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Anselm Kiefer in Conversation with Klaus Dermutz
Anselm Kiefer and Klaus Dermutz
Seagull Books, 2018
In the ten conversations with the writer and theologian Klaus Dermutz collected here, Kiefer returns to the essential elements of his art, his aesthetics, and his creative processes.

The only visual artist to have won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Anselm Kiefer is a profoundly literary painter. In these conversations, Kiefer describes how the central materials of his art—lead, sand, water, fire, ashes, plants, clothing, oil paint, watercolor, and ink—influence the act of creation. No less decisive are his intellectual and artistic touchstones: the sixteenth-century Jewish mystic Isaac Luria, the German Romantic poet Novalis, Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan, Martin Heidegger, Marcel Proust, Adalbert Stifter, the operas of Richard Wagner, the Catholic liturgy, and the innovative theater director and artist Tadeusz Kantor. Kiefer and Dermutz discuss all of these influential thinkers, as well as Kiefer’s own status as a controversial figure. His relentless examination of German history, the themes of guilt, suffering, communal memory, and the seductions of destruction have earned him equal amounts of criticism and praise. The conversations in this book offer a rare insight into the mind of a gifted creator, appealing to artists, critics, art historians, cultural journalists, and anyone interested in the visual arts and the literature and history of the twentieth century.

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Arenas of Language Use
Herbert H. Clark
University of Chicago Press, 1993
When we think of the ways we use language, we think of face-to-face conversations, telephone conversations, reading and writing, and even talking to oneself. These are arenas of language use—theaters of action in which people do things with language. But what exactly are they doing with language? What are their goals and intentions? By what processes do they achieve these goals? In these twelve essays, Herbert H. Clark and his colleagues discuss the collective nature of language—the ways in which people coordinate with each other to determine the meaning of what they say.

According to Clark, in order for one person to understand another, there must be a "common ground" of knowledge between them. He shows how people infer this "common ground" from their past conversations, their immediate surroundings, and their shared cultural background. Clark also discusses the means by which speakers design their utterances for particular audiences and coordinate their use of language with other participants in a language arena. He argues that language use in conversation is a collaborative process, where speaker and listener work together to establish that the listener understands the speaker's meaning. Since people often use words to mean something quite different from the dictionary definitions of those words, Clark offers a realistic perspective on how speakers and listeners coordinate on the meanings of words.

This collection presents outstanding examples of Clark's pioneering work on the pragmatics of language use and it will interest psychologists, linguists, computer scientists, and philosophers.

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The Art of Teaching Speaking
Research and Pedagogy for the ESL/EFL Classroom
Keith S. Folse
University of Michigan Press, 2006
*What elements make a speaking activity successful?
*Which tasks or activities really help build speaking fluency?
*What does the research show regarding speaking activities?
*What mistakes do ESL teachers often make in speaking activity design?

In this highly accessible and practical resource, Keith S. Folse provides a wealth of information to help ESL/EFL teachers design and use speaking tasks that will actually improve students' speaking fluency. The book presents and discusses the relevant research and assessment issues and includes case studies from twenty different settings and classrooms around the world so that readers learn from others about the problems and successes of using various speaking activities.

Teachers will find the chapters on Twenty Successful Activities and Ten Unsuccessful Activities particularly valuable. The successful activities are provided for classroom use and are reproducible. The book also contains five appendixes that explain what teachers need to know about vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar and how they affect the teaching of speaking. Samples of successful lesson plans and a list of resources useful for teaching speaking are also included.

Keith S. Folse, Ph.D., is Coordinator, TESOL Programs, University of Central Florida (Orlando). He is the author of Vocabulary Myths (University of Michigan Press, 2004) and more than 35 second language textbooks, including texts on grammar, reading, speaking, listening, and writing.

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Banking for a Better World
Nanno Kleiterp in Conversation with Marijn Wiersma
Nanno Kleiterp
Amsterdam University Press, 2017
When we look at all the challenges facing the world, including inequality, population migration, and climate change, we can see a role for development banking in nearly all of them. But will that role be played for good or ill? This book brings together two people who collectively draw on their forty-five years of experience in that world to argue that development banking can-and must-play a constructive role. We only need to read the news to find public outrage at tales of short-sighted greed in the financial world. But what happens when banks invest in long-term sustainability? Readers will find a fascinating example in the journey of the Dutch development bank FMO. At times global in perspective, at other moments intimately personal, Banking for a Better World interweaves candid anecdotes with development history, as well as banking lessons with client interviews, to deliver a powerful argument for a business model that generates profit through impact, and impact through profit. This is an important and accessible must-read for anyone involved in banking, business, policy making, and civil society as a whole. Banking for a Better World challenges us to start finding overlaps between our own lives and global issues and to bridge the distance between our personal needs and those of our planet.

