From the beginning to the end of his career, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno sustained an uneasy but enduring bond with existentialism. His attitude overall was that of unsparing criticism, verging on polemic. In Kierkegaard he saw an early paragon for the late flowering of bourgeois solipsism; in Heidegger, an impresario for a “jargon of authenticity” cloaking its idealism in an aura of pseudo-concreteness and neo-romantic kitsch. Even in the straitened rationalism of Husserl’s phenomenology Adorno saw a vain attempt to break free from the prison-house of consciousness.“Gordon, in a detailed, sensitive, fair-minded way, leads the reader through Adorno’s various, usually quite vigorous, rhetorically pointed attacks on both transcendental and existential phenomenology from 1930 on…[A] singularly illuminating study.”—Robert Pippin, Critical Inquiry“Gordon’s book offers a significant contribution to our understanding of Adorno’s thought. He writes with expertise, authority, and compendious scholarship, moving with confidence across the thinkers he examines…After this book, it will not be possible to explain Adorno’s philosophical development without serious consideration of [Gordon’s] reactions to them.”—Richard Westerman, Symposium
All Thoughts Are Equal is both an introduction to the work of French philosopher François Laruelle and an exercise in nonhuman thinking. For Laruelle, standard forms of philosophy continue to dominate our models of what counts as exemplary thought and knowledge. By contrast, what Laruelle calls his “non-standard” approach attempts to bring democracy into thought, because all forms of thinking—including the nonhuman—are equal.
John Ó Maoilearca examines how philosophy might appear when viewed with non-philosophical and nonhuman eyes. He does so by refusing to explain Laruelle through orthodox philosophy, opting instead to follow the structure of a film (Lars von Trier’s documentary The Five Obstructions) as an example of the non-standard method. Von Trier’s film is a meditation on the creative limits set by film, both technologically and aesthetically, and how these limits can push our experience of film—and of ourselves—beyond what is normally deemed “the perfect human.”
All Thoughts Are Equal adopts film’s constraints in its own experiment by showing how Laruelle’s radically new style of philosophy is best presented through our most nonhuman form of thought—that found in cinema.
In Beyond the Public Sphere: Film and the Feminist Imaginary, the renowned philosopher and critical theorist María Pía Lara challenges the notion that the bourgeois public sphere is the most important informal institution between social and political actors and the state.
Drawing on a wide range of films—including The Milk of Sorrow, Ixcanul, Wadja, The Stone of Patience, Marnie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Talk to Her—Lara dissects cinematic images of women’s struggles and their oppression. She builds on this analysis, developing a concept of the feminist social imaginary as a broader and more complex space that provides a way of thinking through the possibilities for emancipatory social transformation in response to forms of domination perpetuated by patriarchal capitalism.
Now available in paperback with a new preface by the author, this award-winning book breaks new ground by challenging traditional concepts of community in political theory. William Corlett brings the diverse (and sometimes contradictory) work of Foucault and Derrida to bear on the thought of Pocock, Burke, Lincoln, and McIntyre, among others, to move beyond the conventional dichotomy of "individual vs. community," arguing instead that community is best advanced within a politics of difference.
Critical Theory and Performance presents a broad range of critical and theoretical methods and applies them to contemporary and historical performance genres—from stage plays, dance-dramas, performance art, cabaret, stand-up comedy, and jazz to circus, street theater, and shamanistic ritual. As the first comprehensive introduction to critical theory’s rich and diverse contributions to the study of drama, theater, and performance, the book has been highly influential for more than a decade in providing fertile ground for academic investigations in the lively field of performance studies.
This updated and expanded edition presents nineteen new essays by the field’s leading scholars and practitioners as well as new critical introductions by editors Janelle G. Reinelt and Joseph R. Roach. Reflecting recent trends in performance studies, this revised edition now includes discussions of critical race theory, postcolonial studies, gender and sexualities, and mediatized cultures. The resulting volume is a unique and indispensable tool for critics, teachers, and students that paves the way for future scholarship.
