in the inevitability of failure and loss. Bursts of humor and fantastical creatures enrich a story whose characters reveal remarkable complexity. Medea is profoundly sympathetic even as the seeds are sown for the monstrous life ahead of her, and the brute strength of Hercules leaves him no less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of love. Zimmerman brings to Argonautika her trademark ability to encompass the full range of human experience in a work as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Armed Ambiguity is a fascinating examination of the tropes of the woman warrior constructed by print culture—including press reports, novels, dramatic works, and lyrical texts—during the decades-long conflict in Europe around 1800.
In it, Julie Koser sheds new light on how women’s bodies became a battleground for competing social, cultural, and political agendas in one of the most pivotal periods of modern history. She traces the women warriors in this work as reflections of the social and political climate in German-speaking lands, and she reveals how literary texts and cultural artifacts that highlight women’s armed insurrection perpetuated the false dichotomy of "public" versus "private" spheres along a gendered fault line. Koser illuminates how reactionary visions of "ideal femininity" competed with subversive fantasies of new femininities in the ideological battle being waged over the restructuring of German society.
Leo Tolstoy’s and Vladimir Nabokov’s radically opposed aesthetic worldviews emanate from a shared intuition—that approaching a text skeptically is easy, but trusting it is hard
Two figures central to the Russian literary tradition—Tolstoy, the moralist, and Nabokov, the aesthete—seem to have sharply conflicting ideas about the purpose of literature. Tatyana Gershkovich undermines this familiar opposition by identifying a shared fear at the root of their seemingly antithetical aesthetics: that one’s experience of the world might be entirely one’s own, private and impossible to share through art.
Art in Doubt: Tolstoy, Nabokov, and the Problem of Other Minds reconceives the pair’s celebrated fiction and contentious theorizing as coherent, lifelong efforts to reckon with the problem of other people’s minds. Gershkovich demonstrates how the authors’ shared yearning for an impossibly intimate knowledge of others formed and deformed their fiction and brought them through parallel logic to their rival late styles: Tolstoy’s rustic simplicity and Nabokov’s baroque complexity. Unlike those authors for whom the skeptical predicament ends in absurdity or despair, Tolstoy and Nabokov both hold out hope that skepticism can be overcome, not by force of will but with the right kind of text, one designed to withstand our impulse to doubt it. Through close readings of key canonical works—Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata, Hadji Murat, The Gift, Pale Fire—this book brings the twin titans of Russian fiction to bear on contemporary debates about how we read now, and how we ought to.
In her funny, idiosyncratic, and propulsive new novel, Art Is Everything, Yxta Maya Murray offers us a portrait of a Chicana artist as a woman on the margins. L.A. native Amanda Ruiz is a successful performance artist who is madly in love with her girlfriend, a wealthy and pragmatic actuary named Xōchitl. Everything seems under control: Amanda’s grumpy father is living peacefully in Koreatown; Amanda is about to enjoy a residency at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, once she gets her NEA, she’s going to film a groundbreaking autocritical documentary in Mexico.
But then everything starts to fall apart when Xōchitl’s biological clock begins beeping, Amanda’s father dies, and she endures a sexual assault. What happens to an artist when her emotional support vanishes along with her feelings of safety and her finances? Written as a series of web posts, Instagram essays, Snapchat freakouts, rejected Yelp reviews, Facebook screeds, and SmugMug streams-of-consciousness that merge volcanic confession with eagle-eyed art criticism, Art Is Everything shows us the painful but joyous development of a mid-career artist whose world implodes just as she has a breakthrough.
In The Art of Distances, Corina Stan identifies an insistent preoccupation with interpersonal distance in a strand of twentieth-century European and Anglophone literature that includes the work of George Orwell, Paul Morand, Elias Canetti, Iris Murdoch, Walter Benjamin, Annie Ernaux, Günter Grass, and Damon Galgut. Specifically, Stan shows that these authors all engage in philosophical meditations, in the realm of literary writing, on the ethical question of how to live with others and how to find an ideal interpersonal distance at historical moments when there are no obviously agreed-upon social norms for ethical behavior.
Bringing these authors into dialogue with philosophers such as Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Helmuth Plessner, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Nancy, Emmanuel Levinas, Peter Sloterdijk, Guillaume le Blanc, and Pierre Zaoui, Stan shows how the question of the right interpersonal distance became a fundamental one for the literary authors under consideration and explores what forms and genres they proposed in order to convey the complexity of this question. Albeit unknowingly, she suggests, they are engaged in fleshing out what Roland Barthes called “a science, or perhaps an art, of distances.”