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The Chattering Mind
A Conceptual History of Everyday Talk
Samuel McCormick
University of Chicago Press, 2020

From Plato’s contempt for “the madness of the multitude” to Kant’s lament for “the great unthinking mass,” the history of Western thought is riddled with disdain for ordinary collective life. But it was not until Kierkegaard developed the term chatter that this disdain began to focus on the ordinary communicative practices that sustain this form of human togetherness. 

The Chattering Mind explores the intellectual tradition inaugurated by Kierkegaard’s work, tracing the conceptual history of everyday talk from his formative account of chatter to Heidegger’s recuperative discussion of “idle talk” to Lacan’s culminating treatment of “empty speech”—and ultimately into our digital present, where small talk on various social media platforms now yields big data for tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

In this sense, The Chattering Mind is less a history of ideas than a book in search of a usable past. It is a study of how the modern world became anxious about everyday talk, figured in terms of the intellectual elites who piqued this anxiety, and written with an eye toward recent dilemmas of digital communication and culture. By explaining how a quintessentially unproblematic form of human communication became a communication problem in itself, McCormick shows how its conceptual history is essential to our understanding of media and communication today.


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Cinema Today
A Conversation with Thirty-nine Filmmakers from around the World
Oumano, Elena
Rutgers University Press, 2011
Imagine attending a fascinating film forum among a distinguished and varied panel of cinema legends. An afternoon or evening where contemporary filmmakers from around the world--Kazakhstan, Turkey, Macedonia, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Cameroon, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Poland, the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France--gather together to discuss how they arrive at the creative choices that bring their film projects to life.

Can't spare the time from work or class? Travel expense too great? What? You can't even find such a collaborative event?

Then imagine curling up with a good book, maybe a shot of espresso in hand, and becoming engrossed in the exciting and informative conversation that Elena Oumano has ingeniously crafted from her personal and individual interviews with these artists. Straying far from the usual choppy question-and-answer format, Cinema Today saves you from plowing through another tedious read, in which the same topics and issues are directed to each subject, over and over-an experience that is like being trapped in a revolving door.

Oumano stops that revolving door by following a lively symposium-in-print format, with the filmmakers' words and thoughts grouped together under various key cinema topics. It is as though these experts are speaking to each other and you are their audience--collectively they reflect on and explore issues and concerns of modern filmmaking, from the practical to the aesthetic, including the process, cinematic rhythm and structure, and the many aspects of the media: business, the viewer, and cinema's place in society. Whether you are a movie lover, a serious student of cinema, or simply interested in how we communicate in today's global village through films that so profoundly affect the world, Cinema Today is for you.

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Climate Change, Radical Uncertainty and Hope
Theology and Economics in Conversation
Jan Jorrit Hasselaar
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
Views on climate change are often either pessimistic or optimistic. In this book Jan Jorrit Hasselaar discovers and explores a third way, one of hope. A debate within economics on risk and uncertainty brings him to theological questions and the concept of hope in the work of the late Jonathan Sacks—and to a renewed way of doing theology as an account of the good life. What follows is an equal conversation between theology and economics as has hardly been undertaken in recent times. It emerges that hope is not contrary to economic insights, but remarkably compatible with them. Communication between these fields of expertise can open the way for a courageous and creative embrace of radical uncertainty in climate change. A key notion here is that of a public Sabbath, or a ‘workplace of hope’—times and places set aside to cultivate inspiration and mutual trust among all parties involved, enabling them to take concrete steps forward.

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Collaborating with Strangers
Facilitating Workshops in Libraries, Classes, and Nonprofits
Bess G. de Farber
American Library Association, 2017

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Conversation and Community
Chat in a Virtual World
Lynn Cherny
CSLI, 1999
Conversation and Community is an examination of the speech community in an Internet 'virtual community'. Based on ethnographic research on a community of users of a MUD, or 'multi-user dimension', the book describes a close-knit community united in features of their language use, shared history, and relationships to other online communities. The author invokes the notion of register, or the variety of speech adapted to the communication situation, in her discussion of how users overcome the limitations of the typed, text medium and exploit its affordances for comfortable communication. Routines, conventional vocabulary and abbreviations, syntactic and semantic phenomena, and special turn-taking and repair strategies distinguish the MUD community's register. Because the MUD is programmable, commands may be added which reflect, alter, or reinforce the linguistic practices and culture of the community; competent speakers must also know the commands that produce the correct linguistic forms.

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Conversation with Christ
Douglas Gwyn
QuakerPress, 2011

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Conversation with Spinoza
A Cobweb Novel
Goce Smilevski
Northwestern University Press, 2006
Prizing ideas above all else, radical thinker Baruch Spinoza left little behind in the way of personal facts and furnishings. But what of the tug of necessity, the urgings of the flesh, to which this genius philosopher (and grinder of lenses) might have been no more immune than the next man-or the next character, as Baruch Spinoza becomes in this intriguing novel by the remarkable young Macedonian author Goce Smilevski.