Janelle G. Reinelt is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. Reinelt and Roach
Joseph R. Roach is Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Theater and English at Yale University.
From Kant to Kierkegaard, from Hegel to Heidegger, continental philosophers have indelibly shaped the trajectory of Western thought since the eighteenth century. Although much has been written about these monumental thinkers, students and scholars lack a definitive guide to the entire scope of the continental tradition. The most comprehensive reference work to date, this eight-volume History of Continental Philosophy will both encapsulate the subject and reorient our understanding of it. Beginning with an overview of Kant’s philosophy and its initial reception, the History traces the evolution of continental philosophy through major figures as well as movements such as existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. The final volume outlines the current state of the field, bringing the work of both historical and modern thinkers to bear on such contemporary topics as feminism, globalization, and the environment. Throughout, the volumes examine important philosophical figures and developments in their historical, political, and cultural contexts.
The first reference of its kind, A History of Continental Philosophy has been written and edited by internationally recognized experts with a commitment to explaining complex thinkers, texts, and movements in rigorous yet jargon-free essays suitable for both undergraduates and seasoned specialists. These volumes also elucidate ongoing debates about the nature of continental and analytic philosophy, surveying the distinctive, sometimes overlapping characteristics and approaches of each tradition. Featuring helpful overviews of major topics and plotting road maps to their underlying contexts, A History of Continental Philosophy is destined to be the resource of first and last resort for students and scholars alike.
A poetic meditation on the challenges and pleasures of contemporary speculative fiction
Winner of the Elizabeth Agree Prize in American Literary Studies
Dear Incomprehension: On American Speculative Fiction is a thought-provoking exploration of the fascinating field of contemporary speculative fiction, a genre that transcends boundaries and encompasses science fiction, fabulist tales, modern fairy tales, and experimental narratives that challenge the very essence of storytelling and reading.
Written as a philosophical essay that mirrors the unorthodox nature of the texts it analyzes, Dear Incomprehension examines American works that defy traditional narrative devices such as plot, character, logic, and even legibility. Drawing on a number of philosophical theories, among them object-oriented ontology and speculative realism, Vanderhaeghe argues that these unconventional works resist the standard tools of criticism, demanding instead a novel perspective and approach.
An in-depth resource for scholars and students of contemporary literature, philosophy, and digital literary studies, Dear Incomprehension offers a fresh framework for analyzing experimental fiction and alternative modes of meaning-making. It is a must-read for those seeking to grasp the complexities and nuances of American experimental and speculative fiction.
Hegel’s philosophy of history—which most critics view as a theory of inevitable progress toward modern European civilization—is widely regarded as a failure today. In Does History Make Sense? Terry Pinkard argues that Hegel’s understanding of historical progress is not the kind of teleological or progressivist account that its detractors claim, but is based on a subtle understanding of human subjectivity.Pinkard shows that for Hegel a break occurred between modernity and all that came before, when human beings found a new way to make sense of themselves as rational, self-aware creatures. In Hegel’s view of history, different types of sense-making become viable as social conditions change and new forms of subjectivity emerge. At the core of these changes are evolving conceptions of justice—of who has authority to rule over others. In modern Europe, Hegel believes, an unprecedented understanding of justice as freedom arose, based on the notion that every man should rule himself. Freedom is a more robust form of justice than previous conceptions, so progress has indeed been made. But justice, like health, requires constant effort to sustain and cannot ever be fully achieved.For Hegel, philosophy and history are inseparable. Pinkard’s spirited defense of the Hegelian view of history will play a central role in contemporary reevaluations of the philosopher’s work.