The essays are loosely connected through their bearing on one or more of three themes: the role of orality in the transmission of chant circa 700-1400; varying degrees of stability or instability in the transmission of chant; and the role of the formula in the construction of chant. Throughout, Karp uses 202 musical examples.
The first essay evaluates forms of evidence that may shed light on the nature of orality that led to the surviving notational records of Gregorian chant and assembles evidence that supports the conclusion that fidelity of transmission represented an important goal of the Franks. The second essay treats formulas that cross the boundaries of individual liturgical genres and modes. The third essay defines the varying kinds of musical formulas in chant and proposes a chronological ordering of the genre of second-mode tracts.
The fourth essay treats the transmission of a stable melody and explores the ways in which one basic melody may be adapted to texts of widely differing structures and lengths. The fifth essay deals with a group of unstable melodies that furnished difficulties in modal classification. The sixth essay explores the problems faced by scribes seeking to represent in diastematic notation melodies employing tones not normally admitted into the medieval gamut. The seventh essay takes up the role of the formula in introits, a neumatic genre intended forchoral performance.
The two final essays look at second-mode tracts and at the interrelationship between Roman and Gregorian chant.
Assembling Ethnicities in Neoliberal Times: Ethnographic Fictions and Sri Lanka’s War argues that the bloody war fought between the Sri Lankan state and the separatist Tamil Tigers from 1983 to 2009 should be understood as structured and animated by the forces of global capitalism. Using Aihwa Ong’s theorization of neoliberalism as a mobile technology and assemblage, this book explores how contemporary globalization has exacerbated forces of nationalism and racism.
Nimanthi Perera-Rajasingham finds that ethnographic fictions have both internalized certain colonial Orientalist impulses and critically engaged with categories of objective gazing, empiricism, and temporal distancing. She demonstrates that such fictions take seriously the task of bearing witness and documenting the complex productions of ethnic identities and the devastations wrought by warfare. To this end, Assembling Ethnicities
explores colonial-era travel writing by Robert Knox (1681) and Leonard Woolf (1913); contemporary works by Michael Ondaatje, Romesh Gunesekera, Shobasakthi, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, and Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan; and cultural festivals and theater, including vernacular performances of Euripides’s The Trojan Women and women workers’ theater.
The book interprets contemporary fictions to unpack neoliberalism’s entanglements with nationalism and racism, engaging current issues such as human rights, the pastoral, Tamil militancy, immigrant lives, feminism and nationalism, and postwar developmentalism.
“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.
Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czesław Miłosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.
Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.
As German-language literature turned in the mid-nineteenth century to the depiction of the profane, sensual world, a corresponding anxiety emerged about the terms of that depiction—with consequences not only for realist poetics but also for the conception of the material world itself. At the Limit of the Obscene examines the roots and repercussions of this anxiety in German realist and postrealist literature. Through analyses of works by Adalbert Stifter, Gustav Freytag, Theodor Fontane, Arno Holz, Gottfried Benn, and Franz Kafka, Erica Weitzman shows how German realism’s conflicted representations of the material world lead to an idea of the obscene as an excess of sensual appearance beyond human meaning: the obverse of the anthropocentric worldview that German realism both propagates and pushes to its crisis. At the Limit of the Obscene thus brings to light the troubled and troubling ontology underlying German realism, at the same time demonstrating how its works continue to shape our ideas about representability, alterity, and the relationship of human beings to the non-human well into the present day.
Originally published as O Ateneu in 1888, The Athenaeum is a classic of Brazilian literature, here translated into English in its entirety for the first time. The first-person narrator, Sergio, looks back to his time at the eponymous boarding school, with its autocratic principal and terrifying student body. Sergio’s account of his humiliating experiences as a student, with its frank discussion of corruption and homoerotic bullying, makes it clear that his school is structured and administered so as to reproduce the class divisions and power structure of the larger Brazilian society.
In its muckraking mode, the novel is in the spirit of Naturalism, imported from France and well-acclimated to Brazil, where it blossomed. At the same time, Pompéia maintains the novel’s credibility as a bildungsroman by portraying the narrator’s psychological development. The novel’s conclusion suggests both a doomed society and its possible redemption, indicative of a moment of upheaval and transition in Brazilian history.
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