Smilevski's novel brings the thinker Spinoza and his inner life into conversation with the outer, all-too-real facts of his life and his day--from his connection to the Jewish community of Amsterdam, his excommunication in 1656, and the emergence of his philosophical system to his troubling feelings for his fourteen-year-old Latin teacher Clara Maria van den Enden and later his disciple Johannes Casearius. From this conversation there emerges a compelling and complex portrait of the life of an idea--and of a man who tries to live that idea.

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The Converse of the Pen
Acts of Intimacy in the Eighteenth-Century Familiar Letter
Bruce Redford
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Though historians of English literature have long labeled the eighteenth century the golden age of letter writing, few have paid more than lip service to the unique epistolary craftsmanship of the period. Bruce Redford corrects this omission with the first sustained investigation of the eighteenth-century familiar letter as a literary form in its own right. His study supplies the reader with a critical approach and biographical perspective for appreciating the genre that defined an era.

Redford examines six masters of the "talking letter": Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, William Cowper, Thomas Gray, Horace Walpole, James Boswell, and Samuel Johnson. All seek the paradoxical goal of artful spontaneity. Each exploits the distinctive resources of the eighteenth-century letter writer: a flexible conversational manner, a repertoire of literary and social allusion, a flair for dramatic impersonation. The voices of these letter writers "make distance, presence," in Samuel Richardson's phrase, by devising substitutes for gesture, vocal inflection, and physical context, turning each letter into a performance—an act. The resulting verbal constructs create a mysterious tension between the claims of fact and the possibilities of art. Redford recovers a neglected literary form and makes possible a deeper understanding of major eighteenth-century writers who devoted much of their talent and time to "the converse of the pen."

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Curriculum as Conversation
Transforming Traditions of Teaching and Learning
Arthur N. Applebee
University of Chicago Press, 1996

“Applebee's central point, the need to teach 'knowledge in context,' is absolutely crucial for the hopes of any reformed curriculum. His experience and knowledge give his voice an authority that makes many of the current proposals on both the left and right seem shallow by comparison.”—Gerald Graff, University of Chicago


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Deuteronomy-Kings as Emerging Authoritative Books
A Conversation
Diana V. Edelman
SBL Press, 2014

Explore how the past came to address the present and the future and why it became important for emerging Jewish identity.

Experts explore the themes and topics that made Deuteronomy and the Former Prophets appealing to ancient readers leading ultimately to those texts becoming authoritative for Persian and Hellenistic readers. This unique collection of essays focuses on what larger impact these texts might have had on primary and secondary audiences as part of emerging Torah. Contributors include Klaus-Peter Adam, Yairah Amit, Thomas M. Bolin, Philip R. Davies, Serge Frolov, Susanne Gilmayr-Bucher, E. Axel Knauf, Christoph Levin, James R. Linville, and Thomas Römer, and Diana V. Edelman.


  • Essays focused on why texts became authoritative instead of when they were written or their historicity
  • Two scholars examine each book providing a range of views
  • Coverage of the socio-religious function of emerging Torah in the Persian and early Hellenistic periods

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Dialogue, Dialectic and Conversation
A Social Perspective on the Function of Writing
Gregory Clark. Foreword by Robert J. Connors
Southern Illinois University Press, 1990

This book articulates an ethics for reading that places primary responsibility for the social influences of a text on the response of its readers.

We write and read as participants in a process through which we negotiate with others whom we must live or work with and with whom we share values, beliefs, and actions. Clark draws on current literary theory, rhetoric, philosophy, communication theory, and composition studies as he builds on this argument.

Because reading and writing are public actions that address and direct matters of shared belief, values, and action, reading and writing should be taught as public discourse. We should teach not writing or reading so much as the larger practice of public discourse—a discourse that sustains the many important communities of which students are and will be active members.


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Edward Said
Continuing the Conversation
Edited by Homi K. Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell
University of Chicago Press, 2005
In Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, Edward Said's long-time friends and collaborators continue their dialogue with Said where they had left off following his death in the fall of 2003.

The essays, imagining and recalling the cadences of Said's conversation, take various forms, including elaborations on his ideas, applications of his thought to new problems, and recollections of the indescribable electricity that made conversation with him intense and memorable. This lively, personal tone is a direct result of editors Homi Bhabha and W. J. T. Mitchell urging contributors to write in the spirit of a conversation interrupted, a call on hold, a letter waiting for a reply, a question hanging in the air. This is a work of immense imaginative and intellectual force and compelling candor, honoring Said's legacy as an activist intellectual.