Rhetorically charged debates over theory have divided scholars of the humanities for decades. In Elegy for Theory, D. N. Rodowick steps back from well-rehearsed arguments pro and con to assess why theory has become such a deeply contested concept. Far from lobbying for a return to the "high theory" of the 1970s and 1980s, he calls for a vigorous dialogue on what should constitute a new, ethically inflected philosophy of the humanities.Rodowick develops an ambitiously cross-disciplinary critique of theory as an academic discourse, tracing its historical displacements from ancient concepts of theoria through late modern concepts of the aesthetic and into the twentieth century. The genealogy of theory, he argues, is constituted by two main lines of descent—one that goes back to philosophy and the other rooted instead in the history of positivism and the rise of the empirical sciences. Giving literature, philosophy, and aesthetics their due, Rodowick asserts that the mid-twentieth-century rise of theory within the academy cannot be understood apart from the emergence of cinema and visual studies. To ask the question, "What is cinema?" is to also open up in new ways the broader question of what is art.At a moment when university curriculums are everywhere being driven by scientism and market forces, Elegy for Theory advances a rigorous argument for the importance of the arts and humanities as transformative, self-renewing cultural legacies.
For centuries it was believed that all matter was composed of four elements: earth, air, water, and fire in promiscuous combination, bound by love and pulled apart by strife. Elemental theory offered a mode of understanding materiality that did not center the cosmos around the human. Outgrown as a science, the elements are now what we build our houses against. Their renunciation has fostered only estrangement from the material world.
The essays collected in Elemental Ecocriticism show how elemental materiality precipitates new engagements with the ecological. Here the classical elements reveal the vitality of supposedly inert substances (mud, water, earth, air), chemical processes (fire), and natural phenomena, as well as the promise in the abandoned and the unreal (ether, phlogiston, spontaneous generation).
Decentering the human, this volume provides important correctives to the idea of the material world as mere resource. Three response essays meditate on the connections of this collaborative project to the framing of modern-day ecological concerns. A renewed intimacy with the elemental holds the potential of a more dynamic environmental ethics and the possibility of a reinvigorated materialism.
Energy Culture is a provocative book about oil’s firm grip on our politics and everyday lives. It brings together essays and artwork produced in a collaborative environment to stimulate new ways of thinking and to achieve a more just and sustainable world.
The original work collected in Energy Culture creatively engages energy as a social form through lively arguments and artistic research organized around three vectors of inquiry. The first maps how fossil fuels became, and continue to be, embedded in North American society, from the ideology of tar sands reclamation projects to dreams of fiber optic cables running through the Northwest Passage. The second comprises creative and artistic responses to the dominance of fossil fuels in everyday life and to the challenge of realizing new energy cultures. The final section addresses the conceptual and political challenges posed by energy transition and calls into question established views on energy. Its contributions caution against solar capitalism, explore the politics of sabotage, and imagine an energy efficient transportation system called “the switch.” Imbued with a sense of urgency and hope, Energy Culture exposes the deep imbrications of energy and culture while pointing provocatively to ways of thinking and living otherwise.
In the most comprehensive account to date of Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of language, Alexander Stern explores the nature of meaning by putting Benjamin in dialogue with Wittgenstein.Known largely for his essays on culture, aesthetics, and literature, Walter Benjamin also wrote on the philosophy of language. This early work is famously obscure and considered hopelessly mystical by some. But for Alexander Stern, it contains important insights and anticipates—in some respects surpasses—the later thought of a central figure in the philosophy of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein.As described in The Fall of Language, Benjamin argues that “language as such” is not a means for communicating an extra-linguistic reality but an all-encompassing medium of expression in which everything shares. Borrowing from Johann Georg Hamann’s understanding of God’s creation as communication to humankind, Benjamin writes that all things express meanings, and that human language does not impose meaning on the objective world but translates meanings already extant in it. He describes the transformations that language as such undergoes while making its way into human language as the “fall of language.” This is a fall from “names”—language that responds mimetically to reality—to signs that designate reality arbitrarily.While Benjamin’s approach initially seems alien to Wittgenstein’s, both reject a designative understanding of language; both are preoccupied with Russell’s paradox; and both try to treat what Wittgenstein calls “the bewitchment of our understanding by means of language.” Putting Wittgenstein’s work in dialogue with Benjamin’s sheds light on its historical provenance and on the turn in Wittgenstein’s thought. Although the two philosophies diverge in crucial ways, in their comparison Stern finds paths for understanding what language is and what it does.
A groundbreaking look at Gaia theory’s intersections with neocybernetic systems theory
Often seen as an outlier in science, Gaia has run a long and varied course since its formulation in the 1970s by atmospheric chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis. Gaian Systems is a pioneering exploration of the dynamic and complex evolution of Gaia’s many variants, with special attention to Margulis’s foundational role in these developments.
Bruce Clarke assesses the different dialects of systems theory brought to bear on Gaia discourse. Focusing in particular on Margulis’s work—including multiple pieces of her unpublished Gaia correspondence—he shows how her research and that of Lovelock was concurrent and conceptually parallel with the new discourse of self-referential systems that emerged within neocybernetic systems theory. The recent Gaia writings of Donna Haraway, Isabelle Stengers, and Bruno Latour contest its cybernetic status. Clarke engages Latour on the issue of Gaia’s systems description and extends his own systems-theoretical synthesis under what he terms “metabiotic Gaia.” This study illuminates current issues in neighboring theoretical conversations—from biopolitics and the immunitary paradigm to NASA astrobiology and the Anthropocene. Along the way, he points to science fiction as a vehicle of Gaian thought.
Delving into many issues not previously treated in accounts of Gaia, Gaian Systems describes the history of a theory that has the potential to help us survive an environmental crisis of our own making.
Giuseppe Fornari’s groundbreaking inquiry shows that Friedrich Nietzsche’s neglected importance as a religious thinker and his “untimeliness” place him at the forefront of modern thought. Capable of exploiting his own failures as a cognitive tool to discover what other philosophers never wanted to see, Nietzsche ultimately drove himself to mental collapse. Fornari analyzes the tragic reports of Nietzsche’s madness and seeks out the cause of this self-destructive destiny, which, he argues, began earlier than his rivalry with the composer and polemicist Richard Wagner, dating back to the premature loss of Nietzsche’s father. Dramatic experience enabled Nietzsche to detect a more general tendency of European culture, leading to his archaeological and prophetic discovery of the death of God, which he understood as a primordial assassination from which all humankind took its origin. Fornari concludes that Nietzsche’s fatal rebellion against a Christian awareness, which he identified as the greatest threat to his plan, led him to become one and the same not only with Dionysus but also with the crucified Christ. His effort, Fornari argues, was a dramatic way to recognize the silent, inner meaning of Christ’s figure, and perhaps to be forgiven.
A radical rethinking of the theory and the experience of mental images
Here, in English translation for the first time, is Gilbert Simondon’s fundamental reconception of the mental image and the theory of imagination and invention. Drawing on a vast range of mid-twentieth-century theoretical resources—from experimental psychology, cybernetics, and ethology to the phenomenological reflections of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty—Imagination and Invention provides a comprehensive account of the mental image and adds a vital new dimension to the theory of psychical individuation in Simondon’s earlier, highly influential work.
Simondon traces the development of the mental image through four phases: first a bundle of motor anticipations, the image becomes a cognitive system that mediates the organism’s relation to its milieu, then a symbolic and abstract integration of motor and affective experience to, finally, invention, a solution to a problem of life that requires the externalization of the mental image and the creation of a technical object. An image cannot be understood from the perspective of one phase alone, he argues, but only within the trajectory of its progressive metamorphosis.
An appeal for the importance of theory, utopia, and close consideration of our contemporary dark times
What does any particular theory allow us to do? What is the value of doing so? And who benefits? In Invoking Hope, Phillip E. Wegner argues for the undiminished importance of the practices of theory, utopia, and a deep and critical reading of our current situation of what Bertolt Brecht refers to as finsteren Zeiten, or dark times.
Invoking Hope was written in response to three events that occurred in 2016: the five hundredth anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia; the one hundredth anniversary of the founding text in theory, Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics; and the rise of the right-wing populism that culminated in the election of Donald Trump. Wegner offers original readings of major interventions in theory alongside dazzling utopian imaginaries developed from classical Greece to our global present—from Theodor Adorno, Ernst Bloch, Alain Badiou, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Sarah Ahmed, Susan Buck-Morss, and Jacques Lacan to such works as Plato’s Republic, W. E. B. Du Bois’s John Brown, Isak Dinesen’s “Babette’s Feast,” Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, and more. Wegner comments on an expansive array of modernist and contemporary literature, film, theory, and popular culture.