This collection includes essays by Lila Abu-Lughod, Daniel Barenboim, Akeel Bilgrami, Paul Bové, Timothy Brennan, Noam Chomsky, Ranajit Guha, Harry Harootunian, Saree Makdisi, Aamir Mufti, Roger Owen, Gyan Prakash, Dan Rabinowitz, Jacqueline Rose, and Gayatri Spivak.

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Framing Information Literacy (PIL#73) Volume Five
Scholarship as Conversation
Janna L. Mattson
American Library Association

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Or, The Rules of Polite Behavior
Giovanni Della Casa
University of Chicago Press, 2013
“Since it is the case that you are now just beginning that journey that I have for the most part as you see completed, that is, the one through mortal life, and loving you so very much as I do, I have proposed to myself—as one who has been many places—to show you those places in life where, walking through them, I fear you could easily either fall or take the wrong direction.”

So begins Galateo, a treatise on polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness.
In the voice of a cranky yet genial old uncle, Della Casa offers the distillation of what he has learned over a lifetime of public service as diplomat and papal nuncio. As relevant today as it was in Renaissance Italy, Galateo deals with subjects as varied as dress codes, charming conversation and off-color jokes, eating habits and hairstyles, and literary language. In its time, Galateo circulated as widely as Machiavelli’s Prince and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Mirroring what Machiavelli did for promoting political behavior, and what Castiglione did for behavior at court, Della Casa here creates a picture of the refined man caught in a world in which embarrassment and vulgarity prevail. Less a treatise promoting courtly values or a manual of savoir faire, it is rather a meditation on conformity and the law, on perfection and rules, but also an exasperated—often theatrical—reaction to the diverse ways in which people make fools of themselves in everyday social situations.
With renewed interest in etiquette and polite behavior growing both inside and outside the academy, the time is right for a new, definitive edition of this book. More than a mere etiquette book, this restored edition will be entertaining (and even useful) for anyone making their way in modern civilized and polite society, and a subtle gift for the rude neighbor, the thoughtless dinner guest, or the friend or relative in need of a refresher on proper behavior.

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Hope on Earth
A Conversation
Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Hope on Earth is the thought-provoking result of a lively and wide-ranging conversation between two of the world’s leading interdisciplinary environmental scientists: Paul R. Ehrlich, whose book The Population Bomb shook the world in 1968 (and continues to shake it), and Michael Charles Tobias, whose over 40 books and 150 films have been read and/or viewed throughout the world.  Hope on Earth offers a rare opportunity to listen in as these deeply knowledgeable and highly creative thinkers offer their takes on the most pressing environmental concerns of the moment.

Both Ehrlich and Tobias argue that we are on the verge of environmental catastrophe, as the human population continues to grow without restraint and without significant attempts to deal with overconsumption and the vast depletion of resources and climate problems it creates. Though their views are sympathetic, they differ in their approach and in some key moral stances, giving rise to a heated and engaging dialogue that opens up dozens of new avenues of exploration.  They both believe that the impact of a human society on its environment is the direct result of its population size, and through their dialogue they break down the complex social problems that are wrapped up in this idea and attempts to overcome it, hitting firmly upon many controversial topics such as circumcision, religion, reproduction, abortion, animal rights, diet, and gun control.  For Ehrlich and Tobias, ethics involve not only how we treat other people directly, but how we treat them and other organisms indirectly through our effects on the environment.  University of California, Berkeley professor John Harte joins the duo for part of the conversation, and his substantial expertise on energy and climate change adds a crucial perspective to the discussion of the impact of population on global warming.

This engaging and timely book invites readers into an intimate conversation with some of the most eminent voices in science as they offer a powerful and approachable argument that the ethical and scientific issues involved in solving our environmental crisis are deeply intertwined, while offering us an optimistic way forward. Hope on Earth is indeed a conversation we should all be having.

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I Was More American than the Americans
Sylvère Lotringer in Conversation with Donatien Grau
Sylvère Lotringer and Donatien Grau
Diaphanes, 2021
A personal take on French Theory by one of the people who invented it.

In the mid-1970s, Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e), a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation, Semio-text(e) has been a place of stimulating dialogue between artists and philosophers, and for the past fifty years, much of American artistic and intellectual life has depended on it. The model of the journal and the publishing house revolves around the notion of the collective, and Lotringer has rarely shared his personal journey: his existence as a hidden child during World War II; the liberating and then traumatic experience of the collective in the kibbutz; his Parisian activism in the 1960s; his time of wandering, that took him, by way of Istanbul, to the United States; and then, of course, his American years, the way he mingled his nightlife with the formal experimentation he invented with Semiotext(e) and with his classes. Since the early 2010s, Donatien Grau has developed the habit of visiting Lotringer during his trips to Los Angeles; some of their dialogs were published or held in public. This book is an entry into Lotringer's life, his friendships, his choices, and his admiration for some of the leading thinkers of our times. The conversations between Lotringer and Grau show bursts of life, traces of a journey, through texts and existence itself, with an unusual intensity.

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Imagined Dialogues
Eastern European Literature in Conversation with American and English Literature
Gordana Crnkovic
Northwestern University Press, 1999
By conducting "imagined dialogues" between selected literary works--Eastern Europeans like Kiš and Borowski on one hand, American and English writers like Cage and Ishiguro on the other--this book proposes an effective new way of reading literature, one that goes beyond the narrowing categories of contemporary critical trends. A new perspective on each of the works emerges, as well as a heightened sense of the liberating power of literature.

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Interviews with American Composers
Barney Childs in Conversation
Barney Childs. Edited by Virginia Anderson
University of Illinois Press, 2022
In 1972-73, Barney Childs embarked on an ambitious attempt to survey the landscape of new American concert music. He recorded freewheeling conversations with fellow composers, most of them under forty, all of them important but most not yet famous. Though unable to publish the interviews in his lifetime, Childs had gathered invaluable dialogues with the likes of Robert Ashley, Olly Wilson, Harold Budd, Christian Wolff, and others.

Virginia Anderson edits the first published collection of these conversations. She pairs each interview with a contextual essay by a contemporary expert that shows how the composer's discussion with Childs fits into his life and work. Together, the interviewees cover a broad range of ideas and concerns around topics like education, notation, developments in electronic music, changing demands on performers, and tonal music.

Innovative and revealing, Interviews with American Composers is an artistic and historical snapshot of American music at an important crossroads.


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Islam and the West
A Conversation with Jacques Derrida
Mustapha Chérif
University of Chicago Press, 2008
In the spring of 2003, Jacques Derrida sat down for a public debate in Paris with Algerian intellectual Mustapha Chérif. The eminent philosopher arrived at the event directly from the hospital where he had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the illness that would take his life just over a year later. That he still participated in the exchange testifies to the magnitude of the subject at hand: the increasingly distressed relationship between Islam and the West, and the questions of freedom, justice, and democracy that surround it.
As Chérif relates in this account of their dialogue, the topic of Islam held special resonance for Derrida—perhaps it is to be expected that near the end of his life his thoughts would return to Algeria, the country where he was born in 1930. Indeed, these roots served as the impetus for their conversation, which first centers on the ways in which Derrida’s Algerian-Jewish identity has shaped his thinking. From there, the two men move to broader questions of secularism and democracy; to politics and religion and how the former manipulates the latter; and to the parallels between xenophobia in the West and fanaticism among Islamists.
Ultimately, the discussion is an attempt to tear down the notion that Islam and the West are two civilizations locked in a bitter struggle for supremacy and to reconsider them as the two shores of the Mediterranean—two halves of the same geographical, religious, and cultural sphere. Islam and the West is a crucial opportunity to further our understanding of Derrida’s views on the key political and religious divisions of our time and an often moving testament to the power of friendship and solidarity to surmount them.

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The Jester and the Sages
Mark Twain in Conversation with Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx
Forrest G. Robinson, Gabriel Noah Brahm, Jr., and Catherine Carlstroem
University of Missouri Press, 2011
The Jester and the Sages approaches the life and work of Mark Twain by placing him in conversation with three eminent philosophers of his time—Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx. Unprecedented in Twain scholarship, this interdisciplinary analysis by Forrest G. Robinson, Gabriel Noah Brahm Jr., and Catherine Carlstroem rescues the American genius from his role as funny-man by exploring how his reflections on religion, politics, philosophy, morality, and social issues overlap the philosophers’ developed thoughts on these subjects. Remarkably, they had much in common.

During their lifetimes, Twain, Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx witnessed massive upheavals in Western constructions of religion, morality, history, political economy, and human nature. The foundations of reality had been shaken, and one did not need to be a philosopher—nor did one even need to read philosophy—to weigh in on what this all might mean. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary materials, the authors show that Twain was well attuned to debates of the time. Unlike his Continental contemporaries, however, he was not as systematic in developing his views.

Brahm and Robinson’s chapter on Nietzsche and Twain reveals their subjects’ common defiance of the moral and religious truisms of their time. Both desired freedom, resented the constraints of Christian civilization, and saw punishing guilt as the disease of modern man. Pervasive moral evasion and bland conformity were the principal end result, they believed.

In addition to a continuing focus on guilt, Robinson discovers in his chapter on Freud and Twain that the two men shared a lifelong fascination with the mysteries of the human mind. From the formative influence of childhood and repression, to dreams and the unconscious, the mind could free people or keep them in perpetual chains. The realm of the unconscious was of special interest to both men as it pertained to the creation of art.