With Invoking Hope, Wegner provides an innovative lens for considering the rise of right-wing populism and the current crisis in democracy. He discusses challenges in the humanities and higher education and develops strategies of creative critical reading and hope against the grain of current trends in scholarship.
One of America’s leading political theorists analyzes the nihilism degrading—and confounding—political and academic life today. Through readings of Max Weber’s Vocation Lectures, she proposes ways to counter nihilism’s devaluations of both knowledge and political responsibility.How has politics become a playpen for vain demagogues? Why has the university become an ideological war zone? What has happened to Truth? Wendy Brown places nihilism at the center of these predicaments. Emerging from European modernity’s replacement of God and tradition with science and reason, nihilism removes the foundation on which values, including that of truth itself, stand. It hyperpoliticizes knowledge and reduces the political sphere to displays of narcissism and irresponsible power plays. It renders the profound trivial, the future unimportant, and corruption banal.To consider remedies for this condition, Brown turns to Weber’s famous Vocation Lectures, delivered at the end of World War I. There, Weber himself decries the effects of nihilism on both scholarly and political life. He also spells out requirements for re-securing truth in the academy and integrity in politics. Famously opposing the two spheres to each other, he sought to restrict academic life to the pursuit of facts and reserve for the political realm the pursuit and legislation of values.Without accepting Weber’s arch oppositions, Brown acknowledges the distinctions they aim to mark as she charts reparative strategies for our own times. She calls for retrieving knowledge from hyperpoliticization without expunging values from research or teaching, and reflects on ways to embed responsibility in radical political action. Above all, she challenges the left to make good on its commitment to critical thinking by submitting all values to scrutiny in the classroom and to make good on its ambition for political transformation by twinning a radical democratic vision with charismatic leadership.
Origin of the German Trauerspiel was Walter Benjamin’s first full, historically oriented analysis of modernity. Readers of English know it as “The Origin of German Tragic Drama,” but in fact the subject is something else—the play of mourning. Howard Eiland’s completely new English translation, the first since 1977, is closer to the German text and more consistent with Benjamin’s philosophical idiom.Focusing on the extravagant seventeenth-century theatrical genre of the trauerspiel, precursor of the opera, Benjamin identifies allegory as the constitutive trope of the Baroque and of modernity itself. Allegorical perception bespeaks a world of mutability and equivocation, a melancholy sense of eternal transience without access to the transcendentals of the medieval mystery plays—though no less haunted and bedeviled. History as trauerspiel is the condition as well as subject of modern allegory in its inscription of the abyssal.Benjamin’s investigation of the trauerspiel includes German texts and late Renaissance European drama such as Hamlet and Calderón’s Life Is a Dream. The prologue is one of his most important and difficult pieces of writing. It lays out his method of indirection and his idea of the “constellation” as a key means of grasping the world, making dynamic unities out of the myriad bits of daily life. Thoroughly annotated with a philological and historical introduction and other explanatory and supplementary material, this rigorous and elegant new translation brings fresh understanding to a cardinal work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary critics.
The Phantom of the Ego is the first comparative study that shows how the modernist account of the unconscious anticipates contemporary discoveries about the importance of mimesis in the formation of subjectivity. Rather than beginning with Sigmund Freud as the father of modernism, Nidesh Lawtoo starts with Friedrich Nietzsche’s antimetaphysical diagnostic of the ego, his realization that mimetic reflexes—from sympathy to hypnosis, to contagion, to crowd behavior—move the soul, and his insistence that psychology informs philosophical reflection. Through a transdisciplinary, comparative reading of landmark modernist authors like Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, and Georges Bataille, Lawtoo shows that, before being a timely empirical discovery, the “mimetic unconscious” emerged from an untimely current in literary and philosophical modernism. This book traces the psychological, ethical, political, and cultural implications of the realization that the modern ego is born out of the spirit of imitation; it is thus, strictly speaking, not an ego, but what Nietzsche calls, “a phantom of the ego.” The Phantom of the Ego opens up a Nietzschean back door to the unconscious that has mimesis rather than dreams as its via regia, and argues that the modernist account of the “mimetic unconscious” makes our understanding of the psyche new.