In the final chapter, Carlstroem and Robinson explain that, despite significant differences in their views of human nature, history, and progress, Twain and Marx were both profoundly disturbed by economic and social injustice in the world. Of particular concern was the gulf that industrial capitalism opened between the privileged elite property owners and the vast class of property-less workers. Moralists impatient with conventional morality, Twain and Marx wanted to free ordinary people from the illusions that enslaved them.

Twain did not know the work's of Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx well, yet many of his thoughts cross those of his philosophical contemporaries. By focusing on the deeper aspects of Twain’s intellectual makeup, Robinson, Brahm, and Carlstroem supplement the traditional appreciation of the forces that drove Twain’s creativity and the dynamics of his humor.

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Joining the Conversation
Dialogues by Renaissance Women
Janet Levarie Smarr
University of Michigan Press, 2005

Avoiding the male-authored model of competing orations, French and Italian women of the Renaissance framed their dialogues as informal conversations, as letters with friends that in turn became epistles to a wider audience, and even sometimes as dramas. No other study to date has provided thorough, comparative view of these works across French, Italian, and Latin. Smarr's comprehensive treatment relates these writings to classical, medieval, and Renaissance forms of dialogue, and to other genres including drama, lyric exchange, and humanist invective -- as well as to the real conversations in women's lives -- in order to show how women adapted existing models to their own needs and purposes.

Janet Levarie Smarr is Professor of Theatre and Italian Studies at the University of California, San Diego.


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Literacy as Conversation
Learning Networks in Urban and Rural Communities
Eli Goldblatt and David Jolliffe
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022
In Literacy as Conversation, the authors tell stories of successful literacy learning outside of schools and inside communities, both within urban neighborhoods of Philadelphia and rural and semi-rural towns of Arkansas. They define literacy not as a basic skill but as a rich, broadly interactive human behavior: the ability to engage in a conversation carried on, framed by, or enriched through written symbols. Eli Goldblatt takes us to after-school literacy programs, community arts centers, and urban farms in the city of Philadelphia, while David Jolliffe explores learning in a Latinx youth theater troupe, a performance based on the words of men on death row, and long-term cooperation with a rural health care provider in Arkansas. As different as urban and rural settings can be—and as beset as they both are with the challenges of historical racism and economic discrimination—the authors see much to encourage both geographical communities to fight for positive change.

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Literature Is a Voyage of Discovery
Tom Bishop in Conversation with Donatien Grau
Tom Bishop and Donatien Grau
Diaphanes, 2021
A blend of theory and stories from an extraordinary life by a leading cultural figure.

Tom Bishop has, for over sixty years, helped shape the literary, philosophical, cultural, artistic, and political conversation between Paris and New York. As professor and director of the Center for French Civilization and Culture at New York University, he made the Washington Square institution one of the great bridges between French innovation and a New York scene in full transformation. Bishop was close to Beckett, championed Robbe-Grillet in the United States, befriended Marguerite Duras and Hélène Cixous, and organized historic public encounters—such as the one between James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. He was also a scholar, a recognized specialist in the avant-garde, notably the Nouveau Roman and the Nouveau Théâtre.
In 2012, Bishop invited Donatien Grau to give a talk at NYU. This invitation led to conversations—many of which are presented in this book—and a friendship. Literature Is a Voyage of Discovery gathers their dialogues, retracing Bishop’s career, his own history, his departure from Vienna, his studies, his meetings, his choices, his conception of literature and life, his relationship to the political and economic world, and the way he helped define the profession of “curator” as it is practiced today, offering a thought-provoking look into one of the leading minds of our time.

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Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
A Conversation with Barry Schwartz
Tom Thatcher
SBL Press, 2014

Essential reading for scholars and students interested in sociology and biblical studies

In this collection scholars of biblical texts and rabbinics engage the work of Barry Schwartz, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Schwartz provides an introductory essay on the study of collective memory. Articles that follow integrate his work into the study of early Jewish and Christian texts. The volume concludes with a response from Schwartz that continues this warm and fruitful dialogue between fields.


  • Articles that integrate the study of collective memory and social psychology into religious studies
  • Essays from Barry Schwartz
  • Theories applied rather than left as abstract principles

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Paul and Scripture
Extending the Conversation
Christopher D. Stanley
SBL Press, 2012
This book, which grew out of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Paul and Scripture Seminar, explores some of the methodological problems that have arisen during the last few decades of scholarly research on the apostle Paul’s engagement with his ancestral Scriptures. Essays explore the historical backgrounds of Paul’s interpretive practices, the question of Paul’s “faithfulness” to the context of his biblical references, the presence of Scripture in letters other than the Hauptbriefe, and the role of Scripture in Paul’s theology. All of the essays look at old questions through new lenses in an effort to break through scholarly impasses and advance the debate in new directions. The contributors are Matthew W. Bates, Linda L. Belleville, Roy E. Ciampa, Bruce N. Fisk, Stephen E. Fowl, Leonard Greenspoon, E. Elizabeth Johnson, Mitchell M. Kim, Steve Moyise, Jeremy Punt, Christopher D. Stanley, and Jerry L. Sumney.

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River of Light
A Conversation with Kabir
John Morgan
University of Alaska Press, 2014
Surrender to a wild river and unexpected things can happen. Time on the water can produce moments of pristine clarity or hatch wild thoughts, foster a deep connection with the real world or summon the spiritual.

River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir is centered in one man’s meditations and revelations while traveling on a river. John Morgan spent a week traveling the Copper River in Southcentral Alaska, and the resulting encounters form the heart of this book-length poem. The river’s shifting landscape enriches the poem’s meditative mood while currents shape the poem and the pacing of its lines. The mystic poet Kabir is Morgan’s internal guide and serves as a divine foil through quiet stretches that bring to mind questions about war and human nature. Artwork by distinguished Alaska artist Kesler Woodward is a sublime companion to the text.

A combination of adventurer’s tale and spiritual quest, River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir takes the reader on a soulful journey that is both deeply personal and profoundly universal.

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Sarah's Seasons
An Amish Diary and Conversation
Martha Moore Davis
University of Iowa Press, 1997
“Have you ever kept a diary?” With that question author Martha Davis sets out on her journey into the quietly remarkable life of an Old Order Amish woman know to us as Sarah Fisher. Sarah not only kept a diary but welcomed Martha to read it and to view the world through her eyes. The even, peaceful tenor of Sarah's diary entries and the closeness to nature of her life and work will make readers question the pace and values of their own lives, and the degree of social interconnectedness in Sarah's world will offer a model for many of us outside it.

Sarah's brief daily notations, recorded on a calendar throughout 1976 and 1977, reveal an ongoing account of her seasonal routine. In many ways the straightforward simplicity of her writing is a reflection of her life near rural Kalona, Iowa, a life filled with what Martha Davis calls look-easy tasks undertaken without the conveniences of electricity, phones, or automobiles. For Sarah, diaries are a record. “A diary can settle a question, a disagreement,” she tells Martha. “You look back and see what took place. That's history.”

Through their conversations, Martha soon discovered she had more in common with Sarah than diary writing. Though Davis lived in the mainstream culture, an “English” person as the Amish say, like Sarah she grew up on a farm in rural Iowa during the 1950s and 1960s. Like Martha, Sarah had spent several years as a teacher.

In Sarah's Seasons Martha Davis shares their common experiences and common interests—gardening, quilting, and cooking. Alongside Sarah's diary, Martha presents their shared recipes and conversations as well as reflections on her own more modern existence. Because of her friendship with Sarah, the author found a new sense of belonging to and purpose in the mainstream world. In the end, Sarah's diary becomes for Martha a meditation on time and community.

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Six Paintings from Papunya
A Conversation
Fred R. Myers and Terry Smith
Duke University Press, 2024
In the early 1970s at Papunya, a remote settlement in the Central Australian desert, a group of Indigenous artists decided to communicate the sacred power of their traditional knowledge to the wider worlds beyond their own. Their exceptional, innovative efforts led to an outburst of creative energy across the continent that gave rise to the Contemporary Aboriginal Art movement that continues to this day. In their new book, anthropologist Fred Myers and art critic Terry Smith discuss six Papunya paintings featured in a 2022 exhibition in New York. They draw on several discourses that have developed around First Nations art—notably anthropology, art history, and curating as practiced by Indigenous and non-Indigenous interpreters. Their focus on six key paintings enables unusually close and intense insight into the works’ content and extraordinary innovation. Six Paintings from Papunya also includes an afterword by Indigenous curator and scholar Stephen Gilchrist, who reflects on the nature and significance of this rare transcultural conversation.

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A Starter's Guide for Academic Library Leaders
Advice in Conversation
Amanda Clay Powers
American Library Association, 2019

The path towards leadership starts with you. But you don’t have to go it alone. For this book, the authors sat down with many of the library leaders they most admire for a series of conversations about the aspects of the job that they find the most fascinating (and challenging). Much like the chats you might have over coffee at a conference or with a mentor, these frank discussions will nourish you with nuts-and-bolts wisdom on a diverse range of academic library management issues. Among the topics and situations broached are

  • balancing personal values against the common refrain “you don’t get to be who you want to be in positions like ours”;
  • five questions to ask that reveal much about organizational culture and climate;
  • creating a culture of change, including why a newly promoted director chose to make the most drastic changes in the first 100 days;
  • forming a “dean team” to help frame responses with consideration to institutional culture;
  • the value of demystifying the budget for the entire library staff;
  • using tools such as a personal “learning journal” to fuel professional development;
  • cultivating a personal network by setting up meetings at local libraries during conferences;
  • the risks that result from jumping into a situation too fast and boxing yourself into a corner;
  • lessons learned from failed initiatives;
  • examples of navigating controversies, such as a director’s response to a WPA mural with a racist message; and
  • managing facilities, with an example of how injecting a previously ignored library voice into a building project led to a tripling of the space.