Theory has been an embattled discourse in the academy for decades. But now it faces a serious challenge from those who want to model the analytical methods of all scholarly disciplines on the natural sciences. What is urgently needed, says D. N. Rodowick, is a revitalized concept of theory that can assess the limits of scientific explanation and defend the unique character of humanistic understanding.Philosophy’s Artful Conversation is a timely and searching examination of theory’s role in the arts and humanities today. Expanding the insights of his earlier book, Elegy for Theory, and drawing on the diverse thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. H. von Wright, P. M. S. Hacker, Richard Rorty, and Charles Taylor, Rodowick provides a blueprint of what he calls a “philosophy of the humanities.” In a surprising and illuminating turn, he views the historical emergence of theory through the lens of film theory, arguing that aesthetics, literary studies, and cinema studies cannot be separated where questions of theory are concerned. These discourses comprise a conceptual whole, providing an overarching model of critique that resembles, in embryonic form, what a new philosophy of the humanities might look like.Rodowick offers original readings of Gilles Deleuze and Stanley Cavell, bringing forward unexamined points of contact between two thinkers who associate philosophical expression with film and the arts. A major contribution to cross-disciplinary intellectual history, Philosophy’s Artful Conversation reveals the many threads connecting the arts and humanities with the history of philosophy.
Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno both turned to canonical literary narratives to determine why the Enlightenment project was derailed and how this failure might be remedied. The resultant works, Benjamin’s major essay on Goethe’s Elective Affinities and Adorno’s meditation on the Odyssey in Dialectic of Enlightenment, are centrally concerned with the very act of narration. Márton Dornbach’s groundbreaking book reconstructs a hitherto unnoticed, wide-ranging dialogue between these foundational texts of the Frankfurt School.
At the heart of Dornbach’s argument is a critical model that Benjamin built around the concept of caesura, a model Adorno subsequently reworked. Countering an obscurantism that would become complicit in the rise of fascism, the two theorists aligned moments of arrest in narratives mired in unreason. Although this model responded to a specific historical emergency, it can be adapted to identify utopian impulses in a variety of works.
The Saving Line throws fresh light on the intellectual exchange and disagreements between Benjamin and Adorno, the problematic conjunction of secular reason and negative theology in their thinking, and their appropriations of ancient and modern legacies. It will interest scholars of philosophy and literature, critical theory, German Jewish thought, classical reception studies, and narratology.
Everybody’s got a theory . . . or do they?
Thomas McLaughlin argues that critical theory—raising serious, sustained questions about cultural practice and ideology—is practiced not only by an academic elite but also by savvy viewers of sitcoms and TV news, by Elvis fans and Trekkies, by labor organizers and school teachers, by the average person in the street.
Like academic theorists, who are trained in a tradition of philosophical and political skepticism that challenges all orthodoxies, the vernacular theorists McLaughlin identifies display a lively and healthy alertness to contradiction and propaganda. They are not passive victims of ideology but active questioners of the belief systems that have power over their lives. Their theoretical work arises from the circumstances they confront on the job, in the family, in popular culture. And their questioning of established institutions, McLaughlin contends, is essential and healthy, for it energizes other theorists who clarify the purpose and strategies of institutions and justify the existence of cultural practices.
Street Smarts and Critical Theory leads us through eye-opening explorations of social activism in the Southern Christian anti-pornography movement, fan critiques in the ‘zine scene, New Age narratives of healing and transformation, the methodical manipulations of the advertising profession, and vernacular theory in the whole-language movement. Emphasizing that theory is itself a pervasive cultural practice, McLaughlin calls on academic institutions to recognize and develop the theoretical strategies that students bring into the classroom.