Between these covers you’ll find guidance, ideas, and inspiration as you continue your leadership journey.


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Storytelling and Conversation
Discourse in Deaf Communities
Elizabeth A. Winston
Gallaudet University Press, 1999

In this intriguing book, renowned sociolinguistics experts explore the importance of discourse analysis, a process that examines patterns of language to understand how users build cooperative understanding in dialogues. It presents discourse analyses of sign languages native to Bali, Italy, England, and the United States.

     Studies of internal context review the use of space in ASL to discuss space, how space in BSL is used to “package” complex narrative tasks, how signers choose linguistic tools to structure storytelling, and how affect, emphasis, and comment are added in text telephone conversations. Inquiries into external contexts observe the integration of deaf people and sign language into language communities in Bali, and the language mixing that occurs between deaf parents and their hearing children.

     Both external and internal contexts are viewed together, first in an examination of applying internal ASL text styles to teaching written English to Deaf students and then in a consideration of the language choices of interpreters who must shift footing to manage the “interpreter’s paradox.” Storytelling and Conversation casts new light on discourse analysis, which will make it a welcome addition to the sociolinguistics canon.


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Talk and Textual Production in Medieval England
Marisa Libbon
The Ohio State University Press, 2021
People in medieval England talked, and yet we seldom talk or write about their talk. People conversed not within literary texts, but in the world in which those texts were composed and copied. The absence of such talk from our record of the medieval past is strange. Its absence from our formulation of medieval literary history is stranger still. In Talk and Textual Production in Medieval England, Marisa Libbon argues that talk among medieval England’s public, especially talk about history and identity, was essential to the production of texts and was a fundamental part of the transmission and reception of literature. Examining Richard I’s life as an exemplary subject of medieval England’s class-crossing talk about the past, Libbon advances a theory of how talk circulates history, identity, and cultural memory over time. By identifying sites of local talk about England's past, from law courts to palace chambers, and tracing rumors about Richard that circulated during his life and long after his death, Libbon offers a literary history of Richard that accounts for the spaces between and around extant manuscript copies of Middle English romances like Richard Coeur de Lion, insular and Continental chronicles, and chansons de geste with figures such as Charlemagne and Roland. These spaces, usually dismissed as silent, tell us about the processes of writing and reading and illuminate the intangible daily life in which textual production occurred. In revealing the pressures that talk about the past exerted on textual production, this book relocates the power of making culture and collective memory to a wider, collaborative authorship in medieval England. 

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Tom Stoppard in Conversation
Paul Delaney, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1994

This collection of interviews with British playwright Tom Stoppard, author of such well-known comedies as Travesties, Jumpers, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, brings together for the first time Stoppard's most significant assessments of his own work.

A wide range of discussions are featured, from extensive conversations with the editors of Theatre Quarterly and Gambit to important interviews in lesser-known periodicals. The interviews include the playwright's unguarded comments to the daily press, from those of a dazzled young Stoppard the morning after the triumphant opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to those of a veteran playwright still smarting from caustic reviews 36 hours after the opening of Hapgood. The interviews cover the full range of Stoppard's work, from his adaptations for the stage to his increasing involvement in film, and this volume makes many of them available for the first time. Also appearing for the first time in print are transcripts of radio interviews and an informal lecture by Stoppard called "The Event and the Text."

Tom Stoppard's conversations about his work shed light on questions of authorial intent and the creative process. Debates over interpretations of the plays will be enhanced by this record of Stoppard's own perceptions and insights. The collection also includes the most extensive bibliography and discography ever compiled of Stoppard's print interviews, broadcast interviews, and lectures.

Witty, illuminating, and informative, Tom Stoppard in Conversation will be of interest to scholars, students, directors, actors, and fans of Stoppard's work.


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Transmitting Jewish History
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi in Conversation with Sylvie Anne Goldberg
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and Sylvie Anne Goldberg
Brandeis University Press, 2021
The deeply personal reflections of a giant of Jewish history.
Scholar Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1932–2009) possessed a stunning range of erudition in all eras of Jewish history, as well as in world history, classical literature, and European culture. What Yerushalmi also brought to his craft was a brilliant literary style, honed by his own voracious reading from early youth and his formative undergraduate studies. This series of interviews paints a revealing portrait of this giant of history, bringing together exceptional material on Yerushalmi’s personal and intellectual journeys that not only attests to the astonishing breakthrough of the issues of Jewish history into “general history,” but also offers profound insight into being Jewish in today's world.  

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