“This book demystifies the idea of theory, taking it out of the hands of a priestly caste and showing it as the democratic endowment of the people.”—Daniel T. O’Hara, Temple University, author of Radical Parody: American Culture and Critical Agency after Foucault and Lionel Trilling: The Work of Liberation.
“McLaughlin takes seriously the critical and theoretical activity of everyday people and does so in a way that will empower these very populations to take seriously their own activities as theorists. . . . A manifesto that is sure to be heard by the younger generation of thinkers in American cultural studies.”—Henry Jenkins, MIT, author of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture
Walter Benjamin is one of the twentieth century's most important intellectuals, and also one of its most elusive. His writings—mosaics incorporating philosophy, literary criticism, Marxist analysis, and a syncretistic theology—defy simple categorization. And his mobile, often improvised existence has proven irresistible to mythologizers. His writing career moved from the brilliant esotericism of his early writings through his emergence as a central voice in Weimar culture and on to the exile years, with its pioneering studies of modern media and the rise of urban commodity capitalism in Paris. That career was played out amid some of the most catastrophic decades of modern European history: the horror of the First World War, the turbulence of the Weimar Republic, and the lengthening shadow of fascism. Now, a major new biography from two of the world's foremost Benjamin scholars reaches beyond the mosaic and the mythical to present this intriguing figure in full.Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings make available for the first time a rich store of information which augments and corrects the record of an extraordinary life. They offer a comprehensive portrait of Benjamin and his times as well as extensive commentaries on his major works, including "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility," the essays on Baudelaire, and the great study of the German Trauerspiel. Sure to become the standard reference biography of this seminal thinker, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life will prove a source of inexhaustible interest for Benjamin scholars and novices alike.
Walter Benjamin is often viewed as a cultural critic who produced a vast array of brilliant and idiosyncratic pieces of writing with little more to unify them than the feeling that they all bear the stamp of his "unclassifiable" genius. Eli Friedlander argues that Walter Benjamin's corpus of writings must be recognized as a unique configuration of philosophy with an overarching coherence and a deep-seated commitment to engage the philosophical tradition.Friedlander finds in Benjamin's early works initial formulations of the different dimensions of his philosophical thinking. He leads through them to Benjamin's views on the dialectical image, the nature of language, the relation of beauty and truth, embodiment, dream and historical awakening, myth and history, as well as the afterlife and realization of meaning. Those notions are articulated both in themselves and in relation to central figures of the philosophical tradition. They are further viewed as leading to and coming together in The Arcades Project. Friedlander takes that incomplete work to be the central theater where these earlier philosophical preoccupations were to be played out. Benjamin envisaged in it the possibility of the highest order of thought taking the form of writing whose contents are the concrete time-bound particularities of human experience. Addressing the question of the possibility of such a presentation of philosophical truth provides the guiding thread for constellating the disparate moments of Benjamin's writings.
Society needs whistleblowers, yet to speak up and expose wrongdoing often results in professional and personal ruin. Kate Kenny draws on the stories of whistleblowers to explain why this is, and what must be done to protect those who have the courage to expose the truth.Despite their substantial contribution to society, whistleblowers are considered martyrs more than heroes. When people expose serious wrongdoing in their organizations, they are often punished or ignored. Many end up isolated by colleagues, their professional careers destroyed. The financial industry, rife with scandals, is the focus of Kate Kenny’s penetrating global study. Introducing whistleblowers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Ireland working at companies like Wachovia, Halifax Bank of Scotland, and Countrywide–Bank of America, Whistleblowing suggests practices that would make it less perilous to hold the powerful to account and would leave us all better off.Kenny interviewed the men and women who reported unethical and illegal conduct at major corporations in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. Many were compliance officers working in influential organizations that claimed to follow the rules. Using the concept of affective recognition to explain how the norms at work powerfully influence our understandings of right and wrong, she reframes whistleblowing as a collective phenomenon, not just a personal choice but a vital public service.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
UChicago Accessibility Resources
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press